Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
Basildon faces development blitz from Homes Communities Agency
FEARS have been raised about a development blitz on Basildon after a government agency announced it was pushing ahead with plans for sites around the town.
The Homes Communities Agency has been busy erecting signs across the town on its land ahead of bringing forward building plans. The agency has already been criticised for its plans to build up to 725 on the Dry Street wildlife haven, but it is also looking to develop its other land around the borough.
Vic York, a former Basildon councillor who has lived in the town for 50 years, fears an end to the open spaces that once signified its identity.
He said: “Twenty years from now finding a green space for children to play on in Basildon will be a rarity. We see building work going up all over the borough and where is the infrastructure?
“We will creep closer and closer to the green belt and it won’t be long before that is in serious danger. We need green areas and recreational spaces. Yet we are helpless.”
The HCA is currently working on plans to develop its Nethermayne pocket of land, which incorporates Dry Street; land off Terminus Drive, Pitsea; Gardiners Way, Basildon, where plans have been approved for a gypsy and traveller site; and land next to the Basildon golf course in Clay Hill Road.
Its most recent signs have been put up by a public footpath alongside the golf course, which leads to a conservation area and meadow. Plans for the site involve building a new hotel and leisure facilities, but locals are worried about the potential impact on the environment.
Lynne Wyatt, from Vange, has walked by Basildon Golf Course for more than 10 years and says the area is full of rare wild flowers and butterflies.
She said: “There is an ecosystem here that must be considered. The meadow is full of wild flowers, oak trees and butterflies. I don't think I have ever seen so many butterflies in one area before and the thought of it being built on fills me with dread.”