CAMPAIGNERS say they have done everything they possibly could to protect a "valued" part of the countryside from development.

Members of the Bocking and High Garret Residents Action Group (BAHGRAG) made the call after a public inquiry into Gladman Developments' plans to build either 300 or 265 homes on land off Church Street, Bocking concluded on Friday.

The inquiry was first staged last summer but had to be postponed following a change in Government planning rules.

After it was reopened for two days on Thursday, Inspector Zoe Hill heard from representatives from both Gladman and Braintree Council on the two applications.

The council argued it was set to exceed its five-year housing target for the 2018/2023 period, meaning there would be no need to approve the application.

However, Gladman insisted the authority had overestimated the number of homes being built and thus the need for new homes should outweigh any negative impacts the development should have.

Ms Hill will now consider the cases put forward by both parties before ruling on the application, which was originally brought through the appeal process due to Braintree Council's failure to make their own decision within the statutory 13-week period.

Speaking after the inquiry, BAHGRAG chairman Terry Surrey praised the many residents who opposed the 300-home proposal and insisted the council's stance against the scheme was correct.

He said: "We had posters along the main roads in Bocking and High Garrett showing people's feelings. Some of the residents also came out in the rain to do a silent protest to show the inspector our views.

"I would like to think the inspector can see the council was correct and reflect the importance of the green buffer and importance of losing that in her decision.

"The council certainly put forward a very robust and strong case."

Mr Surrey added: "Our arguments that this is valued land and the need to protect the barrier between Bocking and High Garrett are still very relevant.

"We think we have done everything we possibly could to put forward our feelings and show our opposition to this terrible development.

"I would like to think it has made some difference but it's important to recognise how fragile these things are and how changes made to planning regulations have titled a lot of things in favour of developers."

The inspector is expected to rule on the application later this year.