THE boss of a historic garden beauty spot has revealed she was asked to "work with" developers looking to build new homes on neighbouring land.

South East Developments and GC Hubert want to put 81 properties on land next to Beth Chatto's Plants and Garden, in Clacton Road, Elmstead Market.

The plot is not owned by Beth Chatto's but residents are concerned about the impact the plans could have on the future of the garden centre.

Garden boss Julia Boulton has now said working with the developers is the best way of ensuring the end result benefits all parities.

She said: "We are very concerned with ensuring any future development is done well.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Icon - Beth Chatto in 1995 Icon - Beth Chatto in 1995 (Image: Public)
"We have the responsibility to ensure it does not adversely affect our independent, family-run business.

"If we want to have it as the best for us we have to work with them and I hope we get something out of it."

Julia, who first moved to Elmstead Market, has long been interested in installing a new entrance to the gardens but has previously struggled to secure permission. 

The new plans put forward by developers, however, do include such an entrance, one which Julia has encouraged the land owners to push forward with. 

She said: "I said look, we are neighbours, we want to be here in 60 years time.

"If you build there how about we work with you and we get a new driveway and new entrance?" 

If the developers agree to the proposal, Julia said she and Beth Chatto's Plants and Gardens would support the application.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Attraction - Visitors walking around Beth Chatto's Plants and GardensAttraction - Visitors walking around Beth Chatto's Plants and Gardens (Image: Beth Chatto)
Julia said: "It is in our interests as a business looking to our long-term plans for the future to have a good relationship with all of our neighbours.

"We will be planting the roadside and driveway with sustainable biodiverse planting including trees and shrubs to create a beautiful place to visit, live or work.

"Ideally we wouldn't have any buildings there and no industrial estate next to us as we want to be surrounded by fields.

"But I understand houses are needed and other farmers have made money by selling land so why would it be different in this case."