CELEBRATIONS are under way after an independent inspector turned down plans to build a hotel on a green gateway into Colchester.

Inspector Julia Gregory ruled a three-star hotel, with 87 beds, could not be built off Cymbeline Way, near a route used daily by tens of thousands of people.

Landowner, the Strategic Land Planning Trust, part of the Profitable Group, appealed after Colchester Council twice refused bids to build on the fields, following opposition from residents, conservationists and councillors.

During a four-day hearing, the trust argued Colchester needed the hotel, and insisted it would not look out of place.

But, in her decision, Mrs Gregory dismissed both claims, saying there were other sites in Colchester where a similar hotel could be built, and saying it would be a “significant intrusion”.

She wrote: “This land forms part of a green and pleasant landscaped approach to Colchester along Cymbeline Way.

“The scale of the building would be far in excess of any others in the general area, where buildings are small and dispersed.”

David Norton, from the Lexden Conservation Group, said it was “extremely pleased” with the result, which could halt further attempts to develop the fields.

Lexden councillor and Colchester mayor, Sonia Lewis, said she believed common sense had prevailed.

Colchester MP Bob Russell, who gave evidence at the appeal, said it was an “excellent result”.

He added: “I hope this is a turning point in planning in Colchester.”