RESIDENTS are concerned about a growing mud mountain in a Shoebury park.

The earth, dug out as part of the work on Southend’s cliffs, is being stored on Gunners Park off Barge Pier Road.

The pile is near several homes, including the Garrison estate, as well as the new Hinguar Primary school.

The 3.5m-high pile of dirt is enough to fill 75 swimming pools and could stay there for up to 18 months – or until a controversial flood defence is built across Shoebury Common.

Councillor Ann Chalk says she has raised fears about pollution at the nearby school and wants the situation to be monitored.

She said: “I have asked for a pollution detector to be put on the roof of the school because I am concerned about the affect the noise and dust will have on the children.

“There was no consultation on it or anything and they are just using it, it is very inconsiderate to residents and especially the children at the school.”

Work on the £3.5million cliff slip repairs is moving along swiftly and by storing the mud in Shoebury the council does not have to pay to have it dumped or stored somewhere long term.

Campaigner Ray Bailey, 69, of Parkanaur Avenue, Thorpe Bay, said he was concerned about the area flooding due to the influx of clay.

He added: “It is entirely in the wrong place. There is a school nearby and there is noise and disruption.

“The stuff that is there is impermeable, it is clay. There are some houses close by that flooded in the Sixties. I think it is the wrong place.”

Residents bemoaned the loss of Gunners Park, which provided an open space for children to play on and dogs to run free.

Jacqueline Allsworth, 50, of Ness Road, Shoebury, said her terminally ill father could no longer take his daily walks in the park and she was now forced to walk her two dogs along main roads.

She and fellow dog walker John Drummond, 23, also raised fears for the safety of children forced onto the streets by the loss of the amenity.

Mrs Allsworth said: “It’s not just unsightly, it’s taken away a lot of memories. My mum died a few years ago and I used to walk in the park with her.

“It’s an eyesore and possible danger to young kids playing there.”

Fences around the earth in Campfield Road were down, allowing free access to the unsecured site at night.

Mr Drummond, also of Ness Road, said: “It will create more kids on the street because they don’t have a park to play in.”

Southend Council has already moved 7,500 cubic metres of earth from the cliffs to Gunners Park as part of “Operation Cliff Slip Remediation”.

It estimates it will take another 25 working days to move the total 25,000 cubic metres.

A spokesman said: “We have moved about a third of the earth we plan to store in Shoebury, which doesn’t account for all the material being excavated as part of the remedial work in the cliffs at Southend. Some of it is not suitable for storage at that.”