The fate of a green belt site in Benfleet could now rest with Government inspectors after developers lodged an appeal.

Persimmon Homes have appealed to the Government’s planning inspectorate after controversial proposals to build 265 homes on land south of Jotmans Lane, were thrown out by Castle Point Council last October.

A planning inquiry could take place in October or November when both sides will go head-tohead, to fight their case.

Campaigners say they will fight to the bitter end to save the 35-acre site from development.

Sharon Knight, of the Save Jotmans Farm action group, said: “Who knows what will happen.

Persimmon has all the money in the world to throw at this, whereas we are just a small group of residents funding everything ourselves.

“It just seems like a game to them, but to us it’s where we live and we want to protect it. We just wish they would go away, but they just won’t. We just need to keep fighting.”

More than 600 residents objected to the plans following concerns roads would struggle to cope with the extra traffic and the loss of a green belt site.

A planning inquiry was held in December 2012 over plans to build 165 homes on green belt land off Glebelands, in Benfleet.

Planning inspector John Felgate originally ruled in favour of the development, sparking fears it could also happen at Jotmans.

The Glebelands development was eventually thrown out by Secretary of State Eric Pickles and then again by a High Court judge, but it is still under contention by Fox Land and Property.

Campaigners say the fight for the Jotmans site has not been helped by land north and south of Jotmans Lane being earmarked for 800 homes under the council’s draft local plan.

Andrew Sheldon, Tory councillor for St Mary’s ward, said: “With the High Court judgement on Gelebelands, the updated Government guidance to the planning inspector and the democratic will of the council to look again at the local plan, this is a desperate all or nothing gamble for Persimmon.

“I say bring it on, we will be ready.”

A spokeswoman from the council said: “The council was notified last week an appeal has been lodged against the decision to refuse planning permission for this application.

“The appeal papers are with the planning inspectorate for validation, and once accepted, will be published on the council’s website.

“The appeal is likely to be heard by way of a public local inquiry, held in the council chamber and probably in either mid October or mid November.”