By BBC Local Democracy Reporter
PLANNING permission could be secured for two major housing developments in Belhus before the end of the year as part of the council’s plan to build almost 700 new homes.
The Culver Centre and field, along with the vacant Whiteacre site in Belhus could be the first two sites to be granted planning permission for new homes, according to a revised housing list made public by the council.
The plans are expected to be finalised by the autumn and they will be the first of 15 sites the council believes will deliver a total of 699 homes.
Among the other potential development sites is the empty Prince of Wales pub in South Ockendon, an under-used section of the council offices in Grays, River View in Chadwell St Mary, and Argent Street in Grays Riverside.
The list was initially made public in February with 20 proposed sites but it has been slashed to 15 after residents and opposition councillors said many of the sites would mean the loss of vital green spaces.
Conservative councillor Barry Johnson, who oversees housing in Thurrock, said the five sites, made up of Springhouse in Corringham, Ridgewell in Orsett, Callan Grove in Belhus, Derry Avenue in Ockendon and Garren Lane and Humber Avenue in Belhus will be “of no interest” for residential development in future.
He further insisted that “it was always the administration’s plan to listen to local residents views” and cut the list down following resident consultations.
The refinements to the list mean that 699 homes are set to be built rather than the original figure of 926.
They will be built by the council using money from the Housing Revenue Account or by the council-owned company, Thurrock Regeneration Limited.
The list was drawn up to be part of the council’s contribution to a Government-imposed housing target, which requires 32,000 homes to be built in the borough over the next 18 years.
It will be discussed at a Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting next week, which will be the first to take place with the committee’s new Conservative chair Councillor Luke Spillman.
Former Labour chair Councillor Lynn Worrall was strongly against the list and has spent months campaigning with residents to highlight the impact the housing developments could have to existing estates.