Billericay Green Belt homes plan rejected by councillors

House plan drawing

Articla by Lewis Berrill: Plans to build nine homes on Green Belt land in Billericay have been shot down by councillors who voted unanimously to reject the development.

The proposals would have seen nine homes, five two-bedroom detached homes and four two-bedroom semi-detached bungalows, built at at The Belvedere in Hardings Elms Road, Billericay.

The homes were proposed to be affordable at 60 per cent of the market value – lower than the standard 80 per cent – according to developer Millen Homes.

However, the site is located within the Green Belt and councillors deemed the provision of affordable housing did not constitute the “very special circumstances necessary” to approve the scheme at Basildon Borough Council’s planning committee last night (July 21).

 There are 23 homes already on the 1.57 hectares site, for which permission was granted in February 2019, and an existing car park for the Belvedere Golf Club and driving range.

An impassioned Cllr Phil Turner said the proposals had his “blood boiling”.

“This developer is lucky to have got the first application through on Green Belt land,” he said, referring to the homes already on the site. Don’t get bought off by those 60 per cent affordable homes. We’ve got enough social housing coming, we don’t need this little offering. The Green Belt is more important than what is being offered here.”

Cllr Craig Rimmer agreed. “For me it’s a no brainer,” he said.

“We did approve the last development but that was on the outline of what was there before, so that made sense. But conditions were put in place to make sure there was no domino effect nibbling away at our Green Belt.”

The council received six letters of objections to the plans and several residents spoke at the meeting to voice their dismay over the scheme.

One letter of support was sent in said the proposal would enhance the area which the writer claimed is used as a free tip for fly-tippers.

Cllr Andrew Blake, chairman, said it was an “open and shut case” before the committee voted unanimously to reject the development.

Articla by Lewis Berrill, The Echo