CALLS to rip up plans to build 78 homes near a beauty spot and start again from scratch have been dismissed.

Braintree Council's planning committee has given full planning permission to Bellway Homes to build 78 homes at the Gimsons site in Witham.

The proposals went back before councillors despite outline planning permission being granted after minor changes were required.

One of the amendments was to the boundary of the site which had been brought into focus after concerns were raised about the removal of railings.

Bellway had initially proposed to remove the railings but later discovered it cannot do so because they are not based on the site where planning permission has been granted.

The developer needs to remove the railings to install a cycle path but campaigners say they would be unable to remove the railings anyway because they are a heritage asset.

Witham town councillor Michael Lager called for the proposals, which were approved last year, to be ripped up and redrawn due to the confusion over the future of the railings.

Speaking to councillors in a planning committee meeting, Mr Lager said: "The railings will have to stay, fundamentally altering the proposed layout and outlook for properties on this boundary, and hence the whole development.

"The applicant cannot just do some of the development and ignore the rest.

"There are numerous other defects in the original application pointed out to your officers.

"Given the defects and as no changes can make it deliverable, the safest path for the council is to revoke the 2019 consent and invite a new application."

Councillors rejected Mr Lager's suggestion and instead put a condition in the planning permission which means further discussions will be held over the future of the railings between Braintree Council and Bellway.

They voted in favour of granting full planning permission.

Planning boss Gabrielle Spray said: "I do understand the concerns locally about the site but it has been given outline permission so what we are discussing and approving is these reserved matters.

"I'm happy with the additional condition on the railings, it's true to say they are not within the development site. They are not listed but they do obviously have a place in the heart of local people so under those circumstances it is quite right we are asking for additional discussions with the developer."

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for the railings to be protected and repaired in response to Bellway's initial proposals to remove them.