JUST one per cent of respondents to a council housing plan support the allocation of 1,800 homes to be built in Rayleigh.

Rochford District Council has been holding a consultation on its draft local development framework, which would mean the bulk of new homes required by the Govern-ment to be built in the area would go to Rayleigh.

But of nearly 200 responses to the council so far, only two have been in support of the idea.

Chris Black, Liberal Democrat group leader on the council, has been among the most vocal opponents of the proposed allocation of homes.

He said: "I understand there are more responses to be processed, which are likely to be very much the same. I think this vindicates the stand taken by a number of Rayleigh councillors on the issue, and our demand for an extra consultation day when it was only proposed to have the exhibition in the town on a Sunday."

Tory Rayleigh councillor Simon Smith, who is chairman of the development control committee, said: "I know there is huge opposition in Rayleigh to the proposals, but the council is between a rock and a hard place. The Government is telling us we have to accommodate this number of new houses. The allocation of 1,800 new homes to Rayleigh is part of the proposal put forward for consultation, but it is certainly not cast in stone."

The Conservative-dominated Rayleigh Town Council is also against the proposals, saying western Rayleigh has taken more than its fair share of housing already. John Dawson, vice-president of the Louis Drive Residents' Asso-ciation, in western Rayleigh, said: "We have a meeting shortly and I am virtually certain we will be opposing this strongly."

But Shaun Scrutton, the district council's head of planning, said: "There seems to be a rumour going around that district councillors have decided exactly where all the housing is going, but this is not true."