A PERMANENT caravan site could be created on a country lane in Wickford at the same location as an illegal camp was set up.

Several caravans were told to move on last year from a site in Newlands Road, Wickford and now there are plans to not just return but to do so with permission.

A planning application for three caravans initially at a site which currently has one.

Basildon Council needs to provide more pitches but this site is not included in the list of possible locations.

Under its local plan, Basildon Council needs to provide 56 traveller and gypsy pitches across the borough, including 15 in Wickford.

Wickford North councillor, Peter Holliman, stated this is not an allocated pitch, and he would be “gobsmacked” if the plans were approved.

Another resident told the Echo that despite the site being quite hidden, it is far from suitable for development.

She said: “I know most people will be against caravans pitching up, but this seems a bit of an odd place for it.

“Its a very small country lane and is quite hidden.

“If you approve some caravans for that site I would fear that they would look to expand, then the issue becomes difficult.

“We have had enough problems with caravans in this area.”

Mr Holliman added: “I would be gobsmacked if they approved this plan.

“A lot of time and money went into getting our local plan approved, and there was a huge amount of debate over traveller sites.

“We allocated specific sites for traveller pitches and this is not one of them.

“The local plan is in place for a reason, to ensure appropriate development takes place on appropriate sites.

“If we start approving plans for sites not included in our housing plan, then we are opening the flood gates.

“We may as well throw out the local plan and deal with every planning application individually, but it will not happen.”

Plans were submitted to the council earlier this month.