Gallagher Estates is working together with four different landowners on this proposal, having won a formal tendering process instigated by the owners’ advisers.
Initially, Straits Mill, having been promoted by a rival developer for many years, was not part of Braintree Council’s emerging Local Plan proposals.
Within six months of our involvement the land, totalling 160 acres and with capacity for 1,000 new homes, was included in the Local Plan, as we demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the site’s constraints (which is partly former landfill) as well as our ability to deliver the project.
Having contracted with the landowners in February 2017, we will submit an outline planning application in 2018 for 1,000 new homes.
The proposals include a new primary school, an early year’s facility, new community spaces, a local shop, employment opportunities and potentially a care home for the growing elderly population.
Infrastructure delivery work will involve creating at least two new entrances to Straits Mill from Broad Road and the A131. We have engaged positively with the local Convent Lane and Broad Road Action Group at all stages of working up our proposals. This is one of the areas which sets us apart from our competitors, since we are always willing to meet local community groups to discuss any concerns they may have in person. We will be retaining and enhancing important green corridors, bridleways and woodland, which in turn will serve to substantially increase the ecological diversity of the site.
A significant proportion of our promotional activity was undertaken entirely at risk and well in advance of having a formal contract in place with the landowners. Legal negotiations can take considerable time but we are often willing to undertake work at risk to ensure that the opportunity to promote any site is not squandered. This is often a risk that other companies are simply not prepared or financially able to take.
Having undertaken extensive ground investigations, it will be necessary for Gallagher Estates to remediate the landfill element of the site, re-model the ground and demolish a number of derelict buildings to provide suitable development platforms.