Article by Brentwood Gazette: Billericay's green belt is being targeted by Basildon council as they look at where to build 2,000 new homes.
The draft local development plan revealed 1,785 new-builds are proposed for sites near Potash Road, Frithwood Lane and Mountnessing Road.
But campaigners say the plans could threaten wildlife and increase the risk of flooding.
Basildon Borough Council must build 14,582 homes by 2034 to meet government targets.
If it fails to outline exactly where the homes will be built it will lose planning responsibilities to central government.
Council leader Phil Turner is encouraging homeowners to speak up about issues surrounding the plans.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Council leader Phil Turner"]We don't just want concerns about not wanting a house being built in the field behind you, but we want to hear facts and figures. We want people to talk about roads and railways. Nobody will like it but it has to be done and this plan is a really good chance of working with the community.[/quote]
Green belt land will be open to offers and, should the local plan be accepted, boundaries could be redefined.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Cllr Turner"]It is not just about housing but it is about infrastructure. There is employment land in the plan that is critically important. People in the borough want employment locally and it is about providing good, quality high-skilled jobs.[/quote]
Mike Andrews concedes building new homes is necessary to keep up with the demand of an ageing population.
But the Billericay Action Group member feels the draft plan has not taken the impact of building on the green belt into consideration.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Mike Andrews"]The first thing we recognised was the reduction in the number of homes being proposed, which is good but unfortunately a lot of it is still on the green belt. The big thing is infrastructure and each of those sites increases the strain on the infrastructure. The railways are only going to get worse.[/quote]
Mr Andrews cited school places and under-pressure surgeries as factors not being focused on by the council in their latest plan.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Mike Andrews"]Basildon council have no control over GP provisions and even if we have the GPs, do surgeries have scope to take on more people? Several schools in the area will not be able to take on more pupils, which means children will have to be driven to different places. Houses need to be built but there is nothing to say what kind of impact it is going to have on people who already live there.[/quote]
Read original article by Brentwood Gazette