Members of the public raised a number of concerns about the regeneration of Manor Street in the moments before the scheme was approved.

Braintree Council's planning committee voted unanimously in favour of the plans last night.

Speaking during public question time, Anthony White, a resident of Rochester Close, claimed the proposals would actually lead to a 50 per cent reduction in parking spaces in Manor Street.

He said: “This will be a great detriment to shop keepers in the town centre.

“Last time I attended a meeting here I commented about the market traders and where they would park.

“I do feel that comment was answered very dismissively with people saying the traders could park on the outskirts of the town. There was no mention of where which I don’t think is very inclusive for them with the development of the town.

“I would also like to raise issue with Sainsburys wanting to extend the store, this meant building a single storey geo-tech car park. That planning consent was dropped on the grounds of height and it being in a conservation area.

“It seems rather inconsistent to allow a five-storey building that will overshadow the town hall and surrounding buildings to be built.”

Barry Archer, chairman of the Braintree Taxi Association, was meanwhile concerned about the impact the development would have on traffic.

The new hotel will offer up to 70 rooms, while 35 apartments will also be added to the site behind Braintree Town Hall.

Mr Archer said: “I do have a bit of an objection to this site in the first place baring in mind its already jammed with traffic and difficult to get out of the town and the lights don’t work properly coming out of Victoria Street.

"The traffic just gets logged jammed.

"You are going to be adding a doctors surgery, a hotel and 35 private properties into an area and it is going to lose parking spaces for all the businesses in the town. Our shops are going to suffer. They are already suffering now."

Following the concerns raised, Peter Tanner, of RPS Consulting which has worked on the proposals, stated there would be "adequate" parking spaces available once a new two-storey car park offering 111 spaces was built.

He added: “The Manor Street regeneration scheme represents a significant opportunity to deliver a high quality, well designed development in the heart of Braintree town centre.

“The proposals in terms of scale, design and materials have been thoughtfully designed given the location of the site within a conservation area and the adjacent listed buildings town hall and library.

The development will introduce new residents, hotel guests and livewell hub users into the area, as well as users of the upgraded bus interchange. This will have a positive effect on the wider town centre, generating new consumers and increasing footfall.

"The component parts of the scheme will reach into the wider district and provide key infrastructure support."