Speculative plans to build 145 homes next to a beauty spot have been given the green light.

Gladman Developments launched a proposal to build the homes off Bromley Road, next to Salary Brook.

A quirk in the local authority boundary system means the site actually falls into Colchester’s neighbouring Tendring District Council.

The plans were initially thrown out by Tendring Council but the decision was successfully appealed. Yesterday, planning inspector Brendan Lyons upheld the appeal.

The unpopular plan will now go ahead.

Opposition campaigners had hoped the work done on the proposed new garden community to the east of the site - proposed jointly by Colchester and Tendring councils - would be enough to stave off the speculative plans, which fall outside of the set development boundary.

But planning inspector Brendan Lyons found because of strong criticism of the proposals, only “limited weight” could be given to them - a move which appears to have opened the door to the plans.

As part of that criticism, the councils were given three options on how the plans could progress.

Colchester Council’s local plan committee is due to decide upon its preferred option tonight.

In his report, Mr Lyons said: “It is not yet known which of these options, or another, the three authorities will seek to pursue.

“But it is clear that any is likely to result in significant delay to the eventual adoption of a replacement local plan.”

He also said since the second part of Tendring’s local plan - which relates only to development in that authority’s area - is contingent on how the planned garden communities progress and “less weight” could be given to its policies.

The appeal decision has been criticised by campaigners.

Former Colchester Council leader Paul Smith, who previously represented Colchester’s St John’s ward, said: “As a development, it is everything we try to prevent. It is urban sprawl and there is no infrastructure to come with.

“Schools are being told they will have to cope with it and there is little to gain for the community.

“It will just be another housing estate on the edge of Colchester, albeit in Tendring.”

A Tendring District Council spokesman labelled the inspector’s decision “disappointing”.

He added: “There are a number of positive aspects in the inspector’s ruling, such as support for our five-year housing supply and required housing numbers, and the value of the work done to date on our emerging local plan. 

“But it is very disappointing that despite recognising the ‘significant harmful effect’ the proposed development would have on the area, and the policies on protecting the Colchester fringe, the inspector still feels that on balance it should go ahead.

"This decision is contrary to local communities’ desire to preserve this land as open space, forming part of a country park envisaged as part of a garden community. 

“Ultimately this decision could make it harder for Tendring District Council to defend against speculative developments right across the district – and emphasises the importance of swiftly adopting a new Local Plan.

“We will defend our planning policy against such applications for the good of Tendring.”

The spokesman added on the same day as this decision, an application by developer City and Country for a judicial review of three appeals won by the council in respect of 190 homes in Great Bentley was thrown out.