CONTROVERSIAL plans for 200 new homes on the outskirts of Halstead have been branded “a step too far”.

Gladman Developments wants to build the estate on Bournebridge Hill, just off the A131 to the south of the town.

The developers say it could bring almost 500 new residents to the town.

But Halstead town councillors unanimously opposed the proposals at their last meeting.

They are urging Braintree Council to refuse the application when it goes before a planning committee.

The town council says the site comes under Greenstead Green rather than Halstead.

That means new residents would not pay anything to the town council.

Halstead councillor Jackie Pell said: “We have discussed this development before and now we have strengthened our position.

“There would be a serious impact on Halstead where they can use our facilities and not have to pay for them.

“They will be able to come and use our facilities for free and it’s not fair on the people living in Halstead.

“It will also be putting a strain on the road network.

“The traffic on Tidings Hill is already bad enough.

“It would become a rat run. This application is one step too far.”

The developers say the homes would range from one to five bedrooms, with at least 30 being allocated as affordable housing.

The plans also include green areas, with a public open space and a children’s play area.

The town council has raised concerns over the impact on the Halstead’s infrastructure, the amount of new housing already being built in the town and the impact on the environment and open countryside.

Concerns have also been raised by councillors and residents over the development taking place on land earmarked for the long-awaited Halstead bypass. Mrs Pell said: “The Halstead bypass has been in the works for years but this development would be built right on the line of it.”

Braintree Council’s planning committee will rule on the application at a later date.