CONTROVERSIAL plans to bulldoze a garden nursery to make way for a 180-home estate could be rejected over concerns about traffic jams on a busy road.

Kelsworth Ltd applied to Tendring Council for permission to build the estate on land at St John’s Plant Centre, in Earls Hall Drive, Clacton.

Previous plans for 195 homes on the 18-acre site were rejected by the council’s planning committee and an appeal was dismissed by a Government inspector.

Fresh plans for 180 homes and eight commercial units, went before the committee on Wednesday and had been recommended for approval by officers.

St Osyth Parish Council has strongly objected to the plans, which it said would unacceptably impact safety on the road, which sees frequent traffic jams in the summer holidays.

Planning councillors deferred making a decision until a later meeting in order to call on Essex County Council highways officers to explain why they have no concerns about traffic at the site.

"The big issue is highways," said councillor Peter Harris.

"We're expecting hundreds of vehicles to use that access road, queue up and come on to St John's Road.

"We have heard from the ward councillor, a resident and the parish council and they said there are severe implications for traffic - and Tendring Council knows there is.

"When the garden centre held Winter Wonderland the traffic situation got so bad it served notice on them to stop it from happening.

"So, I can't accept a highways officer saying there's no highways issue at all.

"With Covid and staycations hopefully they'll be more people coming to Clacton, but they better bring a flask and sandwiches with them, as they may well get stuck in St John's Road."

The developer said criticisms raised at the appeal have been addressed by the revised application.

Michael Robinson, speaking for the applicant, said: "The number of buildings is now reduced, so there will be a lesser impact on the roads."

Parish councillor Michael Talbot said: "It's a tourist area and in the summer that road is sometimes jammed solid - and now they want to turf out more properties into it. It's damn well ridiculous."