A CONTROVERSIAL plan for 455 new homes on green-belt land could lead to wildlife becoming extinct in parts of Essex, an environmental campaigner claims.

The proposals would see the 455-home development on Rayleigh Road, Thundersley, along with a community hall, health facilities, open space and a nursery.

But neighbours have raised major concerns about the “devastation”, claiming the loss of wildlife on the land would cause irreversible damage.

Animals include muntjac deer, fallow deer, barn owls, tawny owls, little owls, foxes and badgers.

Campaigner Jon Fuller, from South East Essex Friends of the Earth, said: “Just a small loss of land can be the tipping point where they go extinct from our corner of Essex.

“That’s what we’re seeing.

“We now risk the extinction of a quarter of UK mammals if that site and others like it go ahead. That’s what we achieve when seeing a collapse in wildlife.

“It can be just one site that tips us over the edge. They’re never coming back if they go extinct.”

Dorinda Tracey, 63, from Thundersley, said they are worried about losing so many species from the area.

She added: “In the last two years I’ve seen deer and one has even been in our garden. This is their natural habitat.

“They were here before we were.

“The wildlife now is suffering. It’s disappearing.”

Julie Moon lives less than 10ft away from the development site. She purchased the property seven years ago and said she “had to pay a premium” for the views.

She added: “There are lots of wildlife about to lose their habitat including badgers, bats and foxes on this site and the surrounding area also has a major problem with both flooding and potholes.

“There’s no way there’s two small surrounding roads will be able to cope with excess traffic.”

A spokesman for developers, This Land said: “Environmental impact is something that This Land takes very seriously.

“As part of the consultation on a proposal to build new homes on land east of Rayleigh Road, This Land welcomes residents’ concerns on issues such as wildlife and air pollution.

“These are issues that This Land will be addressing as part of the development of a masterplan and the appropriate measures will be taken to mitigate against any environmental impact.”