PROPOSALS for a new garden village in the heart of the countryside have been described as speculative and unlikely to proceed.

Planning consultants Edward Gittins and Associates have drawn up proposals for 4,000 homes, business parks, a country park and a school on land west of the A12 at Langham.

It has asked Colchester Council to include the proposal in its emerging local plan, the blueprint for development.

If the plans were included and approved, Langham’s 1,000- strong population would grow to ten times that size.

But Harwich and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin said he thought it highly unlikely the scheme would be accepted.

Mr Jenkin said: “I would be extremely alarmed if there was any possibility of this going ahead. It looks highly speculative and is most unlikely to proceed.

There would have to be a major public inquiry – I would absolutely insist on that.

“This is not a site which has been identified in the council plans for major housing development at all.

“This is speculative and, while we need more housing, it would be odd to plonk houses here. It would change the character of Langham.”

Colchester Council has already identified two strategic sites for growth straddling the borough boundaries with Braintree and Tendring as well as one expanding Colchester north of the A12. Edward Gittins argues the proposed garden village offers an alternative approach which could replace one or more of those sites.

The consultants said: “The garden village concept enables real communities to be planned which are more self-contained and self-sufficient than existing villages and suburbs.”

Permission already exists for a large solar park on land forming part of the wartime Boxted Airfield and the consultants say this would provide renewable energy for the garden village.

The council will draw up preferred options out its favoured sites. That will go out for consultation early next year before being scrutinised by a Government inspector.

The local plan is due to be adopted in 2017.