HOMES will not be built on a children’s play area and sports pitch after an appeal was thrown out.

Thurrock Council originally blocked plans to built four new homes on land in Gunning Road, Grays.

The site is well used by residents as a recreational open space and the committee decided the loss of the open space was unacceptable.

Following the decision by the planning committee, in November last year, developers, Gunning Road Thurrock Ltd, lodged an appeal with the planning inspectorate which has now been rejected.

On appeal, the applicant claimed that the land was underused, making it a prime spot for development – with hoards of residents disagreeing.

Leader of Thurrock Council, Rob Gledhill said: “This open space is well valued by the local community and would be a big loss to residents.

“That formed a central part of the decision to refuse the application and I am very pleased the Planning Inspectorate has supported local residents’ objections and the planning committee’s position by dismissing the appeal.

“We will continue to determine all planning applications on their own merits and in line with planning policies to ensure future development in Thurrock protects and enhances our existing communities.”

The inspector deemed the proposed development would conflict with national guidance outlining the importance of access to open spaces for the health and wellbeing of communities, and decided the benefits did not outweigh the adverse impact it would cause.

Attempting to block the plans, 69 residents commented on the planning application.

One, Andrea Wright, of Gunning Road, said: “I am objecting to the comment which states within the document “the site is redundant and underused employment land”

“The land in question is our play park which is in use constantly and all the 104 houses pay an annual service charge to upkeep the play park, with a great deal of money in the reserve for play equipment.

“The residents get together on a regular basis both adults and children and this space is vital for the community in which we live.”