A DEVELOPER has ambitious plans to turn fields in Braintree into “the Silicon Valley of North Essex”.

Lightwood Group, which is leading on a potential garden village development in Pattiswick, has teamed up with Bosch to create an area for technology advancement.

Monks Wood was put forward as part of the Local Plan, and was originally ousted as it was unviable.

However, following a new sustainability appraisal, Braintree, Tendring, Colchester and Essex councils are reconsidering the site.

The Times' sister paper, the Daily Gazette, has seen a Lightwood document entitled Monks Wood - A New SMART Garden Village for North Essex.

The report says: “Lightwood has partnered with Bosch to become an anchor tenant and our technical delivery partners.

“We envisage this centre will be the Silicon Valley of North Essex, creating an innovative site to be an attraction for best practise for technical advancement and Bosch globally. 

“Within the commercial development zone, we will create start up units and a large data centre.

“It is our vision with Bosch to offer rent free periods to attract technology start-ups, with Bosch staff on site developing new solutions.

“The selection criteria for these businesses is they must contribute to energy efficiency and electric vehicles.”

The garden community plans themselves will include 5,500 homes, a retirement village, employment space providing 3,000 jobs, schools and community facilities.

Lightwood is also still prepared to gift 3.5km of land next to the existing A120 to facilitate its upgrade and widening.

Lightwood, keen to get Monks Wood included in the Local Plan, took the document to Braintree Council in August.

Since then, it is understood Bosch has scaled back the level of involvement.

The Campaign Against Urban Sprawl in Essex says it is in a remote and unsustainable location.

Secretary Rosie Pearson said: “The impact of the Monks Wood proposal on rural communities cannot be under-estimated.

“It is extremely worrying Bosch is involved without a proper understanding of the proposals.

“It is also concerning if the proposals gain additional credibility in the site selection process because of unfounded promises about Bosch made by Lightwood.”

CAUSE received a message from Bosch saying plans were only in ‘concept stage’ and no further plans have been confirmed.

Lightwood Group and Bosch were contacted but we were told there was no-one able to deal with the inquiry.