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Homes could still be built on Glebelands, Benfleet
CASTLE Point Council has not ruled out building on Glebelands, despite a High Court decision throwing out plans for 165 homes there last week.
Developers Fox Land and Property went head-to-head with the Secretary of State over the proposals for land off Glebelands, Benfleet, after they were turned down by Castle Point Council, and then by Local Government Minister Eric Pickles after a planning inquiry.
The results of the two-day hearing, held at Manchester District Registry of the High Court, were released last Friday, with Mr Justice Blake ruling against the plans.
Last week, the council released its new plan setting out sites for 4,000 homes, including 100 on Glebelands.
However, Jeffrey Stanley, deputy leader of the council, said if Glebelands was removed from the local plan, the council would have to find alternative sites for the 100 homes.
Mr Stanley said: “The local plan is just out for consultation.
We will not make a final decision until the summer, so the judge’s comments, along with the public’s, will all go into the mix.
“The starting point for the local plan was an assessed need for about 350 homes a year in Castle Point, but with restrictions we have got this down to 200 houses a year, which we think is defendable.
“We do not believe a figure less than that is defendable against an inspector.”
Despite ruling against the development, Mr Justice Blake said there was a shortage of homes and stated the decision may only be a “temporary reprieve”.
Mr Stanley added: “No one should make a snap decision on what it means. But reading between the lines, it seems he expects the council to build some homes on that site, or other sites in the borough.”
Green belt activist Ian Harding, of Elmhurst Avenue, Benfleet, said: “It just seems like a waste of time and money defending the site if it’s still going to be in the local plan. What’s the point in going all the way to the top if it was all for nothing?
“We are the second most densely populated borough in Essex, and what happens in 20 years when this local plan is finished?
Where are they going to go then?
They’ll have to start building upwards.”
The draft local plan will go out to consultation after being voted through by a Tory majority at a council meeting last week.
Details of the consultation, which will take place between Friday and March 21, are expected to be released this week.
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