The application was passed despite the recommendation of the professional officers from the Planning Department that the application should be refused, despite the objection by Billericay Town Council and despite the objection of local residents.
We understand that the vote was on party lines, with 3 Conservative Councillors voting against the approval but two Labour and two UKIP Councillors voting for it.
We are working to find out the arguments that those who voted for approval made and we sincerely hope that this was not as a result of petty party politics with Billericay becoming a political football.
BAG would like to highlight that:
- Basildon’s Planning Department were against this
- The 60 acres of land is in Green Belt
- Its development does not reduce the amount of Green Belt land lost as a part of the Local Plan; this loss is in addition.
- The application was rejected by Billericay Town Council : BTC did not feel that the “special purposes” requirement to develop green belt had been satisfied and that this plan was being considered in isolation of the Local Plan
- There is no guarantee that when the lease runs out in 26 that the land will ever be returned to Green Belt status; there must be a significant chance that it will be classified as Brownfield and thus in danger of development.