Business complex plans under spotlight

PLANS for a controversial new 80-bedroom hotel and business complex in rural Essex countryside will come under the spotlight next week.

Elliot Furniss

PLANS for a controversial new 80-bedroom hotel and business complex in rural Essex countryside will come under the spotlight next week.

Plans for the site, located in Horsley Cross, near Manningtree, have been submitted to Tendring District Council and will be discussed at a development control committee meeting.

The plans were first put forward in 2006 but changes in policy and the adoption of the Tendring District Local Plan late last year prompted a rethink and the application has now been referred back to the committee.

It must decide whether to support the plans before a public inquiry is held in the summer.

The application has received a mixed response from local organisations and residents, with some applauding the employment opportunities the development would bring while others have claimed it would be out of place in such a rural setting.

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Mistley Parish Council has put forward its backing for the project in the report, saying the hotel is “much needed”.

It said: “Employment land is needed in the district. Road infrastructure is already in place, apart from a roundabout. The site fits in with the Bathside Bay development and proposed dualling of the road (A120).

“Additional traffic would have little effect on local towns and villages. The site is well screened and has existing employment uses immediately to the south.”

However other local authorities, including Little Bentley, Wix and Great Bromley parish councils, have all opposed the move for a number of environmental and traffic-related reasons.

In the report to the committee, Little Bentley Parish Council said it fears the site could have a negative effect on the “immediate ecosystem”.

Great Bromley Parish Council also spoke out against the application, saying: “The site is greenfield on agricultural land and any industrial development would be contrary to local, country, regional and national planning policies.

“The development would lead to a huge increase in traffic locally and where most of the road network is single carriageway.”

The Horsley Cross Partnership - a collection of local businesses - is behind the plans which incorporate seven business plots, as well as the hotel, that would generate more than 300 jobs for people in the area.

A decision on the application will be made at the committee meeting on May 8.