DETERMINED residents have won a battle against council plans to rename streets on their estate.

Neighbours on Laindon’s Five Links estate teamed up to take Basildon Council to court after the authority announced it wanted to rename and renumber Somercotes, Mellow Purgess and Newberry Side, to fit in with a floral theme chosen by local schoolchildren.

They were concerned having to change addresses on bills and official documents would cost them money and cause problems.

Following a hearing at Basildon Magistrates’ Court, Judge Gareth Branston ruled the scheme must be scrapped.

He also ordered Basildon Council to pay £9,500 to Five Links Residents’ Association and Frank Ferguson, Ukip councillor for Lee Chapel North, to cover the costs of their legal battle.

Mr Ferguson said: “The council had the opportunity at a council meeting in October to reconsider it, but it didn't take that opportunity. It just forged ahead with it.

“The decision is great news for us. It’s a victory for common sense. Residents didn’t want it, and it did nothing to improve the estate.”

The renaming plans were put forward by Terri Sargent, Basildon councillor responsible for communities, who believed it would make the estate easier to navigate for the emergency services.

She also hoped it would help the estate, which has been known as Alcatraz since it was built in the Seventies, shake off its negative image.

Cross-party councillors backed a motion to scrap the renaming scheme six months ago, but Mrs Sargent ignored the vote and used her powers to push through the decision.

John James, chairman of Five Links Residents’ Association, said: “The result shows what can be achieved through hard work and determination.

“We really weren’t sure what to expect from the judge, but we’re delighted. Now we can concentrate on getting the estate sorted and making improvements the residents actually want.”

A spokesman for Basildon Council said: “Having received the courts decision we will now evaluate the judgment and consider our options.”

Mrs Sargent declined to comment.