RESIDENTS living near a traveller site fear a “Dale Farm situation” if planning permission is granted for six static homes.

The McCarthy family set up the unauthorised site in Janda Fields, off Fane Road, Thundersley, in August 2012 and then applied to Castle Point Council for retrospective planning permission for two caravans.

Permission was eventually granted but the family has now applied for further retrospective planning permission to remove one caravan and install six static homes on the site.

Bill Dick, councillor for St Peter’s ward, said he would oppose any further development.

He said: “We are going to end up like Basildon if we are not careful. If it’s retrospective then they have got to a certain point without planning permission which is not really nice.

“I think we have been fairly decent to them.”

The council initially refused the original application, so brothers Miles and Michael McCarthy and their nephew, also called Miles McCarthy, took the matter to the planning inspectorate and won their appeal in July 2015.

It is understood they bought the land for about £83,000 in 2012.

Despite granting the appeal, planning inspector Simon Hand said the site was “temporary, albeit long-term” and said that when the McCarthys leave the site they must remove their caravans and any other structures they have set up on the field.

A partial award of costs was also made against the council over the site, which was once home to an animal sanctuary.

At the time, Castle Point MP Rebecca Harris said she was shocked by the decision.

She said: “I’m absolutely staggered, we said we were going to be tougher on travellers on the green belt. I don’t think the planning inspectorate has listened to the Government.”

The new scheme would see six static homes, with parking space for 12 cars.

The submitted planning application says there are currently three caravans on the site and the new pitches will be “for MMM and P McCarthy only”.

Mr Dick said: “The McCarthys came and they were quite well-behaved at the planning meeting. In fact I had to escort them out the back door to protect them from the public. It was quite a fraught meeting.

“I think they have settled in and have been no problem, I have been happy with their behaviour. But if they are talking about six then I think it’s a bit too much.”

One resident, who asked not to be named, said the plans could lead to further development.

She said: “I fear this will end up in a Dale Farm situation, we always said it would be the next Dale Farm.

“Everyone is worried about it. We had to put up with the first group but now we don’t know what to expect.”

Another said: “The family have been no bother since they’ve been here but there has to be some limits. They already pushed it with the first lot of caravans now we have this.

“Hopefully the council will see sense and turn them down. I will certainly be making my opinions known.”