Plan for homes on green-belt land in Rochford recommended

Plans to build 600 new homes and a primary school on green-belt land in Essex have moved a step closer.

Rochford District Council has recommended for approval an outline planning application by Bellway Homes for the development in Hall Road.

The plans will now go before the secretary of state for communities and local government for consideration.

Opponents have argued the site is on prime agricultural land and would bring congestion to the town.

The 33-hectare (81-acre) site was deemed suitable by councillors in order to meet requirements laid down in its core strategy.

'Loss of openness'

As part of this, the council is able to release some green-belt land for development.

Conservative district councillor Keith Hudson said: "We are required to provide in perpetuity five years of developable land that means the provision of around 3,500 new homes by 2025.

"The reality is we don't have brown-field sites to accommodate the new homes we are obliged to provide, so we have to release some green belt, which is less than 1%."

Work on the homes would not be allowed to begin until a new junction at Hall Road, Ashingdon Way, and Bradley Way is built.

The West Rochford Action Group said the development would cause a "considerable loss of openness" and change the character of the area.

It added prime agricultural land would be lost and traffic congestion in the area increased.

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