A GROUP of councillors marched on the Ministry of Defence’s London headquarters to highlight residents’ opposition to the sale of a beauty spot to make way for housing.

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation plans to sell part of Middlewick Ranges, known affectionately by residents as The Wick, once it relocates military operations at the site to Fingringhoe next year.

Plans to build 1,000 homes on part of the area are being drawn up, with a public consultation into the initial designs being held last year.

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.

Now a deputation of Colchester Labour group members has visited the Ministry of Defence’s base at Whitehall to express their opposition.

They presented the organisation with a petition, signed by more than 1,000 people, calling for the sale of The Wick to be stopped immediately.

Dave Harris delivered the petition with Lee Scordis and Adam Fox .

He said: “The Army are being forced to sell off this parcel of land and others to release the asset for cash. This is not what local people want.

“Labour councillors Chris Pearson, Adam Fox, Martyn Warnes, Mike Lilley, Lee Scordis and myself worked to get the petition signed at doorsteps, on street stalls and online.

“We have spoken to many residents, none of whom support these proposals by the Ministry of Defence.”

The councillors are calling on the Defence Infrastructure Organisation to take The Wick off the table and sell one of the other 90 sites they own across the UK.

They say the sale of the site would have a huge impact on the communities bordering the site and are worried about the area’s already overstretched infrastructure.

The responses to the Ministry of Defence’s consultation into plans for The Wick are set to be published in the coming months.

It says its designs will create a new community, rather than a housing estate and its plans will feature homes of all kinds, community facilities, and a large proportion of green open space for the public.

Visit bit.ly/2tqpakl for more details.

To sign the petition, go to bit.ly/2G9fZHI.