The Braintree Council planning committee meeting regarding houses in Tey Road, Earls Colne was a sad indictment of the shambolic way planning applications in the district are passed.

The statements and few questions asked suggested some of the councillors had either misunderstood or not listened to what was said prior to voting.

It seemed several of them had made up their minds to approve the application before even entering the room, merely on the basis Essex County Council Highways had not objected.

One councillor commented "it meets all other planning requirements" and "we must have legitimate planning reasons" for refusal, despite all of them having a list of 12 planning reasons for refusal in front of them.

There was a lot of focus on the notorious Tey Rd/A1124 junction, to which this development will add more traffic.

Another councillor described how, while negotiating this junction on a site visit, she "took a deep breath, went for it and fortunately no-one ran into the back of me".

She admitted: "I do think it is dangerous actually but I'm not a highways expert" and then proceeded to vote for approval.

These statements speak for themselves, but do make us wonder if the councillors who said them can think for themselves.

Because their computers tell them that there have not yet been fatalities and no serious accidents for a while at the junction, Highways are not minded to object.

Yet Highways have admitted to us they have made no study of the cumulative effects of more traffic on the A1124 as a result of the multiple house building projects in Halstead, Earls Colne and Stanway.

Of the other important planning issues we raised, there was little more than a mention if at all.

The reasoning of the members in the meeting was very weak and even disrespectful to our arguments.

The planning department continues to roll out specious arguments about adding "vitality" to a village with a school and doctors' surgery already overflowing before the construction of hundreds of new houses, and yet ignore their own guidelines and those of the government's National Planning Policy Framework to suit their own agenda.

There is real anger and frustration among residents that there is a deep democratic deficit in the treatment of planning applications.

By muddying the waters, Braintree Council's planning department seem to think they can confuse the public into giving up.

We will not do so, and will continue to challenge them on the merits of this and other inappropriate planning applications.

Richard Farnes

Tey Road, Earls Colne