RESIDENTS have spoken out in anger after a councillor compared Pitsea market to a “shanty town”.

Conservative councillor Ann Blake, who is set to defend her seat in Pitsea South East at the forthcoming election, spoke out about the market and the Railway Hotel at a planning meeting.

Basildon Council was discussing the £30million masterplan for Pitsea, which could see a huge Morrisons built and the popular market moved on to the site of the Railway Hotel, which would be demolished.

The plans were deferred so councillors could speak to developer London and Cambridge Properties in more depth.

Mrs Blake said: “I was really excited to see these plans for Pitsea, but we need more than just a big supermarket and the market looks more like a shanty town at the moment.

“People have spoken about it being a vibrant market, but it is just not that anymore.

“The Railway Hotel is a pigeon loft and a car wash now. We are worth more than this in Pitsea.

“I think the market has been completely mismanaged by London and Cambridge.

“The way the containers are allowed to be left makes it look a mess. The traders like it because they can lock up their stock, but it makes the area look awful. “Most of the traders probably don’t live in Pitsea and they can go back to their nice houses.

“I have lived in Pitsea for many years and I want to see change here we need regeneration, but it cannot come at any cost.”

London and Cambridge Properties has been in talks with the market traders and held meetings to discuss the future.

Many traders were left unhappy with the plans for the market, where the new stalls take up 10ft by 12ft of floor space.

This is smaller than current stalls, which are 10ft by 20ft, but larger than many people feared.

Nick Burgess, director of London and Cambridge, said the new market would be in a better location and have enough stalls to accommodate everyone currently at the market.

Gary Behan, 41, of Long Mead, Pitsea, has run a stall at the market for 16 years.

He said he felt Mrs Blake’s description of the market was unfair.

He said: “This is people’s livelihoods we are talking about and some of the traders have been there for 40 years.

“The market does need to be rejuvenated, we all know that, but to describe it as a shanty town is just going too far.”