UP to 177 homes could be built on a former dairy site.

Arla Foods, which had a dairy in Bury Lane, Hatfield Peverel, has unveiled plans to build housing, a local shop, office space and a care home or restaurant on its former depot.

The site, which closed in July, is classed as brownfield and was supported for development by a group of residents for inclusion in Braintree Council’s draft Local Plan.

Residents believe it could be an alternative to a bid by Gladman Developments to build more than 100 homes on fields of Stonepath Drive, Hatfield Peverel. A previous bid for 80 homes on the site was narrowly rejected by Braintree Council.

Neil Cowburn from Arla Foods said: “Following the closure of the Hatfield Peverel dairy site we have liaised with the Local Authority to discuss ways in which the site can be brought back into productive use. As more than 10,000 new homes are required across the district by 2033 we have designed a masterplan which can deliver around 170 new homes as well as employment facilities.”

A spokesman for Hatfield Peverel Parish Council said: “The Arla planning consultant Andrew Thompson, along with Victoria Walker attend- ed the Parish Council Meeting on November 7 to present the planning proposal for redevelopment of the site.

“A plan of the site was available for members to see illustrating a development of up to 177 mixed sized dwellings plus a light industrial use area.”

However, a former employee of Arla has criticised the plans after he was made redundant when the dairy closed.

Daniel Mitchell, 41, of Rue Des Jeunes, Braintree, said: “I have discussed the plans with many other ex colleagues and we all have the same opinion - the smell. Where all the waste milk used to drain away, we can’t see how anyone will amend that. The sewer system will have something other than milk to deal with.

“I bet the Hatfield Peverel residents will start to complain about the pong again.”