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Anger at latest flats plan for A132 site
2:00pm Thursday 30th August 2012 in Echo News
CAMPAIGNERS have attacked plans to build 87 flats on land once earmarked for a much-needed health centre.
The Wickford Action Group says the flats are the worst thing which could happen to Wickford.
Its members claim the homes will add to traffic problems in the town and put pressure on already over-burdened GP surgeries.
The group points to the number of flats built in the town in recent times which are standing empty and unsold.
Meanwhile residents have yet to see any sign of a planned new library, swimming pool, fitness centre, community centre, and healthcare centre which were promised in 2005 as part of a £125million regeneration plan.
Developer Bellway Homes wants to build 18 one-bedroom flats and 69 two-bedroom homes on the site of the former Audi garage on the A132 Golden Jubillee Way bypass. Action group chairman Alan Ball said: “This really is disappointing.
“Wickford really needs a health centre and this flat development is the worst case scenario for the town. The flats will have a big impact on the traffic, as that roundabout junction is already extremely busy.
“A long time ago, I said Wickford had become a developers’ goldmine. “They just come in, shove up flats to make maximum dollar without any thought for the town or residents.”
Malcolm Buckley , Tory councillor for Wickford Castledon ward, also opposes the plans. He said he was against “any development, full stop” on the site because of it was in a dangerous position by a busy roundabout.
He added: “I have spoken to the developers to tell them I am unhappy with this application.
“I really think this development will cause parking problems for residents living in nearby Wick Drive.
“This development will not come with enough parking for the 120 or 140 extra cars these flats will bring to the area.”
The empty site, already has planning permission for a different development of 87 flats – granted on appeal in 2008 by the then Secretary of State Hazel Blears.
Basildon Council’s planning committee will vote on the new application this autumn.
Bellway Homes dec-lined to comment on its plans or opponents’ views on them.