DETERMINED residents face another legal battle after Basildon Council revealed plans to appeal a judge’s decision over a controversial street renaming scheme.

Neighbours on Laindon’s Five Links estate teamed up to take the Tory administration to court after the council announced it wanted to rename and renumber Somercotes, MellowPurgess and Newberry Side, to it inwith a floral theme chosen by local schoolchildren.

They were delighted when Judge Gareth Branston ruled the project must be scrapped following a hearing at Basildon Magistrates Court, but their relief has been short-lived.

Phil Turner, leader of Basildon Council, told the Echo he had lodged an appeal because of concerns about a lack of detailed evidence being given at the original court case.

The Tory administration has serious worries about the emergency services not being able to find its way around the estate due to the complicated numbering system.

He said: “We have a duty of care for our residents and we need to go to appeal.

“At first I wasn't sure we should be spending taxpayers money on another court hearing, but when I took a step back and thought responsibly I realised we have to give it another chance. I can’t live with it on my conscience when it's a health and safety issue.

“Normally if we win these cases we ask for costs from the other party, but we would be asking for money from our own residents. Let’s see what happens.

“I don’t want to make the residents lives a misery, and I do want to apologise.”

Frank Ferguson, Ukip councillor for Lee Chapel, put his own cash into funding the original legal battle. He branded the Tory administration the “Billericay Mafia”, claiming cabinet members do not care about Laindon because none of them live in the area.

Mr Ferguson said: “They are nothing short of a dictatorship – local people’s views, needs and aspirations are repeatedly ignored by an out of touch group of bully boys.”

Chequered history of ‘Alcatraz’ homes

RESIDENTS fear having to chance addresses on bills and official documents would cost them money and cause problems.

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.

Councillors backed a motion to scrap the renaming scheme eight months ago, but Mrs Sargent ignored the vote and used her powers to push through the decision.

The ruling Conservative administration wrote to 533 affected householders in August 2014 – with 422 of them responding with letters of objection.

Five Links has been undergoing redevelopment for the past two decades.

The original homes were built in the late Sixties and Seventies, but structural defects, poor layout, high levels of crime and unemployment have long plagued the Laindon estate.