CONTROVERSIAL plans for 450 homes at Ford Dunton have been given the go-ahead by Basildon Council, just six months after identical proposals were unanimously rejected.

Bellway Homes has been granted permission to construct a further 179 properties on land off the A127, Laindon, as well as outline permission for a further 271, ranging from one bedroom to five bedroom houses.

In June councillors threw out the plans, which also include a new link road connecting the main road and Dunton interchange, on the grounds that they did not comply with council planning policy.

National Planning Policy Framework has since been introduced stating that local authorities should seek to approve applications for sustainable development where possible and look for solutions rather than problems.

Clive Simpson, head of planning at Basildon Council, said: “Of the houses which have already been sold on the former Laindon School site, 89 percent of buyers previously lived in Essex and 44 percent of them are from the Basildon and Laindon area. This latest development clearly gives the opportunity for local people to move into better quality housing within the borough.

“If these plans went to appeal the reward of costs against the council would be very likely and could be very substantial. Our reputation would be at stake. It would make it look as if this authority doesn’t have any credible method of supplying housing.”

Councillors on the Development Control Committee voted in favour of the development at a meeting on Tuesday evening, but claimed they were unhappy at the way government legislation is now influencing local planning policy.

Kevin Blake, who was standing in on behalf of Paul Arnold, said: “What I don’t like is being bullied by a yellow-belly government. I think it is the fact that Ford no longer want the site which helped me make my decision."

Despite only two residents formally objecting to the plans, many are now angry that they will lose their view of green fields.

Ian Mott, 68, of Bourne Avenue, said: “It is madness. There are plans for more and more homes in Basildon but there are empty homes that need filling. We have a lack of doctors in the area and our local health services are fully stretched as it is, we have very few schools who have little room for expansion and what about all the extra sewage and waste?”