A CAR dealership says it is simply exploring potential options after submitting an outline bid to build 20 new homes at one of its sites.

Perkins Garages is brainstorming ideas for the site in Rayne, which is home to one of its used car dealerships.

The business, which is based on Dunmow Road, moved to the site in 2005 and specialises in selling used Ford, Subaru and MG cars.

Plans submitted to Braintree Council are assessing the feasibility of using the site for housing in the future.

However, Perkins are adamant the site will remain open for the foreseeable future and the move is simply exploring options whichthat may not be acted upon.

If the exploratory proposals were to go ahead, the site would see the current commercial buildings knocked down, with the two existing accesses to the site from Dunmow Road being removed.

A central access point would be added with the development of 20 homes.

The homes would be a mixture of terraced, detached, and semi-detached homes, with 40 per cent as affordable housing.

Each home would also have parking.

The planning application says: “The application site is in a sustainable location as part of the settlement of Rayne and is a brownfield site that is unsuitable for continued or alternative commercial uses due to its relationship with neighbouring dwellings.

“There are footpaths and bus stops directly outside of the site, providing ready access to facilities and services to Rayne and Braintree by non-car means.

“The key benefit would be the provision of additional housing in a sustainable and accessible location.

“The proposal would have no adverse impacts on residential amenity, wildlife and biodiversity, flood risk or any other planning consideration.

“The visual impact of the development in the wider landscape would be minimal, and the intrinsic beauty of the countryside would be respected and preserved.

“The only ‘harm’ would be that the site is technically outside of the out-of-date envelope of a settlement close to one of the main towns of the district.

“In its totality of harm, the fact that the site is outside of an arbitrarily-drawn limit would not outweigh the benefits.”

Braintree Council will rule on the plans.