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Wickford over-development is halted by covenant
A LEGAL covenant will restrict over-development of a piece of land being sold off to fund the Wickford regeneration plans.
In May, campaigners from Wickford Action Group revealed they hoped the agreement would stop Radwinter Avenue, in Wickford, being built on without a tricky legal process.
Senior councillors have now revealed it will restrict future projects to two and three-storey homes and prevent over-development.
The sale of the land will help fund a £3.1million package of improvements to regenerate Wickford, with Basildon Council borrowing the remaining cash.
David Harrison, chairman of the WickfordAction Group, said: “We weren't happy about the sale of the land, but if it’s going to be built on anyway, we’re happy for the covenant to be in place.
“I wouldn’t say I’m pleased only two and three-storey homes can be developed, because we would rather it wasn’t built on at all. We want to see it kept as open land.
“I think it’s fantastic that after 12 years of promises the council are finally working up to something in Wickford."
On Thursday night the Tory administration rubber-stamped plans for a £2.4million revamp of the Seventies-built Wickford Pool, in Market Road, including an extension and new gym.
The work, due to be completed in June 2014, also includes the relocation of Wickford Market and an overhaul of the High Street to attract new businesses.
The land at Radwinter Avenue, which is the size of more than one and a half football pitches, is being sold by property management firmGVA Grimley, which is asking for bids to be submitted by October 23.
Potential buyers are being offered the chance to pay a percentage of the cost up front and the remainder once planning permission is received.
Malcolm Buckley, councillor responsible for regeneration, said: “If we sell a piece of land normally on the open market we can’t control what planning applications come forward, but by putting a covenant in place we can say what is sustainable.
“What we have said is it should be restricted to two and three-storey houses and in keeping with the surrounding properties.
Of course, it will have an affect on the value of the land.
“It’s going to be considerably less than if a much greater number of flats could be put there, but we don’t want to end up with something that’s to the detriment of residents.
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