MAJOR plans to build 150 new homes next to the A120 would harm the character of the countryside and a nearby listed building, experts say.

Planning officers have recommended Wallace Land Investment and Management’s proposals to build a new estate on land off School Road, Rayne, should be thrown out amid concerns about its impact in the area.

Councillors are set to discuss and vote on the outline planning application during a meeting next week.

Officers say the proposed development would undermine the character of the nearby grade two listed Fairy Hall and conservation area it would be based in.

Their report says: “The location and scale of the proposed development would not result in a well-integrated extension to the village and fails to respond to the existing pattern and character of development and the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside.

“The proposed development as shown within the indicative masterplan layouts fails to demonstrate that the site can accommodate up to 150 dwellings in a manner that will promote or reinforce local distinctiveness and which reflects the constraints, sensitivity and location of the site.”

Nearly 50 objections have been submitted by members of the public, with many raising similar concerns about the number of homes proposed and the location.

Rayne Parish Council has also objected and says the application should be refused because the site is outside the village boundary.

NHS bosses say the nearby doctor’s surgery does not have capacity for hundreds of new residents and a new facility would need to be built to accommodate them.

In its planning statement, Wallace Land played down fears the scheme would be harmful to the character of the area, primarily because the proposed site backs onto the A120.

The applicant also argues the site is enclosed by enough vegetation to retain the countryside feel in the area.

Braintree Council’s planning committee will rule on the plans next Tuesday.