Green belt homes fury

First published in News by

RESIDENTS have reacted angrily to approval for 51 new homes on a Billericay green belt site.

The Billericay School, in School Road, won a planning appeal for outline permission to build the homes on the green belt site near the school, in Noak Hill Road.

The school said the sale of the land would pay for a multi-million expansion, including music, arts and drama buildings, and a new sports centre.

But since winning the appeal against Basildon Council, residents, a local environmental group and councillors have claimed it will damage wildlife, burden traffic and put more green belt land at risk.

Peter Tucker, a spokesman for environmental group SOS Billericay, said: “The whole thing is a disaster for the people of Billericay. Extra traffic from builders and eventually new residents’ cars is going to cause a real safety issue as lots of parents park nearby to pick up their children and congest the road.

“There is also wildlife there, including a badger sett and possibly bats, which will be under threat.”

Councillor Kevin Blake, ward member for Billericay East, said the council was weighing up whether to launch an appeal. He said: “This is the tip of the iceberg and I think every bit of green belt in the district is under threat.

“If a developer promises some community asset, like a sports facility, it will have a chance of building homes on green belt.”

Resident Carol Heywood, of Longrise, said: “It’s just sad the wildlife we enjoy could all vanish from there now and it will just be homes. Once the homes are built it will simply be too late to recover what we had.”

But Sue Hammond, headteacher of the Billericay School, said the inspector had agreed all the concerns were answered in the planning proposal.

She said: “The case was won by demonstrating very special circumstances exist to allow development in the green belt. Therefore, no precedent is being set.”

“Wildlife will be protected by the inclusion of an ecology corridor. Independent traffic experts and Essex Highways concluded this development will not significantly increase congestion.”

Comments (7)

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3:13pm Wed 28 Jan 09

Ricayboy says...

A very good thing too.
Nobody wants to see urban sprawl in Essex but the fact is that some controlled loss of greenbelt land may be justified if we are to provide services and amenities fit for the 21st century.
Where else would you propose building new homes in Billericay? Would you prefer high rise flats to be built? Already every available scrap of land in town is being developed. People need somewhere to live and it is interesting that most of the ones opposed to the development almost definitely live in homes that -guess what- were once built on greenfield sites. You can't be hypocritical about such things. People want to enjoy the luxuries that you enjoy -such as their own home.

The complaint was made:
"Extra traffic from builders and eventually new residents’ cars is going to cause a real safety issue as lots of parents park nearby to pick up their children and congest the road."

This may be true but I am sure that with care and thought some solution can be found that benefits everyone.

“There is also wildlife there, including a badger sett and possibly bats, which will be under threat.”

The fields at Billericay School are largely neglected and are serving no useful purpose. They would go largely unnoticed if the development proposition did not arise. Would you prefer the ruined and overgrown farm to just rot there forever?

I would very much doubt that the fields have much value for wildlife. Just over the road is the Mill Meadows Local Nature Reserve which is an example of an ancient Essex meadow system. The loss of a couple of scrubby fields next to the main road aren't going to make much difference. It is just an excuse to prevent any development.

Besides all this, think how many children would benefit if this scheme goes ahead as well as the whole community. Would you deprive them decent, modern facilities for the sake of a couple of fields, a badger and a few bats?
If so, your priorities are all wrong.

Unlike most of the moaners I am under the age of thirty and I grew up in South Green and attended Billericay School.
A very good thing too. Nobody wants to see urban sprawl in Essex but the fact is that some controlled loss of greenbelt land may be justified if we are to provide services and amenities fit for the 21st century. Where else would you propose building new homes in Billericay? Would you prefer high rise flats to be built? Already every available scrap of land in town is being developed. People need somewhere to live and it is interesting that most of the ones opposed to the development almost definitely live in homes that -guess what- were once built on greenfield sites. You can't be hypocritical about such things. People want to enjoy the luxuries that you enjoy -such as their own home. The complaint was made: "Extra traffic from builders and eventually new residents’ cars is going to cause a real safety issue as lots of parents park nearby to pick up their children and congest the road." This may be true but I am sure that with care and thought some solution can be found that benefits everyone. “There is also wildlife there, including a badger sett and possibly bats, which will be under threat.” The fields at Billericay School are largely neglected and are serving no useful purpose. They would go largely unnoticed if the development proposition did not arise. Would you prefer the ruined and overgrown farm to just rot there forever? I would very much doubt that the fields have much value for wildlife. Just over the road is the Mill Meadows Local Nature Reserve which is an example of an ancient Essex meadow system. The loss of a couple of scrubby fields next to the main road aren't going to make much difference. It is just an excuse to prevent any development. Besides all this, think how many children would benefit if this scheme goes ahead as well as the whole community. Would you deprive them decent, modern facilities for the sake of a couple of fields, a badger and a few bats? If so, your priorities are all wrong. Unlike most of the moaners I am under the age of thirty and I grew up in South Green and attended Billericay School. Ricayboy
  • Score: 0

3:30pm Wed 28 Jan 09

TheWizzard says...

Nice to see Billericay coming into line with the rest of Basildon, shame mr Blake doesn't feel the need to protect the green belt in Basildon itself, but as this is where his 'seat' is i suppose it's to be expected!
Nice to see Billericay coming into line with the rest of Basildon, shame mr Blake doesn't feel the need to protect the green belt in Basildon itself, but as this is where his 'seat' is i suppose it's to be expected! TheWizzard
  • Score: 0

5:04pm Fri 30 Jan 09

intwo says...

Last time any digging took place at Billericay school a number of Roman artefacts were found.
Is the county archaeologist to be given a chance to examine the site before any building takes place?
Last time any digging took place at Billericay school a number of Roman artefacts were found. Is the county archaeologist to be given a chance to examine the site before any building takes place? intwo
  • Score: 0

9:51am Tue 3 Feb 09

Nebs says...

If this piece og green belt can be developed then why not allow the travellers, who are just up the road, to stay on their piece of green belt. What is the difference?
If this piece og green belt can be developed then why not allow the travellers, who are just up the road, to stay on their piece of green belt. What is the difference? Nebs
  • Score: 0

3:40am Wed 4 Feb 09

expat62 says...

Nebs wrote:
If this piece og green belt can be developed then why not allow the travellers, who are just up the road, to stay on their piece of green belt. What is the difference?
..cos they're pikies?.....
[quote][p][bold]Nebs[/bold] wrote: If this piece og green belt can be developed then why not allow the travellers, who are just up the road, to stay on their piece of green belt. What is the difference?[/p][/quote]..cos they're pikies?..... expat62
  • Score: 0

8:33am Wed 4 Feb 09

Ricayboy says...

"Nebs wrote:
If this piece og green belt can be developed then why not allow the travellers, who are just up the road, to stay on their piece of green belt. What is the difference?"

Here's a few reasons:

1-The land at Billericay School is much smaller than the travellers' plot at Crays Hill.

2-The land at Billericay School would be developed legally and the new residents would engage in legal activities. The land would be used to house people who genuinely need a place to live, not scroungers and law-breakers.

3-Because the money from the sale of the land would greatly benefit thousands of Billericay children and local residents.



"Nebs wrote: If this piece og green belt can be developed then why not allow the travellers, who are just up the road, to stay on their piece of green belt. What is the difference?" Here's a few reasons: 1-The land at Billericay School is much smaller than the travellers' plot at Crays Hill. 2-The land at Billericay School would be developed legally and the new residents would engage in legal activities. The land would be used to house people who genuinely need a place to live, not scroungers and law-breakers. 3-Because the money from the sale of the land would greatly benefit thousands of Billericay children and local residents. Ricayboy
  • Score: 0

8:41am Wed 4 Feb 09

Ricayboy says...

Having said that, I heard that Mr Bill Badger and his family who currently inhabit an illegal sett at the Billericay School site are thinking of appealing to the High Court against the ruling. Mr Badger and Badger rights activist Graham Foxton point to the fact that the sett is home to several families of baby badgers who would be made homeless were the proposed development go ahead. Mr Foxton, a veteran campaigner, likened the Badger Family's plight to the forced persecution of refugees in Africa. This is despite the fact that Mr Badger is known to own several other setts in various other parts of the country and a luxury five-roomed sett in Ireland. A family of bats who also have been living illegally on the site have also lodged a complaint against unfair treatment of animal minorities. This is despite the fact that they never seem to work and can be seen in great numbers fluttering around in local inns of an evening. The case continues and it will be interesting to see how it works out.
Having said that, I heard that Mr Bill Badger and his family who currently inhabit an illegal sett at the Billericay School site are thinking of appealing to the High Court against the ruling. Mr Badger and Badger rights activist Graham Foxton point to the fact that the sett is home to several families of baby badgers who would be made homeless were the proposed development go ahead. Mr Foxton, a veteran campaigner, likened the Badger Family's plight to the forced persecution of refugees in Africa. This is despite the fact that Mr Badger is known to own several other setts in various other parts of the country and a luxury five-roomed sett in Ireland. A family of bats who also have been living illegally on the site have also lodged a complaint against unfair treatment of animal minorities. This is despite the fact that they never seem to work and can be seen in great numbers fluttering around in local inns of an evening. The case continues and it will be interesting to see how it works out. Ricayboy
  • Score: 0
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