ATTEMPTS to stop new homes being built close to Southend Airport have backfired with the plans to come forward AHEAD of schedule instead.

Families had called for land in Lundy Close used by children to play on to be protected following plans to build 31 new homes on the street in Eastwood.

But rather than agree to the motion, council leader Councillor Ian Gilbert said he wanted to move the plans forward ahead of 2027.

He said: “The intention to use this site was progressed under the previous administration, we all talk the talk in respect of genuinely affordable housing but here is a chance for us to deliver some on land we own.”

He went on to say he would be instructing council officers to appoint an architect and design team to begin drawing up more detailed plans.

Councillor Martin Terry pointed out to the council leader that residents have been concerned about the scale of development and asked if there could be “some compromise”.

Tory councillor Mark Flewitt, who represents the ward, said it was “inflammatory” and “insensitive” to residents for the council leader to not only reject the motion but speed up plans.

He said: “The land in question is too small to play host to that many homes without there being a detrimental effect in the standard of living experienced by residents.

“Not only will these homes result in the destruction of many old trees on the land, there is also no room in the street for parking of the additional cars that will inevitably join the area.”

Lundy Close resident Laura Newman, 32, said: “I feel utterly let down by the council. Many residents have raised their concerns about this potential development to the council and we have been dismissed out of hand.

“Now children have a place to have fun outside but this development will force them inside or even force them to have to play on a busy street.” Further plans will be brought to the council.