TWO Tory MPs have come out against plans to build up to 6,000 homes on green belt.
Basildon MPs John Baron and Stephen Metcalfe spoke out against Dunton Garden Suburb, Basildon and Brentwood councils’ joint proposals for between 4,000 and 6,000 homes between Laindon and West Horndon.
Both fear the new village, which could include traveller pitches and industrial land, would put strains on Basildon’s infrastructure.
More than 1,200 people have already signed a petition against the proposals.
Mr Baron, who represents Basildon and Billericay, said: “I have severe concerns about both the possible lack of infrastructure support and extent of this proposed development. As constituents who have written to me know, I have expressed these concerns to Basildon Council and am waiting for its reply before responding to the consultation.
“I believe we need clear evidence of money on the table when it comes to the extra investment required across the full spectrum of infrastructure, including the big ticket items such as our hospital and primary care services, road and rail links, and schools.
“We also need to question the extent of this development.”
Mr Metcalfe, member for South Basildon and East Thurrock, said: “A proposal of such scale must not be considered lightly. I would not even countenance the idea if there were no real investment in infrastructure, such as health and education provision, real investment in roads and proper consideration of power and drainage issues. Also, there must be in-depth consultation.
“At this stage, I am concerned that not enough people have been made aware of the proposals and that information has not been as widely spread as I would have hoped.”
The outline plans include a train station and “cultural, social and community facilities”, but make no mention of a school. The leaders of Basildon and the county council have already said they will only back plans that include enough infrastructure for new households, including schools and transport.
Campaigners claim the scheme would overload crowded schools and cut choice for parents in the west of the borough.
They have re-launched their action group under a new name.
The Dunton Garden Suburb Action Group has changed its name to Raid – Residents Against Inappropriate Developments.
Member Dr Philip Gibbs, 55, of Welbeck Drive, Langdon Hills, said: “We noticed a growing cross-party support for our aims within Basildon Council, which has issued a press release attacking Brentwood Council's methodology over its strategic growth options consultation.
“We welcome this as a sign Basildon Council is starting to take on board the message of our campaign.” To sign the protest petition, search for “Dunton Garden Suburb” at www.change.org