A £500,000 scheme to commercialise village lakes could be “harmful” to the character of the site, experts have claimed.

Braintree Council planning officers are recommending Darren Hilton’s plans to revamp the fishing lakes at Great Yeldham Hall, in Toppesfield Road, Great Yeldham, for refusal.

The proposals include the change of use of four mobile units to provide anglers' toilets, a tea room, a tools shed and office with a family cabin.

The original plans had been for eight mobile units but this has since been changed.

Mr Hilton has also proposed to create a new parking area.

The two lakes based on the site would be merged into one to create a single large lakes.

The application says the investment in the lakes would help to create five new jobs.

But planning officers are have dismissed the application and are advising councillors to reject the proposals at a committee meeting next week.

Their report outlining the reasons why the application should be refused states: “Whilst the council acknowledges the applicant’s business aspirations for the site, the introduction of the mobile units, the over-engineered vehicular access and the retention of the electricity enclosure would be harmful to the character and appearance of the countryside.

“Furthermore the siting of the cafe in this isolated location, some distance from the village of Great Yeldham, would result in an unsustainable form of development.”

There are also concerns over the lack of detailed information about the risk of flooding.

“The application fails to provide detailed information with regards to flood risk and drainage and a holding objection is maintained by the local lead Flood Authority.”

Mr Hilton has informed the Gazette that he has already begun work on improving the site, including clearing dangerous and dead trees, and installing new electricity and water supplies, but no work which needs planning permission has started.

Mr Hilton also has plans to improve access for disabled anglers and will provide facilities to teach children how to fish.

A final decision on the application is expected to be made during a meeting at Causeway House, in Braintree, on Tuesday.