There is plenty of hot air and little substance in the Gazette’s Colchester Chat podcast with Richard Bayley, managing director of North Essex Garden Communities Limited.

Contrary to the tone of the conversation, 24,000-home new towns are not springing up across England.

In fact, there is only one "garden city": Ebbsfleet.

It is intended one day to have 15,000-homes but, after nearly 30 years and a £300 million cash injection from government, only 1,400 have been built.

“Proportionate” is an odd word to describe the north Essex garden community proposals.

The majority of schemes supported in the Government garden communities programme are garden villages of fewer than 5,000 homes.

Yet our authorities are proposing a massive and risky infrastructure project in the form of three towns, totalling 43,000 homes.

Reassurances the new towns are spread out along the A120 corridor ring hollow.

There will be a new town every ten miles between Elmstead Market and Cambridge if North Essex Garden Communities Limited's proposals, plus three in neighbouring Uttlesford, go ahead, with little countryside left in between.

Mr Bayley’s experience in Basingstoke scheme did not involve a garden town. It involved a 3,500-home urban extension, where (unlike in north Essex) the council already owns the land.

The project is going ahead without mass rapid transit. Basingstoke only began a consultation on a mass rapid transit system at the end of 2018, after Mr Bayley left.

Finally, our authorities and North Essex Garden Communities Ltd continue to perpetuate the myth that garden communities are a magic money tree.

However, there is still no evidence that "economies of scale" will bring the infrastructure required or enable the vast majority of housing to be non-market housing.

Words are easy. Mr Bayley should publish the viability appraisals the Planning Inspector asked for last year. Until they are available, promises are meaningless.

Rosie Pearson

Secretary, Campaign Against Urban Sprawl in Essex