A second bid to build a solar farm continues to be clouded in controversy after councillors recommended it be thrown out.

Lightsource Renewable Energy hopes to install 39,760 solar panels on land south of Beckingham Road, Great Totham.

It had scaled back its plans from 43,769 panels, which Maldon District Council had rejected in December.

But its revised scheme has attracted 112 letters of objection and just three in support, and the north western area planning committee has recommended it be turned down, against the advice of planning officers.

At last Wednesday’s meeting, councillor John Archer said: “I have great difficulty in accepting we agree with the officer when so many people have written to us about it.”

But councillor Mark Durham said Lightsource had addressed most of the reasons for the original application being refused.

He said: “I appreciate the fact there’s a degree of strong local feeling but wherever they go in the country there will be similar feelings.”

The committee has asked the council’s planning and licensing committee to refuse the application on the same grounds as December’s plans were. A date for that meeting has yet to be confirmed.

A crowd of 30 members of the public cheered and clapped at the decision.