Much has been written about the proposed three garden communities along the A120 corridor.

The Green and Independent Group on Braintree Council urges residents to take part in the consultation (

We are supporting a series of events where more information can be accessed – these will be advertised by the groups setting them up and to date include at Great Saling, Coggeshall, Gosfield and Copford.

Unfortunately significant parts of what has been said from the advocates of the three garden communities is misleading so the coming weeks will be an important opportunity to set out the facts.

Garden communities is advertising speak. They are new towns; the largest being West Tey at up to 24,000 houses sprawling across the countryside between Stanway and Coggeshall/Feering.

The proposed transport links to “significantly reduce road traffic” simply do not exist in the plans.

The documents out to consultation say that “rapid transit systems” (a bus every eight minutes) will use “dedicated traffic free lanes” that are “crucial” to its success.

But Highways England has confirmed it has no plans to build these as part of the A12 re-routing/widening nor alongside the new A120 and Essex County Council states the widening of the A12 to eight lanes is to accommodate future road traffic growth.

There are no firm plans to significantly upgrade the main railway line in the Witham-Colchester area and no plans to increase capacity on the Braintree branch line.

The leader of Braintree Council stated in the Times the Green and Independent group motion put to the full council meeting of August 1 was a “tactic to frustrate the Local Plan process”.

It was no such thing. Our motion followed exactly the Option 1 recommendation of the Local Plan Inspector set out in June last year, that is to put on hold the garden communities and secure a Local Plan as soon as possible.

The new Local Plan which we proposed securing as quickly as possible – known as “Part 2” - contains about 14,000 houses and is what local communities have already been consulted on, plus all the housing granted on unallocated sites due to the council taking so long to secure a Local Plan.

We also note the September 5 meeting of the Local Plan committee has been cancelled due to “lack of business”.

It is very likely the obsession with the new towns plan will result in Braintree not having an adopted and complete Local Plan until 2021 – even more time for speculators to pick off greenfield sites.

At the August 1 special council meeting, several Conservatives, including the leader, referred to those opposing the new towns as “keyboard warriors”.

We reject that insult and will continue to work with communities to find a way out of what has become a planning shambles.

The Green and Independent Group on Braintree Council

Councillor James Abbott, Nick Unsworth, Jo Beavis, Tom Walsh, Jenny Sandum, Paul Thorogood, Steve Hicks, Michelle Weeks, Bob Wright