Attempts to push through a car park for council workers that would destroy an estate's field have been dubbed a "great social and moral injustice".

Almost a year after Epping Forest District Council unveiled plans to pave over a green on Marlescroft Way in Debden opposition to the proposals continues to grow.

More than 850 people have signed a petition opposing a scheme that would have 59 car parking spaces and three disabled bays for council staff built over a field that sits by a tight-knit housing estate.

Such public pressure was channelled by councillors, who threw out the plans with no votes in favour at a planning sub-committee on January 23 and then by seven votes to six at a district development meeting a week later.

Despite the clear opposition from hundreds of residents and local councillors the plans are not dead yet.

On March 18 a special full meeting has been called in which all 58 councillors from across the district will be able to vote on the plans.

Among those fiercely in opposition to the car park is David Mallindine, who lives on nearby Monksgrove.

He said: "The application by the council is cruel, unfair and unwanted by all residents on our estate.

"It is a great social and moral injustice where more than 850 signatures are presented by local residents against it.

"We are a high density, generally low-income, multicultural mix of residents, living peacefully together. We do not have much on our estate and really appreciate our green space."

Epping Forest Guardian:

While the prospect of losing the green is concerning enough for those who live nearby, the council's process has also caused widespread fury.

Christopher Roberts, Loughton Resident Association members for Alderton ward, accused the council of abusing its power by pushing through twice rejected plans.

He said: "Where the council is the applicant and the land owner, they gets a consideration that any other ordinary person or developer would not get.

"If any other developer had posed to put a car park on Marlescroft Way Green it would have been dead after it's first refusal.

"The council will now have third go at getting the result it wants by way of intimidation of its own Tory councillors using the whip."

Opponents of the plan are holding a rally on the green from 12pm on March 2.

A council spokesperson said the sub-committee members voted against officers' recommendations, which requires the application be sent to Development Management Committee.

Following the second refusal a quarter of members voted, as they constitutionally can, that the plans be sent to full council.

They added: “Currently residents and members of the public park on the road side at Marlescroft Way. The proposal would see designated off-street parking created on part of an area of grass land in the rear part of this residential area that would be used by staff moving into the Epping Forest District Council depot on Oakwood Hill. The parking area would be available for residents to park outside of office hours."