COUNCIL bosses are calling on the government and private sector to stop poor developments being built in Basildon.

Basildon Council leader Gavin Callaghan met with London councils last week to agree a joint approach to highlight the problems caused by permitted development rights.

These allow conversion of offices into flats without planning approval.

The council claim too many conversions are resulting in cramped and poor quality accommodation across the borough, including the 384 flats built in 2016 in Cherrydown East. 

Mr Callaghan states the council has not been aggressive enough in using its strategic acquisition strategy, which allows the council to acquire empty spaces before they are filled by permitted developments.

He says his administration is prepared to put forward £50 million to buy up spaces in Basildon, Wickford and Pitsea in a bid to encourage private sector companies to do the same.

He said: “It’s our aim that we can offer this sum out there and say to the private sector, put your money where your mouth is and lets band together for a joint venture to save our town centre from these poor quality developments.

“We all talk about wanting regeneration for our town and borough, but in this administration we are pushing for wholesale regeneration and we want to get on and make progress quickly.”

The council also claim that due to higher rent prices in London, councils can’t afford enough homes in the capital and are using more flats in Basildon to house homeless people.

The Echo reported in March that 52 per cent of Basildon’s homeless were being left in temporary accommodation for up to two years compared to the national statistic of 14 per cent. One such permitted homes development is the 364 flats that were built near Cherrydown East in 2016.

Mr Callaghan added: “Basildon people are being forced to move out of accommodation to make way for Londoners. In the last four years we have had the equivalent of an entire primary school’s worth of children leave London and come without additional funding. “