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Mystery of 2,995 homes plan for Castle Point
6:10am Thursday 3rd October 2013 in Local News
ALMOST 2,500 new homes are being planned in Castle Point – yet the council is refusing to say where.
A confidential document has been obtained by the Echo setting out where 2,995 homes could be built on the mainland over the next 15 years.
Yet only sites for 507 of these homes have been identified in the document. The locations for the remaining 2,488 homes have been controversially blurred out.
The Echo asked the council to clarify where each of the sites were, but the authority said because it hadn’t put a plan together yet itwas not going to comment.
It is now feared some of the borough’s major green spaces will be blitzed with houses.
The confidential document states that 660 homes could go on an unspecified number of “large sites” in Benfleet.
In the council’s Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) report only three sites are identified in Benfleet as having the capacity for more than 50 homes which are not already listed on the document – all of which are on green belt.
These are land off Bowers Road, Jotmans Farm, and land adjacent to Sadlers Farm and the A130 CanveyWay.
The confidential document also states 680 homes could go on an unspecified number of “large sites” in Hadleigh.
Under the report there are only three sites not already identified in the document which could see more than 50 homes – again all of these are green belt.
These are land east of Rayleigh Road and north of Daws Heath Road, land at the north-east of Hadleigh off Central Avenue, and Brook Farm in Daws Heath Road.
Finally, the confidential document states 615 homes could go on unspecified large sites in Thundersley. Under the council’s SHLAA report, there are seven sites in Thundersley which could take more than 50 homes – four of these are green belt.
These are Glebelands (where there is an ongoing battle through the High Court to stop development), Manor Trading Estate east and west of Armstrong Road, land north of the Chase in Kiln Road, land in north west Benfleet, land south of the A130 and the Focus site in Rushbottom Lane.
The news comes after councillors spoke out last week claiming the work towards the new draft Local Plan, which is expected to be finished at the end of the year, is little different to the original proposals which were thown out in September 2011.
A spokeswoman from the council said: “It is not the council’spractice to comment on private and confidential information.
“However, what I can confirm is that the information is not site specific and was drawn from the SHLAA.”
Jeffrey Stanley, deputy leader of the council, said; "Conservative councillor Jeffrey Stanley said: “Conservative councillor Jeffrey Stanley said: “It is very difficult to comment on specific sites, especially as we have not made any decisions yet. The council set a target of building 200 homes a year, however Government guidance suggests it should be a much higher figure and could be up to 380 homes a year.
“It is important for us to move quickly to get the Local Plan in place if we want to try and restrict the numbers to 200 homes a year and the council is moving as fast as we can to publish a draft document.”
Mr Stanley says the council’s SHLAA document clearly identifies that there are not enough brown field sites to meet the local need.
He added: “So the council is looking at the possibility of previously developed green field sites. Before a decision is made there will be a public consultation. The message to the public has got to be that the council is committed to making this an open process.”
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