Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Over the Border: Basildon may have to find space for extra homes

BASILDON could have to find space for an extra 1,400 homes under a new Government housing target.

The council has already been struggling to identify sites for 1,500 homes to reach the previous Government target of 20,000 but if they fail to do so by January, they will need to adopt a revised target of 21,400.

The Ministry of Housing released the new target on Tuesday and intends to review it further in September.

Labour councillors have warned that the September review could see the target increase to 24,000.

A recent decision by Tory councillors to remove 300 homes in Billericay, left Labour councillors infuriated who criticised the administration for making the housing shortfall even bigger.

Basildon Labour’s spokesperson for strategic planning, councillor Gavin Callaghan, said: “We are under pressure now to get this local plan submitted by January 24 next year which is going to be a real challenge given the recent actions of the Conservatives who have rolled back our plan making process to move a handful of homes out of Billericay.”

Labour Leader, Adele Brown, said: “The clock is now ticking until we will have to take at least an additional 1,400 homes and likely more.

“Who knows what the Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government has planned for us? Intervention from central Government is a real possibility in Basildon and at that point the situation will become a lot worse than where we are today.”

The Local Plan has numerous setbacks and the Government threatened the council with intervention in November last year.

A plan was eventually agreed under a Labour-led administration in March, but the Tories chose to reject the plan when they took control of the council in May.

At the end of June, council leader Andrew Baggot met with the director of planning at the Ministry of Housing and assured the Government that the council will hit their January deadline.

Labour called on the council to stop working on the revised plan during a council meeting last and said that the only way to meet the deadline was to revert back to the plan agreed on in March.

Tory councillors rejected the suggestion and Mr Baggot called it Labour’s attempt to go back to their “failed plan”. He said that warnings of additional homes being added to the plan is “scaremongering”.


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