Fears of Southend overdevelopment in face of Government housing target

Southend will be turned into a “London suburb” unless the government backtracks on demands for to build 23,500 homes.

The new Southend housing plan must identify space for the homes to be built over the next 20 years, with green belt land off Bournes Green Chase, Shoebury highlighted as a key site.

However, at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, deputy leader Ron Woodley insisted the target was in excess of the number of homes needed in the borough.

He said: “The Government is forcing us, this council into making a decision that’s probably not going to serve the majority of residents in this town.

“I agree we have to go forward with the local plan.

“There’s no doubt about it because we’ve been told to do it but how many properties do we need to build to meet the Southend resident’s needs or is it meet the London needs and elsewhere?”

Cllr Woodley fears following government orders on the number of homes could be detrimental.

He added: “A 30 per cent increase in our housing stock, probably over 17 years from 2023 to 2040, that is far in excess of what this town needs and its residents need.

“So what is the Government’s intentions here?

“If we are not careful we will be flooding Southend into becoming a suburb of London, uncontrolled, undisciplined because that’s what the government has said we have to do.”

The council must identify the land or risk having developments imposed on it by Government.

Carole Mulroney, councillor responsible for environment, culture, tourism and planning, called on Southend’s MPs to urgently meet with the secretary of state for housing to “lay before him the difficulties” Southend will have providing so many homes.

Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West, has insisted he opposes any more homes being built in the area.

He said: “As the Member of Parliament for Southend West, there is no space whatsoever for the building of any new homes. The little green areas that we have, I want protected at all costs.

“There are far too many flats in Southend West which have had a serious impact on the environment and parking.

“I have made my views about any further development very plain to ministers.”

Advertisement

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter