FURIOUS campaigners have again rounded on Rochford District Council after a second petition opposing new homes was rejected.

Rayleigh Residents’ Association lodged a petition with the council insisting any plans for new homes must be halted until improved roads, doctors’ surgeries and schools are in place.

Residents who backed the 1,700-strong petition, claim councillors were not given enough time to debate the issue properly.

Christine Austin, a campaigner who was involved in a ‘vote of no confidence’ petition which was also presented to the full council said “there was no freedom of speech inside the council chamber”.

Gareth James presented his petition to the council on behalf of Rayleigh Residents’ Association and slammed the “disastrous planning” that has been approved in recent months.

He said: “We are not against development.

“But it has to be with the right type of infrastructure.

“Roads are at their maximum capacity.

“No properties are available for first time buyers. Affordable homes are priced at £600,000.

“There has recently been a £10million investment in Wickford. Where is our investment and infrastructure.

“This cannot continue.”

Ms Austin, part of the growing Rochford Supporters group, slammed councillors for “following the sheep”. She said: “The sheep were well and truly herded.

“The meeting was extraordinary.

“It was a travesty.

“The councillors have lost the respect of the people.

“It wasn’t democratic at all.

“Councillors were not allowed to have their say.

“They were constantly shut down.”

In response to Gareth James’ petition, Ian Ward, the Conservative councillor responsible for planning, rejected it, and called for no action to be taken.

He said: “I admit that roadworks cause a lot of problems in Rayleigh.

“A forum has been set up to ensure that there is improvements.

“Every developer has to contribute to the infrastructure.

“Every new housing scheme contributes and 35 per cent of all houses have to be affordable and for the people of the Rochford district.”

The petition was presented on Tuesday evening. Campaigners have pledged to continue to fight on.