Seven of the eight GP surgeries in the district are oversubscribed, leading to concerns about how they will cope with an influx of new patients.

Doctors are treating 8,500 more patients than they can comfortably cope with, according to NHS guidelines.

The 4,410 houses Maldon District Council is planning for the next 15 years would bring an extra 13,230 people to the district, based on an average of three per household.

It would mean surgeries treating more than 20,000 people – larger than the population of Maldon - than recommended for practices of their size.

An NHS consultant working on behalf of the council has estimated £1.5million would need to be invested and six new doctors recruited to cope.

See this week's Standard for the special report.