Braintree mixed use scheme recognised for its planning excellence

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Caption: A CGI of the mixed use scheme in Braintree

A residential-led mixed use scheme in Braintree has been recognised for regional planning excellence by a leading industry organisation.

Straits Mill, a development by L&Q Estates and led by Barton Willmore LLP, has been shortlisted for the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) East of England Award for Planning Excellence 2020.

The development, which includes 1,000 new homes will form a natural northern extension for Braintree founded on sustainable and landscape-led principles, will now go up against other schemes from across the region in a virtual awards ceremony on Thursday, November 19.

The award recognises the collaboration in planning from L&Q Estates, Barton Willmore, Braintree District Council and other key stakeholders.

The 66-hectare part-previously developed site is on the north eastern edge of the town and includes land for a new primary school, employment land with a co-located early years facility, a local centre and public open space.

The 1,000 new homes will be delivered over five years to complement the existing community on the outskirts of Braintree, with 30 per cent affordable housing.

The scheme which has social cohesion at its heart will bring a range of health and wellbeing benefits for the local community with sports facilities, cycleways and open spaces.

It will generate in the region of 550 full-time jobs during construction, with Straits Mills’ primary school generating more than 40 full-time and part-time jobs on completion.

The project has been shortlisted for displaying a constructive and positive working relationship across consultant teams, local planning authority officers, statutory and community groups.

If Straits Mill receives the regional accolade, the scheme will go on to compete in the RTPI National Awards 2021.

Richard Edwards, Group Planning Director at L&Q Estates, said: “We’re very pleased to have been shortlisted for this award and it’s great recognition of the hard work everyone has put in for the planning on this development.

“The award recognises excellence in planning, from the collaboration of parties and working relationships, to the strength in design.

“It is the first time L&Q Estates has operated in Braintree and this scheme will bring numerable benefits to the area over the next five to ten years.

“Working with Barton Willmore and the planning team at Braintree District Council on this project has been a great experience. The planning application was supported by a detailed design code that will ensure that design quality is maintained across the entire development. The code was specifically referred to by members of the planning committee as being an exemplar document, and will be used to judge all future schemes in the area.

“To be shortlisted for an award such as this is an acknowledgement that we are doing things right and we look forward to the virtual ceremony in November.”

Gareth Wilson, Cambridge Planning Partner from Barton Willmore LLP, added: “Working with the L&Q team and Braintree District Council Officers was a pleasure – a forum of openness, trust, ambition and enjoyment was engendered from the start which allowed us to debate some challenging and exciting issues.

“Working in this way we achieved initiatives and ultimately the quality of the final scheme that may otherwise not have been possible. This collaboration was indeed greater than the sum of its parts.”