Controversial plans to convert a former newspaper office and comic book store into flats and a new retail unit have been approved.

Stallan Braintree Limited has received permission to revamp The Times' former offices, in High Street, Braintree, along with the former home of Blast Comics next door.

The changes will create seven new flats on the first and second floors of the grade-II listed building, as well as see the downstairs refitted into a larger retail unit in preparation for a new tenant.

Several 20th century extensions at the back of the properties are set to be demolished to make room for some of the new flats.

The plans caused concern amongst several high street traders, including Sam Hunt, of Crimsom Beauty, which is based upstairs in The Natural Way next door.

Ms Hunt said: "It is going to be an absolute nightmare, we are worried about how they are going to do the demolition and how they will gain access during construction.

"We are also concerned about the noise levels.I am hoping it will not affect my business too much.

"There is a lot of uncertainty at the moment.

"I am disappointed it was approved. By giving planning permission for flats upstairs, it does take away the chance for a bigger company to come in and take on the unit."

Reverend Nigel Adams, also objected to the plans on behalf of St Michael's Church, in St Michael's Lane.

In a letter he said: "We strongly object to this application, as there appears to be no car parking space for the residents and visitors to these seven flats.

"You may be aware that parking, during the day, is very restricted in this area.

"We have a small church car park in South Street and already have difficulties with people parking in our car park without authority.

"Our concern is that drivers of vehicles relating to these seven flats will have great difficulty in parking and may park in the church car park, or otherwise improperly, due to having no proper parking of their own.

"We hope that this application will be rejected, until proper provision is made for car parking for the residents and their visitors."

The developer will not provide any parking spaces for residents of the new properties or potential business tenants.

The former Braintree and Witham Times premises has been vacant since 2016 when the newspaper moved to offices across the road.

Blast Comics closed in May 2017 when the business moved to another store further down the High Street.

Bar Sport, in High Street, Braintree, is undergoing reconstruction work to convert the upstairs into several apartments.