It's five years ago this week since a petition to save a beloved community space attracted more than 2,000 signatures inside three days.

Thousands have publicly backed a petition to save a much loved green space from development.

On December 14 Epping Forest District Council voted to destroy Jessel Green and build 154 homes in its place, to help meet central government targets.

Following the extraordinary meeting, in which plans for 11,400 new homes across the district were laid out, Save Jessel Green activists renewed their efforts.

Backed by The Guardian, 300 people turned out in protest on Debden Estate.

Over the weekend a petition which calls for the community space to be removed from council plans went live.

In less than three days it gained more than 2,200 signatures.

Neil Bartlett, a black cab driver and ardent campaigner, said: “My overall view in this and in everything is that you can’t always be wrong, especially when you have a few thousands signatures against a couple of people.

“We want zero houses to be built on Jessel Green and for it to be officially protected, so future generations are protected.”

The father of three went on to speak about how big an effect the threat of losing the green has had on his life.

The 41 year-old said: “It has been the worst two years of my life. I only bought my house for this view.

“If that goes I don’t want to live here anymore.

“It’s not right.”

In a December statement a council spokesperson said: “In producing the Local Plan, the council has had to take difficult decisions as to how best to accommodate growth required to meet the future needs for the District as required by national policy.

“Unfortunately, there is not enough brownfield land available in the District to meet future needs, and therefore the council has agreed a strategy to ensure a balanced approach which minimises the use of Green Belt and managed open spaces to accommodate future development.”