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Braintree District Council – view from a planning consultant

At Plainview Planning we regularly work on projects throughout Essex, including sites within the jurisdiction of Braintree District Council. This web page provides a snapshot of latest planning issues and views.

Braintree District Council Local Plan Position

Braintree District Council had teamed up with Colchester and Tendring councils to create a North Essex Plan. In May 2020, after 5 years of planning, much of the plan was found to be unsound by the Local Plan Inspector.

The North Essex authorities have asked for the Inspector to suggest Main Modifications to make the plan sound. The biggest modification will be the removal of two of the Garden Community proposals.

The development west of Marks Tey near Colchester of up to 24,000 homes, and 10,000 to the west of Braintree were said to be “not justified or deliverable” by the inspector. In effect the North Essex Authorities now need to find other sites to deliver 34,000 homes over the plan period.

Here at Plainview we always felt that the ambition of the Garden Communities should have been celebrated and encouraged. The sites have failed due to concerns over viability and deliverability. These are no doubt serious issues, but predicting the viability of something decades into the future is notoriously difficult.

Perhaps the more sensible approach would have been to encourage smaller sub-100 development sites, at the same time as pursuing the broader masterplans? It is always dangerous to have all your eggs in one basket.

What does this mean for landowners and developers?

The upcoming Main Modifications will involve further rounds of consultation and site finding throughout 2020 and 2021. There will be a lot of competition for sites and it will be important to be professionally represented to help you put forward robust sustainability arguments.

Plainview Planning can help with this, and has a lot of experience in the area. Please contact Catherine Hoyte (catherine@plainview.co.uk) or Ian Woodward-Court (ian@plainview.co.uk) to discuss further.

Braintree 5 year housing supply position

In the latest appeal decision against Braintree (June 2020) an Inspector confirmed:

The Council are currently unable to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply at odds with Paragraph 73 of the Framework. The supply is presently around 4.51 years. The Council are therefore failing to significantly boost the supply of housing. In such circumstances, Paragraph 11 of the Framework states that permission should be granted unless the adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when considered against the policies in the Framework taken as a whole.

To be clear, the above uncertainty of Braintree District’s Local Plan and 5YHS does not mean that all developments will be approved. Sites will need to be sustainably located, and provide clear economic, social and environmental benefits.

How we can help

Plainview Planning can help in a variety of ways:

  1. Provide planning consultancy assistance with planning applications and planning appeals;
  2. Strategy advice; and
  3. Local plan representations.

Our sister company, Context Land, can also potentially provide funding to help promote your sites.