DETAILS have been revealed of a huge housing project on green belt land linking Bowers Gifford and North Benfleet.

Nottinghamshire County Council bought 125 acres of land off Pound Lane for £4.2million as a pension fund investment in January.

Developer Meridian would not say exactly how many homes would be built, but parish councillors fear it could be up to 1,200.

Basildon Council said it did not condone the use of green belt for housing.

Meridian managing director David Newberry said: “At the front it would be a village green, quite a large village green, a primary school, shopping centre, library and various other local amenities, perhaps a creche or nursery.

“We want to divert Pound Lane to create a natural traffic diversion through the new area.

“There’s quite a lot of benefits we can bring to this area.”

Mr Newberry said the village green would include the shops and other facilities and the new homes would be built behind, with possibly two new access roads.

He said: “There would be some smaller housing for first home buyers but mostly larger, family homes.”

Mr Newberry said housing numbers wouldn’t be decided until Basildon Council completed a study into housing requirements.

He said extensive public consultation and community meetings would take place, likely in the new year, before planning applications are submitted.

Developers have already held early meetings with parish councillors and senior council staff.

They raised questions about the land’s green belt listing.

Mr Newberry said: “If Basildon Council doesn’t offer non-green belt for development then they’ll have to look at green belt sites.

“If they decide green belt can be developed we’ll have to determine if we can provide sufficient benefits to justify it.”

A Basildon Council spokesman said: “Basildon Council does not condone the use of green belt for residential purposes, which has a huge impact on the wider environment.

“It is our policy to protect the green belt against residential development and to look for sites that have a lesser impact, for example through the redevelopment of our town centre and housing estates