An estate agent has been allowed to move into an empty town centre shop unit, despite a rival claiming it would be a “disgrace for Witham”.

CM Rent was granted permission for a change of use for the former Kodak shop at 40 Newland Street, Witham, at a Braintree Council planning meeting last week.

But Paul Ryland, of WitLet, in Guithavon Street, claims changing the unit from retail to non-retail use will harm the town centre.

Addressing the planning committee, Mr Ryland pointed out the large number of bookmakers and estate agents in that part of Newland Street.

He said: “Not only is it a disgrace for Witham, it is a national disgrace.

“There’s no need to keep creating all these non-retail uses in the town centre."

Applicant Michael Saville said: “I believe Mr Ryland is the owner of a competitor business so that may have a bearing on his statement."