Crystal ball: what will this summer’s revised garden communities plan look like?

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If they authorities stick to the time-table they sent to the Inspector recently, their new garden community proposals will be consulted on over the holiday period (as usual), when as many people as possible are away.

Before then, possibly as early as next week, the new proposals (in the form of modifications to the Section 1 Plan, the revised Sustainability Appraisal and a raft of new transport & viability evidence), are likely to be published.   This is because Braintree is the first of the three authorities to have its Local Plan meeting, on 11 July.   Councillors and the public will have to absorb a huge amount of evidence, in a very unreasonably short space of time, for a 50-100 year plan.

Looking into the CAUSE crystal ball, we anticipate the following:

  1. ‘SAME OLD’. More justification of the same three failed garden communities as before, and attempts to sell them to the public.  The authorities are still convinced that if they tell us often enough that garden communities are amazing, we will believe them;
  2. ‘INFRASTRUCTURE-LITE’. Lots of corner-cutting, delays to infrastructure and watering down of promises i.e jettisoning cargo to try to make the ship float from a viability perspective;
  3. BUREAU-BABBLE.  Plenty of jargon and techno-speak designed to confuse, lots of hope, aspiration and ambition, probably a huge gap between vision and reality;
  4. 2ND CLASS CITIZENS. Likely that those of us who live in north Essex already will have been forgotten in the headlong rush to Do Garden Communities For New Residents. Very unlikely that the impact of the proposals on our roads, trains, hospitals, countryside and council finances will have been addressed.
  5. KICKING THE CAN. Where there are no answers, e.g “how exactly will ‘mass rapid transit’ be separated from traffic?” we will be told that it will be sorted out in due course, at some point in the future and that we shouldn’t worry our little heads.

We will be updating you via Facebook, Twitter and our website and leafleting over the summer.  If anyone wants to join our leafleting team, please get in touch via

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