Basildon Draft Local Plan 2016


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Basildon Council Draft Local Plan Schedule

Following four years of evidence gathering and public consultations Basildon Council finally published its Draft Local Plan in December 2015. On 7th January 2016 this will be put before coucillors at a public meeting (Townagte Centre 7.30pm in St Georges Suite.) After a debate the council is expected to vote in favour of a fruther public consultation on the Local Plan lasting several weeks to gather comments and objections. We want to get as many people as possible to contribute to the consultation. Please Register with the Basildon Consultation Portal now to receive e-mail notification when the consultation starts.

Three related public consultations from last year have not yet been concluded with the required responses to comments from the council. These are consultations on Dunton Garden Suburb, the Planning Obligation Strategy and the Statement of Community Involvement. These should have been considered and decided by cabinet before continuing. There is no good excuse for taking such a long time to do it. The Statement of Community Involvoment includes a large section relating to how consultations for the Local Plan are to be conducted and includes a clause that says decisions with be taken on all consultations before proceeding to proceeding to the next stage. However, when Councillor Moore was aksed about delays he said that this clause does not matter because the CLI cconsultation itself is still a draft! He also said that the Dunton Garden Suburb consultation is not part of the local plan and so it does not need to be completed yet, even though the agreement with Brentwood Council states that their local plans depend on this consultation with regards to meeting housing targets and traveller quotas. These are clear signs that the Basildon Cabinet are playing fast and loose with the rules. We hope they will see sense and complete these consultations very soon otherwise the soundness of the final plan will be in danger.

At the end of 2016 the planning officers in cooperation with councillors will form a final draft of the Local Plan and hold a final public consultation. few changes will be made at that stage so it is important that we have our say before then. The responsibility of approving the plan falls to the council cabinet which is an unrepresentative committee of seven Conservative councillors. They are keen to approve the program to build thousands of houses on the green belt, so the only way to stop them at this stage is by changing our council represention through the council elctions in May 2016. If enough councillors who oppose the plan (e.g. UKIP and Independents) can be elected then the cabinet can be changed to one that is more sympathetic to the will of Basildon's residents.

Once the council and the inspector reach agreement the plan can be adopted by the council. Once that happens we have a final chance to demand a judicial review but experience with other councils such as Rochford tell us that this is unlikely to be successful and will result in a large legal bill for residents. That is why it is so important to act now while we still have a chance to make a difference.

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