OPPOSITION against plans to build 164 homes on Green Belt land is gathering pace.

Brian Sheridan is bidding to construct 114 houses and 50 apartments on the site of a nursery off Pick Hill in Waltham Abbey.

Plans for the nine-acre Knollys Nursery plot also include a health centre, pharmacy, convenience shop, parking, roads and a green.

But residents fear the Green Belt development would put too much pressure on roads, drainage and schools and more than 503 have signed a petition opposing the plans, which was handed in to the district council's Epping headquarters on Monday.

Neighbour Charles Brand, 83, of Pick Hill, said he could not understand how the narrow road would cope with the increased traffic.

"Everybody, even people who don't live in Pickets Hill, are up in arms about it," he said.

"There's no room to widen the road - it just makes no sense. It's going to be a nightmare."

He said he feared the plans would leading to a 'snowballing' of developments in the area if given the green light.

"I can walk now across fields all the way to Nazeing - but I won't be able to soon because once they start they'll carry on."

Mike Smith, 69, former chair of the Waltham Abbey Residents Association, has lived in the town for 46 years.

He said: "I fell in love with the place and over the years I have watched it be destroyed by councillors.

"This kind of protest has been going on here for years and it's always over the same thing and nobody seems to be listening.

"The people who are already living there, if that goes through God help them. There's no mention of infrastructure.

"I'm not degrading any area but do we want another Harlow?"

Waltham Abbey Town Council has also objected to the plan, calling the development 'intrinsically too large' for the town.

But Mr Sheridan's planning agents LM Associates say the development would combat the 'urgent need for the provision of affordable and shared ownership housing within the district'.

A district council decision on the application is likely to be made in January.