A DECISION on plans for 100 homes has been delayed after councillors were told their reasons for refusal could cause “significant issues” if it went to appeal.

Hopkins Homes’ proposals for land west of Chitts Hill went before Colchester Council’s planning committee.

Officers had recommended the plans for approval, subject to the developer’s commitment to invest more than £1 million in schools, community facilities, open space and healthcare service.

But at the meeting councillors and residents raised concerns about a new junction for people to access the homes being unsafe, despite highways officers raising no objection.

The land is allocated in Colchester Council’s draft local plan but councillors suggested it would be premature to approve the bid if the local plan had not yet been given the green light.

After an hour of debate council officers told committee members they did not think the proposed reasons for refusal would stand up at appeal.

Councillors rejected a move to defer a decision saying they could not ignore the “elephant in the room” over access.

But it was agreed to follow a procedure which means officers will now give them information on the risks of refusal.

Earlier in the night residents and councillors had raised concerns about the proximity of the junction for the new estate to the Chitts Hill level crossing.

But applicant Robert Eburne said: “This has been thoroughly assessed by our transport consultants the robust evidence provided is endorsed by the highway authority.

“The proposed access is safe, it agrees with your local plan policy. The proposal will not reduce the safety of the crossing in any way.”

But Stanway councillor Paul Dundas, who spoke during public question time, said: “All it will take is for one driver to pull forward and not leave a gap and this entire estate will be blocked. This could be for 20 minutes or more.

“At the very least it must have keep clear markings on it and ideally a mini roundabout.”

Councillors will consider a report by officers on the risks of refusal at a future committee meeting.

A decision on the plans will then be made.