PLANS to build 150 new homes next to the A120 have been thrown out amid concerns they would have caused 'significant harm' to the countryside.

Planning inspector Frances Mahoney has dismissed Wallace Land Investment and Management’s proposals for land off School Road in Rayne.

The developer appealed Braintree Council's non-determination of the blueprints after the authority failed to make a ruling on the scheme in the statutory 13-week period.

The council's planning committee later declared it would have refused planning permission anyway due to concerns about the rural nature of the site.

And Ms Mahoney has sided with the council and thrown out Wallace Land's appeal following a virtual public inquiry.

In her report, the inspector dismissed concerns over impact the new homes would have on the nearby roads and suggested there would be benefits brought about by the development.

But she agreed the scheme would affect the character and rural nature of Rayne.

Her report added: "The appeal site itself as a field does not display any unusual or valuable features over and above those of any other arable field.

"However, the proposed development of the full extent of the field would unacceptably erode the open pastural character of the village setting and the wider farmland plateau of the north Essex countryside.

"In this way the locally distinctive character of the landscape would be diminished resulting in significant harm to the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside."

Nearly 50 objections were submitted by members of the public over the plans, with many raising concerns about the number of homes proposed and the location.

Rayne Parish Council argued the application should have been refused because the site was outside the village boundary.

NHS bosses also said the nearby doctor’s surgery did not have capacity for hundreds of new residents and stated a new facility would need to be built if the scheme got the go ahead.