UNPOPULAR plans to build 78 homes near a town centre beauty spot appear set for the final go ahead.

Braintree Council's planning officers are recommending the full planning application for the Gimsons site is approved by councillors.

The plans were approved last year but the application is going back before the planning committee again after planning experts asked for minor conditions to be added to the planning permission.

These include:

  • The developer must provide a suitable boundary treatment arrangement on sensitive public edges in the interests of visual amenity
  • The developer must ensure all relevant affordable housing plots comply with the required standards at the design stage
  • The developer must ensure that all relevant affordable housing plots comply with the required standards when they are constructed

Councillors have previously voted in favour of the plans and have been asked to re-approve them during a meeting on Tuesday.

In their report, planning officers state the benefits of the scheme still outweigh the harm and the application should be approved again.

More than 600 people voted against the original plans, and campaign group the Heart of Witham Preservation Society was set up to oppose the plans.

The group, which says the proposed development would 'destroy the green heart of Witham' has called on the council to clarify the future of historic railings based near the site.

They fear the railings will be torn down as a result of the new homes and have instead called on the council to preserve them.

But a report published ahead of Tuesday's meeting say the railings do not fall within the site boundary with regards to the application and as such, would need to be discussed outside the planning process.

The council, which owns the railings, will however ask for a further condition to be added to the planning permission which will enable it to hold talks with the developer about the future of the railings.