The council has been accused of making a "rash" decision as it "raids the public purse" in a bid to make a new development ready for leasing.

After agreeing to a Design and Development brief in 2008, Epping Forest District Council entered into a 153 year lease with Higgins Homes Plc to provide 64 homes and retail units at the old Sir Winston Churchill Public House in Debden.

Renamed the Landmark Building, a 2013 agreement saw the council receive freehold of the site and any income from the commercial units.

Despite letting agents finding occupiers for such units, they are not yet ready to be habitable.

To bring them up to standard the council has to fork out £84,000 in construction fees and £56,000 in specialist legal costs.

Chris Pond, Loughton Resident Association councillor for the Broadway Ward, was unimpressed with the capital spend the December 10 cabinet meeting has been asked to approve.

He said: "There was a headlong rush into this development, which has scarred the Broadway and the Loughton skyline permanently.

"The administration at Epping did not properly consider the need of shops, pub and restaurants, for instance, to have proper cooking odour dispersal and ventilation equipment.

"It was a rash and unconsidered decision to build it, and it's not surprising they are now having to raid the public purse to try to put it right and to allow the commercial units to coexist with people who have paid through the nose to buy the flats above."

In the report economic development officer Karim Pabani wrote: "In hindsight, the Council should have been more specific in the original development agreement in 2013 to avoid these issues.

"This is a key consideration in future negotiations of this type."