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Playing fields homes a 'done deal'
11:30am Friday 25th October 2013 in Echo News
RESIDENTS fear a decision to build a controversial housing estate on a well-used playing field is already a done deal.
Basildon Council’s own planning application to build 135 homes on playing fields next to Ballards Walk, in Lee Chapel North, Laindon, will go before the authority’s development control committee next week.
Council bosses have recommended councillors approve the plans, but will demand the authority secures a variety of sweeteners from any prospective developer to support local infrastructure, including schools and GP practices.
Terry Latchford, 70, whose Ballards Walk property will be just yards from the new estate, said: “Basildon Council just does what it wants. It doesn’t have the heart of Basildon in its interests.
“It’s going to totally ruin the area because it can’t cope, but this Tory council looks like it’s got it sewn up. It’s building on everything and it’s immoral.”
The authority is aiming to pass the plans with in-principle permission to then offer the land to housebuilders. The council is believed to be in advanced negotiations with a preferred developer for the site, more than half of which could be built on if the plans are approved.
As part of the application, the council will demand any developer pays £442,253 towards education costs for extra places at nearby Janet Duke Primary School, and £28,800 to support oversubscribed GP practices in the area.
Funds will also go towards sprucing up the Lee Chapel North Community Centre and underpasses in the area to mitigate against any adverse affects of the estate, which will consist of one to four bedroom homes.
The main entrance to the site will be at Ballards Walk, opposite Markhams Chase, while an extra lane could be added to the Upper Mayne roundabout to cope with increased traffic.
However, campaigners claim the proposed cash sweetners are not enough.
John Mckay, chairman of the Lee Chapel North Community Panel, said: “The £30,000 they are looking for is just a drop in the ocean. What will that buy? A couple of syringes?
“The council is just looking at that patch of land and not thinking about the area. It can’t cope.”
The application will be decided at a meeting on Tuesday at the Basildon Centre, at 7pm
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