PLANS to convert an office block in to long-term hotel accommodation have been approved.

The offices on Kings Road, Halstead, are currently occupied by Brands Direct Limited.

Conversion plans would see the offices turned in to eight 'aparthotels' with self serving kitchenettes, small living rooms, bathrooms, double beds and balconies.

The development would also include nine parking spaces on the premises.

However, some residents have opposed the plans.

Concerns about the development's impact on traffic and parking and the aparthotels transitioning in to permanent residential apartments have led to numerous letters of object being submitted to the council.

One Kings Road said: "The extra traffic in this narrow one way street will cause more noise ,air pollution and parking problems.

"Halstead has a number of holiday accommodation already that can't be filled throughout the year, so another eight rooms aren't needed.

"I also believe there is an underlying motive, once these holiday lets can't be filled they will be turned into bedsits where anyone can rent without being vetted properly.

"The existing business does not open after 5pm or at weekends so the extra noise after these times should not have to be tolerated."

With the bid being submitted in February of last year, the application was only recently recommended for approval in January by planning inspectors.

However, following the Braintree District Council Planning Committee's meeting on Tuesday 4 February, the application was unanimously approved by councillors.

Supporting the application, Cllr David Mann said: "In planning terms it is set back from the highway so it shouldn't jar too badly with the street.

"There doesn't appear to be any possibility of serious overlooking that would warrant a refusal.

"I think that parking which might have been a worry hasn't attracted an objection from county highways and does seem to be adequate and not radically changed from its previous use."

Councillor's heard from the report presented at planning meeting that Essex County Highways had inspected the parking and traffic plans and found them suitable, approving them.

Assurances had also been included in the report regarding the fears of the aparthotels becoming permanent accommodation.

The report said approval of the plans was subject certain conditions including 'to ensure the operation of the aparthotel accommodation maintains as aparthotel accommodation, and does not become independent, permanent, residential units'.

Tennants at the aparthotel will also only be allowed to stay for a period no longer than 28 consecutive calendar days.

With the plans approved, Brands Direct Limited must begin their development plans within the next three years.