Phil Barlow's letter (May 16, "Will Indies and Greens be a constructive opposition?) was written almost as if the local elections never happened.

Before May 2, Labour politicians including himself wrote letters to this paper and pumped out leaflets claiming to be the "only" opposition to Conservative rule of Braintree Council, along with withering assessments of the Co-operation Agreement between the Greens, Independents and Lib Dems.

The Conservatives did similar, including their now infamous attack leaflet against Independent candidates in Coggeshall; complete with spelling mistakes evidencing the need to keep local libraries open.

The verdict came from voters at the ballot box. Across the south east of the district all wards returned Green and Independent councillors.

In the 22 wards where Co-operation Agreement candidates contested with Labour, we got more votes than Labour candidates in 16 of those wards.

On the doorstep we found the Co-operation Agreement was popular - voters by and large approved of the idea that parties and groups should work together on local issues that matter.

Phil Barlow seeks to defend the new towns local plan which Labour and the Tories on Braintree Council have promoted.

But that failed plan was one of the main reasons Greens and Independents got elected.

It is not, as he claims, an answer to Government imposed housing numbers.

It is a vast urbanisation project that goes far beyond those numbers.

It has cost taxpayers large sums of money and was found to be legally unsound by a Planning Inspector in June last year.

The ongoing planning chaos and delay has contributed to many large housing estates with no on-site services being granted planning permission around villages.

Working together to seek better solutions is not "spin".

The Green and Independent Group will seek to be a constructive opposition, but we will not spend the next four years routinely siding with the Conservatives, as Labour did in the previous four.

Cllr James Abbott

Green and Independent Group Leader on Braintree District Council

Park Road, Rivenhall