PLANS to expand a petrol station have finally been given the go ahead after a government inspector quashed a planning committee's decision.

Work to build 13 new parking spaces, with charging bays, is set to get underway at the BP garage on the A120 in Bradwell, after a government inspector overturned a decision made by Braintree Council in 2017.

It comes just a month after the council's planning committee also turned down a second application for ten spaces with three charging points at the same garage which was submitted after the first bid was denied.

Both applications were denied over fears it would remove an area of land which the council claimed forms a landscape buffer between the petrol station and the Blackwater Valley.

However, the inspector's report states: "The site is visually contained within these boundaries and views to the wider countryside of the Blackwater Valley across it are very limited.

"The form of proposed development would be low in height with no significant structures and would be mainly concealed from views approaching from the east and south behind the adjacent hedges.

"The site does not contribute to the setting of the wider countryside being separated physically and visually by dense hedges. Similarly, it would not intrude upon wider views from outside the site as it is effectively screened by planting."

The report adds: "The council have referred to policies in the emerging plan.

"The emerging Braintree District Publication Local Plan has been submitted for examination to the Secretary of State but it has not been found sound, therefore it does not yet form part of the Development Plan.

"I have therefore given it limited weight as a material consideration in reaching my conclusions above."

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the petrol station has hit back at former councillor, Lynette Bowers-Flint, who spoke at the second committee meeting to say a petition in favour of the plans was not valid after it was signed by people from further afield than Bradwell.

The spokesman said: "It is signed by numerous people from Bradwell and Coggeshall villages and the person from Wales travels to the site every week for work.

"Electric charging is coming to the A120, whether our ill-informed now ex-councillors like it or not."

Braintree Council said it acknowledges the planning inspector has taken a different view.