Campaigners fear green belt inquiry

Echo: Campaigners fear green belt inquiry Campaigners fear green belt inquiry

CAMPAIGNERS, councillors and planning bosses fear a controversial development will be pushed through at the final hurdle.

Battle lines will be drawn today as Castle Point Council goes head to head with developers over plans to build 165 homes on fields between Sadlers Farm roundabout and Glebelands.

In a closed meeting head of regeneration Steve Rogers told councillors he was 60 per cent sure the Government appeal would go in favour of Fox Land and Property.

Planning Inspector John Felgate will hear seven days of arguments from both sides.

Campaigners have been supported throughout their battle by Castle Point MP Rebecca Harris, but it is now feared this might stand against them.

Developers have previously complained to the Government about MPs making submissions as their opinion may unfairly sway planning inspectors, who act on behalf of the Secretary of State .

Neville Watson, Canvey Independent Party councillor, said he thought the chances of the development being granted are even higher than Mr Rogers predicted.

He added: “The problem with Glebelands is it’s sustainable, deliverable and sound. The only real objection is to do with the green belt.

“It will all come down to technical issues of whether the land is classed as green belt. It could set a precedent for the whole country.

“If the scheme is passed, developers will keep coming forward and we won’t be able to fight them off.

“I can understand the emotive reasons for appealing and Mrs Harris obviously wanted to stand by her constituents, but when the MP got involved she should only have given facts of planning.”

A decision was originally expected by around Easter, but sources told the Echo it will now come in before Christmas.

Campaigner Susan Buhr, 73, of Jotmans Lane, Benfleet, said: “It would be an absolute disaster for the green belt of Benfleet if the scheme was passed. It would lead to all sorts of developers coming out of the woodwork.

“Mrs Harris was elected by the residents and if she can’t speak on behalf of us, then what’s the point?”

The Tory MP said: “Obviously I can’t comment on the specifics of an ongoing court hearing, but naturally the developer has submitted numerous reasons why it thinks the Secretary of State should not have sided with the council and local residents.

“I gather it’s not unusual for developers to complain about an Member of Parliament speaking up for their own residents in these cases, even though it is perfectly normal for Members of Parliament to contact the Minister at any time and for him to take their views into account if he sees fit.”

Comments (6)

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12:20pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Howard Cháse says...

It's odds on that this will go ahead despite what the public (electorate) think or want. Greed always wins out
It's odds on that this will go ahead despite what the public (electorate) think or want. Greed always wins out Howard Cháse

12:43pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Ian P says...

Neville Watson, Canvey Independent Party councillor, said: “The problem with Glebelands is it’s sustainable, deliverable and sound. The only real objection is to do with the green belt." The objections are not only about green belt. What about access? We have already heard that the proposed development behind the Blinking Owl Cafe is not supported by ECC Highways, because access cannot be made directly onto a major road such as the A130. That means access would almost certainly have to take place through the existing housing estate off Rush Bottom Lane, with the additional traffic joining the road network at the Tarpots junction. If that is the case, traffic already queues back through the Sadlers Farm junction. The junction simply cannot support the current traffic levels and the whole area will grind to a halt at peak times.
Neville Watson, Canvey Independent Party councillor, said: “The problem with Glebelands is it’s sustainable, deliverable and sound. The only real objection is to do with the green belt." The objections are not only about green belt. What about access? We have already heard that the proposed development behind the Blinking Owl Cafe is not supported by ECC Highways, because access cannot be made directly onto a major road such as the A130. That means access would almost certainly have to take place through the existing housing estate off Rush Bottom Lane, with the additional traffic joining the road network at the Tarpots junction. If that is the case, traffic already queues back through the Sadlers Farm junction. The junction simply cannot support the current traffic levels and the whole area will grind to a halt at peak times. Ian P

3:26pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Jack222 says...

Let me think. affordable houses or greenland? Houses deserve to win every time.
Let me think. affordable houses or greenland? Houses deserve to win every time. Jack222

3:28pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Jack222 says...

Traffic issues with the development - then change the roads!
Traffic issues with the development - then change the roads! Jack222

8:18pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Idontknowy says...

Thought the picture with the article was a proposal by developers to build on Sadlers Farm Roundabout.

Wish these developers would live up to their name and Fox off This is GREENBELT land. When this greenbelt land is developed on and the same the other side of the road at Sadlers (the Basildon greenbelt which Nottingham Council want to build on) then the whole reason for green belt being to stop urban sprawl will have been negated as Basildon will then be joined with Benfleet.
Thought the picture with the article was a proposal by developers to build on Sadlers Farm Roundabout. Wish these developers would live up to their name and Fox off This is GREENBELT land. When this greenbelt land is developed on and the same the other side of the road at Sadlers (the Basildon greenbelt which Nottingham Council want to build on) then the whole reason for green belt being to stop urban sprawl will have been negated as Basildon will then be joined with Benfleet. Idontknowy

11:48am Wed 11 Dec 13

Howard Cháse says...

More building south of theA127.......

No surprises there then
More building south of theA127....... No surprises there then Howard Cháse

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