Thursday night, at Basildon Council’s Infrastructure, Growth and Development Committee meeting. Billericay was sold down the river, or to be more technically correct, sold into the concrete.
Councillors agreed the sites that will finally be evaluated for inclusion in the Local Plan to be presented to the Government. For Billericay it is now even worse than the information we published a few days ago.
To help ensure there was no bias, no laughing at the back, an opportunity was given for councillors to comment on each of the sites identified as candidates for the Plan and many sites received the attention of an interested councillor.
Of the 8 major sites proposed for Billericay only the H20 to H23 grouping and its new road received any comment at all.
Following a presentation by a representative from a developer, Taylor Wimpey, councillors, including our own Councillor Baggott, agreed to promote an alternative route for the south west relief road which would provide access to a further 300 new houses whilst taking a part of the Ancient Woodland at Frith Wood. This alternative route would cut through the top of the Burstead Golf Course.
In the subsequent discussion the only matters to really interest the assembled throng were possible traffic problems on Billericay Football Club match days and whether the 18th hole would be safe.
As a result of the decision we now have over 2900 new houses allocated to Billericay, 1200 (70%) more than we were consulted upon, all in the Green Belt.
Not every site was increased and when councillors did have something to say about the other sites it was remarkable how excited they became. As an example when the Mayor (who represents Wickford Park), and who for the record isn’t actually a member of the committee, proposed removing H18 (London Road, Wickford) the proposal was so quickly adopted they overlooked the need for a valid reason and had to be reminded to invent one. Then when the chair (who represents Langdon Hills) proposed removing 2000 houses from H10 (West Basildon Extension), leaving only 300 new houses, the atmosphere became electric. Her reason was partly understandable, we don’t know what Brentwood and Thurrock will do in the area, but did they really have to safeguard the site for the whole period of the Plan? See what you can do when you are in power.
Wouldn’t it have been good if Billericay had had a councillor there on Thursday night to stand up for us?
Indeed, for a time on Thursday night, Billericay had no representative in the chamber for such an important session as at one point the Tory gang of 4 walked out of the meeting, citing a slight against one of their colleagues. They returned, then left again and only after more discussion with a council legal representative did they return for a second time.
The epithet BrokenBasildon is being used to describe the current atmosphere of blatant anti-Billericay bias coming from the Basildon Centre and the mistaken belief by our own elected representatives that political posturing is a credible form of defence. Who can argue with #BrokenBasildon ?
Have a listen yourselves... it's all recorded and available here