It appears this summer our authorities will continue in their seemingly unabated enthusiasm for “garden communities”.

Their consultation is timed, once again, to coincide with a holiday period.

Councillors will have to decide whether the latest ideas are fit to be sent to the planning inspector for further scrutiny.

Very few councillors attended last year’s examination.

We did.

We participated in every session.

It is worth pointing out the inspector will be forensic in his approach and will not suffer fools or half-answers gladly.

We urge councillors to take a more circumspect view this time and to do two things:

Firstly, ensure questions asked by the public have now been answered.

Legitimate concerns about the impact of the garden community proposals on roads, rail, healthcare, countryside, air quality, council finances, and more, have never been addressed.

If there are still no answers, the garden communities’ project should not be allowed to continue.

Far better to allow the “Section 2” Plan to proceed instead, allowing thinking time about the long term.

Secondly, take heed of Friends of the Earth, which said in a report in February that Government’s garden town programme should be halted.

The organisation set out a much more sensible approach to planning for growth.

The Campaign Against Urban Sprawl in Essex spoke at a conference in Letchworth last week, where we and several other national organisations discussed concerns about low-density, car-dependent, garden communities.

Thanks to Colchester’s Extinction Rebellion group, the council will debate a motion on whether to declare a climate emergency in July.

Cause has been invited to send a representative to attend the group’s first meeting next week.

If we wish to aim for zero carbon emissions, we cannot do so by building stand-alone new towns.

Cause will be doing its best to keep people informed about the garden communities consultation via

Rosie Pearson


Campaign Against

Urban Sprawl in Essex