VILLAGERS have been left angry after being told controversial plans for 200 homes on land around an exclusive spa in Thorpe-le-Soken will be heard by High Court judges following a fresh appeal.

In June, villagers celebrated after a Government planning inspector rejected Thorpe Hall Leisure’s appeal over its plans for homes on land around the Lifehouse Spa and Hotel, in Frinton Road, following an inquiry.

The original plans had been rejected by Tendring Council last year. But now the applicants have asked for a Judicial Review of the inspector’s decision, and the High Court has agreed to hold a full hearing into the case, which will take place on December 3.

Thorpe, Beaumont and Great Holland councillor Dan Land said said he will attend the High Court for the case.

He added: “We are disappointed a judge has seen fit to over rule the inspector’s decision.

“It was the most comprehensive appeal report I have ever read.

“It was more than 30 pages and outlined many reasons why the development was not suitable.

“It’s a shame the system will allow the developer a last crack to overturn the decision.

“Our principal objection is the plans are unacceptable because of the impact it would have on the historic park and gardens of Thorpe Hall.

“We don’t feel as village it is the responsibility of Thorpe-le-Soken to prop up a business.”

The judges hearing the case cannot give planning permission but can strike out the planning inspector’s decision if they find an error in the law was made at the original appeal.

Another inquiry would then be held to consider the appeal afresh.

John White, chairman of Tendring Council’s planning committee, said the authority would defend the case.

“Although disappointing the applicants have not accepted the planning inspector’s ruling, it is their right to challenge the legalities of that decision and the High Court has seen enough merit in their points to consider the case,” he said.

“We stand by our original decision to refuse the plans and will defend that position at the Judicial Review.”

The Lifehouse’s owners previously said the spa has become a success but needs investment to secure its future.