A CONTROVERSIAL development of 140 homes has been given the go ahead after a battle between residents and a developer which lasted for more than two years.

The plans for Stone Path Drive, in Hatfield Peverel, were called in by the Secretary of State in 2017 but developer Gladman has now been given the green light.

Planning applications for 120 dwellings at Gleneagles Way and a planning appeal for 80 dwellings at Stone Path Drive - which had previously been refused but was overturned after a legal challenge - have also been given the okay.

Witham MP Priti Patel hit out at the 'shameful and appalling decision' and said it 'risked wrecking the village'.

Ms Patel said: "Both sites were outside of the settlement boundary and will cause harm to the countryside, risks to road safety and place huge new pressures on our public services.

"It will leave school children having to walk miles along the A12 to get to and from school every day and place overwhelming pressures on the local GP surgery.

"The community in Hatfield Peverel has already accepted hundreds of new dwellings, including on the former Arla Dairy site, and have drafted a neighbourhood plan to take control of development in the village and allocate suitable sites for development.

"The addition of 260 more homes across these two sites will undermine all the work that has taken place on the neighbourhood plan and shows a callous disregard for local views."

Residents had been urging the developer to use brownfield land - such as the Arla dairy site or land next to the train station - rather than greenfield land for the development.

Ms Patel added: "The reports from the planning inspector that recommended granting permission, with which the Secretary of State has agreed, were atrocious. "Crass and ill-thought-through assumptions have been made about the impact on public services, transport and amenities but the fact is, these developments will put huge pressures on the village, which will not be addressed.

"While the reports acknowledged that both developments could cause harm, they dismissed residents’ concerns because Braintree District Council does not have a five-year supply of housing.

"This is an outrageous decision and while the government constantly talks about empowering communities in the planning process, this decision marks the death knell of localism.

"These decisions have torpedoed the village’s Neighbourhood Plan and I will be making my disgust at the Secretary of State’s decision very clear."