COUNCILLORS have reacted angrily to four families losing their front gardens to an anonymous bidder at an auction.

The neighbours from Marine Parade, Beck Road and Zider Pass tried to buy the land, which is owned by Essex County Council, when it went under the hammer on Monday, February 25 but they could not match the top bid of £4,800.

After renting the strips of land for up to 25 years, the affected residents said they had tried to buy them on numerous occasions over the years, but were allegedly turned down by the county council.

Local councillors Ray Howard and Dave Blackwell have both been working on the issue on behalf of the families.

Canvey county councillor Mr Howard said he will now be meeting the county council’s cabinet member for finance David Finch again to talk to him about the photographs displayed at the auction.

The neighbours claim the images shown were not of the correct plot and the buyer will be “shocked” when they see what they have bought.

Mr Howard said: “If that is the case the whole thing is a mockery and needs to be looked into and I will take it up with David Finch.

“I am disappointed they were not able to purchase the land - to my judgement it’s only of any use to those residents that front on to it so I do sympathise with them.”

Mr Blackwell, leader of the Canvey Independent Party, had also been asked to help the families when they first learnt the land was going to be sold.

He added: “I’m bemused by it all. Someone has bought those front gardens with no idea what they are buying.

“The way these residents have been treated is absolutely disgraceful.”