A RARE type of bumblebee lives on the proposed site of 725 new homes, a public meeting was told.

About 180 people attended a meeting to fight plans for a massive housing development on meadowland at Dry Street, Laindon.

Dr Rod Cole, who was representing the Wildlife Trust, told the meeting there was a rare bumblebee on the site.

Last week, the Echo revealed that a ‘secret report’ showed a badger site could be destroyed if the development went ahead.

Basildon Council claims it decided not to make the report public because of fears about badger baiting.

Frank Last, from Essex Badger Protection Group, told the meeting at the Lee Chapel Community Centre he had been allowed to see the report but was ‘gagged’ against revealing its contents, after being told it could attract badger baiters. 

He said that he had never faced this problem with any other council and usually they come to him for advice.

He added: "I've pointed out to them in this part of Essex we don't have any badger baiting and if they did they certainly wouldn't be taking a risk so close to houses.

"The only threat to the badgers is the developers who are going to destroy their habitat."

Participants at the meeting discussed the possibility of staging a protest outside Basildon Council when the plans are heard on March 12.

Danny Lovey, GAG (Green Action Group), said he would keep in touch with residents about the protest via email.

He urged people to write letters to the Echo to “vent their frustration” and continue to send petitions to the council.