Campaigners say a developer has underestimated the strength of opposition against plans for a 1,600 home estate which would 'desecrate' a beauty spot.

No Brook Green, the campaign group set up to fight Acorn Braintree's proposals for the new estate either side of the historic Flitch Way, says more than 350 objections have been submitted to the plans.

The campaign group has also criticised a "desperate last ditch attempt" to gain some public support by Acorn - who set up a petition calling for plans to be approved.

A spokesman for No Brook Green said: "The developer seriously underestimated strength of opposition when he submitted his plans to build a huge housing estate that would desecrate the Flitch Way and entire surrounding countryside between Braintree and Rayne.

"He arrogantly refused to engage with locals who would be affected refusing invitations to public meetings where he was invited to speak to locals and demonstrate the benefits of his plans to them.

"He perhaps believed that by exploiting a gap in time between local plans he would be set to make vast amounts of profit from a development that is totally wrong for the area.

"He didn’t, however, bank on the passion with which the local community would fight his plans to prevent the destruction of their most valuable community assets and to prevent gridlock on the roads around the development."

No Brook Green said the environment around the Flitch Way, one of the most popular walking spots in the area, would suffer serious harm if the new estate was built, and the new primary school would not help the surrounding community just residents of the new homes.

Campaigners have also refuted claims that improvements to the road network would speed up traffic, saying Acorn's "bold assertions" on journey times which it says have not been agreed by an independent body.

The spokesman continued: "Highways England have been unable to respond because of repeated failures by the developer to provide traffic data which is verified, properly sourced or based on correct figures.

"Any local can tell you that his proposals will not solve any of the traffic crisis even before you add on an extra 3,200 cars.

"We are confident that local residents and council members deciding the application will continue to see the paucity of his application and whole heartedly reject it."