RURAL villages across north Essex have seen major changes following the construction of new estates.

Aerial pictures from Elmstead, Frating, Alresford and Great Bentley show how much the villages have changed in recent years.

New estates have popped up on rural land surrounding the villages, including a new estate of 84 homes on land north of Cockaynes Lane, Alresford.

Parish council chairman Frank Belgrove said: “In total there is planning permission for 315 homes in Alresford, including Staunton Gate.

“We did want some development, especially of affordable homes, but we want it restricted to within the village boundary.

“But we don’t want development on this scale and we don’t want is to see the countryside eaten up.

“We need infrastructure. What we need to cope with new homes just isn’t there.

“The school has expanded to cope, but now there are parking problems and there’s also an impact on the doctors – the roads are becoming increasingly congested.”

Mr Belgrove said many of the developers’ plans were speculative but were granted because Tendring Council did not have a five-year plan for future housing in place.

The pictures also show a development of up to 50 homes on land south of Colchester Road, Elmstead.

Hills Residential also has permission for 62 homes on vacant land opposite the site.

Sanctuary Housing is also currently building 67 homes on seven acres of farmland land north of Tokely Road, Frating.

The plans, approved by a Government planning inspector on appeal, were described as “unsustainable” by the parish council.