Plans to redevelop a fishing lake in Great Yeldham have been approved by Braintree district council’s planning committee after they were scaled back and its commercial elements scrapped.

Developer Darren Hilton will now push ahead with plans to join the two existing fishing lakes on the site off Toppesfield Road to create one large body of water for larger species of fish.

Other changes will include a new car park, toilets, and tool shed, while the mud road that leads on to the site will be resurfaced with hardcore.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Mr Hilton said: “I’m delighted to tell the good people of Great Yeldham that my planning permission was finally granted tonight for the lakes and I can’t wait to make the lakes and the surrounding area great again.

“The people that have reported me time and time again for no reason and the group of people that think it’s fine to spread rumours and false accusations about me, my family and my business, you have failed and the correct decision has been made.”

Mr Hilton purchased the land last year and soon began clearing the site of foliage and building a fence.

He then made an application to commercialise the site by adding a tearoom and office with a family cabin.

The council unanimously rejected this plan in November, over worries that it would fail to add to the landscape or character of the area and that not enough information on drainage had been supplied.

Mr Hilton scaled-back his ambitions with a revised plan in April, which the council deferred until this month.

A planning committee report concluded: “The economic and social benefits would outweigh the harm resulting from the development. The application would create a new destination for the local area supporting the local economy.

“The proposed development has been reduced in terms of scale, omitting the commercial element, when compared with the previous application, and the previous reasons for refusal have been overcome.”

Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Hilton said: “The application is to improve the quality of fishing, not the quantity of anglers or footfall.

“There will only be 12 pegs, so a maximum of 12 anglers at any one time. But they will have a larger lake that will support larger specimen fish.

“Anglers will have parking which has always been there and toilets which are essential in this day and age for any quality venue. Many other fisheries in the Braintree borough have these facilities.”

Nonetheless, some objections remained.

Phillip Rawlinson, of Great Yeldham parish council, said there was still not enough information in the developer’s proposal and said the revised plans would still fail to enhance the local area.

He added: “I would like you to consider how sensitive it is to rip up and destroy perfectly healthy trees on the site.”

Meanwhile, Green district councillor James Abbot raised concerns that there had not been a flight survey of bats on the site. This was subsequently added as a condition of approval by the committee.

Other conditions include restrictions on lighting and steps to determine whether lifesaving equipment is needed on site.