COUNCILLORS have thrown out the latest plans to build homes on green belt land in Castle Point.

The borough council has turned down Redrow Homes’s application to put 178 homes between Felstead Road, Catherine Road, Downer Road, Rhoda Road and Bowers Road.


The decision came even though the site is earmarked for development in the council’s five-year housing strategy.

The council’s planning committee went with the planners’ recommendation and rejected the proposals for the 21-acre site, branding them “inadequate”.

Councillors decided the development was wrong for the site, would spoil the appearance of the area and eat into too much of the surrounding woodland.

Redrow’s so-called King John’s Wood development would have included a village green, a park, three small public open spaces andawildlife pond.

An area of private woodland would also have been opened to the public.

Benfleet councillor Tom Skipp, said: “This site has been included in the draft Local Plan, but we need to get the right development for this space.

“This is not what I envisaged.

It is about maximising profit and some of the observations made by the experts on the ecology of the area show naivete.”

The plans had drawn widespread local opposition, including 600 names added to the Friends of Bowers Road Green Belt campaign group page on the Facebook website.

Another Benfleet councillor, Norman Smith, welcomed the decision.

He added: “I’m glad we have managed to stop this development on this site.

“It is a site with real beauty and to see that much intensification of properties would have ruined the area.

“What was originally proposed by the developers was a low-density application. which would have been acceptable for the area, but then to go for such intensification is a real disappointment.”

The Echo asked Redrow Homes for a comment, but none was forthcoming.