CAMPAIGNERS are confident they can stop developers building on land they want to see officially declared a village green.

Protesters from the Vange Community Group turned out in force at a public inquiry into an application to give the site, in Kent View Road, Vange, village green status.

The Basildon Council-owned site is one of several across the borough the council hopes to sell to housebuilders to help recoup the £38million cost of building the Basildon Sporting Village in Glouc-ester Park, Basildon.

The council’s development plan has labeled the Vange land as a suitable place to build 73 homes.

However, if the community group gets its way and Essex County Council grants village green status, the site would be protected from development.

During three-day hearing, campaigners put their case for status to be granted.

Campaign group chairman Neil Hart, a Kent View Road resident for 37 years, said: “I am adamant we will win village green status for the recreation ground.

“I felt it went really well and we put a really strong case forward.

“I feel very confident and almost certain that the land will not be built on. This is something we have been fighting for months.

“More than 120 witness statements have been put forward, stating they couldn’t remember when the land wasn’t open to the public.

“The council has neglected the land and we, the residents, have had to pick up rubbish and take care of it.”

An announcement on the application is expected from County Hall by September. Mr Hart added: “If we don’t succeed in our quest, we will look at appealing and taking the case to court, so a judge can make the final decision.

“We have really come together as a community and will fight this all the way.”

Ward councillor Bryon Taylor, who is also deputy leader of the Labour group on the council, said: “Mr Hart and the campaigners have worked extremely hard and spent a lot of time building a strong case. I think they have a good chance and their community spirit is very admirable.”