ANGRY campaigners gathered to protest against plans to build 1,000 homes at a much-loved beauty spot.

More than 100 residents gathered at Orchard Baptist Church in Mersea Road, Colchester, to show their opposition to the Defence Infrastructure Organisation/Ministry of Defence plans for Middlewick Ranges.

The protest took place outside the second of two consultation events where the Ministry of Defence has been showcasing its masterplan for the site.

Stephanie Murran, of Save the Middlewick Ranges community group, organised the demonstration.

She said: “I was absolutely over the moon so many people made the effort to come out and support as well as to attend the consultation to find out more about the plans.

“There is nothing more likely than apathy to get things like this pushed through and we showed them we are anything but apathetic.

“The community needed to show the MoD and our politicians how important the Wick is to us.”

The area, which is an important wildlife site, has been allocated for up to 1,000 homes in Colchester Council’s Local Plan.

However, campaigners want to see the homes scheme abandoned and the area transformed into a country park.

Ms Murran said dicussions between the protestors and the MoD had become heated on Saturday.

She said: “We are still completely against this and we haven’t changed our stance. We do not want any building on the Wick.

“We have been told by people we need to have a back-up plan and to compromise, but we think they should be the ones with a back-up plan.”

Colchester’s MP Will Quince spoke to campaigners and council representatives.

He said: “I am working with councillors cross party to find a way of reducing the number of houses proposed and to secure a large part of the Wick for a new country park.”