A PROTEST group determined to stop 660 homes being built in Rochford have met with an MP and council leader Mike Steptoe.

The “Rochford Supporters” held talks with James Duddridge, MP for Rochford and Southend East, and Mr Steptoe to air their concerns over the planned developments on Ashingdon Road and Oxford Road.

The group recently launched their campaign to halt further house building in the town, after serious traffic problems were predicted.

Protests have previously been organised by Holt Farm junior school, as the developer, Bloor Homes, plans to narrow the pavements on Ashingdon Road.

Melanie English, who launched the campaign, said: “It was a mini-protest. Duddridge listened to our concerns and what we had to say.

“He was understanding and made all the right noises but I don’t know if he took anything on board.

“They both talked about Rochford needing these developments. But the town has already met its housing target.

“We’ve tried getting through to MP Mark Francois too as part of the development is under his constituency.

“He hasn’t acknowledged us. At least these two recognise what we’re doing.”

Ms English also spoke of the campaign group’s future plans and how they hope to raise awareness among residents. She continued: “We’re still striving for the predicted traffic to be looked at again and for developments to be stopped. The figures used are from the early 2000s. The measurements from Ashingdon Road need to be re-done. We’ve got an upcoming protest on Saturday. We hope that hundreds will join.

“We’re then putting 5,000 leaflets throughout the town too.”

Mr Steptoe said: “We listened to their concerns. It’s only at the consultation stage at the moment which makes it difficult to answer all the questions.”

Mr Duddridge added: “They strongly believe there isn’t a need for new housing. Whilst I took on board what they had to say about the development, there’s a much-needed demand for housing. I reassured them that I’ll be raising the issue with Mark Francois.”