PLANS to build 12,500 Basildon homes over the next 18 years have been revealed – with the majority of sites set for green belt land.
After a decade of deliberation, Basildon Council has finally revealed the sites it has earmarked for development between 2014 and 2031.
Councillors said the plans would pave the way for 8,500 new jobs.
Each development would be phased and plans include a new train station in Laindon and new shopping centres and schools across the borough.
The proposals total 16,000 homes, but 3,500 are already built, or have been given planning permission – including Dry Street – since 2011.
An average of 800 homes per year will be required.
The final numbers have been downscaled from previous proposals to build 21,000 homes in the borough during the same period.
The blueprint will go out to public consultation before being submitted to Government planning inspectors for final approval.
The Local Plan includes: ! 10,125 homes in Basildon new town, Laindon, and Pitsea and 48 hectares of employment land ! 2,500 homes in Billericay and 0.3 hectares of employment land ! 2,800 homes in Wickford and 0.7 hectares of employment land ! 575 homes on plotland settlements in the borough.
The council has insisted, as the vast amount of urban space has already been built on, it has no choice but to concrete over some of the green belt land that makes up 63 per cent of the borough.
Council leader Tony Ball said: “We have defended the green belt from hostile developers in the past, but the reality is, if we are to give our children opportunity in the future, then we have to build over it.”
Richard Moore, councillor responsible for planning, said: “Even if all these sites are developed, 59 per cent of the borough is still green belt. We have a green borough and in 20 years’ time we will still have a green borough.”
The council sets out the numbers for homes and jobs, but it is up to private developers and business to come forward and build on the designated land.
The authority’s Local Plan has been ten years in the making and senior officials at the council have admitted this has, in the past, left them “vulnerable” to developers who take their applications to appeal.
The council and the Government have blamed each other for the delay.
The council insists this Local Plan will offer it protection against developers in the future.