BASILDON Hospital bosses were unaware the controversial Dry Street housing development would lead to the loss of a landing base for the Essex Air Ambulance.

Trust bosses will now work to try to identify a new landing strip after the homes plan was approved last week.

The helicopter flies critically ill patients to the hospital by landing onland owned by South Essex College off Nethermayne an average of once a month.

But the development, including a primary school and shops, will cover the college site and neighbouring meadows at Dry Street, meaning the loss of the informal helipad, where the air ambulance would be met by ambulances.

Basildon Council planners consulted health bosses about the impact of the influx of residents on hospital capacity and its ability to expand and the NHS raised no objections.

However, no one was asked about the impact on the air ambulance.

Details of the loss emerged during the crucial planning vote on Tuesday after residents raised fears.

The plans were still approved by five votes to four.

A hospital spokeswoman said: “The trust was consulted regarding the Dry Street development and has fed back to the planning authority on a number of matters.

“We were not specifically consulted in respect of the air ambulance landing site as this service is not managed by the trust.

We are not aware that an alternative landing site has been identified, and will work with our partner organisations as they find an alternative.”