A CONTROVERSIAL new estate between Mistley and Lawford could balloon to 500 homes, it is feared.

Outline plans for 300 homes and employment land off Long Road were given the go ahead last summer.

But the developer, Tendring Farms Ltd, asked for changes to the design, slashing the open space areas and increasing the height of the homes to two and a half storeys.

Tendring Council’s planning committee rejected alterations on Tuesday night. But councillor Carlo Guglielmi said it was “paving the way for more homes”.

Mr Guglielmi, Tendring councillor for Mistley, said: “They want to put another 200 homes on the site.

“If they cut back the landscaping there is space for more homes.

“This application was paving the way to make a future application, which is in the pipeline now, for 500 homes acceptable.

“Right now we need 500 homes like a hole in the head.

“But the committee listened to what we said and turned it down.

“The committee had massive objections to the landscape of the area and said it would permanently damage the character of the area.”

Cath Bicknell, Tendring’s head of planning, said: “The alterations will lead to a different impact on the area and Mistley Parish Council has objected as it is concerned about the change of access.”

Tendring Farms wanted permission for a potential of two and half storey homes across the 23 hectare development and to move access for the employment site closer to the junction on Clacton Road.

Mistley Parish Council said it felt the change would lead to traffic congestion.

There was also general concern the alterations would lead to a closing up of the green gap between Mistley and Lawford.

Alan Coley, Tendring councillor for Mistley, said: “We are delighted the committee has refused this.

“And we will fight an application for 500 homes if that comes.”