Basildon Council may approve 53 pitches across the borough to meet its obligation to provide land for travellers.

The infrastructure, growth and development committee met on Tuesday night to discuss the final stages of the Basildon Borough Local Plan for housing and traveller sites.

The committee agreed to allocate 53 pitches in the following areas - London Road, Vange, East Basildon, South of Wickford, South West Billericay and Gardiners Lane South in Basildon.

Barn Hall, in Haslemere Road, Wickford, was also up for consideration. However, the committee agreed to build 30 homes instead.

Chairman of the committee, councillor Linda Allport-Hodge, said: “Since our administration came into office we reduced the allocation of 200 pitches to 53. We have a legal duty to meet, but we can’t be too generous.

“This is all part of the government’s National Policy Framework for local authorities to provide accommodation needs for the travelling community.

“The committee concluded we should build an additional 30 homes in Barn Hall. So this is great news for residents.

“We already have Dale Farm in the Craylands, and illegal development in Hovefields in Wickford so the decision wasn’t easy.

“Everything we do is to balance out our housing needs, green belt land and our duty for traveller provisions.”

The Local Plan will be discussed in the full council meeting next month where all members will vote for the proposals made in the plan, and they will be presented to the planning inspectorate.

Conservative councillor Peter Holliman, representing Wickford Park, said while Barn Hall is off the agenda he is still reticent.

He said: “Barn Hall was selected as a possible location because it fits the criteria of affordability, accessibility and sustainability.

“If there were traveller pitches there, it would be placed between a playground and residential homes so it’s not ideal.

“There’s no definite criteria on what the ratio should be between residential homes and traveller plots. So I am unsure about the future of Barn Hall.”