A BID for a business to move its offices has proven controversial after a similar application was refused in January.

Baker Clarke Accountants - based in Tolleshunt Major - resubmitted an application to convert the barn behind Hill Barn in Rectory Lane in Woodham Mortimer into its new offices.

Its initial proposal was refused by Maldon District Council in January as it said the bid would result in a "harmful visual impact due to the urbanisation of the site".

The planning statement for the new application says: "Baker Clarke has been established locally for over 11 years, and it would have to seriously consider a move outside of the district should this accommodation not be available."

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The planning officer recommends approval of the scheme as it "would provide an ‘employment generating’ use in the area and could potentially support an existing and established business".

But the application has received two objections and is recommended for refusal by the parish council.

One objector commented: "We feel strongly that to allow the conversion of stabling to commercial offices within this conservation area would set a precedent and open the floodgates to many more similar applications."

It was also called in to be debated by councillors next Wednesday, December 1, due to "concerns about the impact on the countryside - increase in traffic" and a possible negative impact on neighbouring properties.