The main opposition party has urged the council not to move its operation from the town centre.

The Loughton Resident Association has raised a series of objections about the council's proposed move to North Weald Airfield, drawing on a previous relocations as a cautionary tale.

A spokesperson for the party said: "We think this is an unfortunate idea.

"Thirty years ago, our predecessors opposed the move from Loughton to Epping, and the eventual conversion of the Town Hall into a supermarket.

"The 'much needed' homes on that site never materialised.

"Those in favour suggested all sorts of savings would result from having the staff under a single roof.

"Now they are proposing the exact opposite on the grounds that most of the Epping site would be better as 'much needed' housing."

The LRA also questioned whether a move to a less accessible, rural location three miles from Epping town was justifiable in the context of climate change.

"They are proposing moving all but about 40 staff even further from the main concentrations of population in Epping Forest to a location in North Weald," the spokesperson added.

"Our main objection is that this would be a completely unsustainable location, as North Weald is not on the railway and is served by very unreliable bus routes.

"With climate change in the front of all our minds, the council should not be inventing a location that will be entirely car-dependent."