ROCHFORD Council fears overdevelopment in Wickford could lead to it merging with Rawreth.

Major development is in store for Wickford over the next 17 years, which campaigners claim could change the face of the town forever.

About 2,800 homes are planned by 2031 as part of Basildon Council’s local plan, with 760 homes to the south, 620 to the north-west, 220 on the western edge and 150 to the north-east.

Rochford Council shares residents’ concerns claiming the influx of new homes – particularly plans for 150 properties north east of Wickford – will lead to the town becoming indistinguishable from neighbouring Rawreth.

In a report by Keith Hudson, Rochford councillor for planning, it said: “Rochford Council has concerns regarding proposed development within this location, particularly in relation to potential impact on infrastructure in the neighbouring towns and villages in Rayleigh and Rawreth.”

The report criticises Basildon Council for choosing to build 800 homes a year up until 2031 when a housing market assessment, published in December, recommends it builds 600 homes a year.

Mr Hudson also raises concerns Basildon Council has not done enough to take on housing demand from other boroughs, such as Castle Point, which is struggling to meet housing targets.

The report states: “The strategic housing market assessment calculated a need of 600 dwellings per annum specifically for Basildon. However, Basildon Council has produced a paper which mentions 800 dwellings per annum.

“We are concerned Basildon Council appears to have taken such an approach in isolation and without consideration as to the wider housing market area.

“It is unclear if the council has considered whether it could accommodate the needs of other local authorities where it has been demonstrated there is likely to be an under-supply.

“Neighbouring Castle Point Council, for example, has advised in its recent new local plan consultation that it may only be able to accommodate half its housing needs up to 2031.”