AN independent examiner has finally waved through the Hatfield Peverel neighbourhood plan two years after it was first submitted but two weeks after the approval of multiple housing developments that many residents opposed.

Gabrielle Spray, cabinet member for planning at Braintree district council, said: “It is good to see another neighbourhood plan hit an important milestone and I commend the hard work the group have carried out to get it to this point.

“I look forward to presenting the report to cabinet in September.”

The document has been in the works since 2015 and seeks to guide housing development in the village until 2033 by recommending sites which local people are willing to see built on.

The parish council submitted the plan for approval in March 2017, after which it was stymied by a slew of new Government regulations.

This is the first major step it has taken since then.

In the meantime, a series of developments in the village were pushed forward by developers Gladman, Bellway, and David Wilson Homes.

On July 11, after being called in by the Secretary of State, schemes at two of these sites were simultaneously given approval, clearing the way for hundreds of new homes.

In light of this, parish councillor Mike Renow, who was instrumental in putting the plan together, said the examiner’s green-light may have come too late in certain respects.

“In our humble opinion, the speculative developments at Stonepath and Gleneagles Way are surplus to requirements,” he said.

“We now have a plan and it took a long hard road coming through and a lot of government regulation came through while we were getting ours together.

“Over that period the Stone Path and Gleneagles developments did go through and in the end it was a bit too late.

“But we have quite a strong document going forward.”

He added: “We can look again at possible allocations in the village to make it clear that we are working to meet the needs of the village.”

Examiner Mary O’Rourke recommended some modifications to the plan in her July 23 report, which was published by the council last week, to ensure it meets basic legal requirements.

It will now be considered by Braintree district council on September 9 and then by a full council meeting after that.

If it gets the green light there, the plan will proceed to a referendum.

There are currently 10 other neighbourhood plans being developed in Essex.