CAMPAIGNERS are claiming victory after a government inspector ruled a housebuilder will not be allowed to go ahead with a new 1,600-home development.

The proposals, known as Brook Green, included up to 1,600 homes, a community centre, primary school, employment land and public open space on a site on land between Braintree and Rayne.

The homes would have been built either side of the Flitch Way on Pods Brook Road, Braintree.

Braintree Council refused the planning application in December 2017, but applicant Acorn Braintree lodged an appeal and a public inquiry was held over three weeks in September 2018.

A spokesman for the No Brook Green action group said: "We have always told them that their housing estate was totally inappropriate and would harm the local community and it’s most valued landscape far beyond what could ever be considered justifiable.

"Now not just the council, but an experienced planning inspector, and the Secretary of State have agreed with us and all three have said that it is clear that the detrimental impact of this disastrous development would significantly outweigh any benefits it might bring.

"Perhaps finally the developer will listen? We hope so.

"We can see no grounds of appeal in the sound judgement but if the developer wishes to waste more of his money in the high court trying to force this on our community against its will he should know that we will be there at that stage of proceedings fighting for our community, it’s needs and the preservation of its most valuable assets just as we have for the past three and a half years, every step of the way.

"We are extremely happy that it has rightly been refused and are confident that will remain the position.

"It just goes to show that when the community get together and use their voice the right result can happen even when faced with rich developers and their flashy lawyers. And we couldn’t be more delighted by it."

Cabinet member for planning, Gabrielle Spray, said: "We’re pleased that our decision to refuse the application has been so strongly supported by the planning inspector and the Secretary of State, who agreed that the harm identified by the council to a listed building, loss of countryside and harm to the character and appearance of the countryside, particularly when viewed from the Flitch Way and the separation of Braintree and Rayne, outweighed the benefits of the scheme, including new housing in this area."

A copy of the appeal decision can be found at by searching reference15/01538/OUT.