It's five years ago since campaigners, some of whom had waved placards urging 'stop the gunpowder plot', were able to celebrate after proposals for a historic site were rejected.

Highly controversial plans to build a children’s activity centre at a much-loved heritage attraction have been defeated.

At an “extraordinary” meeting of Epping Forest District Council on June 6, councillors voted against plans for the Royal Gunpowder Mills (RGM) site in Beaulieu Drive, Waltham Abbey.

Activity company PGL and the RGM’s charitable foundation had hoped to build a children’s activity centre at the attraction, one of the district’s most important heritage sites where explosives were manufactured from the 16th to the 20th century.

The plans included accommodation buildings, dining and changing rooms, building conversions for accommodation and classrooms, a new water lake, as well as zip wires and ‘tunnel trails’.

Many people had opposed the development, amid fears that it could result in a loss of money to the existing visitor attraction, a negative impact on wildlife and reduced public access.

At the civic offices in Epping High Road, councillors voted to refuse permission for the plans, because of the possible impact the size of the development would have had on the green belt and conservation.