Almost 700 objections from residents was not enough to stop plans to build a major housing development in Tilbury progressing - but that was just before the coronavirus took hold.

Councillors voted against recommendations to refuse planning permission for 161 homes on part of the Little Thurrock Marshes due to the Government demand for 32,000 new homes over the next 20 years.

Under there plans there will be 87 three-bed homes and 18 two-bed homes sold at market price, along with a further 56 ‘affordable’ homes that will range from one-bed flats to four-bed houses.

Councillors made the decision despite 660 residents signing a petition against the development. But these campaigners are now hopeful of a rethink after the virus crisis is over.

Their concerns centre on increased traffic congestion, the strain on infrastructure and pollution.

During the meeting last month, Labour councillor Gerard Rice said: “We have to produce 32,000 homes and at this time the authority sits very much at the bottom of tables for housing delivery. Of those 32,000 around 8,000 will be out of brown fields and 24,000 from green fields.

“Whether we like it or not where we are is we have a total undersupply of housing to meet our industrial needs and when we are at the bottom of league tables for delivery.”

But chairman of Thurrock Park Residents Committee, Tony Coughlin said: “The land in question acts as a buffer against the highly industrial area of Tilbury docks, the energy power station and the huge Amazon warehouse on the A1089.

“The land in questions is green belt, it is much valued and needs to be retained.”

At the end, Mr Rice proposed to approve the application which will be discussed again at a future meeting when a final decision will be made.