CONTROVERSIAL plans to demolish a church hall to make way for homes have been given the go-ahead.

The Chelmsford Diocese is knocking down St James’ Church hall and the vicarage in Brightlingsea.

They will be replaced with a new, modern vicarage and two four-bedroom homes, on land off of Richard Avenue.

The plans sparked opposition after more than 120 youngsters from Rainbow, Brownie and Guide groups were forced to find a new home when the hall closed last summer.

Tendring Council approved the plans.

St James’ Church has recently seen stage one of improvement works completed to make it more accessible for community use.

The Rev Anne Howson said: “We now look forward to offering our community here in Brightlingsea a more flexible, welcoming space in St James’ Church at the heart of the High Street.”