MAJOR plans which could see hundreds of new homes built on the western edge of Witham have been unveiled.

Countryside Properties is seeking outline planning permission for up to 450 houses to the north of Woodend Farm, off Hatfield Road.

The developer is also proposing to build a new nursery, offices and an 80-bed care home on the site, which is allocated for housing by Braintree Council.

It is next to the Lodge Farm development, which includes 750 homes and a new school.

Countryside Properties says it would only build the maximum number of homes proposed if there is no commercial interest in the care home or offices.

Thirty per cent will be allocated as affordable, and the developer will have to make financial contributions to education and health services in Witham.

It will also need to work with Highways England, which is planning on extending part of the A12 near the proposed development site.

A series of public consultations were held on Countryside Development’s proposals earlier this year, where residents expressed concerns about the impact the scheme would have on doctor’s surgery waiting times and traffic.

Residents also raised fears about the decreasing gap between Witham and Hatfield Peverel.

One stated: “Throwing a bit of cash at the NHS and education authority, and relying on statutory consultees, and Braintree Council, is not looking after Witham residents’ interests.”

Another added: “Witham and Hatfield Peverel are almost merged into one now. This area of development north of the A12 should go no further, otherwise the villages will be joined, and an area of outstanding natural beauty between the villages will be lost.”

Countryside says some residents welcomed the proposals during the consultation phase.

A spokesman for the developer said: “The application relates to an area of land which has a draft allocation in the Local Plan.

“It is the culmination of a good deal of work which has included a comprehensive programme of engagement with local stakeholders.

“This development will help to deliver much needed new homes to the area, including 30 per cent affordable housing. In addition, we will also be making financial contributions to local facilities, including schools and health provision and will be safeguarding land to allow for improvements to the A12.”

Braintree Council will have the final say on the scheme next year.