We reported on mounting opposition to plans to effectively double the population of Chigwell ten years ago this week.

Protests against the plan to build an estimated 10,000 homes within the Epping Forest district have gained increasing support of the people of Chigwell.

There has been growing publicity surrounding this area since the first reveal of the exhibition explaining the 160-page discussion on exactly where the homes should go, two weeks ago.

Placards against the 1250 houses, planned to be built in the Chigwell, have been erected along the road of Chigwell Rise for over a week after a protest outside the Local Plan meeting in Waltham Abbey Town Hall last week.

The parts around the village being mentioned for possible development, on mainly green belt areas, include farmland off Hainault Road, fields near Vicarage Lane and area opposite the Bluebell restaurant on the High Road and the Metropolitan Police Sports Club, also on the High Road.

There are worries that if these houses were built the number of people in Chigwell would effectively double, putting more of a strain on the main roads. This would mean that there would be an increased danger for the number of schools within and around the Chigwell area during peak times.

A mother whose son is a pupil at Chigwell Primary said: “The roads are already full of cars during rush hour, but more cars on the roads would mean it would be more of a danger for the children to walk to school.”

The residents of Chigwell are bemused by this sudden plan to build on green belt areas, especially as the ‘The Green Belt National Planning Policy Framework’ states that its aim is to ‘prevent urban sprawl and keep land permanently open.’

One resident who recently moved to the area, but wanted to remain anonymous said: “One of the reasons we moved to this area was because the fact we can safely go out for a walk with the family and dog in the open land.

"I know that many, including myself, will be disappointed to see these areas go as Chigwell could lose its village feel with the increase in the number of houses.”

The ‘Green Belt Framework’ also states that by ‘preserving the Green Belt, this will consequently provide opportunities for outdoor sport’, however, if the plan has the go ahead many sports clubs will have to be relocated to further sports fields.

The protestors have expressed that especially after the Olympic Games there has been an increase in people wanting to get involved with sports, and building over regularly used field contradicts the Olympic aims of ‘increasing the number of involved with sports’ stated by the Conservative government.

Chigwell has been a long serving Conservative constituency since the 1970s therefore there was heavy criticism of David Cameron’s ‘Localism’ bill. This intended to give councils more freedom from Westminster control and give back the power to the communities to make decisions concerning about housing for example via ‘neighbourhood plans’.

Disgruntled resident Brian Mayfair said: “Another politician once again playing the votes. If this plan goes through it would completely destroy Chigwell and what’s more, we do not have the resources to deal will an increase in people”

Protests are said to continue throughout the coming weeks until Epping Forest Council meet again in a few weeks times to discuss the plan.