DETERMINED residents raised £7,000 in just one week to continue their 18-year battle to stop hundreds of homes and save a treasured beauty spot.

More than 100 campaigners have dug deep and offered up their savings to maintain the ongoing fight against the controversial Dry Street development.

Members of Basildon’s Green Action Group will now use £5,000 to take to the stand in the High Court later this month.

They will argue their case for a judicial review to be held into the scheme for 725 houses, which was controversially passed in June 2013.

A judge threw out a written request for an appeal earlier this year.

Following a public meeting at Lee Chapel South Community Hall, The Knares, Laindon, the Echo told how Green Action Group had a solicitor lined up and a hearing date pencilled in – but needed to find £5,000 in a week to pay legal fees.

Group secretary Miriam Heppell, 52, of Gaynesford, Laindon, said the response was “astonishing” and they hit £7,000.

She added: “We knew the will was there, but it took a few days for the money to start rolling in, so we did doubt whether we would make it.

“It was the end of the month, so was particularly tough as people have got a lot of expenses, but this shows just how strongly everyone feels about Dry Street.

“Residents have been protecting this area for a long time, but this is the closest it has come to being destroyed.”

Supporters pledged whatever they could afford, ranging from £5 up to £500, while others have set up monthly direct debits.

Action group treasurer Pat Roberts of Sporhams, Basildon, said: “The fight is certainly still on. People have missed out on holidays or given up their savings for this.

“We’ve had people from as far away as Wickford pledge money.”

More cash will be needed in the future should the appeal get the go-ahead.

If a judge sides with Green Action Group, the Homes and Communities Agency, which owns the land, will have to come up with a whole new design – or the scheme could be thrown out altogether.