ANGRY residents stormed a council meeting to protest against plans to knock down an historic hotel and replace it with a flats and a new hotel.

About 20 members of the public packed out the Guildhall council chamber on Wednesday night for Harwich Town Council's planning meeting.

Councillors were meeting to discuss planning proposals for the Cliff Hotel in Dovercourt.

The 27-bed hotel on Marine Parade, Dovercourt, was closed in January making 36 members of staff redundant.

It was due to undergo a complete refurbishment but the owners were told it was in such a poor state of repair after years of neglect it was not “financial viable”.

Plans are now to bulldozed the 130-year-old building and replace it with 20 flats, a 61-bed hotel and a bar/restaurant.

An artist’s impression of the new building shows glass-fronted balconies, a line of port-hole style windows and an al fresco dining area.

But at Wednesday's meeting residents raised major concerns about parking.

And councillor Alan Todd said the green glass panels on the front would "stick out like a sore thumb’.

Councillor Garry Calver, said: “There are a lot of different views and we’re not going to pleased everybody.

"When the cliff hotel first closed the levels of abuse being directed was because everyone knew what was going to happen - there was going to be a block of flats, and the town I think is very pleased that there is going to a hotel, restaurant and a bar.

"Obviously the nature of the development impacts on the residents living in the areas adjoining the development and for that reason they obviously have valid concerns to be listened to.

"We are not the planning authority and we are not the experts.

"What we can do and have been doing and ensuring that all of those concerns are made available to the experts.”

Residents were reassured the access on Brooklyn Road will be just for deliveries and emergency access, and the underground car park will be in two separate zones, one for the flats and one for hotels guests.

It was also highlighted that the bar/restaurant would not be an all-night venue.

Councillors supported the extra jobs the hotel would create and said it would add some vibrancy to the area.

Mr Calver added: "I’m in favour of this application as long as it meets the necessary protocols, to be blunt if it doesn’t I’m against it but that is something that we do not know.”

Harwich Town Council voted not to object against the plans on a number of conditions related to planning protocol, parking and access.

Tendring Council will have final say on the plans.