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150 houses will be built on Thundersley wildlife site
4:00pm Friday 3rd August 2012 in Castle Point
CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 150 houses on a wildlife haven have been approved.
Castle Point councillors were forced to pass the controversial plans after two votes, because there were no planning grounds on which it could be refused.
Developer David Wilson Homes will build the homes, on land between Kiln Road and Wensley Road, known as the Thundersley Plotlands Wildlife area.
This is home to reptiles, including slow worms and newts.
Campaigners packed the council chamber, in Kiln Road, Thundersley, with the majority having to watch via video link in the council atrium.
Steve Rogers, chief planning officer for the council, repeatedly warned the committee proper planning grounds had to be found if they wanted to refuse the plans, or they could face an appeal and potentially have to pay out the resulting court costs.
Barry Brazier, who has lived in nearby Warren Chase, Thunderlsey, for 40 years, spoke on behalf of the campaigners at the meeting. He claimed extra traffic, sewerage and the lack of overflow systems were all reasons for the homes to be refused.
He said: “We are disappointed with the outcome. I have been fighting this for 30 years. The chairman steam-rollered the decision and the councillors didn’t fight for the residents. “It was a bad day for democracy. There is not much we can do now, but we need to ensure the destruction of our greenland goes no further. “We fought this two years ago and won, but the officers wanted this one to be approved.”
The planning committee looked set to try and refuse the plans after Dave Blackwell, chairman of the Canvey Independent Party, put forward a motion for refusal.
However, nobody on the committee supported the motion, leading the committee chairman Bill Dick to order members to vote again. The plans were eventually passed by six votes to five.
As part of the agreement, the developer will have to spend £35,000 to improve road infrastructure, £150,000 to improve the Victoria House roundabout and contribute £101,000 to local healthcare and provide 53 affordable homes in the development.