RESIDENTS are celebrating after controversial plans for a homeless hostel were turned down.

Councillors went against the recommendation of planning officers and refused the 16-bed hostel in Pound Lane, Laindon, after 25 jeering residents turned up to a heated meeting.

Furious residents were continuously told to stop interrupting the meeting after shouting out that councillors had already “made up their minds.”

Addressing the planning committee, Alan McClelland, of Pound Lane, said: “We are being rail roaded into this situation.

“We are facing being left with something that looks like an industrial cattle shed.

“You’ve already made your mind up that this is going through.”

Housing association Family Mosaic, which drew up the plans, said people who had been made homeless by fires would be staying in the hostel.

Residents argued the twostorey building was not suitable for Pound Lane because the street is currently made up of bungalows.

Dawn Stephenson, of Shrubbery Close, said she only found out about the plans a week earlier by chance.

She added: “Not everyone who lives there knows what’s going on.

“I’m not against hostels at all, but why does this sort of thing always have to come to Basildon?

“We already have five hostels situated within 300m of each other.

“Why can’t it go somewhere else?”

Some angry residents had already stormed out of the meeting before a decision on the hostel was made.

The cross-party planning committee unanimously turned the plans down as the site is already overdeveloped and the hostel would overlook neighbouring properties.

Stephen Hillier, Tory councillor for Langdon Hills, said: “I have very grave concerns about this and I am reluctant to stick my hand up in favour of it.”