A MUCH-valued landscape in Halstead has been saved after contentious plans to build 200 new homes were thrown out.

Braintree Council's planning committee unanimously agreed to refuse Gladman Developments permission to build a new estate on farmland to the west of Sudbury Road during a meeting on Tuesday.

The scheme had gathered 77 objections from residents and Halstead Town Council also said it was "strongly" opposed to the blueprints.

No statutory consultees objected to the plans but planning officers had recommended they be refused due to the "considerable harm" it would cause to the landscape on the northern edge of the town.

And councillors agreed with the concerns raised by experts and voted against the scheme, which was similar to another application which was approved in 2017 for 200 homes on the other side of Sudbury Road.

Speaking during the meeting, Iona Parker said: "This is quite a different site to the one to the east of Sudbury Road. The important thing about this site is the view across the landscape.

"If this site was built out you would not see that view, it would be completely gone. The landscape setting of Halstead is what makes it so special."

David Mann added: "It was a matter of regret to many of us that we weren't able to put up a strong defence of the land on the other side of the road.

"I think the case here against development is much stronger and we are justified in claiming valued landscape status for this particular piece of land."

Town and district councillor Mick Radley also sighted well-known concerns about the level of growth in Halstead as a further reason for refusal during the public section of the meeting.

He stated the town accounted for only eight per cent of the district's population but Gladman's 200 homes plan would mean Halstead was taking on 20 per cent of the housing growth.

He added: "This level of development is totally unsustainable given the rural nature of Halstead's location, relatively small town size and its lack of connectivity with mainline services and infrastructure."

Gladman had proposed to install a children's play area within the new development and allocate 60 homes as affordable housing.

It had argued the proposals would provide economic benefits to the town while also addressing the council's housing shortfall.

No one spoke on behalf of the developer during the meeting.