THE number of new homes being built in and around Braintree will have a severe impact on the town’s roads and must be addressed soon, a councillor has warned.

Bocking North’s David Mann (Lab) made the claim during a crunch meeting on Tuesday night which saw Braintree Council’s planning committee unanimously back plans to build 825 homes on land to the west of Panfield Lane.

The scheme, which will be managed by developers Mersea Homes and Hills Residential, has been in the pipeline for four years and will see the firms contribute both land and funding to a new school, doctor’s surgery and sports facility.

A new link road will also be built between Panfield Lane and Springwood Drive in an attempt to ease growing concerns about congestion in the west of Braintree.

Councillors were in agreement the plans fitted into the authority’s own vision for the greenfield site and voted in favour of granting outline planning permission for the scheme.

However, Mr Mann warned colleagues the growing number of homes in the Braintree and Bocking area would soon lead to serious problems on the roads and he called on Essex County Council’s highways department to consider the growing concerns over congestion.

The Labour councillor said: “Over time we’re going to have 825 houses here, 600 at Towerlands, 1,000 at Straits Mill – all in my ward, my back garden.

“We will also possibly have another 500 homes from speculative sites as well.

“Surely someone soon at County Hall is going to have a look at the cumulative impact of these developments on the road network - the impact for instance on Panfield Lane, Bocking Church Street and the A131. When does the impact become severe?

“There has got to be a tipping point somewhere and I think it’s pretty near.”

Neither Highways England nor Essex Highways objected to the plans, but did provide some conditions which would need to be met by the developers.

Mr Mann also revealed concerns regarding the new link road between Panfield Lane and the Springwood Drive industrial estate.

It has been recommended signage should be installed to divert larger vehicles travelling to the industrial estate through wider roads in the town.

But Mr Mann said he had fears signage would not be enough.

He added: “There remains a real danger that the new link road becomes a rat run for HGVs.

“I’m not persuaded that signage and enforcement will necessarily deliver what we hope.

“It’s really difficult, we certainly want formation for example of buses but We definitely don’t want HGV’s going out on to Panfield Lane.

“The name gives it away, it’s not a top level road.”