At the recent meeting of Basildon Council’s Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee (29 August 2018) a revised scheme was approved for the provision of Traveller pitches across the borough which sees the removal of the proposed 15 pitches in Billericay.
When the new Administration at Basildon Council took office in May they made much of the injustices in the draft Local Plan inflicted upon Billericay by the previous Administration and their determination to make amends.
BDRA/BAG made a decision to give them time to demonstrate that they would deliver on these promises. We also made clear our view that tinkering with the draft would not be enough and that we believed the Plan to be fundamentally Unsound.
After the 29/8 meeting we now know how much the new administration has been able to achieve on behalf of our Town. Disappointingly, it seems to be tinkering.
The 300 houses associated with the rejected Taylor Wimpey proposal to bulldoze through part of Frith Wood have been removed, but this is no victory as the outrageous scheme would never have been included in the first place, if the original committee was not in awe of developers. One has to wonder why Taylor Wimpey are so concerned about 300 houses. Do they have designs on an altogether larger build proposal in the south west of our town ?
And while Wednesday night’s removal of the 15 traveller pitches in Billericay is clearly welcomed, the draft Local Plan still has over 2,700 new houses, all on Green Belt, no meaningful infrastructure to support the new residents, or to mitigate the effects on the existing residents, and a Road to Nowhere, which will worsen traffic problems in other parts of the town and could even lead to some compulsory purchases of existing properties.
Councillor Phil Turner was right to say “Billericay has been dumped upon”, but with the exceptions noted above nothing else significant has been changed.
So if our elected representatives on the Council cannot protect our town from avaricious developers it’s down to residents to make a stand. The next stage is the Regulation 19 Consultation and that is coming soon. It’s a grand title but it just has 4 questions to test if the Local Plan is sound, and we believe there are just 4 answers which say it is not.
The Local Plan has been dragging on for years but the process is coming to an end. It is vital now that all residents of our delightful town make their views heard on this monstrous assault on our daily living environment. Keep watching our media outlets for accurate information that will enable you to respond to the Reg 19 Consultation and raise objections that the Planning Inspector will not find it easy to override.