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Anger over housing proposals does not stop them being pushed through
6:00am Tuesday 24th December 2013 in News
FURY erupted as councillors clashed over broken promises about “perverse” proposals to build thousands of homes on Basildon’s green belt – but the controversial plan was still pushed through.
Basildon Council’s local plan, which outlines the sites the Conservative administration wants to develop until 2031, was pushed through by a Tory majority at the latest full council meeting.
The proposal – which sets out the sites to build 12,500 homes (9,100 on green belt) in the borough – will go out to public consultation in the new year giving residents their first chance to have their say.
The plan also outlines potential employment sites which could create 8,500 jobs in the borough, but the proposals, which are the result of a decade of deliberation, were not received well.
Nigel Smith, leader of the opposition Labour party and who represents Lee Chapel North, said: “When you were elected, it was part of your manifesto pledge to protect the green belt now your weasel words are trying to get you out of breaking that pledge.
“The plan is perverse and wrong and it means every bit of green space people enjoy in the borough will go the same way as Dry Street and Ballards Walk.”
Tony Ball, leader of the Conservative administration, said: “The Labour party is showing an ignorance of the planning system and that is dangerous.
“This is a policy that is deliverable and shows the one party that represents the whole borough is the Conservatives.”
The Tories were further buoyed when Labour’s Gavin Callaghan, who is the party’s candidate to take on MP John Baron at the next general election, said he wanted to see more homes built.
He said: “There is a housing crisis and we cannot afford generations of lost people and talent not coming to Basildon.”
An average of 800 homes a year will be needed, but it is up to developers to come forward and build on the designated land.
As part of the plan, Basildon, Laindon and Pitsea will get 10,125 houses between them.
This includes 750 homes in Dry Street, and more than 100 houses in Ballards Walk, Laindon, as well as a further 100 properties pencilled in for Dunton fields off the A127 – all passed this year.
Labour councillor Allan Davies, who represents Fryerns, said: “There is so much space north of the A127 that it beggars belief that one more house should be built in Basildon.”
People can have their say for the first time on the plans, which will be phased and include ambitious ideas to build a new train station in Laindon, shopping centres, and several new schools in the borough next year.
It will go out to consultation at the end of January.
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