Council rejects plans for up to 95 new homes in Steeple Bumpstead

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Councillors have rejected a controversial planning application to build up to 95 homes in Steeple Bumpstead.

Braintree District Council’s planning committee voted, unanimously, this week to reject a proposal by Gladman Developments to develop a site west of Finchingfield Road, on land to the south of the village.

The scheme received almost 350 letters of objection and a Hands Off Steeple Bumpstead (HOSB) community group was set up by residents to oppose it.

Concerns raised included the size of the development, inadequate transport provision, landscaping issues and flooding risks.

On Tuesday (July 5) councillors heard objections from representatives of HOSB and Steeple Bumpstead Parish Council and from council officers who said it did not constitute sustainable development.

In a report prepared for the committee, the council’s development manager Tessa Lambert said: “The development would have a visual impact which is detrimental to the character and setting of the village, heritage assets and the broader historical narrative of the landscape.”

She added that the location of the site and topography of the land were such that any development would have a ‘harmful impact’.

Resident Jonathan Borges expressed optimism at the outcome of the meeting but warned against complacency.

He said: “The planning committee has come to the right decision. This development is too big, it is in the wrong place and it will adversely affect the life of the village.

“We are all really pleased with the decision but we are also very aware that as they have done in the past Gladman could launch an appeal or even submit a new application. If that happens I’m sure residents will be ready for them.”

Ian Mackenzie, chair of HOSB, welcomed the committee’s decision and stressed that HOSB would be prepared to fight for as long as was necessary.

He said: “We believe in new homes for the village but in the right numbers and in the right place. We have the village with us and we are determined to fight as hard and for as long as it takes to stop this development permanently.”

Gladman has yet to comment on whether it is likely to appeal the planning decision or submit a new application.