Article by Olly Hill: Local residents are getting ready for the ‘fight of their lives’ as Basildon Council gets ready to submit a local plan that would see up to 3000 new houses in Billericay.
Basildon Council are planning 3,000 new homes to be built on greenbelt land on nine different sites. A spokesperson from the Billericay Action Group:
“The land should remain green belt. We are not calling for the development to be moved elsewhere in the borough. The already overloaded south Essex infrastructure is unsuitable for the level of development proposed. We are calling for a much more moderate overall Housing Target. Has anyone considered the amount of housing built in Essex over the past five years, it’s incredible that everywhere you go there are very large developments. How much more is needed in reality? I wonder where it will all end.”
Billericay Action Group is working with the Billericay District Residents’ Association, the Billericay Society and the people of Billericay to strive for a moderate, sustainable, common-sense outcome and is playing a vital role in providing information and gathering residents.
“We have been overwhelmed with the amount of people that have offered to help us deliver leaflets around Billericay. We now need willing volunteers to take on an organisational role too. This will be a vital part of the operation going forward with our fight against the Basildon Council and developers.”
The last consultation showed that Billericay wanted a lower housing target, one that serves local needs, but not London’s overflow. There is no government requirement for councils to use green belt for housing. Basildon and Billericay MP, John Baron said:
“Although a job for councillors, I do believe that we need to build more affordable homes for the next generation and to help sustain the thriving local economy – something many concerned residents also rightly highlight with me. The challenge is to ensure this extra housing is accommodated in a balanced fashion which does not materially affect our green belt, and which is fair when compared to other areas.”
Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid has wrote to Councillor Gavin Callaghan, Chair of Basildon Council’s Policy and Resources Committee, warning the council must continue to meet its published timetable to draft a local plan, which in the past they have not done so.
To meet its published timetable the council must now publish the plan and conduct a six-week public consultation beginning after local elections in May.
Article by Olly Hill, The Enquirer