Cherished green belt land is at risk of future development under council plans, the organiser of a public meeting has said.

Chairman of the Epping Society Andrew Smith said the public is “anxious” about green belt development, which will be discussed at an open meeting at Epping Hall in St John’s Road next Friday (January 22) with speakers including district MP Eleanor Laing.

Epping Forest District Council is currently making a new local plan, which designates what land should be built on.

It is also reviewing parcels of green belt land, some of which may be freed-up for new buildings.

In September last year a report found more than 11,000 new houses are ‘needed’ - but may not necessarily be built - in the district between 2011 and 2033.

Referring to the green belt review, Mr Smith said: “The areas they chose to study seem to be fairly arbitrary and they have scored them accordingly to various criteria.

“It is unquestionably a lead up to a review of the green belt for development.

“The Epping Society naturally expect the district council wants to get rid of some of the green belt to build on it.”

Mr Smith ran against Mrs Laing as a candidate for UKIP in the general election, but he said the issue is not “party political”.

“We just want the public to ask questions,” he said.

“People are anxious because they want to preserve the green belt.

“People are uneasy about large number of houses being built.”

The meeting has been supported by the Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG), which regularly campaigns to stop inappropriate developments.

Chairman Dr John Warren said: “TBAG, along with the Epping Society, share the common cause of wanting to preserve the green belt in the district.

“The meeting is raising the level of awareness within the district.”

As well as Mrs Laing, representatives from the district, town and parish councils are expected at the meeting.

The event opens at 7.30pm for Mrs Laing’s speech at 8pm.

The district council has been contacted for comment.