VILLAGERS could have a new shop by spring next year after plans were given the nod by councillors.

Last month Colchester Council’s planning committee deferred a decision on the Langenhoe Lion in Mersea Road being turned into four homes.

The recommendation was to approve the plans, providing certain conditions were met.

Two previous applications were submitted in 2014 and 2016 to create some sort of commercial space or GP surgery, but they fell through due to a lack of interest.

Abberton and Langenhoe Parish Council strongly opposed plans for housing, saying there would be a “substantial loss of community spirit”.

Although ahead of the latest planning committee meeting at the Town Hall, it submitted a business plan relating to creating a community shop on the ground floor.

Volunteers have already shown an interest in running the shop which will provide fresh and household goods, offer essential Post Office services and provide a welcoming community facility.

The new venture will be called the Abberton and Langenhoe Community Shop Limited.

The community will be invited to buy shares in the shop and the council expects around 200 people will sign up.

An update was given at the latest planning committee meeting and plans were due to go back to committee at a later date, but there was a unanimous vote to delegate powers to planning officers so it can be approved with conditions, as long as there are no objections from residents.

Julian Lamb, partner at the developer Barkley, said they were never opposed to a shop, it was simply no one has come forward with the idea.

He added: "We were all for a commercial unit, and we are really pleased the parish council did come through at the 11th hour.

"It's really good for everyone, we are all working together and hopefully we can start getting on with it."

The revised plans are out for consultation but the shop will hopefully be open by spring next year.