Purpose of this Consultation
Emery Planning will shortly be submitting an outline planning application on behalf of Williams Group UK Properties Limited (Williams Group) for the construction of up to 250 dwellings on land off Braintree Road and Long Green, Braintree, Essex.
Emery Planning has worked closely with Williams Group, Corstorphine and Wright (architects), the Andrew Davis Partnership (landscape architects) and Connect (Transport Consultants) to create a high quality scheme which will help to meet the increasing demands within the area for family housing, including much needed affordable housing; while improving highway safety.
This website provides details of the proposed development and seeks comments from the local community. This is an opportunity for you to provide us with your views and ideas to help us form the final scheme, before a planning application is submitted to the Council.
Williams Group Properties
Williams Group is a privately-owned property development, investment and asset management company.
Since 2003 we have owned and operated the Braintree Leisure and Retail Park, overseeing its evolution into one of the South East’s most popular out-of-town retail and leisure destinations.
We listen to, and collaborate with local authorities, statutory consultees and stakeholders to ensure we create environments that benefit the community that we seek to be a part of.
The Site and Planning Context
The site lies to the south-east of Braintree town centre, to the south of the A120. It adjoins Long Green to the north east, open fields to the south, the B1018 Braintree Road to the north west and Galleys Corner to the north. Galleys Corner comprises a mix of uses including the Wyevale Garden Centre and a number of commercial operations including a waste processing facility, trade storage area and a skip hire firm as well as a residential travellers site.
The site covers approximately 11.9 hectares of land, comprising two large Grade 2 arable fields/improved grassland and an area of semi-natural scrub woodland on the part of the site adjoining Braintree Road. The site is well contained with tree and hedge planting to all side and strong road boundaries with the B1018 Braintree Road to the north and Long Green to the north east.
Existing field boundaries within and around the edges of the site are defined by hedgerows. Overhead electricity lines cross the southern part of the site and a public right of way (PROW 74_4) runs along the site boundary adjacent to Galleys Corner and through the central portion of the site from north west to south east.
In planning policy terms, the site is located outside the settlement boundary within the open countryside, albeit in close proximity to the settlement.
Williams Group has developed a proposal for inclusion in the new Braintree Local Plan, called Gateway Park. Gateway ark would capitalise on the sustainable location and success of the Braintree Leisure and Retail Park to provide easily deliverable housing, retail, employment and utilities. A landscape buffer would be provided to define the boundary between Braintree and Tye Green and Cressing.
This site would provide a significant part of the residential aspect of Gateway Park.
Local Housing Need
Braintree District Council’s Draft Local Plan for 2013-33 highlights a need to build 716 new homes per year in the district.
Whilst the proposed new ‘garden communities’ in the area, and development on vacant brownfield land, will help to meet a significant portion of this, the lack of infrastructure already in place means that these developments will take time to come forward.
Our site is developable now, in the short-term, to meet current and future local need.
There are a number of footway/cycleway connections from the northern boundary out of the site, including past the Leisure and Retail Park and into central Braintree. There are also foot and cycle connections crossing under the A120 at Galleys Corner towards Cressing Road.
The majority of Braintree is within cycling distance of the site, and a number of local services and facilities are within a 2km walk of the site (see table below).
Bus services 38 and 38a both pass the site once per hour each in both directions, providing public transport connections between the site, Witham, Braintree and Halstead
Transport and Access
The Braintree Road access will result in the sharp (and substandard) bend at the western end of the site being removed from the B1018 route. A new B1018 route, the site access junctions and the Link Road through the site will be designed and constructed to current highway standards, with the existing B1018 at the western end of the site providing access to a small number of properties only.
The new Link Road between Long Green and Braintree Road will provide an alternative vehicular route to travelling through the A120 / B1018 Galleys Corner roundabout. This will reduce driver delay along these routes, and will improve the operation of Galleys Corner, particularly during peak times.
A full Transport Assessment is being prepared and will be submitted with the planning application for Essex County Council and Highways England to review.
The site layout includes the following elements:
1. New five arm roundabout on B1018 Braintree Road
2. New three arm roundabout on Long Green
3. Link Road between Long Green and Braintree Road
The permitted new DIY store on Millennium Way will see capacity improvements to the A120 / B1018 Galleys Corner roundabout and the B1018 / Millennium Way Fowlers Farm roundabout. These have been assessed and are supported by Highways England and Essex County Council, and traffic modelling software predicts significant reductions to queues and delays as a direct result of the improvements.
Highways England and Essex County Council are also progressing plans to construct west facing slip roads between Millennium Way and the A120.
The diagrams below show the current queue lengths at different times (red lines), and the projected queue lengths (with the DIY store and capacity improvements in place) in yellow.
Traffic modelling shows that 1.2km-2.0km queues on the A120 will reduce to approximately 100m or less during these periods. Journey times through Galleys Corner will be reduced from up to 17 minutesto approximately 3.5 minutes during the weekday PM peak periods, and from up to 22 minutes to approximately 4 minutes during the Saturday peak period.
The proposal consists of an outline planning application for up to 250 new homes. It is envisaged that the new homes would be a mix of 1-5 bedrooms. This would include bungalows, 2-storey, 2.5-storey and 3-storey properties. There would be a number of affordable homes in line with the Council’s requirements.
An outline planning application allows for a decision on the general principles of how a site can be developed. In this instance that means establishing whether or not residential development is acceptable in this location.
If outline planning permission were to be granted, it would be subject to conditions requiring the subsequent approval of one or more ‘reserved matters’. Reserved matters would be addressed via a further planning application, which would concentrate on the details of the proposal.
At this stage, the outline application proposed would only seek to address the means of access, meaning that the Council would still need to agree full details of the layout, landscaping, scale and appearance elements, before development could commence on site in future. However, an illustrative layout is being submitted to give an idea of what is proposed.
This shows that the site offers significant opportunities to create an attractive and sustainably designed residential development which integrates well with existing facilities.
To assist with the integration, the following measures are proposed:
- The creation of formal amenity space with play area and low level shrub enclosures;
- The retention and enhancement of the existing Public Rights of Way (PROW), within a green corridor where possible;
- The retention of existing mature and native hedgerows;
- The inclusion of an amenity/meadow space for informal recreation; and
- Native naturalistic infrastructure planting to strengthen existing boundaries.
It is proposed that two vehicular access points would be created. The first access point would be from the creation of a new roundabout on Braintree Road (B1018) and the realignment of the road to enhance highway safety. The second access would be created through the creation of a roundabout on Long Green at the northern point of the site.
As can be seen from the illustrative master plan, there would be enhanced planting along the southern boundary creating a green corridor which would also act as a buffer between the new built forms and the countryside – and Tye Green-beyond.
We see the site as a perfect opportunity to incorporate innovatively designed houses that cater to a wider demographic of people. Whilst the detail of the design of the individual homes would not be included in this application, our proposals will be influenced by URBED, winners of the prestigious 2014 Wolfson Economics Prize. Many of the developments they advise on win design awards, such as Newhall in Harlow (example images supplied by URBED).
Anticipated project timeline
- 7 February: Public exhibition;
- 28 February: Deadline for submitting feedback;
- February 2018: Consider feedback and amend proposals;
- March 2018: Submit planning application;
- July 2018: Anticipated decision by Braintree District Council;
- 2019: Construction expected to start
Benefits of the Development
The proposed development would result in a number of benefits for the local community. These would include:
- A retained green landscape buffer between the south of the development and villages in the Cressing Parish;
- Enhancement of public rights of way, and pedestrian and cycle accessibility to the south of Braintree;
- Financial contributions to local services including primary education and healthcare; and
- New affordable housing for which there is significant local need.
- A boost to the local economy by creating new jobs on-site and in the supply chain during construction;
- Increased use of, and spending in, local shops, services and facilities from new residents;
- Supporting Braintree to meet future jobs growth through new housing for all ages; and
- Increased council tax revenues in perpetuity.
- Sustainable development in a location which is accessible by car, bus and train, as well as to walkers and cyclists;
- Retention of existing hedgerows and trees on the boundaries of the site and throughout the site will be largely retained and additional landscaping will be provided throughout;
Have your say
We would like your views on the proposals and request that all responses be returned by the 28th February 2018. If you wish to discuss the project please contact us using the form to send your feedback and comments, making sure that all of the required fields are completed. If you do not want your name and address included in our report when we submit the planning application, then please let us know within your response.