The planning system is broken and communities are suffering, according to a councillor of nearly 20 years.

District and county councillor James Abbott (Green Party, Silver End and Cressing) was speaking after a bid to build 225 homes off Braintree Road, Cressing, land which is not included in Braintree Council's draft local plan, was approved.

Mr Abbott called for something to be done to fix the system, which he says has become "a numbers game".

“I really feel for the communities, particularly Cressing where they are working on a neighbourhood plan,” he said.

“They are doing everything right, but to be honest it looks like a waste of time.

“Residents feel totally ignored and it is not just in Braintree, it is all over the country. Something needs to be done to fix the system.

“A lot of us have been warning about this for a long time but we cannot do anything about it.”

Mr Abbott said new homes were needed, but residents were right to question the lack of infrastructure, particularly in rural villages.

“I feel sad that it has come to this,” he said.

“Good planning is a wonderful thing and can create sustainable developments, but what we are seeing is the very worst of it.

“None of these developers are proposing GP surgeries or secondary schools and there are questions remaining over the A120 and A12 routes.

“There is uncertainty about what this area is going to look like in the future.”

Roughly 1,700 new homes are planned or approved for Mr Abbott’s constituency, whereas around 600 were proposed for the villages within the district’s draft local plan.

He said: “A lot of the community feel totally warn down and despondent that this process does not seem to stop. I think it is going to go on and on.”