Over the border, Tory plans to change housing proposals

By Local Democracy Reporter
Piers Meyler

BASILDON’S new Tory administration has listed the changes it wants to make to the Local Plan ahead of proposals to rewrite large sections of the document setting out where almost 20,000 homes should be built across the borough.

An extraordinary meeting of Basildon Borough Council will meet on June 7 to reconsider the Local Plan, which had been drawn up by a coaltion, including those from Labour and UKIP, before they were removed from office in the local elections last month.

The Local Development Plan, setting out where 19,000 homes should be built in the borough up to 2034, had been met with a furious response from many residents – including those in Billericay, which had 3,292 homes allocated to it.

Wickford had an allocation of 3,624 homes, while Basildon was allocated 9,220.

In addition there had been outcry over how travellers should be allocated.

Now Tory councillors, who formed a new adminstration in the wake of the council elections, are being asked to rescind a decision made on March 22 which formalised the council’s strategy for development and growth in Basildon borough up to 2034 and the planning policies that will be applied in assessing planning applications during that period.

Policies in this Local Plan will replace the 2007 Saved Policies from the Basildon District Local Plan adopted in 1998.

The plan had been ready for public consultation for submission to the Secretary of State by summer 2018.

Key elements of the plan approved by the council which the Tories want to change include reconsidering the merits of allocating 300 homes in south west Billericay, causing the loss of an area of Frith Wood ancient woodland.

It also wants to reconsider housing plans in Noak Bridge, its options for meeting the borough’s gypsy, traveller and travelling showpeople, the options for the Hovefields and Honiley Neighbourhood Area, housing in Ramsden Bellhouse; Bowers Gifford and North Benfleet, and the options for the Community Infrastructure Levy Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule.

The council, which has already been written to by the Government warning them their Local Plan will be taken over by the Government if they fail to produce in a timely fashion, admits rescinding the plan “will impact on the timetable set out in the Local Development Scheme”.

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