BY LOCAL DEMOCRACY REPORTER
TILBURY residents could soon hear whether more than 160 homes will be built on land which forms part of the Little Thurrock Marshes after months of waiting.
The plan to build the 161 homes in Tilbury has left residents furious and resulted in nearly 700 objections to Thurrock Council.
Council officers said planning permission should be refused when it was initially discussed by the council in March but with Planning Committee members considering going against this recommendation, it will be discussed for the third time next week.
Ahead of the meeting on July 16, council officers are once again recommending the plans be thrown out due to it being built on the green belt.
Residents have previously lodged almost 700 objections due to concerns over increased traffic congestion and the strain on local infrastructure.
However, a number of councillors are still in favour after claiming the houses will primarily help provide homes for workers when the Tilbury 2 port expansion is complete.
Labour councillor Gerard Rice has also pushed for the homes as he believes it will help the borough achieve its housing targets, which have been laid out by central government.
Speaking during the March meeting he explained: “We have to produce 32,000 homes and at this time the authority sits very much at the bottom of tables for housing delivery. Of those 32,000 around 8,000 will be out of brown fields and 24,000 from green fields.”
A final decision was expected to happen last month but councillors instead voted for a site visit so they can better understand the impact the houses will have.
Mr Rice told the committee last month that they owe residents to give the plan “due diligence”.
But Labour councillor Michael Fletcher, who is deputy chair of the committee, said: “If we go against the recommendation of officers we need to show clear material reasons why we wish to differ.
“If we are unable to show why the benefit would clearly outweigh the harm then we are strongly recommended not to bother because it wont get anywhere.
“So will a site visit really allow us to reach that point? It seems the fact its built on green belt, that is harm that isn’t going away and there is nothing we will see that will take that away.”
Under the plans there will be 87 three-bed homes and 18 two-bed homes sold at market price, along with a further 56 ‘affordable’ homes that will range from one-bed flats to four-bed houses.