CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans to build thousands of homes near Billericay have launched their own consultation on the proposals – with the aim of getting thousands of people involved.
Residents have been recruiting supporters among commuters at Billericay station and the Queen’s Park Co-op store, and leaving leaflets in local schools and shops.
The aim is to persuade people in the town to revolt against proposals in Basildon Council’s Local Plan document, which they fear will practically join together Basildon and Billericay.
The Local Plan will decide where new development will got in the borough between now and 2031. It sets out sites for 12,500 homes across the borough – the council’s response to Government pressure to allow more homes to be built.
Among its proposals is one to allow 2,300 homes are built in three green belt sites around Billericay.
Hundreds of people packed two Billericay Town Council meetings to protest at the plans, claiming they hadn’t realised they were on the table and angry about a lack of consultation.
The council’s formal consultation on the plan gives residents until April 1 to give their views to the council.
However, campaigners were worried not enough people would take part, so put together their own simplified survey to rally support against green belt development.
One of the organisers, Mike Andrews, of Outwood Farm Road, Billericay, said: “If Basildon does what the Government wants it to do, Billericay won’t be Billericay any more.
“To fight the Government, Basildon Council needs ammunition, so we have to give it evidence to support our assertion what it is planning isn’t the way forward.
“The response we have had has been encouraging. We are seeing a growth of interest, but some people don’t have the time or inclination to analyse all the documents.
We are trying to be helpful, to encourage as many responses as possible.”
The campaigners’ leaflet asks whether residents agree with plans for the extra homes and seeks detailed comments via a tick-box list.
They have also set upawebsite at ebgb2014.co.uk, to inform residents on the ways they can object to the proposals.
Campaigners are also looking into the possibility of setting up a referendum to give the whole borough a say on the issue.
They will be running stalls from 9am morning outside the Chequers pub in Billericay High Street, and Spa Cottage, in Chapel Street, to hand out leaflets and talk to residents.