A NEW group launched to tackle plans for a new housing development has set the ball rolling by staging its first public meeting.

Hart – Housing Action by Residents of Tollesbury – was formed by concerned residents to fight controversial plans by Gladman to develop land off Mell Road.

The proposal, which was originally for up to 99 homes, has now decreased to 90 in the new design and access statement.

Over the last five weeks, a working core team of about 20 members of the public have come together to stop what they have branded a “totally inappropriate” development.

More than 200 people attended Hart’s first public meeting last week, where concerns were discussed.

The meeting included a presentation on how to submit an objection.

Newly-elected chairman Emma Stephens said: “I’ve been encouraged by so many people, and we are now prepared for action.

“The planning application by the Gladman company was registered last Friday and so the next vital step is for everyone to send a letter of objection to Maldon District Council.

“Objectors do not have to live in the village.

“They could be relatives, friends and other frequent visitors to Tollesbury.

“They could live here or abroad, sail a dinghy, walk around the sea wall or have a boat in the marina.

“Every single letter is important, whether ten pages or four lines.”

Hart’s goal is to submit 900 letters of objection, with the committee available to give guidance through drop-in sessions and home visit.

The team has also set a goal of raising £1,000, which would go towards its campaign and professional legal advice.

A spokesman said: “Hart is raising money to buy professional consultancy and so far we’ve raised almost £800 through our JustGiving page and the public meeting.

“The village has been so incredibly supportive, with people providing absolutely everything we’ve needed for free so far.

“Thank you all, we need everyone at this time to halt the completely unnecessary and inappropriate building, which is happening all across our beautiful Essex countryside.”

For more details, visit hartollesbury.com.