A COUNCIL consultation on areas in the district suitable for extra housing and development has described a rural village as having a “low sensitivity to change” to the outrage of its residents.

Epping Forest District Council is currently preparing a “core strategy” for the district which when completed will form the basis of how its planning decisions will be decided until 2031.

Some of its criteria has already concerned the residents of Theydon Bois which has been classified as having a low to moderate sensitivity to change compared to higher density areas such as neighbouring Epping which is classified as a high sensitivity area.

Theydon Bois Action Group (TBAG) Is urging concerned villagers to look carefully at the consultation.

A spokeswoman for TBAG said: “Theydon Bois Action Group strongly object to the characterisation by EFDC that our village and its landscape have a low to moderate sensitivity to change.

“If this is not overturned then it will make any attempt to control the inappropriate enlargement of our village, which includes the development of sites for the Gypsy and Traveller community, more of a challenge.”

Mike Emmett, chairman of South Theydon Bois residents’ group, which was formed to oppose gypsy pitches in the village, said: “It's stated that Theydon Bois has a low threshold to change and there's nothing in the document to support that statement. If that statement becomes set in stone then that leaves the village open to all sorts of threats not least of all that imposed by gypsy and travellers sites.”

Theydon Bois residents are also concerned their village is often mentioned in the document in the same scope as the more widely populated areas of Loughton, and Buckhurst Hill and is included in the same “functional area” of Central Line settlements close to a tube station.

Sue Sowerby, of Forest Drive said: “The scoping report is causing much consternation within our village. There is so much information that is specific to other areas of Essex, and less pertinent to Theydon Bois, and vice versa.”

The full consultation document is available to view at eppingforestdc.gov.uk.

Residents have until June 18 to fill out their feedback questionnaire, which is also available on the council website.

The district council has been asked to comment.