A PUBLIC inquiry has been launched into how 501 homes got the go-ahead to be built on the green belt in Aveley.

The Government have announced the investigation will look into how the planning application was handled.

Thurrock Council’s planning committee sparked uproar when, last November, it voted in favour of building the homes on the former London Fire Brigade Sports and Social Club.

Residents were furious the plans were passed on to Eric Pickes, the Secretary of State for development and communities to be signed off - despite strong opposition and officers recommending permission should be refused.

Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price made representation to Mr Pickles, who has now decided to refer the application to a public inquiry, which will take place in a couple of months.

Ms Doyle-Price said: “The decision taken by the committee flies in the face of Thurrock's agreed planning policies.

“It is on the greenbelt and it is not a site which has been identified for housing under the council's local plan.

“I do question whether some members of the planning committee understand their role. It is the planning committee's job to approve or decline planning applications in line with council policy.”