I WRITE as both a resident and the current Mayor of Witham to say how disgusted I am about Braintree Council's refusal to allow Complete Dance to continue operating in Witham.

It present facilities are no longer suitable. In spite of representations to the planning committee and the presence of many young dancers and their parents, the councillors turned the application down.

Instead they want them to go to where there are other potentially suitable premises in either Chelmsford or Harlow.

This is absolutely ludicrous as the unit they were wanting to rent has been empty for several years, but happens to be reserved by the district council for industrial or office use.

There are some 17 units already used for leisure or similar purpose but suddenly this is not possible any more.

It seems Braintree Council's planning department is very good at turning down what Witham wants and allowing what Witham doesn't want.

Witham Town Council's planning committee had voted unanimously for this application but were not listened to.

Braintree Council chose to ignore the facts I raised which were:

Witham wants and needs this enterprise.

There is plenty of spare land for future industry or offices which has been vacant for quite a long time near Lynfield.

To expect the parents of 250 children and the 24 staff to drive to Chelmsford or Harlow is madness when the country is trying to reduce carbon emissions.

In these days when children don't play out any more, exercise of any kind must be encouraged and given every opportunity, especially with the rise of childhood obesity.

Some councillors did vote with us, but sadly as others abstained or voted against and the application for change of use from industrial to leisure was turned down.

I sincerely hope that Complete Dance appeals against the decision.

Clare Lager

Mayor of Witham