OPPOSITION councillors have called for plans to create two new towns to the east and west of Colchester to be shelved after a critical report from a planning expert.

Roger Clews carried out an in-depth look at the plans to create the two garden villages - between West Tey and Braintree and on the Colchester/Tendring border - and wrote to all councils involved stating the proposals were “unjustified, lacking and unsound”.

He also said not enough work had been around public transport and other transport infrastructure.

The controversial proposals are part of Colchester, Tendring and Braintree councils’ local plans.

Mr Clews gave the authorities three options: to pause the plans and press ahead with the rest of each council’s own local plan, carry out more work before moving to the next stage or withdrawing the plan altogether.

Last night, Colchester’s Tory leader Darius Laws called for the garden village proposals to be set aside.

He told the authority’s ruling cabinet: “By exploring option one, we will reduce the risk of speculative developments that further delays to the local plan would cause.

“It will also allow the council to work with existing communities to improve other areas of concerns in the local plan such as Middlewick and Mersea.

“Our understanding is that we will not need to reallocate the garden community housing element elsewhere. Writing to the inspector for clarification on this seems the most sensible approach to us.

“Colchester Conservatives want to see a plan that builds communities, not just houses.

“We want an infrastructure-led approach with a clear plan for jobs and prosperity in the borough, with homes for all budgets and needs.”

Lewis Barber, a Conservative member of the integral local plan committee, added: “The recent independent inspector vindicated our position, which the Liberal Democrat and Labour council have ignored.

“He backed all of our concerns that we had been raising for almost two years and cited major deficiencies in the council’s proposals.

“Developers are literally banging at the door in places like West Bergholt and, unless our local plan is found to be sound, we will soon run out of the allocated land supply for houses; and the developers will get the houses built upon appeal.”

“This is the reality for my residents and it could soon be the reality for other parts of the borough such as Mersea Island, Rowhedge and Old Heath and the Hythe.”

The Conservative group has previously voiced concerns over the West Tey proposal, calling for the schemes to be brought forward one at a time.

The group has not raised any significant concerns over the new town plans on the Colchester/Tendring border - a point which coalition councillors have previously pressed.