A dance school’s plan to relocate to an industrial unit has been “destroyed” after council bosses rejected their request for a second time.

Braintree Council’s planning committee dismissed Complete Dance’s bid to make a unit in Wheaton Road, Witham, its new home during a meeting on Tuesday.

The meeting saw numerous leading figures in Witham, including town mayor Clare Lager and Braintree Council chairman Angela Kilmartin, all speak in support of the school’s plans.

However, after voting down an initial motion to grant planning permission, councillors then voted to reject the application after agreeing with planning officers.

Officers had recommended the plans be refused because the proposed unit the dance school wanted to use was designated for employment and was deemed to be unsuitable for the change of use to a studio.

Complete Dance had a similar application refused on the same grounds back in April.

Speaking before the final vote on the latest application, councillor David Mann said: “It’s really good to see the business flourishing, doing well and winning so many awards, but policy here is explicit - as it was in April when this was refused.

“This is an identical application. The definition of madness is to do something again and again and expect a different result.

“We are bound by policy. Much as I would like the activity to find a home, I feel it can’t be here simply on those policy grounds.”

Complete Dance insists it had made changes to its latest application and argues it provided clear evidence the industrial unit it wanted to use as a new home has been empty since 2013.

Following the decision, the school posted on Facebook: “Thank you to each and everyone of you who has supported the school with the fight to get our own premises.

“Tonight Braintree Council destroyed those plans, dreams and opportunities.

“I’m not sure what our next move is but I know it’s upwards.”

Complete Dance has more than 250 members and argues it needs to relocate from its current bases as Maltings Academy and New Rickstones Academy due to increasing membership.

Bosses say they have researched other options but insist there are no appropriate sites in Witham for a dance studio.

A spokesman for Braintree Council said: "The dance school is a great community asset and the young people who benefit from the school are passionate and very talented and because of this it was a very difficult decision.

"However, the particular site the dance school has chosen is within a designated employment area and needs to be protected.

"If we were to grant permission for change of use for this unit we will gradually lose more and more land set aside for offices and industrial businesses and this will affect how businesses in our district grow.

"The applicant can appeal this decision."