A BID to build housing next to a Martello tower to help pay for the historic landmark’s restoration has been slammed by a heritage organisation.

The owner of Tower K, in Walton, wants the go-ahead for four homes to help fund a major renovation scheme so they can live in the Napoleonic fort, which was completed in 1812.

It was one of a series of defensive towers built along the east coast during the war with France in the early 19th century.

The tower is the most northerly of just six left in Essex.

It also boasts one of only two surviving forward gun batteries on the Essex coast, dating back to 1795.

The scheduled monument, on Arthur Ransome Way, was part of the former Martello holiday park before it was demolished to make way for housing.

The owner says the plans have been designed to avoid damaging the tower’s surroundings and to raise money to restore the 200-year-old building.

But critics fear the proposals will have a massive negative impact on the monument.

A scathing report by Historic England says: “The introduction of residential housing in this location would destroy the historical and visual relationship between the tower and the battery, and would see the tower almost entirely surrounded with built development.” It says the tower is a “prominent visual landmark of local and regional significance”.

Historic England has formally objected to the plans.

It said the homes would result in “very serious harm to the significance of the scheduled monument”.

There have also been objections from people living near the tower.

Some say the homes would block views of the landmark, which already has a new care home looming over it.

Town councillors have voted unanimously against the plans.

Walton councillor Delyth Miles said she was “deeply concerned” and the development was “totally out of keeping”.

Town mayor Robert Bucke said: “The more we build around it, the more it disappears. It is a feature of Walton and needs to be exposed as much as possible.”

Vanda Watling added: “We need it to enhance Walton. People don’t want to have to go through a housing estate to see it.”

Tending Council will make the final decision.