200 village homes rejected amid fears over impact on the countryside

House building. Construction on a Hopkins Homes site. Picture: ANDREW HENDRY

It is not yet known if the developer will lodge an appeal against the refusal decision - Credit: Andrew Hendry

Community leaders have rejected proposals for 200 village homes because of concerns over the development's impact on the countryside.

The site has not been allocated for housing - and the area in which it was to be built already has a five-year land supply of agreed homes sites, the minimum required by government.

Outline proposals for up to 200 homes – including 30% of them affordable housing – on land at Bournebridge Hill in Greenstead Green, near Halstead, were refused by Braintree District Council planning committee on March 8.

The application also set out the formation of a first stage Halstead bypass – which has long been the aspiration of Braintree District Council and Essex County Council.

But councillor Jo Beavis said the current and long overdue highway defect repairs on local roads such as potholes, flooding issues, speed calming schemes in the areas of Mount Hill, Trinity Street, Oak Road and Russells Road should be resolved satisfactorily before any further major infrastructure work takes place in Halstead.

Reasons for refusal of the new estate included over development of a rural landscape and that it is a non-allocated Braintree District Council development site.

Ms Beavis added that Braintree District Council can demonstrate a five-year housing supply, the site is not sustainable, the site is not in keeping with the rural nature of Greenstead Green and Halstead Rural parish.

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She told the planning committee: “It’s not required. It’s taken us a long time to get out our housing number.

“We have our housing number. It’s not allocated. We have a system and you know this planning application in my opinion is premature.

“It needs to come back at some stage and go through a different set of allocation for the future.”

Developers Gladman could apply to appeal the refusal decision.

Peter Dutton, speaking on behalf of Gladman at the planning meeting, said: “In this case, it is clear that the benefits far outweigh any limited harm and that this represents a strong material consideration in favour of the grant of planning permission.

“The proposals would represent sustainable development.”