CONTROVERSIAL plans for 175 homes on the outskirts of Clacton are to be re-examined by a government planning inspector.

Ray Chapman Associates submitted plans for the development off Centenary Way in 2016, but the application was rejected by Tendring Council.

The developer won an appeal overturning the decision, but the council launched a High Court legal challenge against the planning inspector’s decision last November.

The Secretary of State decided not to defend their position – meaning the appeal decision was set aside.

The ruling means a second hearing into the appeal will now be heard by a planning inspector.

Residents and councillors claim that building on the car boot sale site, between Clacton and Little Clacton, would lead to the town and village merging.

Councillor John White, chairman of Tendring Council’s planning committee, said he was glad the matter would be looked at again.

He said: “Tendring Council believes this development, as proposed, would be harmful to the green gap, which distinguishes Clacton from Little Clacton.

“This is why this application, and others similar to it, have consistently been refused.

“While recognising that a new planning inspector may reach the same conclusion as their predecessor – and approve the scheme – we hope this time around the ruling will come in our favour as the inspector sees just what damage this development could have on our town.

“The council is not against new housing, recognising the importance of homes as our district grows.

“But housing must be done in the right way, and in the right places, and that is why our emerging Local Plan – which maintains this green gap – is so important as a blueprint for development in Tendring.”

A previous planning statement by the developer said the blueprints had been changed to maximise the gap between Little Clacton and Clacton, and create a permanent landscaped green space.

But Little Clacton Parish Council objected to the application fearing it would lead to the “coalescence” of the village with Clacton.

Little Clacton and Weeley councillor Jeff Bray said he was “bemused and disgusted” by the inspector’s original decision and that the village would be “changed beyond recognition” if the plans go ahead.

Any original comments made by residents will be included in the hearing, but people have until May 22 to modify their views or send additional comments.

Comments can be made online at the website.