A 19-year-long wait to redevelop a former industrial site which was abandoned after a fire will end as Essex councillors have approved a plan for redevelopment.

Epping Forest District Council’s area planning sub-committee east approved an application by Luna Developments for the 23 homes at a meeting on August 10.

The Gypsey Mead Works site, which lies at the junction between Moreton and Ongar Road in the village of Fyfield, was called an “eyesore” by residents and councillors, saying its condition had become “worse and worse” over the years.

But some questioned whether the village could cope with more houses, claiming sewage infrastructure was already struggling and there would not be enough parking for the new residents and visitors.

Michael Dick, of Luna Group, said the meeting marked “the end of a very long road” for everyone involved with the site, including the community.

He said a drainage strategy had been agreed with the council and Thames Water and stressed there would be no risk of flooding.

He said: “The benefits are numerous. A significant benefit to Epping Forest District Council in terms of housing delivery, an improvement to surface water drainage and sewerage in the village, a marked addition to biodiversity financial contributions to the council and the community and a final solution to a problem site which was abandoned some 19 years ago.”

He also said Luna Developments would be “more than happy” to allocate land next to the site for overflow parking.

Local resident Tim Wadley said he agreed the site was an “eyesore” which needed improving, but said an earlier plan for 14 houses was more appropriate.

He told the committee: “The design all seems to be a bit crowded and tight and going for 2.5 storey buildings when there are none around it.

“Parking provision is woefully inadequate and the developer should be asked to provide a better plan and we need to know what’s going to be done to prevent issues with the sewerage in the future.”

Mr Wadley said nearby properties had experienced problems with backed up sewage in the past and urged this problem to be addressed before people move into the new houses.

Barbara Saward, chair of Fyfield Parish Council, echoed Mr Wadley’s statements over parking and drainage, and claimed a sewer in the village recently burst, spreading sewage over the fields.

Cllr Raymond Balcombe (Con, High Ongar, Willingale and the Rodings) said: “I’m glad to see something happening to that site, I drive past it for the last 19 years and it’s got worse and worse.”

However, he echoed concerns over parking and sewage, and also said local people should be prioritised for any affordable homes.

Cllr John Phillip (Con, Theydon Bois) said the plans met Essex parking standards and warned new developments could not be held responsible for existing problems in the village.

The site is currently in the green belt, but is set to be removed if the council’s emerging local plan is adopted.

Nine of the houses will be affordable homes, in line with the council’s recommended minimum of 40 per cent.