GREEN belt campaigners have distanced themselves from Castle Point MP Bob Spink’s new Independent Save Our Green Belt party.

Members of both Thundersley-based Hands Off Our Greenbelt and the Canvey Green Belt Campaign have been quick to stress they are non-political organisations.

Hands Off campaigners persuaded Castle Point Council to scrap plans to allow as many as 750 homes on land north of Daws Heath Road, Thundersley.

Now Dr Spink is using his own Save Our Green Belt posters to publicise his new party, featuring a background and stop-sign logo similar to the one used by the lobby group. The posters also use the words “Hands off Our Green Belt”.

Graham Bracci, from the Canvey campaign, which is fighting proposals to build 400 homes behind the Dutch Village, said: “As a group, we are not political. Obviously, Bob Spink thinks there are votes to be had in the issue.”

Paul Saunders, one of Hands Off Our Greenbelt’s founders, had a similar message. He said: “We want to make it clear we are not a political party and we are not siding with anyone.

“Dr Spink approached us a while ago and asked if he could use the slogan.

“We agreed on the grounds we would let the Conservatives or Labour use them as well, as long as they supported our stance.”

Mr Saunders, 56, of Daws Heath Road, Thundersley, said two members of his committee had been approached a couple of months ago by a mysterious third party who asked them if they would consider standing in the borough council election in May.

Dr Spink’s new party will field candidates in all eight of the borough council’s mainland wards in the forthcoming borough election.

There has been speculation the Dr Spink’s Independents might form an alliance with Canvey Island Independent Party councillors if they are elected in May.

Canvey Green Belt Campaign’s Mr Bracci, 60, of Holland Avenue, Canvey, said: “Speaking as a Canvey resident, I think this is the only chance to restore some balance to the council.”

Dr Spink, a former Conservative and UKIP MP, has been representing Castle Point as an independent since November 2008, having quit the Tories eight months earlier.

He was first elected as the borough’s Conservative MP in 1992. He lost his seat in 1997, but won it back in 2001, again for the Tories.