No 11th hour reprieve for Finchingfield homes plan


Finchingfield - Credit: Saffron Photo 2016

A decision to allow 50 new houses to be built in Finchingfield is final, the Ministry of Housing has confirmed.

The application for housing on land west of B1057 Bardfield Road was submitted to Braintree District Council on January 14 2019, and refused by councillors in November that same year.

But an appeal was made against the decision and a government planning inspector overturned the council's ruling.

This triggered a campaign by residents and district councillors which culminated in Braintree MP James Cleverly contacting Secretary of State for Housing Robert Jenrick.

James Cleverly, MP for Braintree. Picture: JAMES CLEVERLY

James Cleverly, MP for Braintree. Picture: JAMES CLEVERLY - Credit: Archant

Mr Cleverly said he understands residents’ concerns about the development and spoke to local government colleagues about the application. 

But he added that MPs have no formal role in the planning process, and that Mr Jenrick has the final appeal decision. 

Mr Cleverly said: “The council has formally requested this decision be called in by the Secretary of State. This is the right and proper process. 

“At the request of local residents and local councillors, I have informally contacted Robert Jenrick to inform him of the strength of feeling about this.” 

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He added: “As a constituency MP, I feel it is important that I am consistent in my approach to planning and it would be neither possible nor appropriate for me to have a view on all planning applications. I have maintained this position including when applications have been made in my own village. 

“I have represented my constituents by clearly communicating the views of local residents, the parish council, and the district council to the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and made very clear to him the strength of local feeling surrounding this decision.” 

The Reporter asked for a comment from Robert Jenrick on whether he had reached a decision and if any steps have been taken to review the development. 

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: "This planning appeal was decided by the Planning Inspectorate in November 2020. Their decision is final as the appeal was not recovered for a decision by ministers."

READ ALSO: Secretary of state to consider overturning Finchingfield houses approval