Residents have vowed to fight developers who want to build behind a memorial garden.

An outline planning application for up to 67 homes on green land to the rear of London Road, Maldon, has been submitted to Maldon District Council on behalf of Linden, and six charities which own the land.

The site is behind the Leech Memorial Garden, which was left to the town in the wills of two sisters, Edna and Joan Leech, who died in a plane crash in 1974 so that “visitors could enjoy its beauty and tranquillity.”

Local residents have joined together with the Friends of Leeches Garden group to form the Leech Garden, Beacon Hill, Maldon Hall Farm and Cemetery Group as they fear it will not only destroy the peace and quiet of the gardens but that it will impact on the view and historical aspect of the location, which has views towards Beeleigh Weir.

Rosalind Oakley, of Bower Gardens, Maldon, said: “It’s not about ‘not in my backyard’ it’s about protecting it for future generations and defending our landscapes."

A full planning application is yet to be submitted.

A spokesman for the charities, said: “The charities involved take any concerns from local residents seriously.”