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Why are we against over-development?

We do want to see improvements to the town, which has suffered for many years from neglect by Basildon Council. Local roads are a disgrace, and the traffic congestion at peak times is almost unbearable. When the Wickford Town Centre Masterplan was adopted in 2006, it had some good things to offer, but we were told that this could only be achieved at the expense of some 598 new dwellings within the town centre area. This number rapidly increased, and many planning applications were passed and the developments built, but the promised improvements were not forthcoming!

We are not happy about this, and dispute the council's view that almost 600 new dwellings were needed to pay for improvements. By attending council planning meetings, holding our own public meetings, and using this website, we hope to raise public awareness and participation, so that the council does what the residents want, and not the other way round!  

  • For example, under the Masterplan, a planning application was approved on appeal, 5 storey block at 3-31 Runwell Road, which includes 84 flats, with commercial uses at ground level (e.g. shops / restaurants etc). The current site was certainly an eyesore, and we would welcome some development, but why 5 storey?. Improvements could still be achieved with a more modest 3 storey development, with sufficient profit available to the developers but without it having such an over-imposing appearance and with less damage to the existing services (traffic congestion etc.). Indeed, in the Masterplan document submitted to the public for approval, this plot was to have 35 town houses -only later was it changed to a tower block!
    Of course, the higher the building, the bigger the profit!
  • We will also be on the lookout for developers trying to dodge the 'S106' agreement. For example, one aspect of a robust S106 policy is an obligation for all planning applications which involve over 25 accommodation units to contribute to the funding for affordable housing. "The Wave" development in the Willowdale Centre is an example of how a clever developer, the Metropolitan & County Group, was able to avoid the this obligation. The development in two extra storeys on top of 'New Look' was for just 24 flats, and so they get away without having to contribute to the town's infrastructure, even though they have only just completed 24 flats in the same block! If the council had an S106 policy like Chelmsfords', this would not have been allowed - they would have totalled the number on the same site - but Basildon do not have such protection for residents.

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