Fears have been raised that Basildon residents are being priced out of a new 700-home development being built in Dry Street.

Some 41 three and four-bedroom homes are set to be released to the market in the 725 home development in Westley Green by its developers, Redrow.

Prices for the new homes have started at a sky high £381,995 for a three-bed home, with five-bedroom properties being priced in the region of £645,000.

Kerry Smith, chairman of Basildon Council’s housing and community committee, objected to the prices, saying that the development will not be affordable for the majority of Basildon residents.

He criticised the council’s previous Tory administration who approved the controversial development.

Mr Smith said: “This development was never about helping out first time buyers in Basildon, it was about the council making Basildon bluer, and this is why I think they have gone with a high-end developer. 

“Originally the land was meant to be for 12,000 affordable homes.”

Mr Smith added that the huge development, which is in its second phase, will only attract Londoners.

He added: “They’re trying to attract people living in expensive London homes. 

“It is meant for people with one or two-bedroom flats in the city. 

“I think it is trying to pull people out of London but not giving opportunities to buyers in Basildon.”

Although the new properties will be an expensive investment for whoever does take them, the developer is also placing money in a new primary school and giving £500,000 to Longwood Riding School, as part of its relocation to Barleylands Road in Billericay.

Phil Rackley, of Devonshire Road, Laindon, however, agreed with Mr Smith that the development is not going to help Basildon homeowners.

He added that the development will not help to resolve the problem of affordable housing and also homelessness in Basildon.

Mr Rackley said: “It is way over the top and Basildon faces not just a housing crisis, but a homelessness crisis, which is ludicrous. This whole thing about the development is a nonsense.

“I always opposed it and if you look at the mess of the development in the market and the domino effect, looking at the shift in Market Square and building the college really makes me think Basildon should be a lot more responsive to what people need in the borough.

“The price at around £650,000 for a five-bedroom house is going to be three times more than an average family in Basildon can afford to pay towards a mortgage.

“It is going to be way out of league for people here and they will end up going to people in London.

“Basildon was not developed as a commuter town, if you look at the early new town development and the industries that we have with the tractor plant, I know certain industries have gone and my worry is that Ford Dunton will also go.”

Kerry McCourbrey, sales director at Redrow Eastern, said: “There has been a fantastic amount of interest in the homes at Westley Green so far, with the three and four bedroom homes proving particularly popular with families in the local area making that first or second step on the property ladder.

"It seems as if this next phase of homes is going to be just as popular with 200 people already registering their interest.”