A council is standing behind its decision to refuse planning permission for 70 new homes.

Braintree Council planning officers say all three reasons to reject Go Homes' bid to build on a greenfield site off Chapel Hill remain "valid".

Go Homes is appealing the decision to refuse planning permission for the site and a planning inspector will now make the final call on the plans.

Braintree Council rejected the original proposals due to fears it would cause significant damage to a nearby grade II listed barn at Crowbridge Farm.

Officers also raised concerns about the impact the new homes would have on the countryside and on the NHS service in Halstead.

In statement submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, planning officers say all three reasons behind the council's decision remain relevant.

A spokesman added: "An appeal has been lodged against our refusal of planning permission for 70 homes at Chapel Hill, Halstead.

"We remain of the view that development in this location is unacceptable because of the adverse impact on a number of heritage assets, together with a lack of affordable housing delivery and other necessary financial contributions that is required."

The deadline for members of the public to have their say has now passed but Go Homes has until Tuesday (October 9) to make any final representations.

Campaign group Hands Off Chapel Hill was set up by residents following Go Homes' appeal.

Founder Pete Caulfield says members have lodged a lot of fresh objections to the plans and with their work now done, he remains hopeful planning permission will be refused.

He said: "Support for the campaign has been very gratifying, not least because there's no nimbyism; everyone is worried about the detrimental effect the development will have on this particular landscape of rolling meadows, woodlands and distant views.

"Many residents are displaying the 'Say No' posters and one even printed and delivered hundreds of appeal reminder letters and leaflets.

A planning inspector is expected to visit the site in the coming weeks before ruling whether planning permission should be granted or refused.