CAMPAIGNERS against plans to build 1,000 homes on a popular beauty spot are to stage a demonstration.

Community group Save the Middlewick Ranges is opposed to developing the land which the Ministry of Defence announced it would sell.

Stephanie Murran is leading the demonstration which will be held outside the Orchard Baptist Church in Mersea Road, Colchester, between noon and 1pm on Saturday, July 13.

She said: “Save the Middlewick Ranges is a community-led group and we are opposed to the proposed sale and development of this land.

“We are fighting to keep it as a country park for the people of Colchester.”

On the campaign’s Facebook page she added: “It is vital we attend these consultations and ask the questions that need to be asked, and we register our disapproval. Our stance is there be no development of our Wick.”

A consultation event is taking place at the RCCG Stillwater Centre in Grange Way, Colchester, on Wednesday between 2pm and 8pm.

A masterplan is being drawn up for a new estate of up to 1,000 homes and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation is working on designs.

Military operations based at Middlewick, known affectionately as The Wick by residents, will relocate to Fingringhoe in 2021.

After this date the Ministry of Defence is looking to dispose of the land, allowing plans for the new estate to move forward.

Colchester Council has allocated the site for up to 1,000 homes in its Local Plan but residents and campaigners have been strongly critical of the move since it was announced in 2017.

Earlier this year a petition signed by more than 1,700 people called for the area to be saved as a nature reserve.

The DIO says its designs will create a new “community” rather than a housing estate and its plans will feature homes, community facilities and a large proportion of green open space.

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