We will fight to preserve Dry Street green belt

We will fight to preserve Dry Street green belt

Miriam Heppell – fighting the legal case on behalf of residents

Packed – the meeting at Lee Chapel Community Hall

First published in News by

A GREEN campaign group has vowed to continue its fight against the development of special meadowland in Dry Street, Langdon Hills.

They made the vow to 100 residents who packed out Lee Chapel Community Centre to hear the latest update in the battle to stop 725 homes, a primary school and shops being built on the green belt land.

Outline planning permission was granted for the housing estate at Dry Street in June last year, despite 838 letters of objection and a 5,000-name petition.

The meeting followed the successful appeal for a judicial review which was announced two weeks ago.

Miriam Heppell, from Basildon Green Action Group, said: “If this development goes ahead it will be devastating for the area.

But we have got this far and we have to keep going. It’s a marathon. Every time we hit a wall we have to keep going. I hope we can.”

The group has employed barristers and solicitors to take its battle to the High Court, and in doing so has halted any development until the case is heard.

If it is upheld, the Homes and Communities Agency, which owns the land, will have to come up with a whole new design, which could be thrown out altogether.

But it comes with a price tag.

Already £1,000 has been spent on initial legal advice and £1,800 on a barrister to take the case to court. The Green Action Group has estimated it will cost £10,000 more to prepare the case and make representations in court.

On top of that, if the group lose and are forced to pay Basildon Council’s legal fees, it will have to fork out up to £5,000.

This could have been £7,000, but Miriam has put her name forward to fight the case as an individual, on behalf of the Green Action Group.

She added: “I’m sure Basildon Council will defend this to the hilt. But this is worth doing and worth spending the money on.

“We are able to stop if we run out of money, but that would be a tragedy.”

Under the proposed Dry Street development, Langdon Hills meadowland, which is classified as a wildlife site and the equestrian centre, would make way for the 725 homes.

Cash generated from the project would then pay for a new campus for South Essex College to be built in Basildon town centre.

The college’s current site, in Nethermayne, would then also be developed for further homes.

Danny Lovey, who is also a member of Green Action Group, said: “All these things are interlinked and people think if we knock one of the dominoes over the whole thing will come down.

That’s not what we are about. We are about the preservation of Dry Street. That land should be preserved for Basildon.

“We objected to it in principle in 1996 on environmental grounds. If it wasn’t right in 1996, it’s still not right for housing. It is even more valuable because then it wasn’t a local wildlife site which it is now.

“Everything we are standing for is driven by principle because it’s something we believe in.”

Residents are just as passionate about protecting the area and worry about losing green space on their doorstep.

Susan Shadrake, of Ardleigh, Basildon, said: “People want quality of life. People don’t want to live somewhere where there’s literally no space to breathe. It’s not selfish to want that for everybody in Basildon.

“The Green Action Group should feel confident because of the confidence everyone felt at the public meeting. We will continue to feel it until this land is finally saved.”

Geoff Williams, Basildon Liberal Democrats councillor for Nethermayne, said: “People who are living with two or three children in a one bedroom maisonette need a bigger house.

“I have had cases where there are four couples in a private house with children because they can’t afford a place of their own and there isn’t anything available. That’s where the present need is in this town.”

The date for the judicial review is not yet known. But one thing is for sure, the Green Action Group and residents of Langdon Hills will not take it lying down.

Dermot Kavanagh, chairman of Green Action Group, said: “The council wants the public to be nervous. It doesn’t want them to support us. It wants us to be individuals. If we stand together we are OK. If they divide us we are lost.”

Comments (6)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:19am Wed 12 Feb 14

Jack222 says...

Homes above green belt! (But make sure that water drainage does not go into sewers but is a separtae system...
Homes above green belt! (But make sure that water drainage does not go into sewers but is a separtae system... Jack222
  • Score: -4

10:51am Wed 12 Feb 14

Howard Cháse says...

Done deal like so many other Council propositions of late. They don't care what the public think as they bash aherax with their vrand plans.

Be interesting to see how the storm drains Lee Chapel South cope with all the extra run off all that concrete will generate.
Done deal like so many other Council propositions of late. They don't care what the public think as they bash aherax with their vrand plans. Be interesting to see how the storm drains Lee Chapel South cope with all the extra run off all that concrete will generate. Howard Cháse
  • Score: 1

10:53am Wed 12 Feb 14

Howard Cháse says...

Howard Cháse wrote:
Done deal like so many other Council propositions of late. They don't care what the public think as they bash aherax with their vrand plans.

Be interesting to see how the storm drains Lee Chapel South cope with all the extra run off all that concrete will generate.
Bash ahead not aherax
Grand not vrand

flipping dumbphone....

if I keep this up do you think I could get a job at The Echo?
[quote][p][bold]Howard Cháse[/bold] wrote: Done deal like so many other Council propositions of late. They don't care what the public think as they bash aherax with their vrand plans. Be interesting to see how the storm drains Lee Chapel South cope with all the extra run off all that concrete will generate.[/p][/quote]Bash ahead not aherax Grand not vrand flipping dumbphone.... if I keep this up do you think I could get a job at The Echo? Howard Cháse
  • Score: 1

11:02am Wed 12 Feb 14

Ironman says...

Does anybody know if this is actually designated greenbelt land or has it been earmarked for development land for years. I hear a lot of conflicting stories.
Does anybody know if this is actually designated greenbelt land or has it been earmarked for development land for years. I hear a lot of conflicting stories. Ironman
  • Score: 0

8:09pm Thu 13 Feb 14

mikepaterson says...

As far as I can tell these areas were set aside as special reserve land for future development., and are NOT green belt. I do not think the term special meadowland means anything, I think they are referring to meadowland that is in special reserve.
As far as I can tell these areas were set aside as special reserve land for future development., and are NOT green belt. I do not think the term special meadowland means anything, I think they are referring to meadowland that is in special reserve. mikepaterson
  • Score: 0

10:45pm Fri 14 Feb 14

Ironman says...

mikepaterson wrote:
As far as I can tell these areas were set aside as special reserve land for future development., and are NOT green belt. I do not think the term special meadowland means anything, I think they are referring to meadowland that is in special reserve.
Thats what I heard, Mike. Seems like a lot of money will be wasted defending the indefensible!
[quote][p][bold]mikepaterson[/bold] wrote: As far as I can tell these areas were set aside as special reserve land for future development., and are NOT green belt. I do not think the term special meadowland means anything, I think they are referring to meadowland that is in special reserve.[/p][/quote]Thats what I heard, Mike. Seems like a lot of money will be wasted defending the indefensible! Ironman
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree