CAMPAIGNERS say their battle is not over after fences were put up around a piece of land which is subject to a controversial planning bid.

Metal barriers appeared around the site off River View, in Witham, last week and there are concerns their appearance is leading some residents to believe building is imminent.

Rebekah McGrane, an admin of the Protect Witham River Walk group, said: "People need to know that the fences don't mean this is over - it's normal procedure.

"We do think that Bellway think they have this is in the bag but there is a long way to go yet.

"There are ten of us who are working extremely hard on this in the background day and night in an effort to fight against this."

Bellway Homes sent a planning bid to Braintree Council in November for permission to build 78 homes on land known as Gimsons, near the Helen Court retirement home.

The submission date for objections to be submitted to Braintree Council over the plans closed in December with 477 sent in by residents.

Ms McGrane said: "It completed surpassed our expectations because most applications will only receive 20 objections at the most. We were excited when we reached 70 so to get that many is fantastic and a lot of them made some really good legal points.

"Hopefully Braintree Council will take notice of that and make a decision which is in interests of the whole town and not just a few."

A Bellway spokesman said: "To ensure site safety, last week Bellway began the erection of temporary heras fencing around the proposed site boundary.

"The site is private land and no public right of way is being impeded by the construction of this fencing.

"The decision was taken to construct this fencing to prevent access to the site without permission.

"Temporary works of this nature are permissible and carried out to ensure that the site is both safe and secure."

Meanwhile, residents are continuing to support Witham Town Council in its request to have the planning meeting to discuss the proposals held in the town.