Not a single councillor verbally defended the authority's own proposals to build over a field.

At the end of 2017 Epping Forest District Council proposed flattening a large portion of green common land opposite Marlescroft Way, a small road off Oakwood Hill in Debden.

In its place a car park would be built, to house the motors of the 70 to 80 council maintenance staff tipped to move to a depot on Oakwood Hill.

At a meeting on Wednesday evening the proposals were rejected by seven votes to six, with not one member verbally coming to the plans' defence.

Instead councillors and members of the public dug into proposals that would render the area a “concrete jungle” and attracted the ire of 865 residents who signed a petition in opposition.

Cllr Chris Pond, of the Loughton Residents Association, said: “The debate was remarkable and almost unique in that not a single councillor spoke up in favour of the application.”

Under the plans two thirds of the land and several trees will be removed to make way for construction.

One long term resident of Oakwoodhill Estate, David, made a passionate plea in defence of the community's beloved field.

He said: “This is their garden, this is their picnic area, this is their children’s play area, this is their green space that contributes to the wellbeing and that of their children growing up.

“The last thing this estate need and want are scores of cars not belonging to the residents up and down Marlescroft Way causing early morning noise, pollution and increased danger to our children.

“We should be encouraging people to be green and use our good public transport system.

“Our estate is a lovely place to live. Please don’t make it a concrete jungle.”

Several councillors voiced their support for keeping the Green Belt land as it is.

Cllr Chris Robert argued taking away green space from one of the most deprived areas in the district was “unacceptable”.

“The majority living in the do not have the benefit of a back garden and I am sure most us will take for granted,” he said.

“This application has an unacceptable impact on the character on the recreational area it detracts from its pleasant appearance.

“I find it hard find any way to support an application of this merit.”

Cllr Pond suggested a precedent could be set to build on other Green Belt areas following in the plans' wake.

Cllr Howard Kauffman described the proposal as a “TV program”.

“The fact that we have even considered taking it away is ridiculous," he added.

The proposals will not be considered by the full council sometime in March.