A “GOD awful” plan to build a £50m waste incinerator plant must be stopped... and that starts with making sure a crunch meeting deciding on the scheme is held in Basildon.

That’s the unanimous view of councillors who met yesterday to respond to plans to build the plant in Pitsea.

Waste firm Clearaway has lodged plans to build the incinerator, off Archers Field Close, next to the Burnt Mills Industrial estate.

And Basildon councillors believe the only way to make the town’s anger known is to push for the meeting where a final decision will be made to be held in the town, so the “legions” of objectors can voice their disdain.

The move came as Basildon Council’s staffing matters and review sub-committee met yesterday to discuss the plans.

Gavin Callaghan, Labour leader of the council said: “Basildon is not in control of its own destiny - we are not in control of our own fate, the chairman of the committee that will respond to this when the application eventually goes in is a councillor from Tendring.

“There are councillors from Braintree, councillors from Colchester and then of course councillors from Brentwood - that’s about as close as it gets - and they will all be looking at this planning application.

“And then when they do come to host their committee meeting, it must be held in Basildon, there must be an opportunity for the legions to show their feelings.

“There will be thousands of people who will want to come and line the corridors of the Sporting Village, or where ever it is held, and they will want to make it very clear yet again Essex County Council cannot be allowed to dump on Pitsea.”

The leader added: “There’s no way a councillor from Tendring, Colchester or Chelmsford sitting in their own front room on a remote Zoom call is possibly going to understand the strength of feeling that exists in our borough about a God awful policy decision.

“We need to make sure the people of Basildon are able to put the strongest case to those councillors here in our borough so they fully understand the strength of feeling on this.”

Kevin Blake, deputy leader of the Basildon Conservatives, backed the idea.

However, he did raise some concerns about how it would work with the coronavirus social distancing guidelines, saying: “I fully agree that planning committee must sit in the borough of Basildon, how that’s going to work I don’t know as we could still have social distancing.

“Everyone including councillors, residents and anyone who wants to make their views known [should be allowed to attend].”

Brothers Ian and Paul Whitehair, who run Clearaway, have launched a consultation on the Archers Fields Energy Recovery Facility.

A planning application is expected be submitted this month and the facility could be up and running in two years’ time, if given the go ahead.

Essex County Council’s Development and Regulation Committee will decide on the plans.