Campaigners say they are sceptical about claims that 21,000 new jobs could be created through garden communities in north Essex over the next 30 years.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) was commissioned to produce employment figures for north Essex authorities.

The proposed garden communities would be at the Tendring/Colchester border, West Tey and west of Braintree. CEBR analysed population statistics and employment forecasts to estimate the number of jobs they could create. Not including construction jobs, it is claimed 21,500 jobs would be created by 2050.

Robert Beauchamp, economist at CEBR, said “It’s still early planning so the question will come later on how to monitor it. We could work with employers to monitor residential locations of employees. We cannot force people to work in a location but we can put policies in place to encourage people to look for employment in their local area”.

He added “The garden communities will provide employment space to give a competitive edge”. Braintree, Colchester and Tendring councils have published further information following questions raised by the Planning Inspector last year showing an infrastructure-led approach is more viable.

But members of the Campaign Against Urban Sprawl in Essex are not convinced.

Cause secretary Rosie Pearson said: “It seems to be yet another case of hope triumphing over reality. Evidence will have to be scrutinised extremely carefully and the new employment study will have to explain why it contradicts the previous one”.

“That one found to create one job per home for West Tey alone, there would need to be a step change in employment growth in Colchester, for example the building of a new hospital”.

The revised evidence will be considered by Local Plan committees and then by full councils ahead of a consultation.

4 July 2019