Parish councillors have criticised the lack of new or improved sports facilities for the area in the district council local plan.

North Weald Parish Council slammed Epping Forest District Council’s Local Plan for failing to provide new sports facilities despite plans to build 1,050 new homes in the area.

Plans had been considered for a new leisure centre on North Weald Airfield, however following advice from Sport England, the district council decided to locate the leisure centre on the new St John’s Road development in Epping.

Speaking at Monday's parish council meeting, council clerk Sue de Luca said: "We are unhappy about this. To get that amount of homes and have no leisure facilities I believe is wrong. I feel we have been really hard done by."

Councillor Terry Blanks said: "We are between Epping which has had fine sports facilities and a sports centre for years.

"We are three miles from Ongar which has the same, and a swimming pool. North Weald has absolutely ziltch.

"We were hopeful that in the Local Plan to have got something out of it. All we have got is lots more houses."

A spokesman for the North Weald Bassett Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group said: "This decision has left us astounded and dismayed. This means residents in North Weald Bassett village will be forced to travel to Epping, Ongar or further afield for their leisure needs.

"The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group cannot see how this will lead to North Weald becoming a more sustainable village."

A district council spokesperson said: “The needs of North Weald Bassett residents will be met through improved amenity spaces and leisure facilities as outlined in the council’s Infrastructure Delivery Plan and LPSV Policy P6 (North Weald Bassett).

“Planning applications will only be allowed that contribute towards the improvement of open spaces such as the provision of walking and cycling facilities, and new community uses. The nature of these uses will be negotiated as part of the masterplan and planning application process, in consultation with the local community.

“A feasibility study was carried out on the development of a new leisure centre at North Weald Airfield and St John’s Road, Epping.

“On April 11, 2019, the council’s cabinet agreed that the St John’s Road Opportunity Area would be the more suitable location for a new leisure centre compared with North Weald Airfield.”