Plans for up to 200 homes on fields close to the A12 in Brentwood have moved a step closer to being built despite concerns about residents’ health and traffic.

Countryside Properties has applied for a screening opinion for the proposed planning application to develop the homes on either side of the A12 in Doddinghurst.

They said that significant health impacts were “unlikely” in their request to Brentwood Council to determine whether an environmental impact assessment is required as part of a planning application for the site which is about eight hectares in size.

Screening is a procedure used to determine whether a proposed project is likely to have significant effects on the environment – it is now up to the council to determine whether an environmental impact assessment is needed.

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The proposed housing development would be in the northern area covering an area of around 6.1 hectares. The southern 2.1-hectare site is being proposed to be set aside as a public open space.

But the plans have been met with stiff opposition with residents saying that 200 homes on green land in Brentwood would harm wildlife and create further congestion on the surrounding roads.

The site has been designed for 200 homes as part of the council’s local plan adopted in March 2022.

A petition states the two sites offer a “rich diversity of environment” and are home to many species including badgers, foxes, bats and deer as well as grazing for horses.

It says the wooded area has open glades, shrubs and a variety of trees including oak, ash, birch, hornbeam, goat willow and poplar and provide both a noise and air quality “buffer”.

It adds: “Pollution levels associated with, probably, another 400 cars will increase. The potential impact on the health of the residents and children living and walking through the area is unimaginable.

“Green space helps deliver quality of life [and] mental health in particular. Loss of this green space will result in more mental health issues.

“It will create further congestion in the surrounding roads, especially Kimpton Avenue, Robin Hood Road and the roads running between Ongar Road and Doddinghurst Road in Pilgrims Hatch.”

But Countryside Properties has said it believes the proposed development does not constitute an EIA development.

It adds: “Although the proposed development does not propose any direct health infrastructure, the provision of suitable housing, open space and the existing health baseline for the surrounding area means that significant health impacts are unlikely.”