A WHOPPING £2million of taxpayers’ money could be splurged on fighting an appeal over hundreds of flats in Basildon town centre, the Echo can reveal.

Basildon Council accepted plans in February for 492 flats on Market Square, which would have seen a high-rise tower block of 17 storeys built in place of the Moon on the Square pub, Greggs and a Subway.

But the incoming Tory administration has now scrapped Orwell’s plans six months later, prompting an appeal from the developers.


The appeal is likely to cost the council £2million, all coming out of taxpayers’ pockets. However, there is uncertainty if the plans can actually be rejected.

Andrew Baggott, leader of the council, insists the council is following the results of a recent public consultation, which revealed residents are against plans.

He said: “One of the developers, Orwell, has decided to go to appeal. The cost of it will be in the region of £2million, but that is the cost of listening to residents.

“This is what the public wanted. There’s a cause and effect.

“It’s disappointing, but it’s the reality of what the public decided in the consultation. We are following the planning process.

“Orwell feel they have valid grounds for appeal.”

It’s feared that despite the huge cost, the rejection may well be overturned by the Government’s inspector, with the need to build new homes.

The application came as part of Basildon’s Town Centre Masterplan, formalised under the previous Labour-led administration, which would have seen almost 5,000 homes built, alongside a a 5,000-seat arena, new sites for a larger theatre and smaller council offices.

A 50-year-old resident, from Pitsea, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I do support the scrapping of the homes, but we’re having to pay for it.

“I don’t want the amount of tower blocks they were planning, but homes do have to be built somewhere.”

It could take up to a year for an outcome of the appeal to be determined by the Government inspectors.