PLANS to build dozens of new homes on the edge of a historic village have been thrown out.

Braintree Council’s planning committee unanimously refused outline proposals to build 50 homes on land to the west of Bardfield Road, Finchingfield.

The applicant, Huntstowe Land, had argued its plans would help address the housing shortage in the district and the layout was sympathetically designed to fit in with the rest of the village.

But councillors upheld the planning officers’ recommendation to refuse the scheme due to concerns it would have an adverse impact on the surrounding area.

They agreed it was right to “defend” Finchingfield from overdevelopment and also raised concerns about increased traffic.

Councillor Hylton David Johnson said the plans would have a negative impact on infrastructure.

He said: “The local roads are already very congested and I very much doubt many of these new residents would work locally.

“Anyone who travels on the roads in the morning would know its pretty grim.

“Finchingfield is a very special village - it really is.

“This may not be a planning issue but I think it must be considered an important issue and defend is the right word here.”

The proposals were met with strong opposition by residents, with 120 letters of objection sent to the council.

A total of nine supporting letters were also submitted.

Both Great Bardfield and Finchingfield parish councils were “vigorously” opposed to the scheme.

David Coverdale spoke on behalf of Finchingfield Parish Council during Tuesday’s meeting.

He said there was a sense of “relief” in the village when planning officers had recommended the application be refused.

He added: “Objection letters were submitted by both residents and a large number of concerned visitors who would like to see the rural nature of the village preserved.

“Its unique appearance is something that is widely celebrated and is indeed a valuable asset to our region.

“This development would break the long standing natural boundary of the village.

“Once this boundary is broken, where would further development stop?”

Huntstowe Land has a six-month period in which to appeal against the decision.

They said the proposals had been designed in response to a thorough analysis of Finchingfield and the surrounding villages.They thought the plans offered a high-quality design, density and landscape character that is in keeping with the area.