THOUSANDS of residents have backed the newly-found campaign group determined to stop a massive new housing estate being built in Rayleigh and Rawreth.

The Rayleigh Action Group, which only formed three weeks ago, already has more than 2,000 members on Facebook and has received more than 3,000 signatures on its online protest petition.

Now volunteers, who have distributed thousands of antiestate leaflets to homes across Rayleigh, plan to march on council offices next month when a Government inspector could approve the plan.

The group is harbouring support by encouraging members to get their friends and family to sign the petition and bombard Rochford District Council and secretary of state for local government Eric Pickles with letters.

The Government proposal is for 772 homes and a new traveller’s site on land known as Michelin’s Farm off the A130 in Rawreth near to the A127 Canvey turn-off.

Linda Kendall, who’s played a key part in the protest group’s formation, said all the support and letters will clearly show the Government inspector the strength of feeling against the development.

She added: “I’ve had more than 100 letters. They all say they didn’t know anything about these plans. We’ve even had people support us who can’t give names because it would cost them their jobs.

“Some people have given out 2,000 leaflets in one go. All the printing that’s been done for the meeting has been done for free.

“There will be posters that people are going to be able to take away and put in windows and letters explaining the proposals.”