TOWN Hall “Scrooges” spent £7,500 of taxpayers' money on their failed bid to close down a popular festive wonderland, it has been revealed.

Tendring Council went to the High Court in London after Christmas Wonderland, in Earls Hall Drive, off St John’s Road, Clacton, defied a temporary stop notice and continued to trade without planning permission in December.

A judge was credited by parents with "saving Christmas" after he rejected the application.

It has now been revealed the legal action cost £7,500.

A spokesman for the attraction said: “This was a complete waste of taxpayers’ money. It could have been much better spent on the local community.

“We remained open for the Christmas period bringing festive joy to local people. We would like to thank everyone who supported us.”

Fred Nicholls, portfolio holder for corporate enforcement, defended the decision to take legal action.

He said: “Although it is disappointing that we lost our case for an injunction against Christmas Wonderland in the High Court, it is important that the council takes action against any breaches of planning rules that result in harm to the district or its residents and that this is done fairly and equitably.

“Any decision to take a case to the High Court is not taken lightly and will be made with regard to several factors, including the potential cost of the case and the likelihood of success.

“In this instance, the judge ruled it was a ‘finely balanced’ case and was critical of the operators’ behaviour.”

The council issued an enforcement notice after traffic concerns were raised by Essex County Council, which said the access road is too narrow and led to an increased risk of collisions in St John’s Road.

District council leaders suffered a social media backlash after it issued the notice and were labelled as “Scrooges” by parents.

More than 4,000 people also signed a petition calling for the attraction to be allowed to stay open.