PROPOSALS to build new flats next to a theatre have been thrown out.

Braintree Council has dismissed Bocking Arts Theatre's bid to install four new dwellings right next to its premises in Bocking End.

The proposal would have seen a single storey building nearby demolished to make way for a new a new two storey building with single bedroom flats.

Theatre bosses argued the new dwellings would help to generate a steady stream of revenue and would help ongoing operations.

However, the council's planning department has dismissed the plans, stating the loss of car parking and overall design of the flats was too cramped.

In their report, the officers said: "It is acknowledged that the proposal would result in the creation of four market dwellings, however the layout of the proposal is unacceptable and would result in a poor level of amenity for the future occupiers both in terms of unacceptable level of internal accommodation, noise and light pollution from other occupiers and the adjoining theatre.

"Furthermore the loss of the car parking and servicing area that currently serves the theatre, is highly likely to affect the long term future of the community facility."

The Theatre's trust, a charity which supports all community theatres around the country, said it agreed in principle with the scheme during the consultation phase but urged caution about the idea of building homes near to theatres.

The Bocking Arts Theatre is a community theatre and arts centre run by volunteers who took over management from Braintree Council in 2011. It hosts theatre, live music, comedy and talks as well as other events such as the Braintree Beer Festival.

The Theatre's Trust said it was an "important community and cultural facility for local people" which "furthers well-being and provides opportunities for people to come together and participate in the arts."