A SILENT protest is expected to take place today as an inquiry re-opens into Braintree Council’s decision to refuse a developer permission to build up to 300 homes.

Protesters are set to gather outside Braintree Town Hall where a Government inspector will hear evidence from developer Gladman and the Bocking and High Garrett Residents’ Action Group (BAHGRAG) relating to planning applications to build 265 or 300 homes on land off Church Street.

Gladman submitted an appeal after Braintree Council rejected the plans in February last year and a week-long inquiry took place last summer, however it is being re-opened today following a change in Government planning rules.

Action group leaders say they expect the inspector to make a visit to the area and are asking residents living in Bocking who are against the proposals to show their opposition by displaying banners in the windows of their homes and cars.

BAHGRAG chairman Terry Surrey said: “We’ll be having a silent protest outside of the town hall to show our opposition – we’re not going to achieve anything by making lots of noise and getting in the way.

“It’s hard to put a number on how many there will be at the town hall but we’ve been getting lots of emails from residents and 1,200 objections were submitted at the time.

“We’ll be representing all of those residents.

“We know that Gladman are bringing in some very expensive consultants and we know they are going to argue against some of the sites the council has included in its five-year housing supply plan.

“But as a group we’re still completely against it and we’ll be there to make that clear.”

One of the main issues in the case is the merging of Bocking and High Garrett, with more than 600 objections being sent to the council from residents.

However, the inspector will only consider new evidence on housing land supply following a change to the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework.

After the re-opening was confirmed earlier this year, a Braintree Council spokesman said: “The inspector has decided to re-open the inquiry to discuss the implications of the revised national planning policy framework – in particular housing land supply.

“It will also allow each party an opportunity to set out their case on housing land supply and for this to be properly examined.

“We will continue to robustly defend our decision to refuse planning permission for this development for reasons around the significant adverse impact upon the landscape and character of the area.”