SERIOUS questions have been raised about the legitimacy and consistency of a huge house building plan by campaigners desperate to save a beloved green space.

In the wake of the Local Plan’s publication in December, community groups and interested individuals have been pouring over the far-reaching document.

Foremost amongst them are those involved in the Save Jessel Green campaign, who came out in their hundreds before Christmas to protest the building of 154 homes on a well used community field.

They hope that if issues with the plan are highlighted and support for Jessel Green is strong enough, including a petition currently signed by 2,500 people, the build can be halted before the Local Plan’s March 31 deadline.

Loughton resident Mark Hickey has been one of the most vocal opponents of the plan.

He said: “Jessel Green is a vital space much loved by and necessary for the community.

“Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) has ignored opposition and sound reasoning against its development.

“Inclusions in the flawed local plan is based on scandalous misuse of evidence and bias. The EFDC councillors who voted for its inclusion should be ashamed.”

Mr Hickey has questioned why the Local Plan states 10,070 homes as the area’s future housing requirement, yet the document suggests building 13,152 dwellings on the proposed sites.

When asked whether a 30.6 per cent contingency was typical, the Department for Communities said such decisions were solely in the hands of local authorities.

Question marks also hang over arguments made by Cllr Chris Whitbread, who recently cited comments by the Conservators of Epping Forest when asked why two large sites in Theydon Bois were removed from the plan.

In fact, the Conservator’s December 2016 submissions does not suggest Theydon Bois should be removed, instead disagreeing “with the proposed loss of green space at Borders Lane and Jessel Green.”

Further confusion has followed the comments of Cllr John Phillip at the Local Plan meeting on December 14, when he said Theydon Bois was exempt because it was a flood risk.

Not only was this not mentioned in the draft plan, the council’s Strategic Flood Risk Assessment 2015 puts Loughton and Buckhurst Hill at a similar level of risk as Theydon Bois.

Epping Forest District Council did not comment by the time of publication.