Plans for a major development including a cinema, a new town square, homes and new businesses on a seven-acre site in the centre of Epping could be scuppered by an Essex County Council proposal for a nursing home.

The site in St John’s Road, Epping, looked set to be developed by Frontier Estates to create a new commercial and leisure hub after plans were approved by two of the three landowners, the district and town councils.

But Essex County Council, which owns six acres of the land, is said to be pushing to build a nursing home at the site.

Will Rees, development director at Frontier Estates, said the county council proposal would not be the best option for the town.

He said: “The scheme is now in doubt due to a late nursing home bid for the ECC land in isolation.

“It would be tragic if this plan just disappears.

“A proposal for only part risks blighting the remaining plots which may lay empty: something which will put this part of the town centre to sleep economically.”

Mr Rees said interested tenants for the site include Everyman cinemas, Waitrose, Wagamama, Las Iguanas and Cote.

The proposal would also sees Epping Town Council move from Epping Hall, which would be demolished, into new offices in the Centre Point Building in St John’s Road.

A district council spokesman said: “Epping Forest District Council and Epping Town Council remain very excited about the proposals and we are confident the proposals including the cinema and town square remain the best option.

“In line with the very positive local response to the proposals, we are confident the county council will work with us towards the best result for the people of our district.”

A county council spokesman said: “The council is committed to ensuring residents of Essex get the best possible value for money and we continuously review our property options to ensure that is achieved.”

He added a date had not been set for a decision on the proposals.