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15,000 homes could be built in Basildon despite Tory pledge
9:00am Wednesday 27th February 2013 in Local News
RULING Tories have been accused of “playing politics” over house building targets after it emerged more than 15,000 homes could be built across Basildon in the next 20 years.
The Tories won last year’s local election promising to build just 6,400 homes over the next 20 years and releasing no green belt for housing.
But now its emerged Basildon Council was given Govenment guidance to build 21,000 homes and may have to raise its housing estimate in its local development framework.
A council source told the Echo: “There were three options, 6,400, 10,800 and 21,000. The Government guidance said 21,000, which is way too many, but they had to be realistic and come somewhere closer to that. They opted for the lowest level which was never going to get through a planning inspector.
“Now while preparing the final drafts of the local development framework it is going to have to be higher than 15,000 to get through.”
The housing bombshell comes as residents continue to fight plans for nearly 1,500 homes at either end of the borough, with 750 homes planned for Little Chalvedon Hall in Bowers Gifford and 725 set top be built at Dry Street in Basildon.
Phil Rackley, leader of the Basildon independent Labour group, said: “I pointed out at the time the 6,400 was completely unrealistic and they were just playing politics. I am worried about where these additional houses will be built already a great deal of pressure on Basildon at Bowers Gifford and the Ford Dunton site. Basildon is overcrowded and if 16,000 is the number it will have to be spread across the borough.”
The Echo also understands the Conservatives won’t reveal new housing until after the Essex County Council elections in May.
Council leader Tony Ball said: “I cannot go into what the figure will be as it is still being worked on, and the figures are now not likely to be published until the summer, but this is due to ongoing surveys and nothing to do with any elections.
“If you use the government’s house building calculations then you meet the over 21,000 figure, but you have to take into account other factors, and that is what the surveys are about, so it will not be anything like as high as that figure.”