“Short-sighted and foolish planning decisions taken by districts councils” are short changing Essex County Council and must stop, councillors have heard.

In particular the county council is being mistakenly obliged to deal with highways infrastructure issues following planning approvals taken by local authorities.

Cllr Chris Pond, who represents Loughton, said that in some cases districts needed to allocate housing elsewhere, while acknowledging the pressures planning authorities feel from all areas, including the planning inspectorate.

Speaking after a county council meeting on October 8 in which he accused some councils of taking irresponsible planning decisions, he said: “Planning decisions are for the most part taken by district councils and there is a disconnect between the district councils and county councils.

“The county has a mechanism whereby the development management attached to highways go out to look at proposals.

“But their role is confined to where it conforms to highways regulations.

“The county needs to say to district councils that ‘in our view this development is unacceptable without the following things being done’ – that might include road improvements and in particular transport improvements paid for by the developers.

“Because otherwise the burden falls on the council.”

Around 150,000 homes are being planned across Essex between now and 2033 under quotas set by central Government.

Cllr Pond said that in some cases some developers are avoiding having to pay for infrastructure, while dismissing arguments that extra burdens of infrastructure should be used as a bargaining chip.

At a meeting of the council he added: “I’d like to thank Cllr (Kevin) Bentley for the conversation we had relating to planning and the ensuring that the county is not short changed by short-sighted and foolish planning decisions taken by district councils, particularly in relation to infrastructure.

“I am very glad to hear we should not be so short changed.”

Cllr Bentley is deputy council leader and cabinet member for infrastructure.

Cllr Bentley said: “I am going to have a meeting with all the development management officers, along with senior officers to discuss this.

“We cannot let this situation continue. While we have to build houses we have to do it in a much more strategic way.

“We cannot simply keep allowing planning applications and hoping for the best.

“You can’t keep putting more housing on existing infrastructure that is already overloaded, hence the flooding we are getting at the moment and other issues that are taking place.

“We are constrained by what the law says, and our development management officers have done nothing wrong. I now want to see how we can progress beyond that.

“If it is bad for Essex, I’ll have that row with any planning inspector come what may.”