Planners set to approve first phase of 575-home Towerlands Park project

The Towerlands site planned to be redeveloped is currently vacant and partly derelict. 

The Towerlands site planned to be redeveloped is currently vacant and partly derelict. - Credit: JCN Design & Planning.

The first phase of a 575-home development on a partly derelict site in a village could be approved next week.

The Towerlands Park project will see a former equestrian facility, conference centre and golf course that is currently vacant and partly derelict turned into a housing estate plus a nursery, and retail and community facilities.

Braintree District Council will vote on whether to approve plans for the first phase of 168 homes in between the town and the village of Panfield on April 5.

Outline permission for the entire scheme off Panfield Lane was granted by the planning committee in April 2021.

Fears over light pollution, increased traffic and the impact on Panfield have been raised by residents and the parish council, although no statutory consultees have objected to the application by Dandara Eastern.

According to a design and access statement, “Towerlands Park will be a new landscape-led neighbourhood for Braintree, set on the rural edge of the town.

“High-quality housing will create a new neighbourhood within a green infrastructure corridor, which includes the retention and enhancement of the existing mature trees and hedgerows within it.

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“Provision for the new community includes a new early years nursery overlooking the village green, local shops, and a series of play areas, parkland, meadow and community orchard spaces linked by a circular footway/cycleway.

“The new neighbourhood will be well connected to existing areas of Braintree through the retained Public Right of Way, footpaths and cycle paths.”

The application has received 10 objections from residents and one from Panfield Parish Council.

According to a summary of issues raised in the report, increased traffic in the area could “degrade” the character of the village and its distinguishable separation from Braintree.

Panfield Parish Council has also asked for traffic slowing measures like chicanes to stop it from being used instead of the A120, and that financial contributions from the developer go towards the parish.

The proposals would include 50 affordable houses, in line with the adopted local plan policy.

The houses themselves are planned to be between one and five bedrooms.

In addition to the homes, the applicant is seeking final approval for parking, landscaping, public open space, a play area, drainage infrastructure and the first section of the spine road from Panfield Lane.