AN agricultural barn can be converted into homes following the approval of plans.

Maldon District Council passed plans to convert a steel barn in Maldon Road, Goldhanger, opposite Cobbs Farm.

The plans are to build five almost identical homes with a garage, store area and utility room on the ground floor.

Each will have two bedrooms, one en suite, a bathroom and an open-plan kitchen and living area, all upstairs on the first floor.

The homes will have stairs from the lobby area, next to each garage, going up to the first floor.

Goldhanger Parish Council recommended that planning permission should be refused.

A spokesman said: "The location is totally remote and isolated from the Gardiners Farm complex 400 to 500m away.

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"Under normal planning policies such development would not be permitted.

"Furthermore, Goldhanger is a recognised dark area without street lighting and light pollution is of concern."

The parish council said such a conversion should only be where there is the lowest risk of flooding, but the application site is higher.

The parish council said: "The application indicates all habitable accommodation will be above the highest flood level, and by inference providing safe refuge, but recognises that the whole of the ground floor would be inundated placing fundamental services at risk."