A NEW estate of 245 homes in Great Clacton would help to provide almost £1.8million towards the restoration of St Osyth Priory.

Manningtree Farms has applied for permission to build the homes, along with public open space, on land at Foots Farm in Thorpe Road.

Planning agent City and Country said it is hoped £1.76million that should be set aside for onsite affordable housing could instead be spent restoring buildings at the historic priory, which dates back to the 12th Century.

The cash would be spent on restoring a number of crumbling listed buildings, including the Abbot’s Lodgings, the Crenelated Wall and the south roof on Darcy House.

A report said: “This will make a valuable and important contribution to restoration and conversion works.

“These funds will be allocated to those heritage assets considered to be most beneficial to bringing forward the vision for St Osyth Priory and the associated business plan.

“The Abbot’s lodgings form a key part of the proposed wedding and events business.”

The report added that winter weather last year added to the further deterioration of the Darcy House and that by restoring the final part of roof would slow damage.

The outline plans show the 32-acre site would be developed in two sections, with 198 homes off Thorpe Road and 57 homes off Centenary Way.

The blueprints also include a new road access on to Centenary Way and two accesses from Thorpe Road.

John Cutting, chairman of Little Clacton Parish Council, said villagers would be “totally against” the plans.

“It would see building in the green gap and the coalescence of Great Clacton and Little Clacton - our village will be destroyed,” he said.

“I don’t get why a contribution should be allowed to be made elsewhere - it will not alleviate the need for affordable housing in the village.”

A decision is expected by December 13.