The loss of green space is at the centre of a list of concerns held by people opposing plans to destroy a section of playing field and build a medical centre and retirement complex in its place.

In November 2016 an application submitted by Essex County Council and NHS Midlands & East was given outline planning permission by Epping Forest District Council, which also played a part in putting forward the proposals.

It would see the disused Ninefield Community Centre demolished and facilities including a health centre, a mini-football pitch and 60 independent living apartments built on the field surrounding where it stood.

When the plans first came before the council opposition from those living nearby was strong, with 1,300 people signing a petition calling for them to be rejected.

Residents' anger over the project subsided after the application was approved and while the leisure centre was being built last year.

The presentation of updated plans to the public last week has prompted those originally opposed to the project to start fighting again.

Anne Kipps, admin assistant at Hillhouse CofE Primary School, said: "They brought out the same plans they showed us in November. It is still three stories high in places and no real changes have been made.

"It is being built on the flat so it will tower over us.

"I live by the site and it is going to be 35m away from the nearest building."

For Mrs Kipps the biggest single issue is traffic and parking.

She continued: "People get fined for being in the car park for more than two hours at the leisure centre so they park on the roads. People are parking on the pavement. At school times it is manic out there already.

"A child nearly got run down there recently and I have trouble getting over the road now, so what's it going to be like with all these new houses and the medical centre?"

Those opposing the scheme have called for another traffic survey to be done to reflect the changes the leisure centre has had on the roads, the most recent one having been conducted in 2016.

Much like campaigners fighting to protect Jessel Green from development and residents who saved the field on Marlescroft Way in Debden from becoming a council car park, the loss of green space would be devastating.

Mrs Kipps added: "It is a safe haven and a large open space for children to play, joggers, walkers, boot camps, football. The list is endless really.

"I have lived here for 34 years and my children grew up on that field."

While the number of objection letters from members of the public far outweighed those in support, in 2016 the parish council, most district councillors and Sport England were in support.

Ward councillor David Dorrell told a planning meeting: “I think the scheme has a great deal of merit in parts.

“I believe that the area is in desperate need of regeneration."