At first glance it sounds a great idea. After all, who wouldn’t want less pollution and more trees ? But all is not well with Cllr Turner’s reasoning. Keep this story in mind, because we’ll come back to it in a minute...
Move on now to Page 18 where we have more visibility for BAG and the Local Plan. In the “Speed Read” column we have Cllr Richard Moore (responsible for planning in Basildon Council) announcing that Basildon “is considering revisiting the Objectively Assessed Needs” which might see the numbers change - numbers that BAG have already proven to be excessively high. BAG will of course keep up the pressure to ensure that the number reduces. Significantly.
Despite Basildon deciding to delay the next stages of the Local Plan process allowing time for more detailed research (a decision which we believe was significantly influenced by the work of the Billericay Action Group and its supporters) and despite Cllr Moore’s comment that the OAN might be revisited and changed, he announced in the meeting that Basildon has rejected consideration of our widely praised and respected White Paper. Why?
Because it was submitted outside of the original consultation period. Reading and understanding the huge number of complex documents produced, doing further research of neighbouring authorities and putting together a comprehensive argument took a lot of time with our limited resources. And despite BAG’s successes in forcing Basildon to extend the original consultation period even this wasn’t enough time.
Basildon have now moved their own goal posts delaying the Local Plan process for about a year. They have also said the numbers might now need to change. So don’t you think it sensible that they publicly accept that they should consider our new evidence ? After all, it was Cllr Moore who thanked us for “developing your ‘White Paper’ which is a useful contribution to the debate”.
Basildon Council have clearly said that they cannot take on advice and information outside of the Consultation period and so we return to our first point where Cllr Turner has reacted to a campaign by the Yellow Advertiser (outside of the consultation period), taking on advice and information (outside of the consultation period) and changing the rules of the Local Plan to force the planting of more trees. If he can take information from the front pages of a newspaper, should he not also take on board our “useful contribution” of a well researched White Paper?
So with one hand they’re proposing to counteract existing pollution whilst with the other destroying huge numbers of well-established trees in our beautiful Green Belt to build unnecessary houses! The irony of this has probably passed Basildon Council by.
The next edition of our newsletter, MailBAG: will carry a more in depth review of these issues. To receive your own FREE copy of MailBAG, simply email info@BillericayActionGroup.co.uk
What can I do!
So please, write a letter to one of our papers or write to your local Basildon Councillor or MP. After all, a number of them are seeking re-election this year.
Write to your local MP
Mr John Baron, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA or email him : John.Baron.MP@parliament.uk . Please remember to be polite, keep your email or letter short and sweet - but let him know what you think!
Write to your local Basildon Councillor:
In Billericay(East) it is:
- Cllr David Dadds (email@example.com)
- Cllr Andrew Schrader (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Cllr Stuart Sullivant (email@example.com)
In Billericay(West) it is:
- Cllr Tony Hedley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Cllr Daniel Lawrence (email@example.com)
- Cllr Phil Turner (firstname.lastname@example.org)
And in Burstead it is:
- Cllr Andrew Baggott (℅ Basildon Council, The Basildon Centre, St. Martin’s Square, Basildon, SS14 1DL)
- Cllr Kevin Blake (email@example.com)
- Cllr Richard Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Write to your local paper: