TORY chiefs are set to borrow a whopping £100million to fund huge overhauls of Basildon’s estates, prompting fears rent could “go through the roof.”

Basildon Council is planning to spend £40million on overhauling tired estates, and a further £57million on a new estate, all of which will need to be borrowed.

The new estate, made up of 200 homes, will consist fully of council homes in a bid to reduce the council home waiting list.

The location of the new estate has not been disclosed by council bosses, with discussions ongoing.


Rents will have to be increased above inflation due to the scale of borrowing, according to the former deputy leader of the council Kerry Smith.

He said: “The Housing Revenue Account is already £205million in debt.

“I managed to bring it down from £230million when I was in charge of the committee.

“This will only make it worse.

“We’ve asked for more detail, but it has yet to be provided.

“They will have to increase the rents to help pay it back.

“It’s already going to take 30 years to pay the debt back.

“The interest will be paid for by the lowest earners.

“The less well off are funding this project by the looks of it.”

Tory bosses admitted it will take more than 30 years to pay the debt back, but insisted rents won’t be increased to pay for the project.

Stuart Sullivan, chairman of the resources and commercial committee, said: “The HRA budget will be able to cope with the expenditure and the interest.

“There’s no plans to increase rents, it’s not in the forecast.

“Rents will remain at the same level.

“It’s my understanding that the new homes will be council owned.”

Several sites are being considered for the new estate.

The overhaul of estates will include new homes, demolishing empty garages for car parking spaces, improving security with CCTV, and repairs to communal areas.

Andrew Schrader, the chair of the estate renewal committee, said: “This is long overdue.

“There will be borrowing, but it will be across several budgets.”

The £40million to overhaul the estates will be spent in £10million chunks, spread across four years.

The huge project was approved by all political parties in Basildon last week.