CONTROVERSIAL plans to demolish a popular plant centre and build a 180-home estate have been rejected.

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 and an appeal was dismissed by an inspector.

New plans for the 180 homes and eight commercial units went before the planning committee on Tuesday.

Despite being recommended for approval by officers, councillors rejected the application over road safety concerns.

A decision on the application had been delayed from a meeting in March after councillors called on Essex County Council’s highways officers to explain why they had not raised their own concerns.

Speaking to officers at the meeting, planning councillor Peter Harris said: “From our own experiences and the experience of so many others, we know that there is an issue with that road.

“And Tendring Council knows there have been previous issues because it issued an enforcement notice to the plant centre when the traffic situation got out of hand [during its Winter Wonderland event].

“There’s clear evidence there are traffic problems and there have been accidents as a result of overtaking on a built-up and backed-up road.”

Councillors were also concerned about a four-year-old traffic survey being “dated” and not taking into consideration summer traffic or the planned 950-home estate at nearby Rouses Farm.

There were also concerns over the lack of a dormouse survey or an agreed Section 106 agreement, which sees developers provide cash or local infrastructure as part of their planning permission.

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

Parish councillor Michael Talbot it was often “jammed solid” and cramming more homes into the area was “damn well ridiculous."

Michael Robinson, speaking for the applicant at the previous meeting, said the number of homes in the new plan had been reduced, which meant there would have been less of an impact on the road.