A beloved green space has been saved from development after being removed from the local plan.

Epping Forest District Council’s (EFDC) plan to build 154 homes on Jessel Green has been scrapped, it was revealed at a council meeting last week (October 17).

The council, despite scrapping the plans, intends to stick to its target of 11,400 homes, which it believes it can achieve with the other sites already established in the local plan.

The plans to build on Jessel Green, voted through the EDFC local plan in December 2017, prompted an outpouring of anger.

Protests have been held and the community has rallied to save the space from development.

Leader of the Save Jessel Green campaign Neil Bartlett and his wife Amanda posted their reaction on Facebook, saying: “After nearly 4 years of our community fighting to save our beautiful Jessel Green, we’ve only gone and done it.

“As we have said before we are proud to be part of a community that is willing to fight for what it believes in and this campaign is proof of that.

“This page will continue as the next stop is village green status! We can do this! Let’s protect our JG forever.”

Cllr Stephen Murray, a Loughton ward independent, labelled the news as “excellent” and evidence of “the power of a well organised community campaign.”

He added: “A huge thanks to all those involved in the Save Jessel green campaign.

“It’s a great pity that EFDC didn’t listen much earlier.

“Loughton Town Council would have much preferred to have spent the money spent on legal fees defending Jessel Green at the planning enquiry on re furbishing one of our local playgrounds.

“I do now hope that our district council has learnt an important lesson about the need to listen to local residents rather than attempt to impose such unpopular policies.”

The plans were scrapped in line with recommendations made by a government planning inspectors’ in August.

Inspector Louise Phillips “described Jessel Green as "a vast, unfenced open space at the centre of a large housing area" with the space contributing "significantly to the character and appearance of the area and lends itself to a range of leisure activities.”

“It is clearly well used by local residents, including for organised events", she continued. "Whilst there are a number of other open spaces in the vicinity of the site, none which I observed compare to Jessel Green in respect of either scale or character.

“Given the importance of Jessel Green to both visual and social amenity, the benefit of the proposed housing would not outweigh the harm which would be caused by the loss of the open space.”

Cllr Chris Pond, Loughton Residents Association, welcome the news but warned the green could yet again come under threat of development.

“Jessel Green is saved for the present. Covetous eyes will doubtless look at available n it in the future, though, so we must now turn our attention to preserving it beyond this local plan period, which ends in 2033”, he said.

“But for the present, we may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing. When Loughton pulls together, what can stop us?”