CAMPAIGNERS have spoken of their relief after plans for a block of 18 flats were rejected by a Government inspector.

Developer Steve Cohen wanted to build on the site of a car sales garage, on the corner of London Road and Louis Drive West, in Rayleigh.

The scheme was originally rejected by Rochford District Council in February. An inspector from the Government's planning inspectorate, who carried out a site visit, upheld the decision.

He backed the view of the council's development control committee the plan would be overdevelopment and result in overlooking a nearby property. The developers had claimed the building would have been an iconic gateway to the town.

John Dawson, vice-president of the Louis Drive Estate Residents' Association, lives next to the site in Little Wheatley Chase.

He said: "The inspector was very fair and had a comprehensive site visit to see the situation and the effect the proposals would have. Everyone living in the area is very pleased this decision has been made."

Mr Cohen's architect, Bernard Gooding, of Leigh, said: "It is disappointing we lost the appeal and we will be looking again at the plans to see what can be done to meet the objections."