Basildon Council to ask Brentwood for infrastructure cash if Dunton ‘village’ goes ahead

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BASILDON Council will ask Brentwood to share infrastructure money from a major housing development, saying it will put significant pressure on Basildon’s services.

Brentwood Council wants to build a new ‘village’ of almost 3,000 homes right up to its border with Basildon.

The proposed development has been dubbed the ‘Dunton Hills Garden Village’.

In new plans published by Brentwood, it is seeking to add an extra 70 properties to the minimum number of homes which will be constructed at the site, bringing it up to almost 2,800.

In a report to Basildon Council’s Infrastructure and Inclusive Growth Committee last week, civil servants warned that ‘early residents’ of the new village ‘will rely on some services and facilities outside the village’, meaning that ‘the speed and level of growth in this location may have implications for Basildon’.

In the report, council officers suggested councillors should oppose Brentwood’s plan to up the minimum number of properties and request that funding ‘be spent outside Brentwood borough to sufficiently address where negative direct or residual impacts could otherwise occur’.

Tory councillor Stephen Hillier, who represents Langdon Hills, which sits close to the planned development, addressed the committee last Thursday, November 21.

He said he agreed in principle that infrastructure money should be ‘shared around’ to ‘offset the negative side of the development’, making the delivery more ‘realistic’.

But he said he did not want to vote for such a measure as it would give the appearance of sanctioning or approving of the development.

He explained: “My biggest concern here – and chairman, I’m going to be parochial, because I don’t think that if I were to support a realistic delivery trajectory for the Dunton Hills Garden Village, that it would do my residents any favours whatsoever.

“What the residents of Langdon Hills have been saying for a long time is that there should be no development in the Dunton Hills Garden Village, and that’s a position that I will take.

“So I’m not interested – I’m not at all interested – in a realistic delivery trajectory. Only something that says it ain’t going to be developed.”

Labour committee chairman Adele Brown said she sympathised with Cllr Hillier but felt it was important to for Basildon Council try to steer the development using what little influence it had, as it did not have the power to stop it.

She said: “Over the last few years we have had numerous communications with Brentwood Council and the same problems have arisen over and over again; the fact that that development, right against their border, with no services, no schools, no roads, no fire, no police, no nothing, is obviously going to be serviced by Basildon.

“I understand Stephen’s position that he does not want that to be built and many residents do not want that to be built.

“That is not what we are being asked in this report. What we are being asked in this report [is] if it is built, as a Basildon council, what would we expect in order that we are not left to service those people with no funds.

“I think it’s quite a bold assumption that suddenly this primary school’s going to appear after two years and a secondary school after five – or was it six – with no interim solutions in between as to where these children are going to go to school.

“We know we don’t have capacity in that area when it comes to doctors. We already have a shortage for the residents that live there. And there does not seem to be a willingness to listen to that – and there is a high level of frustration, I think, amongst fellow councillors.

“I mean, the transport modelling alone is horrifying, as to what it will do to the A127, without adequate roads and transportation being thought about.

“So I think that it is very important that we don’t just do what Stephen suggests and ignore but in fact we… express our concerns in the way in which the report outlines and that we do indeed follow the recommendations that say, if you think you are going to do this, this is what we would need.”

Three councillors voted for the recommendations, whilst three abstained.

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Charles Thomson

Chief ReporterEmail: [email protected]