MASKED protesters joined forces in a show of solidarity against plans to “destroy” a “little oasis” with plans for 30 new homes.

The Residents Against Glyders Expansion - otherwise known as RAGE - stood their ground off Essex Way in Benfleet - in an effort to stop anyone building on the green belt land.

The group - outraged at the plans for the land off the Glyders by Reeds Hill Farm - fear the build will only spell disaster for the “abundance of wildlife” at the site.

The campaigners dressed in animal masks to underline the impact of the development on wildlife.

It follows a series of other protests in recent weeks targeting Rochford and Castle Point.


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Robert Baillie, leader of the group, claims 30 more homes would only worsen the already-existing issue with flooding in the area.

He said: “Having 30 homes here would just be totally unsuitable, there is an abundance of wildlife - badgers, foxes, owls, bats, adders, hedgehogs and muntjac deer to name a few.

“The land also regularly floods down into Essex Way as it is with houses and gardens nearby, this project will only add to the flooding issue and there is also a lack of access for construction.

“We also worry the impact this would have on all the trees too, which help to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. There are over 300 mature trees and lots of oak saplings, so we fear pollution will only get worse.”

Proposals - which are part of the Castle Point Council local plan - are set to be delivered by 2033 if approved.

However, the local plan has made clear that “sustainable drainage techniques” must be included to stop flooding.

Mr Baillie, 71 from Benfleet, added: “Although 30 homes may not seen many compared to other sites but for the size of the plot and the amount of houses it is actually one of the densest developments.

“We need to protect the little amount of original precious land we have for the sake of our health, wildlife and history - and we will not give up.”

A spokesman for Castle Point Council said: “The local plan is currently in examination with hearings to start on May 11 2021.

“The site is due to be discussed during the examination and Residents Against Glyders Expansion (RAGE) is on the list of attendees invited by the inspector to make their representations.”

Across south Essex, many campaigners have expressed concerns about mass house building in recent years.

There are fears roads, schools, NHS services and other infrastructure are not keeping pace with the scale of development in south Essex.