CASTLE Point Council could lose up to £11million if the government takes control of where houses should be built in the area.

The authority is drawing up its draft local plan to decide where and how many homes to build in the next 15 years.

But the government has told councils they must have a plan in place by early 2017 - or planning inspectors will intervene.

Dave Blackwell, leader of Canvey Independent Party, said: “Listening to the government saying they want to build all these houses, I think they are going to lose patience with councils in the end, which is why we have to get on and if we don’t do it in a year it’s going to be taken away from us anyway.

“I can see the government doing it and we will lose so much.

“The last estimate, if the government steps in and takes over, it could cost the council £11million in lost infrastructure charges.

“You would have thought that would be the motivation to get it done.”

The £11million would come from the community infrastructure levy which is a charge on all new qualifying development.

David Marchant, chief executive of Castle Point Council, said: “The borough council estimates it could generate in the region of £11million over the life of the New Local Plan. Of that 15 per cent would be passed on to Canvey Island Town Council.

“Without a local plan in place the community infrastructure levy cannot be charged and there will be no contribution from development to benefit community projects such as roads ,schools, parks and community halls.”

Norman Smith, chairman of the task and finish group which is setting out where the homes should be built, added: “What will it cost the council? If we don’t have a plan we will end up with double the amount of properties and they will make a plan without us having any input.”

WORK on the local plan is back underway with meetings discussing housing sites to take place later this month.

The work stalled during the Jotmans Farm planning appeal in September.

Norman Smith, chairman of the task and finish group which is setting out where the homes should be built, said: “We had to stop to a degree because of the appeal process so that’s why we stopped, because of that.

“We had no officer support to do the task and finish but we are back on and we have a private meeting next Wednesday.”

The task and finish group is due to report its findings at full council in December. A deadline, Dave Blackwell, leader of Canvey Independent Party, does not believe will be reached.

He said: “I’m not sure where we are going with it. I think its wishful thinking to get it ready for December. It’s taken us six years to get to this point, how much longer will it take?”

Mr Smith is adamant the group will be ready by December with a viable plan. He said: “It’s still on target for December.

“At the next meeting we will be evaluating each site and making our report for full council with our recommendations.”

The next public meeting will take place at the council offices on Monday October, 26 at 7.30pm at the council offices in Kiln Road, Thundersley.