A reserved matters planning application for the development of 50 homes on Green Belt land in the picturesque village of Finchingfield, Braintree.
- The site had outline planning consent for 50 residential dwellings and open space which was originally refused by Braintree District Council’s Planning Committee in 2019, but consented by the Planning Inspectorate at appeal in November 2020.
- A local District councillor made their opposition to the scheme clear and was originally unwilling to engage. In addition, the local Parish Councils had previously been strongly opposed to the development of the site.
The Cratus Approach
- Cratus provided an integrated public consultation blending a traditional public exhibition with an online consultation webinar.
- The importance of in-person meetings was highlighted post-Covid lockdowns to engage in regular dialogue with local District councillors and Parish Councils and to aid relationship-building.
- Working with Hill Group, Cratus were able to engage early with Finchingfield Parish Council, including site visits and presentations to ensure they were fully briefed throughout the planning process and to address concerns as they arose with constant dialogue.
- Early engagement with local ward members and the Parish Councils allowed Cratus to change the debate; the principle of development had been established and there was an opportunity to work constructively with Hill to shape the development at the reserved matters stage.
- Using our political network with Conservative councillors in the district, we were able to build a relationship with one of the local ward members and neutralise opposition to the scheme.
The application was approved unanimously by Braintree District Council’s Planning Committee in March 2022.