CALLS to transfer a massive housing estate to Basildon Council’s control to ease pressures on Wickford have fallen on deaf ears.

Ukip councillor for Wickford Castledon, Nigel Le Gresley, had suggested that the Runwell Homes site, to the north of Wickford, which falls under Chelmsford City Council’s control, could be transferred into Basildon Council’s ownership.

The site already has outline planning permission and Mr Le Gresley claims it could be included in Basildon’s Local Housing Plan instead of one of four proposed Wickford sites, totalling 2,800 homes.

However, the idea was quashed at last Thursday’s full council meeting, when the Tory authority’s leader claimed that because the Runwell homes are already on Chelmsford’s Local Plan, which has been ratified, it will not happen.

Mr Le Gresley said one of the four Wickford sites is very close to where the 575 new Runwell homes are to be built.

He said: “The impact on Wickford is unreasonably increased.

“At the very least, the Runwell development should enable the council to justify removing 150 north east Wickford homes from its plans as there is a danger of merging with Runwell.

“It should also be able to justify reducing the number of homes required for Wickford and the borough by arguing the needs of the borough and Wickford would be satisfied pro rata by this 575 home Runwell development.”

The Runwell Homes development, which will take place in six phases, was given planning permission last year.

The first phase is expected to start in the next few months.

Tony Ball, whose Wickford North seat is up for grabs on May 22, said: “Whether or not I agree, it does not matter because it cannot happen.

“We had an in-depth consultation with residents and they preferred homes over a prison there.”

Malcolm Buckley, the Tory councillor for Wickford Castledon, attacked Ukip, claiming Mr Le Gresley does not have any proposals as to where the 2,800 Wickford homes could go elsewhere in the borough.

The group is against building the homes in Wickford, claiming the town is at bursting point.

Mr Buckley said: “Their proposals to restrict development in the borough are an absolute nonsense, so should be treated like the sham they are.”