Developers want an extra two years to build a controversial waste plant.

Planning permission for the development at Rivenhall Airfield was granted five years ago.

Last month Gent Fairhead, which owns the airfield, said work was due to start next year.

But the firm has now applied for permission to delay the start date from March 2 next year to March 2017.

Steven Smith, spokesman for the project team, said: “ Considering the levels of investment and commitment made in the project to date, it is reasonable to apply for an extension of time to assure all the relevant matters are fully addressed in line with the permission.”

But James Abbott, Green Party county councillor for Witham Northern, said: “This latest application is part of a very long saga stretching back to the 1990s.

“Many claims and statements have been made by the developers about what they were going to build and when."