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PROTESTS are gathering strength as the news of plans for an estimated 10,000 homes in the district spreads.

A series of exhibitions is being held by Epping Forest District Council in an attempt to explain a 160-page consultation on exactly where the homes should go, as part of its Local Plan.

People in Chigwell, who say their village would effectively double in size if all the plots put forward in the consultation are built on, are holding a protest outside the exhibition there tonight.

Sue Lloyd, of the Chigwell Residents’ Association, said: “We must let the council know how strongly we oppose these plans before it is too late and all our green spaces have been built over.

“Chigwell’s infrastructure could not cope with a doubling in the number of residents.”

Plots of land around the village being put forward for possible development include Farmland off Hainault Road, fields near Vicarage Lane and space opposite the Bluebell restaurant in the High Road and the Metropolitan Police Sports Club, also in the High Road.

Harry Singh, 28, of Forest Lane, plays for a Sunday league football team at the club, said: “A lot of us are in uproar about this.

“If this was developed on, we would have to go out of the area. After the Olympics, we’ve seen a lot more people get involved in sport there.”

Waltham Abbey Residents’ Association has vowed to boycott the consultation over the plans.

Chairwoman Sue Calvert said: “This consultation is a biased document – we are not being given the option to say no.”

The association is worried that one option for how housing should be distributed across the district over the next 20 years would see just over half of it built in the town.

“Waltham Abbey stands to receive 51.7 per cent of all of Epping Forest District Council’s housing needs for the district if all of the sites go ahead,” said Mrs Calvert. “People don’t want it.”

The group staged a protest outside the Local Plan meeting in Waltham Abbey Town Hall last week and is drafting its own response document.

Exhibitions on the Local Plan are due to be held from 5pm to 9pm on the following dates and venues:

  • Tonight at the Chigwell Parish Council offices in Hainault Road, Chigwell
  • Tuesday, September 25 at Ongar Town Council’s offices in Banson’s Way
  • Wednesday, September 26 at Theydon Bois Village Hall in Coppice Row
  • Thursday, September 27 at North Weald Village Hall’s lounge in the High Road

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