Unpopular plans which could see a village's population increase by nearly 20 per cent look set to be approved.

Councillors have been advised to grant planning permission to Bovis Homes which is proposing to build an estimates 300 homes and new community centre on land off Colchester Road, Coggeshall.

The plans will be discussed during a planning committee meeting next week, where a final decision will made made on whether to approve or reject the scheme.

Bovis Homes is asking for outline planning permission and has struck an agreement with planners to provide the full details of the scheme within an 18 month period, rather than in a three year time frame which had been originally suggested.

Should the plans be given the green light, the developer would be required to make contributions to services, including £470,000 to education, £113,554 to the NHS and nearly £300,000 towards improving open spaces in Coggeshall.

Despite having concerns about the impact of such a large scale development, officers say the benefits of the proposals outweigh the "limited" adverse impacts, which include relocating a garage business operating on the proposed site.

A report which will be put before councillors next week adds: "The proposed development would bring significant and demonstrable social and economic benefits with up to 120 affordable dwellings and 180 private dwellings to help meet the housing need within the district.

" The construction of a 4,500sqft nursery/community building would also bring associated economic benefits with limited job reaction which a residential only development would not. This must however be balanced against the loss of employment on the garage which currently occupies a small part of the site."

The blueprints, which have gone through two public consultations and been reduced from 365 homes, have been widely condemned by many in Coggeshall, with more than 150 residents writing letters of objection.

Both Coggeshall and Feering Parish Council have objected, as well as a number of community groups such as the Coggeshall Community Bus which says the 20 per cent increase in the village's population will make the service "unsustainable".

The scheme would also go against a draft of the Coggeshall Neighbourhood Plan, which has been set up by villagers to give them greater say over the future of development in their area.

The site where the 300 homes would be built is not allocated in the plan, but as it has yet to be formally approved, planning officers say it can only be given "limited weighting".