WORK on a controversial new recycling plant in south Essex has been stopped...after a series of errors were made in the planning process.

Heard Environmental was granted permission last June, and started work last August, to create a new waste recycling depot on land south of Terminus Drive, Pitsea. The plant was expected to deal with 49,000 tonnes of rubbish a year.

However, the plans have been put on hold after officers at Essex County Council discovered mistakes were made during the planning process, meaning the permission had to be quashed.

The plans will now have to undergo another consultation and the council’s development control committee will have to reconsider whether or not to approve it.

Mark Woodger, planning agent for Heard Environmental, said: “When planning permission was granted, it was good news for our client, it enabled him to commence moving from his current site in the town to a new, more spacious, premises where more waste can be recycled, so less waste will end up in landfill, and more people can be employed.

“However, the planning permission has been revoked.

“This was a huge disappointment to our clients. It has resulted in significant delays to the planning process and had a significant impact on the existing business.

“We have now gone back to the council. Essentially, our plans are unchanged from those that were previously found to be acceptable.”

If planning permission is refused this time around, Heard Environmental could face enforcement action as work has already started on the building.

County council officers acted after the owner of nearby Cromwell Manor called for a judicial review after planning permission was granted, claiming not enough consideration was granted to the impact it would have on the listed building.

A county council report states: “The authority sought counsel’s advice and it was recommended that it should agree to the quashing of the planning permission.

The effect of quashing the planning permission is that the application is now undetermined and the authority must reconsider the application.”

Residents have until Friday, March 7, to take part in the latest consultation.

Nicola Wood, 38, of Chestnut Road, Wickford, said: “It is being built 100 yards from my window, so once it’s built, my view will just be the recycling plant. How am I going to be able to sell my flat once it’s there?

“I’ve lived here for 20 years and I don’t see why I should have to move. I am pleased it has been thrown out, but it will probably just get approved again.”

Mr Woodger added: “We understand there have been a few objections to our development, but our clients are committed to working to ensure that any issues are dealt with as expeditiously as possible.”

Councillors will discuss the plans at County Hall tomorrow.