ANGRY residents packed into a village hall to protest against plans to add 500 new homes to their community.

More than 100 people packed into the Hullbridge Centre in Windermere Avenue, Hullbridge, to speak out against plans to build 500 homes on green belt land off Malyons Lane.

The plans have been submitted to Rochford District Council as part of a major house building strategy for the district.

But Brian Carleton, chairman of the Hullbridge Residents’ Association, which organised the meeting, said the group was ready to submit a dossier of evidence against the plan.

Mr Carleton, a former chartered surveyor, said: “We will be hand delivering our objection document on Thursday, so they can’t help but take notice of us.

“Our document is up to 52 pages so far. It refers to all the relevant planning policies we feel are not being kept to.

“We think that when we have completed it, we could have a withdrawal of the plans.

“It is our last opportunity to do anything.”

Mr Carleton, who was joined in leading the meeting by retired architectural technologist, John Surgett, said if the plans went ahead, the population of the village could rise by about 30 per cent.

The residents’ association objects to the plans due to a lack of adequate roads in the village and surrounding area, flooding, as well as insufficient healthcare and educational provision.

Lesley Spencer, a Hullbridge Residents’ Association member, said: “Something has to be done because the school system is already at stretching point.

“FitzWimarc is already oversubscribed and Sweyne Park will not be able to take on many.

“We may end up with families taking children to different schools, with different term times and different opening hours.

“There would be no sense of community and no-one wants that – we all want to remain as a village.”

Mr Surgett raised the issue of the planned homes, telling angry residents that many were set to be three-storey town houses.

He said: “They are just not inkeeping with the current environment.

“The developer stated they would respect existing views to the countryside, but I don’t see how that can be the case.”

Members of Hullbridge Residents’ Association will present their lengthy document to the council at a planning meeting on Thursday along with a mass of objection letters from village residents.

No developer has yet been found to build the homes.

Planners back large housing scheme

THE first of a number of expected large-scale planning applications across the Rochford district has been recommended for approval by council officers.

Plans for 500 homes west of Rayleigh, on land between London Road and Rawreth Lane, were submitted to the council in August, and will be discussed at a development committee meeting on Thursday.

While the application is only an outline proposal, meaning the majority of the final details – other than site access – are reserved for later discussion, its approval would be a nail in the coffin of campaigns to stop the green belt development.

It could also give an indication of how a vote may go for the similar application in Hullbridge, both of which are part of the council’s housing provision plans up until 2025.

The meeting will be held in public, but as with most meetings, members of the public had to request in advance to speak.

Linda Kendall, leader of the Rayleigh Action Group who took the council to the High Court in an attempt to quash the plan, has been refused permission to speak.

She said: “It’s great isn’t it?

One person has put their name in and that’s the total allowed to defend the whole of Rayleigh.”

It is understood that Mark Francois, MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, who has submitted a formal objection to the plan, has requested to speak.