A DEVELOPER has launched an appeal after controversial plans for hundreds of homes on land around an exclusive spa in Thorpe were rejected.

Tendring Council last month turned down plans by owner Donald Emslie for up to 200 residential units, an eight-acre park, landscaping and a new access road on rural land around the Lifehouse Spa and Hotel in Frinton Road.

Thorpe Parish Council strongly objected to the plans and Tendring Council received 467 letters of opposition.

But Thorpe Hall Leisure has now appealed against the council’s decision and a planning inquiry will take place with a Government inspector.

Thorpe councillor Daniel Land said residents were not surprised by the firm’s decision to launch the appeal. He said: “There was large opposition in the village both to this application and a previous, slightly different, application.

“This appeal was expected and we are ready and prepared to put forward a strong community-based case to the government inspector at the inquiry.”

He added: “We are not prepared to subsidise a business at the expense of our rural community and areas of historical importance.”

Mr Land said the plans would damage the historic Thorpe Hall parkland.

Tendring Council last month said the latest application for the Lifehouse Spa and Hotel site goes against its policies and would “significantly alter the character and appearance of the local landscape”, including the adjoining Grade II listed park and garden.

Lifehouse’s owners previously said the spa – which opened in 2010 as part of a major £30million investment – has become a success, but needs investment to secure its future. They claim developing the land is the best way to raise the money needed.