FEARS of a ventilation shaft pumping food odour into a small girl's room led councillors to reject cafe plans.

At Wednesday's Epping Forest District Council planning committee, the gallery erupted into applause when members threw out proposals to convert a former post office in North Weald Bassett into a cafe.

Officers had tipped the previously rejected plan for approval, arguing it would not lead to increased levels of noise. Essex County Council Highwaysalso raised no parking or traffic concerns

Backed by 27 letters of objection, neighbouring High Road resident Sarah Bottrel delivered a damning speech condemning applicant D Ozcan's plans and urging councillors to ignore officer's advice.

She said: This cafe is detrimental to all its neighbours. It is as nonsensical as the plans themselves.

"The ventilation shaft is right next to a child's bedroom to the left and another bedroom to the right. No matter how good the flue is this air along with foul smells will be expelled into neighbours' gardens and bedrooms.

"Huge ugly industrial bins will be sat out front taking up the parking space.

"Food waste will attract vermin and smell to high heaven.

"I am fighting for my daughters right to enjoy her garden for the first time this summer and to breath fresh, clean air."

Mrs Botttrel received a round of applause before District council chairman and parish councillor Dave Stallan argued the plan's parking provision was inadequate.

District and parish councillor Anne Grigg added: "The proposal is detrimental to the neighbours from noise and odours. The stack would be in very close proximity to a bedroom window.

"The parish council and preservation society have tried to make the shopping area very attractive. All this effort could be spoilt by litter and possible anti-social behaviour."

Despite officers suggesting that another retail use for the property would be hard to find and that the cafe was therefore 'important for the vitality and viability of the High Road and area', councillors overwhelming voted down the proposals eleven to one, with two abstentions.