Celebrations over a rejection of garden community plans in north Essex will be short lived as communities expand without corresponding infrastructure, Essex County Council cabinet has heard.

Campaigners have called that “heads must roll” and a company set up to deliver major housing across north Essex “should be wound up immediately” in the wake of a decision from the planning inspector that Braintree, Colchester and Tendring councils’ plans for 43,000 homes across three garden communities in north Essex is only partially deliverable.

In a letter to the North Essex Authorities (NEAs), planning inspector Roger Clews said the financial viability of the proposed Tendring/Colchester Borders Garden Community was sound but the proposed Colchester/Braintree Borders Garden Community would not achieve a viable land price, and the proposed West of Braintree Garden Community was at best at the very margin of financial viability and sustainable access cannot be achieved.

It means plans for 36,000 homes in Essex garden communities have been found to be unsound, but a link road between the A120 and A133 to support the east Colchester community is set to go ahead.

Cllr Julie Young, speaking at a cabinet session that voted to adopt the preferred route option for the A120-A133 link road on Tuesday (May 26), warned of homes being built elsewhere without appropriate infrastructure to support it.

She said: “Given the response we had from the inspector last week that told us West Tey and west Braintree garden communities were not viable mainly because of the transport cost associated  with those developments, it throws into sharp focus the need for government funding to actually be able to deliver the homes the government is asking us all to deliver.

“For me we want to build healthy and sustainable communities on an infrastructure first approach and while there may be some celebration at West Tey and west of Braintree, that have not found favour with the inspector at the moment, I think in the future those celebrations will be short lived as those communities expand without the infrastructure that is needed to support those homes.

“The Labour group has been very clear right from the word go that we would only support new homes development if it was an infrastructure-led approach.”

Cllr David Finch, leader of ECC said: “We will use our level best endeavour that this is infrastructure-led.”

A  ‘rapid transit system’ from the proposed east Colchester/west Tendring garden community via University of Essex into Colchester is also being proposed to facilitate quick and easy travel.

Cllr Chris Pond warned that it must be an environmentally friendly scheme.

He said: “I see no reference of the potential form of the rapid transport system.

“To my mind that is crucial because if we only have a half baked bus expressway I don’t think that is going to be sufficient.

“I think there has to be a non-polluting form of transport, electric-led, preferably rail-guided in order to make the rapid transport system really attractive.”

Cllr Finch added: “The point is well made.

“There has been extensive studies done in the highways function related to examples in Ireland and in this country. Technology is moving very fast as well.

“To nail down a particular method or process or vehicle type would not be the best thing we could do.

“I know there is work in Highways to evaluate the optimum solutions  and optimum routes and I know the benefits that system will bring to Colchester, for example, will be a more efficient transport of people but also as important it will also reduce air pollution as well.”