Cllr John McKee, chairman of Braintree Conservative Association, is absolutely correct in saying that as a Conservative district councillor I voted in favour of the emerging Local Plan.

I proudly voted for every local Conservative policy in my 16 years as a Conservative district councillor (most of which was when I was the cabinet member for people and communities for nine of those years).

I cannot live in the past. I am now an Independent district and county councillor.

Concerns are growing about the emerging Local Plan and I believe the 10,711 votes for change must be acknowledged and respected wholeheartedly.

The point I was making, and it is a point I have constituently made over the past 16 years, is that local councillors must reach out to people.

The emerging Local Plan offers that opportunity.

The council has a corporate responsibility and a community responsibility.

I have been rather impressed lately by our town and parish councils who are looking at way of reaching out to people with ideas such as champions and community surgeries to ensure the local voice is heard.

Perhaps Braintree Council would consider this, or better still reinstate the Local Areas Committees and take corporate and communities issues back to the people.

Jo Beavis

Independent councillor for the Hedinghams, Halstead, the Colnes, High Garret, Greenstead Green and Gosfield