Plans to build another 300 homes off Limebrook Way in Maldon were refused last night.

Councillors denied the reserved matters proposal after concerns were raised the plans would not provide enough garden space and the blocks of flats were described as looking like "prisons".

Bryan Harker, councillor for Heybridge East said: "When I saw the presentation I thought I had come to the wrong meeting as some of those buildings look like a prison.

"The garden suburb design principles have been thrown out of the window in some parts of this application, it is nothing but urban sprawl.

"The amenity spaces are well below the minimum standard, some of them are nearly half the minimum.

"They're having a laugh here, this is overdevelopment."

Miriam Lewis, councillor for Heybridge West said she sympathised with Mr Harker's view on the development.

She said: "I do actually sympathise with Mr Harker's position on this in fact in that some of the blocks of flats on there, I used to build prisons and I wouldn't have built those as a prison.

"I'm a little bit confused about the design standards, the officers have said some of the amenity space does not comply with our design standards, is that design guide standards for normal development because with this being a garden suburb, I imagine I am not the only member who felt there would be more garden and green space for them because it is one."

The application was refused by councillors despite a confusing end when votes were cast by councillors.

A spokesperson for Taylor Wimpey, said: "We are disappointed with members' decision to refuse our application for the latest phase of residential development in Maldon, which was prepared in consultation with the local community, stakeholders and council officers.

"We have taken the committee's comments on board and are considering our next steps."