COUNCILLORS are celebrating after controversial plans to replace a community hall with a cosmetic centre were refused.

The cross-party planning committee at Basildon Council went against officers recommendations and threw out proposals to demolish All Saints Worship Hall, in London Road, Crays Hill, and replace it with a new business offering dental and facial treatments.

They felt the modern building would be out of character in the village, and would overlook neighbouring properties.

Concerns were also raised about a lack of parking and traffic congestion on the busy road.

In 2009, Ramsden Crays Parochial Church Council voted to stop using the building for worship because its congregation was too small.

The hall, which was built in 1914 by villagers, continued to be used as a community centre, but has been empty since it closed two years ago.

Terri Sargent, Tory councillor for Crouch ward, said: “I’m delighted the application has been turned down.

“I would really love to see a community centre open on the site again, but there is no money to pay for one so unfortunately that is unlikely to happen. It is such a shame.”

Plans to demolish the hall and build two family homes were given the thumbs-up by Basildon Council last year, but botox expert Monica Berrange came forward with the latest proposals in March.

David McPherson-Davis, from Crays Hill Parish Council, said: “I think we have to accept the building won't be a community centre again. It’s either going to be used for something else or knocked down.”