DID you know the three local district councils want to build no fewer than 46,500 new homes in our region by 2033?

To make this vast scheme seem more palatable they call them “garden communities” or even “garden villages”.

Braintree and the other councils’ dogmatic insistence on three new towns is not viable.

We as ratepayers bear the financial risk but the developers will get any gain.

It will harm our landscape, increase commuting and there won’t be new GP surgeries until there are thousands of new houses - and there will never be a new station at Marks Tey.

This approach has meant the new Braintree Local Plan is at least three years late, leaving the whole district open to speculative applications by well-resourced developers.

For example, every piece of land between Coggeshall and the A120 had a ‘call for sites’ proposal – the map looked like a military invasion plan! There is a better way.

As the Green and Independent councillors will make clear at the resumed planning inquiry from January 14, new development should be smaller in scale and proportionately spread around existing towns, villages and hamlets.

This will support local shops and services and cut the need in a climate emergency for yet more commuting by car.

Colchester Council, which only approved the Garden Community Local Plan by the casting vote of the chair, has recently decided not to approve any more public funding for NEGC’s public engagement – NEGC being the proposed developer.

How can it possibly be right for leaders of Braintree Council to decide policy, to sit on the Local Plan committee yet also be directors of NEGC?

If you disagree, attend the Local Plan Inquiry from January 14. Please write to your own district councillor and for an alternative, community-led vision of local planning check out the Residents for Braintree District group website.

Tom Walsh

Independent councillor for Coggeshall, Bradwell and Stisted and Jo Beavis and Nick Unsworth, Independent councillors on Braintree Council