PLANS for another 320 homes in Maldon have been given the go-ahead despite warnings over the “future prosperity” of the town.

The proposals for Wycke Hill, Maldon, were given the go ahead by Maldon District Council at an extraordinary planning meeting last Thursday.

The development includes a relief road for the A414, employment land, community use land, and a possible site reserved for a new NHS health hub.

The plan makes up one of the strategic sites in the council’s Local Development Plan, and was recommended for approval by planning officers.

However, speaking at the full council meeting last Thursday, Maldon resident Doug Ballinger said: “I have grave concerns for the future prosperity of Maldon.

“The addition of two substandard roundabouts and a so-called relief road will only cause significantly more noise and congestion, and increased journey times.

“Who would want to live in one big traffic system? I urge you to think again. I would strongly advise members to reject this application.”

Councillors, meanwhile, praised the plans for their design and the way they have incorporated the wishes of residents.

Councillor Stephen Savage said: “I, along with many other members and residents, have attended the workshops around this application.

“This has been decided by the people of Maldon and I am not going to go against those that bothered to turn up.”

Maldon West ward member, councillor Mark Heard added: “The question we need to ask ourselves is do we want 320 homes or not.

“Nobody wants significant development near or close to where they live but the fact is people want to live here.

“I am happy to support this application. We have to have houses and if we are going to build them I say that this application is the right way to do it.”

The application was approved unanimously by the 18 councillors in attendance.

Changesto the approval for the 320 home development were made after a councillor claimed to have spotted a “snake in the grass” in the plans.

The proposal outlined how a section of land would be reserved for the NHS for five years. In that time NHS would need to decide if it wanted to build on the land. 

Councillors expressed fears this would be too short and the land would be reused for further housing.

Councillor Brian Harker said: “I have been on this council long enough to spot a snake in the grass. Five years in local government is nothing. I would like to amend plans so that this land, after five years, comes to the council and not back to the developer to put another 500 homes on it. It is going to be four years before work even starts.”

Council leader, Miriam Lewis added: “I am inclined to agree. Five years is such a short period of time. We have got to protect this land for more than five years. I would like to see ten years. I do not think that that is unreasonable.”

Councillor Durham agreed: “If they cant get it delivered in 10 years then we are in real trouble.”