ROADS, schools, and healthcare should come first in Basildon’s large-scale building plans, councillors have argued.

Councillors met this week to examine Basildon Council’s response to a public consultation its Local Plan, which sets out locations for 15,260 homes across the borough by 2034.

At the meeting, it was claimed “key infrastructure issues” have not been properly addressed, meaning roads and schools could become over-run once the mass development starts.

The Echo revealed last week that 86 per cent of the 22,000 people to respond to the Local Plan consultation deemed it to be unfit for purpose.

In response, Basildon Council says it will consider the inclusion of a “phasing strategy”, which could mean highways improvements must be completed before land is released for development.

However Amanda Parrott, Basildon Council team manager for planning policy, revealed that in some cases improvements would come part way through schemes.

Ms Parrott added that the council does successfully carry out negotiations with developers to ensure improvements come forward.

However, David Harrison, leader of Wickford Independents, has urged the council to take a firm stance by insisting that the infrastructure must come before houses are built.

He said: “In the report, there was a little mention of schools and roads, but not that much on things such as drainage and health.

“One of the sites mentioned was H13, it sets out about 800 homes for land south of Wickford, but only talks about road improvements coming after the first 300 houses are built.

“We need to be firm, infrastructure first, homes second.”

Andrew Gordon, Labour councillor for Lee Chapel North, urged the council to tackle a GP deficit in the borough.

He said: “There is not one mention of healthcare in this report, and we have a real shortage in Basildon.

“Mental health is another aspect that doesn’t get any mention at all.

“Given our ageing population in the borough, it’s something we should be prioritising.”

Concerns were also raised over a development to the west of Basildon, which could see a ‘Dunton Garden Suburb’ of up to 6,000 homes created across the border with Brentwood.

Councillors expressed fears that the lines between the neighbouring boroughs would be blurred if the development went ahead.

Linda Allport-Hodge, Ukip group leader and chairman of the scrutiny committee, raised concerns about the report and said she has considered inviting a Government planning inspector to assess it.

She added: “I have a lot of concerns as I don’t think we have missed a lot in the report. I think we should be inviting an inspector to come to our next meeting in an advisory capacity.”