RESIDENTS who campaigned against agricultural land in South Ockendon being used for industrial purposes are celebrating after a planning inquiry ruled in their favour.

Ockendon Concerned Resident’s Action Group formed last year to campaign against an asbestos removal firm using land on Bentons Farm in Mollands Lane for industrial use.

They feared owners, T&S Multi Services Ltd, may use the land to store asbestos, and that the green belt land would be despoiled.

The Planning Inspectorate have now ruled that the farm cannot be used for industrial purposes.

Ockendon Councillor Barrie Lawrence has welcomed the news, he said: “I’m absolutely delighted; this is a tremendous victory for local people. It was never was right for industrial processes to be carried out in a residential area and that was the central part of our objections.

“The local people have been great. They formed a group, and have shown dogged determination to see this through.”

Thurrock Council issued enforcement notice preventing industrial use of the land in April 2008.

The company launched an appeal against this but lost after the planning inspectorate upheld the council’s decision on Thursday February 12.

Now they must stop using Bentons Farm and the buildings on it for office use and storage associated with the asbestos removal company, and remove from the land all vehicles, trailer units and other materials associated with it together with scaffolding, building materials and other materials.

They have three months to comply with this before enforcement action is taken.

Councillor Lawrence added: “I’ll be pressing Thurrock Council to make sure they do”.