Residents are growing concerned after a group of travellers have set up site on green belt land in a village.

A planning application to allow caravans to pitch up on the site has been submitted to Rochford District Council to make the site off Pudsey Hall Lane, in Canewdon, permanent.

They are already starting to lay down hardstanding which is used to park their vehicles and caravans on, even though the application is yet to be approved by the council.

The travellers arrived on the bank holiday weekend earlier in the month and have remained there since.

A concerned resident, who asked to remain anonymous, has told how people living in Canewdon are becoming anxious about the site and the potential that it could become permanent.

He said: “What’s happened was that a planning application went in for a permanent traveller site sometime before the bank holiday.

“But the travellers have already started laying down hard standing.

“They have brought caravans onto the site before the application has even been approved.”

The resident went on to point out: “The problem is it’s green belt land.”

Certain areas are designated green belt to ensure natural areas are preserved.

They serve to protect the wildlife, air quality and protect the unique character of rural communities.

The resident said: “They just don’t seem to care that the land is green belt.

“And Rochford District Council aren’t doing a single thing about it.”

He added that an elderly disabled gentleman who lives next to the site is growing increasingly distressed.

He said: “It’s causing him a great deal of stress.

“It’s disgraceful.

“There is another site nearby which is exactly the same.”

He continued: “It’s very intimidating and they clearly just seem to be doing what they like.

“Something needs to be done.”

A spokesman for Rochford District Council confirmed that the land was designated green belt and added: “The travellers arrived over the bank holiday weekend.

“The travellers own the land and have submitted a change of use application to the council.

“The planning application is currently invalid as it requires additional information.

“It will not be validated and accessible on the planning portal until officers receive the relevant missing information.”