UP TO 600 homes could be built on Thorney Bay Caravan Park after initial plans were submitted by owner Jeff King.

Mr King has submitted an outline application to Castle Point Council, with officers recommending the plans for approval.

The application comes after two years of buil-up and speculation about creating a housing estate on the site, off Thorney Bay Road.

But Beverley Egan, Castle Point councillor responsible for housing, said the plans were first thought about in the late Nineties.

She said: “We have not seen many large-scale developments in Castle Point for a long time, and I appreciate it can be hard for residents. “But it’s easy to forget this land has been identified for development since about 1998.

“This is a sensitive issue and far from straight forward, as the committee will have to look at infrastructure of the area, health and safety requirements, schools and take on board residents’ concerns. “A decision will not come easily.”

Final details have still to be agreed, but it is expected that should it get the go-ahead, the number of caravans would be reduced to 300 – representing about 600 residents – and a maximum of 600 homes would be built to house about 1,380 people.

Mr King said he was unable to comment on the application until it is heard by the council’s development control committee. It meets at the council offices in Kiln Road, Thundersley, at 7.30pm on Tuesday.

Critics of the plan say it would lead to homes being built too close to the Calor Gas and Oikos terminals west of the site, with Calor among those objecting to the plans.

Essex County Council is also soon set to publish a report on its review around Comah sites – Control of Major Accident Hazards.

George Whatley, chairman of People Against Methane, said any plans should be considered after the report is published.

He said: “I am disgusted the council is considering granting this outline application. “My concern is why has this been recommended for approval when the council knows the results from Essex County Council’s report is due.”

Council officers say less than 10 per cent of the development will be 300m from the Calor Gas plant and cannot be refused.

Anne Harrison, from the council, said: “There is clearly further work to be undertaken in respect of the application. “However, the committee is asked to give a view at this stage on the acceptability of the principle of residential development on this site and to note the further work needed to address the issues identified.”MORE than two years of preparation has gone into proposals to build a housing estate on Canvey ’s biggest caravan park.

Plans to develop on Thorney Bay Caravan Park, in Thorney Bay Road, came about in 2010 as a means of protecting green belt on Canvey and quashing residents’ concerns over antisocial behaviour in the area.

Prior to submitting an outline application, businessman Jeff King, owner of the site, held lengthy discussions with senior planning officers at Castle Point Council to assess how much of the 90-acre park could be redeveloped. A public consultation on the plans took place last December, offering residents the chance to have their say on the proposals.

The plans have sparked a mixed reaction from residents, who fear the island’s already congested roads will struggle to cope with additional cars.

However, it is thought traffic would be eased if the final extension of Roscommon Way from Haven Road to Thorney Bay Road goes ahead, taking drivers away from Long Road.

More than 1,000 caravans – housing approximately 4,368 people – are currently situated on the park.