BOSSES at luxury hotel Orsett Hall are celebrating after getting permission for a 22-room expansion - just a day after winning a hat-trick of restaurant awards.

At the Essex Tourism and Hospitality Awards, their head chef Robert Pearce was named Chef of the Year and the hotel’s Garden Restaurant was handed Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year and Restaurant of the Year.

On top of that, the hotel was given the go-ahead to build a 22-room extension, complete with leisure centre, on their site off Prince Charles Avenue.

A new barn-style building will be built within the luxury hotel’s grounds featuring a swimming pool, jacuzzi, changing rooms and gym – and the new rooms.

The grounds around the development will be landscaped to maintain the hotel’s beauty - while space will also be made for 25 vehicles.

Plans were given the go-ahead by the council’s planning committee, meaning the total rooms at the hotel will go from 35 to 57.

Alan Barnard, the director at Orsett Hall said: “We are very pleased that the plans have been passed. This enables us to further enhance our four-star award-winning facilities while bringing new jobs to Thurrock and attracting guests and visitors from all over the world.”

The development will be on the greenbelt, which normally requires special circumstances, but the council’s committee said Orsett Hall was “unique” and agreed to allow it.

Councillors spent 20 minutes debating and concluded the centre must only be used by hotel users - and any trees which are cut down on the greenbelt must be replaced.

Councillor Phil Anderson, leader of the Tory opposition, said: “The question is do we think we’re doing the right thing in accepting a case for special circumstances that places a large extension on a hotel in greenbelt?

“I think yes. Orsett Hall is unique within Thurrock.”