CAMPAIGNERS have hit out at a developer for submitting an application for a 99 home new estate whilst residents are preoccupied with the coronavirus pandemic.

Gladman Developments has applied to Colchester Council for outline planning permission to create the estate on land off Colchester Road, West Mersea.

As well as building the properties, of which 30 per cent will be affordable, the developer is proposing to give a 0.6 hectare piece of land on site to Mersea Island Medical Practice to build a new centre.

However, campaign group Stop350, which has more than 1,200 members, has criticised the timing of the submission.

A spokesman said: “We believe many residents will be surprised and upset by this application being submitted at the present time.

“Residents are heavily concerned with the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on their health and economic circumstances and we regard it as inappropriate for it to come forward when they are so preoccupied.

“They will be aware this application is contrary to the current Local Plan and the emerging one. The site was not regarded as suitable by the borough council.

“It is on prime agricultural land and the suggestion the site could be used for a health centre is highly inappropriate as it is remote from the centre and on an infrequent bus service.

“We will be studying the application in detail and providing comments. We will contact residents about how to object in the coming days.”

Gladman says in a planning statement it has written to Mersea Island Medical Practice, which it says is supportive of the plans.

The report states: “It would be the intention of the partnership to build a new, purpose-built, medical centre on this site along with further healthcare facilities in the future.

“The medical practice had received multiple offers from other development sites, however, the application site is the preferred option due to its location, ease of access for both pedestrians and vehicles and the ability to grow and expand in the future.

“The development would provide much needed premises for future-proofed primary care services to remain on Mersea Island.”

Proposals also include space for extra car parking for Glebe Recreation Ground as well as a new pedestrian crossing.

City and Country has permission to build 100 new homes at Brierley Paddocks and Mersea Homes wants to build 100 more off Dawes Lane on the island.

Residents can comment until April 29, after which Colchester Council will decide on proposals.