GROUPS of campaigners have joined forces in a bid to tackle plans for thousands of new homes and protect the area’s greenbelt.

The South East Essex Action Group was formally unveiled on Tuesday – Democracy Day – and aims to campaign on three issues – housing targets, localism and the green belt.

So far action groups and campaigners from Billericay, Rayleigh, Hullbridge, Daws Heath and Jotmans Farm have signed up.

Mike Andrews is the chairman of the Billericay Action Group which first contacted other groups about creating the alliance.

He said: “We found we all share a whole range of issues.

“Three particular things are the unjustified number of houses, the impact of that on green belt – because they start using that land – and the general concept of listening to residents.

We have come together to look at these three areas.

“As we have had discussions, we have heard exactly the same story.”

He said the south east area of Essex faces a particular problem as residents generally travel between the east and west.

He added: “All of the councils are working individually, but the results are interlinked. For example, if Southend decides to build an extra 1,000 houses, that will mean a number of extra people on the trains.

“We are trying to understand how to work together and what benefits there are if we present a united voice.”

Each of the action groups are facing different challenges, such as a planning inquiry over land south of Jotmans Lane, in Castle Point, and they hope they will be able to help each other.

It is hoped that other groups will also join, but the group is focusing mainly on the south east Essex area.

The alliance also hopes to hold a meeting in February.

Email for more information.