DOZENS of new homes are set to be built as part of a controversial development which led to a 5,000-name petition.

Planning officers have recommended councillors approve phase three of the Dry Street development for 44 homes in Langdon Hills.

Outline planning permission for the scheme was originally given in December 2013, with the full plan proposing 725 homes, a new primary school and shops.

However, it faced significant opposition from residents including a petition signed by 5,000 people. Their objections centred on the loss of wildlife and the Longwood Riding School having to relocate to Barleylands Road, in Billericay.

The development, known as Westley Green is being built by developer Redrow.

Planning documents describe the 44 homes as “traditional family housing” which will be a mix of detached and semi-detached properties.

They will each have rear gardens, car parking and some on-street parking bays for visitors.

The council’s planning officer notes in a report that this phase of the plan “creates a pleasant low-density development in a setting that takes account of its surroundings and utilises the existing natural features on the site to create a good quality environment”.

When the plans were first announced legal challenges were put forward, including having the area named a community asset, but these failed.

Since then, permission has been granted in phases with the first for 181 homes being approved in September 2015, the second for 192 approved in July 2017 and the first half of phase three approved in September 2017.

In February last year, 41 three and four-bedroom homes were released to the market but quickly came under fire for being unaffordable.

Independent Councillor Kerry Smith said at the time that the prices – which ranged from £381,995 for a three-bed home to in the region of £645,000 for a five-bedroom property – would only attract Londoners and not be in the price range of many people from the Basildon district.

A decision on the latest phase will be made at a planning committee meeting held in Basildon on May 7 at 7pm. The plan is expected to be approved as it is in line with the plans when outline approval was granted by Basildon Council.