PLANNERS have accepted a proposal for weddings to be held at one of Clacton’s historic Martello Towers.

Paul Nash has been given permission to use the scheduled ancient monument in Marine Parade West as a wedding venue and conference centre.

Tower F, next to Clacton Hospital, is one of a series of 29 forts built to protect the coast from invasion during the Napoleonic era.

The Tendring Council-owned tower, which is currently vacant, has previously been used as a petting zoo and restaurant.

The council’s planning committee approved the plans unanimously at a meeting.

Ward councillor Maurice Alexander said staff at neighbouring hospital we’re generally happy with the plans but raised concerns over whether wedding parties would spill out on to grass outside the site “into the wee hours”.

He also raised concerns over the lack of parking in the area.

Planning officers said the location is considered to be sustainable and that the hours of operation would be restricted from 9am to 12.30am from Monday to Saturday and 9am until 11am Sundays and bank holidays.

“It has 12ft walls so sound should not escape,” said Mr Alexander.

“Most of the people I have spoken to are in favour of it.”

Councillor Jeff Bray said that because it is a council-owned building, the authority could take action if noise became an issue.

Committee chairman John White said that parking near the site is difficult, but that is also a problem at town centre wedding venues in other areas.

Historic England said it supported the approach to find a new, sustainable and viable use for the important historic structure.

“Martello Tower F is an important historic building and an important landmark that contributes to the character and appearance of the area,” it said.