AN MP has branded a council ‘inflexible’ and has called on the authority to reverse its decision to refuse plans to turn a industrial unit into a dance centre.

Witham MP Priti Patel says much of the community is behind Complete Dance’s bid to make Unit B1 in Wheaton Road, Witham, its new home.

The firm saw it’s planning application to convert the building, which has been empty for five years, into a fitness and dance studio rejected by Braintree Council back in April as the unit is set aside for employment use only.

A new application has since been submitted by Complete Dance but with the council yet to make a ruling, Ms Patel has demanded they swiftly provide planning permission and resolve the matter.

The Home Secretary said: “Complete Dance is a fantastic business keen to bring a long-term vacant and empty site into use.

“They have major plans to provide more activities for hundreds of children and adults and it is very disappointing the council’s inflexible approach is blocking their plans.”

She added: “Having already refused their first planning application, it is frustrating the council delayed getting the latest application to the planning committee, where elected councillors may take a different view.

“It is ridiculous the council seems content to let a local business suffer and keep a business unit vacant, when there is a clear way to fill this space with an ambitious business.”

A total of 28 letters had been sent into Braintree Council in support of the original plans.

A spokesman for the authority said the decision to refuse planning permission had been made under delegated powers.

The council had advised Complete Dance to appeal the decision, as opposed to submitting a whole new application.

The spokesman added: “We appreciate the work Complete Dance does in the community however the unit they want to use is protected as employment land.

“If they contact our economic development team we can give some advice on portals they could use to search for a more suitable location.”