A PLANNING inspector turned down controversial plans for 175 homes on the edge of Clacton as they would change the character of the area.

Ray Chapman Associates applied in November 2015 for the development to be built in Centenary Way, close to Morrisons supermarket.

Tendring Council refused the application in 2016, saying the development would close the green gap between Clacton and Little Clacton.

The developer won on appeal in September last year, but the council successfully got the decision quashed after taking the case to the High Court, which meant a second appeal was heard.

Now a planning inspector has upheld the council’s original decision – and denied the application.

The inspector said that while the development would not join up Clacton and Little Clacton, “it is without doubt that even with landscaping, the introduction of a substantial residential development would change the character of this area from open and edge of settlement to a built-up part of a wider urban area”.

The inspector added: “This would harm the open character of the area and the open approach to Clacton physically bringing Little Clacton and Clacton much closer together.”

John White, chairman of Tendring Council’s planning committee, welcomed the ruling. He said: “I am pleased that the planning inspector agrees with us that development here would be harmful to the green gap which separates Little Clacton from Clacton.

“This ruling is particularly welcomed after the lengthy legal battle we have gone through in a bid to ensure the right decision is made.”

Little Clacton councillor Jeff Bray said the decision has saved the green gap and removed the threat of Clacton physically joining up with the village.