Campaigners are celebrating after a holiday park operator’s bid to add 67 extra caravans next to a beauty spot was thrown out by a planning inspector.

Away Resorts, which runs Mersea Island Holiday Park, East Mersea, wanted to add the static holiday caravans on the border of the idyllic Cudmore Grove Country Park.

However, protestors argued the new homes were unnecessary, and would see the number of caravan pitches on the island rise to more than 2,300 - 1,100 of which are in East Mersea which has about 100 homes and population of about 230.

Campaigner John Akker, chairman of the Stop 350 campaign, which has stood against plans to build 350 homes on the island, said residents were delighted with the decision.

He said: “If it went ahead it would have been a blot on the landscape in one of the most cherished parts of the island.

“We argued a recent European Court of Justice case would require a survey affecting wild life habitat.

“Stop 350, with access to legal advice, was pleased to work with so many residents.

“It is relevant the inspector took account of the environment and special position of Mersea.”

READ MORE: 'Enough is enough!' - East Mersea residents fight plans for Mersea Island Holiday Park expansion

At the hearing, residents raised concerns on the ability of East Mersea’s infrastructure to cope with any increase in usage.

Hundreds also submitted letters of objection opposing the proposals.

In his letter, planning inspector AJ Mageean agreed the new caravans would have a negative effect on East Mersea.

He said: “I have found the proposal would have a significantly detrimental effect on the landscape character and appearance of the undeveloped coastline and surrounding area.”

He also said the development would not “accord with Colchester Council’s development plan”.

Away Resorts, which already employs 11 staff at the site, said this number would have increased to 15 if the application was approved.

The company also claimed the expansion would have boosted the island’s economy and other businesses like nearby pub, the Dog and Pheasant.

The Gazette contacted Away Resorts but it did not respond by the time of going to press.