A controversial scheme to create more than 100 new "affordable homes" has been officially launched in Loughton.

Plans for the Borders Lane development were originally rejected by the council in 2021, as the Epping Forest Guardian reported on Loughton residents' fury at plans for huge flats across a series of three to five storey buildings, as well as a proposed new wellness centre.

The plans were met with concerns from Loughton residents about the lack of essential services, increasing traffic and insufficient parking.

Despite these concerns, it was also reported that the planning inspectorate overruled the council's decision after the developer filed an appeal, signalling support for the project to move forward.

The initiative, now officially underway and marked with an event last month, celebrated the opening of the first portion of the housing programme from Sovereign Network Group (SNG).

Councillor Darshan Sunger, Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) chairman, officially commenced the project, alongside councillors and staff from EFDC.

They partnered with Fairview New Homes developers to tour the site and meet the occupants, including a family, formerly reliant on temporary accommodation who had just moved into their new home.

Zubeyde Killic said: "When you’re in temporary accommodation you just feel like you have no life, so it’s an amazing feeling.

"I’ve got a proper home now and I’m just so happy.

"It’s a new chapter and new beginning. The neighbours all seem really nice, quiet and understanding."

The project, in partnership with the council and SNG, will culminate in 107 economical homes, spanning two sites and under a planning section 106 agreement.

The range encompasses 65 apartments for cost-effective rent and a further 42 for shared ownership, with property sizes varying from cosy one-bedroom flats to spacious four-bedroom family homes.

Construction work for the second phase is currently in progress, targeting a completion date slated for Autumn 2025, with New City Fitness' Epping Forest Wellness Centre now open.

Councillor Holly Whitbread, cabinet member responsible for Housing and Strategic Health at EFDC, said: "I’m delighted that this new development is now built and ready for people to move in.

"It’s fantastic to see many families getting settled in and enjoying their brand-new homes."