THREE councils have written to their MP to ask for a bid to build 200 homes to be looked at again at the highest level.

Halstead Town Council, along with Greenstead Green and Halstead Rural parish councils, has formally asked MP James Cleverly to request Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Simon Clarke to rule on the Bournebridge Hill planning appeal.

The Bournebridge plans were first submitted in 2019 and include 200 homes, with 30 per cent as affordable housing.

Outline plans were refused by Braintree Council, but developer Gladman Homes appealed against the decision.

The planning inquiry was held on October 11 and 12 online.

Braintree Council did not defend its decision to refuse planning permission after it could no longer demonstrate a five-year housing land supply up to 2027.

Greenstead Green and Halstead Rural Parish Council appeared at the inquiry and read a statement, setting out the reasons why the appeal should be dismissed, which focused on sustainability and landscape impact.

Now, both councils have asked for James Cleverly MP to intervene on their behalf.

A Halstead Town Council spokesman said: “The Secretary of State has the power to recover planning appeals where instead of a planning inspector making the decision, the Minister makes the decision, taking into account the inspector’s recommendation.

“The two councils believe that the appeal raises important wider issues of development control.

“Braintree Council only adopted their new Local Plan on July 25 which did not identify the Bournebridge Hill site for housing, which lies in open countryside to the south of Halstead. 

“Councils like Braintree are encouraged to keep their Local Plans up to date so that they provide local communities with the confidence that the right number of new homes will be built in the right places whilst the local environment is protected and enhanced.

“A large new housing estate outside the development boundaries of Halstead which is not allocated in the Local Plan should not be permitted less than three months after the council has adopted their Local Plan, say the councils.

“Both councils believe the site is unsustainable in its location when residents are encouraged to walk to schools, shops and local facilities.

“They also believe the scheme will have a significant landscape impact upon the Bournebridge Valley.”