‘We could build 1,500 new homes here’ Councillor lobbies Castle Point Council to save the green belt (From Southend Standard)
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‘We could build 1,500 new homes here’ Councillor lobbies Castle Point Council to save the green belt
PLANS to create a mini town off the A127 could be back on the cards now a councillor is lobbying Castle Point Council to reconsider the idea.
Benfleet councillor Andrew Sheldon wants the council to look at building a housing estate on land between the A130 and A127 behind the Blinking Owl Cafe to save the green belt from being used for new development.
The site could hold 1,500 homes, but was dropped from the council’s local plan. As the area has more than 117 separate landowners, it was thought the homes wouldn’t get built before the 2031 deadline.
But Mr Sheldon will be putting forward a motion at the next full council meeting to reinvestigate whether it could be developed in the next 17 years.
He hopes this could spare other green belt sites, such as Jotmans Farm, from being built on.
He said: “My residents know this has been one of my top priorities since being elected and I am glad that finally we can give the issue the full and public hearing it deserves.
“There is no doubt the new local plan is one of the most important matters our council will have to consider and vote on for decades to come.
“It will literally shape the very future of our borough.
“As a council it is our duty to explore every possible option there is, down to the finest detail, to ensure our local plan reflects the views of residents as much as possible.”
The consultation on the local plan finishes on March 21 – after which the responses will be looked at by the council.
The document includes plans for 4,000 homes to be built across the borough by 2031. Half of the new properties will be on green belt land.
Land behind the Blinking Owl cafe was earmarked for development after 2031, but Mr Sheldon wants it brought forward for earlier consideration.
He is also calling for an independent specialist to look at the site in more detail.
He added: “I have never believed the evidence we have been given on that site is sufficient to give it proper consideration.
I knowmany residents support that view.
“I am very pleased to have gained the support of council colleagues to get this motion ready and I look forward to standing up and fighting for it in the council chamber.”
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