PLANS to convert a garage into a yoga studio have prompted a less than zen-like reaction from frustrated neighbours.

Proposals submitted to the district council would see a single-storey storage garage in Forest Road, Loughton, transformed into a two-floor yoga and pilates studio.

But the plans - which propose only one extra parking space - have been met with a barrage of objections from 25 neighbours.

Many have spent years battling for residents-only parking permits and say parking in the street is already pushed to its limits by shoppers and commuters.

Other fears include noise, overlooking of neighbours' gardens and potential harm to forest birds which 'may fly into the glass and be killed/injured'.

"The parking in this road is horrendous," said Judith Woodman, of Forest Road.

"At this minute when I look out of my window there's absolutely no parking spaces, as far as the eye can see."

Loughton Town Council has also opposed the plans, calling the suggestion that studio-goers could park in Shaftesbury or be dropped off in nearby Smarts Lane 'preposterous'.

"They've submitted a photo of Shaftesbury that must have been taken at eight o'clock in the morning on Christmas day," added Mrs Woodman.

"It'll cause additional havoc."

Heidi Doe, whose house backs on to the site, said: "I moved here not just because of the beautiful views but for the peace and quiet.

"My garden will, in effect, be a car park."

The 40-year-old said neighbours were also worried noise and light from night-time classes would disturb the birds and bats of Epping Forest.

"We've had a pair of owls and they've been a pair now for two years and we've recently noticed a roost of 100 to 150 bats and they are in the trees right about where they proposed to build the studios," she said.

"They love their roost. We've lost so much of our forest already."

The application will go before district councillors on Wednesday and has been recommended for approval by planning officers.

The Guardian has approached the applicant and is awaiting a response.

  • Check The Guardian website for the result of Wednesday's meeting.