Tourism in Finchingfield could suffer if plan for 50 homes gets the go-ahead, parish council warns

Tourism is an important source of income for the village, according to Finchingfield Parish Council.

Tourism is an important source of income for the village, according to Finchingfield Parish Council. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTO - Credit: Archant

The tourism industry in Finchingfield could be threatened if plans to build 50 homes near the village are given the go-ahead, a parish council has warned.

An application to build the homes west of Bardfield Road, to the south of Finchingfield, has been lodged with Braintree District Council (BDC).

The applicant, Huntstowe Land, has also proposed more than two acres of public open space on the site.

Writing to BDC, Finchingfield Parish Council explained that the ‘spider-web’ field pattern which “radiates” around the village is “sensitive to new large scale development” and the possible destruction of the pattern could affect the number of tourists visiting the village.

Parish clerk, Ian Brown said: “Finchingfield is clearly an important part of the landscape and historic character of this part of Essex. Tourism is an important source of income for the village.

“The effect on the spider-web pattern of fields would be major, destroying the pattern to the south-west of the village. The destruction of the vista from numerous footpaths surrounding the village and the loss of some of the ‘spider-web’ field pattern could easily lead to a decrease in tourism and a drop in income.”

The view was echoed by Finchingfield resident Susan Elliott, who said: “Fifty houses would surely urbanise this beautiful village and ruin the picturesque views that visitors travel far and wide to see.”

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The parish council also argued it was likely there would be an increase in congestion and emissions on local roads.

However, a document written in support of the application argued the proposals “do not cause any significant or demonstrable harm”.

The document, prepared by planning consultant Phase 2, said: “There are significant benefits to approving the application, notably the contribution of the site to the delivery of housing in general and specifically the contribution towards the supply of affordable housing. The site provides significant open space, and will facilitate improvements to local recreational and community facilities that can be secured by legal agreement.”