Last week a series of leaflets and letters were distributed across the district by Braintree Conservatives, deliberately seeking to scaremonger and mislead the public.

Residents are being told that without garden communities (“Section 1” of the Local Plan) there could be thousands more houses along the A12.

This is slightly ironic given that their very own plan places 24,000 homes on the A12.

Residents are also told that no “Section 1” could mean 8,000 more houses in Halstead, 2,000 in Silver End, 2,000 in Coggeshall and 5,000 more in Braintree and Bocking.

This can only be described as complete rubbish. The sites singled out are “garden community alternatives” which, if there is no garden communities plan, will have no further traction.

No garden communities means the district Local Plan, Section 2, can proceed to examination. That will mean that at long last there would be protection against speculative developers.

Braintree has already allocated sites for nearly all the houses it needs until 2033. Garden communities, and therefore the sites above, are not needed. Simple.

The letters being delivered with the leaflet are no more than a misleading and unsubstantiated dirty tricks campaign.

They seek to associate the Campaign Against Urban Sprawl in Essex with urban sprawl in specific villages across the district, in what looks like an attempt to set village against village, and town against village, in a way that is divisive and inappropriate.

Finally, it may not have escaped readers’ notice that all this is happening during a public consultation.

There are laws and guidelines around consultation, and they state consultation must be meaningful and collaborative, and that the public must be presented with an accurate picture.

Rosie Pearson

Secretary, Campaign Against Urban Sprawl in Essex