A CONTESTED green has finally been sold to fund regeneration plans – but senior councillors will not say how much it cost.
Campaigners have been trying to stop the sale of the land, in Radwinter Avenue, Wickford, but an offer has been accepted from Croudace Homes.
Tory-run Basildon Council had borrowed £2.7million last October to fund Wickford swimming pool’s refurbishment and High Street improvements, on the premise they would sell the land to pay back the loan.
But, despite confirming the development would contain 20 to 30 homes, bosses are not saying how much they got for the land.
Malcolm Buckley, the councillor responsible for regeneration, said: “We have to invest ourselves. To do this, we need to sell this piece of land.
“We will be placing a covenant on the land to restrict development and ensure the site is developed sensitively and in keeping with the surrounding areas. The preferred scheme comprises entirely of detached properties. I appreciate this sale is not popular with everyone, but I believe the overall benefits this delivers across the town are worth it.”
As well as the convenant, campaigners thought there was a block on any developers building on the site, but the council claimed there was not.
A 2011 survey found Radwinter Avenue was not suitable for homes, because of an apparent covenant on the land.
David Harrison, vice-chairman of the Wickford Action Group, which campaigns against over-development, added: “We will be ensuring that all the proceeds from this will be spent in Wickford.
“We will also be watching carefully to ensure there is no over-development on the site.”