A CONTROVERSIAL bid to build 200 more homes on the outskirts of Halstead has been branded “a step too far” by councillors.

Halstead Town Council unanimously recommended refusal for 200 homes on land west of Sudbury Road to the north of the town at a meeting this week.

Concerned residents attended the meeting to voice fears about the planned development.

Councillors objected to the application, proposed by developer Gladman, on a number of grounds, including the number of developments already in the town.

They said the additional 200 homes the development would provide are not needed to meet Braintree Council’s housing targets, and would result in a strain on the doctors surgery, schools and traffic in the town.

Traffic was a major concern for those who attended the meeting.

Halstead councillor Jackie Pell said the lack of a by-pass was already putting pressure on roads.

She said: “There is pollution because traffic is stacking up now.”

Mrs Pell also commented on the amount of housing applications being approved in the town.

She said: “This is a step too far and it’s got to stop.

“Some of the housing developments which have been accepted still haven’t been built.”

Halstead has already seen a disproportionately high level of additional housing, with 14 per cent of the district’s growth despite only having eight per cent of the area’s population.

The town council has submitted its objection statement and councillors are urging members of the public to continue speaking out.

Mrs Pell added: “It’s important for people to have their say. There are 95 documents on the application and I took Friday, Saturday and Sunday to read them.

“People need to read the documents, they are there for a reason – if not what is the point? I understand people might feel like they’re wasting their time, but they aren’t.

“The council does listen but can’t always give the result they want, but this time hopefully we did.”

Brian Kellegher, of Hedingham Road, attended the meeting on Monday along with concerned neighbours.

He said: “The town will never be the same.

“What needs to be answered by Braintree Council is, when is enough enough?

“The majority of the town feel the same – this development needs to be stopped.”

Gladman says the development will include 30 per cent affordable housing, a public open space with a children’s play area and a sustainable drainage system.

The application says: “The proposed development will include a mix of formal and informal open spaces providing a range of recreational benefits for both new and existing residents.

“The new housing will also bring economic benefits during the construction phase and through the contribution new residents will make to the local economy through their household expenditure.”