Almost 500 concerned residents attended a public meeting over fears that a traveller site could be set up near Basildon Golf Course.

Basildon Council is set to approve its local plan to go to full council tonight, which includes 53 pitches across the borough to meet its obligation to provide land for travellers.

Twelve of the 53 pitches are set to be on a site in London Road, Vange, which will also provide 650 homes within the local plan.

Basildon Council has said that there is no decision as to where within the site the traveller pitches will go.

However, fears have been voiced about the proposed site stretching to the edges of Basildon Golf Course and that the

traveller site could derail Basildon Council’s plan for a high class hotel on the golf course.

Resident Alison Whitton, 37, of Kingswood, said: “People in Basildon still remember what happened at Dale Farm, so it has left quite a bad taste in our mouths and people are on edge whenever you talk about travellers.

“Who is going to want to spend all that money on a new build home, or commit to mortgage payments, and then have a traveller site next door. It doesn’t make sense. And why on earth would a hotel commit to building a site if there will be travellers on its doorstep.

“They have worked really hard to get that golf course back up to a very high standard, it is a very large and they cannot police it at all. “What if 14 caravans arrive rather than the 12? Where will they go, the golf course I would guess.”

Colin Jenkins, golf course director, said: “Do you really think a Marriots or a Hilton will invest millions into a hotel if the neighbours are travellers.

“I highly doubt it. For that reason alone I am completely against the inclusion of the traveller site.

“I understand the for accommodation, and I know every council must do it, but I don’t think this has been properly thought out.

“It goes against all the time and money that has been spent looking at a hotel.”

Chairman of the Friends of Basildon Course, Mick Toomer, said: “So many people turned out that we filled the Golf Club, and then Club Kingswoods function room and bar, with others outside. At one stage I was asked to open a window so that the people outside could hear.

“One person took a count of 482. Many others were unable to get to the meeting because the roads were gridlocked.”



Ukip councillor Linda Allport-Hodge, chairman of the Infrastructure, Growth and Development Committee at the council, said committee members were between a “rock and a hard place” as they were being forced by the Conservative government to build houses and traveller camps, but residents didn’t want them.

She said: “If I could wave my magic wand and make it so everyone is happy, I would, but I can’t.

“The Tories at Basildon Council had 12 months to come up with a local plan, but didn’t. 

“We have had 10 months. It isn’t perfect, but it does stop developers from putting in applications and having them granted on appeal because we don’t have a local plan.”

She added that traveller sites could not be built on green field sites and so the council was very limited in where they could put the sites.

Mrs Allport-Hodge said that they had the number of traveller sites needed in the borough dictated to them by the government, and they had split them fairly between the towns.