RESIDENTS turned out in force to protest controversial plans to build up to 80 homes in a village.

Around 120 people attended a demonstration on Sunday after Gladman Developments submitted an outline planning application to build the homes, including 40 per cent affordable housing, on land off Stone Path Drive in Hatfield Peverel.

The protest highlighted a brownfield alternative, proposed by district councillor David Bebb, ahead of a Braintree Council planning meeting next Tuesday where councillors have been advised to approve the bid, subject to a host of agreements.

In an objection comment submitted by Mr Bebb, he described the land as “arguably the most attractive part of the the village, rich in wildlife, and with attractive vistas sloping down to the river”.

He said: “It is outside the village development boundary and there is a more appropriate brownfield site adjacent to the village railway station (Arla Dairy which is closing) becoming available shortly, and for which a planning application is in train and has capacity to provide more than the number of homes proposed in this application.

The outline plans include creating vehicle access off Stone Path Drive and emergency access off Crabbs Hill on the 4.57 hectare site, as well as a £293,232 contribution towards the proposed Lodge Farm Primary School in Witham.

Residents also have the backing of MP Priti Patel.

She said: “Local residents are very worried about the scale of this development in Stone Path Drive and the impact on infrastructure and public services. Many have been in touch with me to express their deep concerns with the development, especially as the application has come forward before while the site is still being considered as part of the local plan process.

“The application is also in outline form, which has led to additional uncertainty about how the final development will look and its impact on the area. Braintree Council’s planning committee must consider resident’s views, concerns and opposition towards the application very carefully when reaching their decision.”