A CONTROVERSIAL £1million revamp of Basildon Golf Course is in doubt after the Environment Agency rejected an application to use waste on the development.

Basildon Golf Centre wanted to use about 140,000 tonnes of building spoil to reshape the course in the first phase, but has effectively been denied permission to do it.

Campaigners from Friends of Basildon Golf Course, who have fought against the plans, welcomed the rejection and said about 468,000 tonnes would be used reshaping the course in total.

Mick Toomer, chairman of the campaign group, said the rejection meant the development could be held back by more than a year.

He said: “The Friends of Basildon Golf Course are delighted with the Environment Agency’s ruling.

“The proposal to desecrate Basildon’s wildlife-rich golf course with almost half a million tonnes of landfill was dependent upon two things. A loophole in the waste management laws, which allowed developers to avoid landfill tax by dumping huge volumes of waste on sporting facilities, and the support of Basildon councillors.”

The developer had applied to the Environment Agency for an exemption permit, which would allow it to use the spoil.

But the agency claimed too much spoil needed to be used, and an impact assessment on wildlife lacked detail.

Mr Toomer claimed the developer would now have to apply for a full waste permit, which could force it to pay landfill tax if granted.

He said the permit could take more than a year to obtain if the company has to carry out more detailed surveys of wildlife, including the protected great-crested newts.

Ron Maydon, managing director of the centre, which was set-up to oversee the development, said he did not know enough about the rejection to comment.