A PETITION has been launched lobbying against 4,000 new homes being built in Basildon town centre as part of a major £1billion masterplan.
Proposals, which sit alongside a new transport hub, moving the council office, rebuilding the Towngate Theatre as well as a 5,000-seat events arena, have been slammed by campaigners, who say residents have been kept in the dark about the future of the town.
Tory candidate Davida Ademuyiwa, who launched the petition, has branded the public consultation on the plans “ineffective” and believes those who are aware of them are totally against having high-rise tower blocks in the town – fears also shared by councillor Andrew Schrader, of Billericay East, who has now signed the petition.
Davida said: “This high-density high-rise development is going to leave our town centre as a ghetto in years to come.
“The residents that I have spoken with are, by and large, totally unaware of the council’s plans for 4,000 flats plus in high-rise towers, some to be more than 20 storeys high, in the middle of the Basildon town centre. Those who are aware of these plans are totally against it.
“The ineffective consultation recently conducted by Basildon Council, in the middle of a pandemic and exclusively online, would be laughable were it not so insulting to residents.”
Councillor Schrader said: “We have been here before. These high-rise, high density developments do not work. They are not wanted and they store up problems for the future.
“In 40 to 50 years time, our descendants will be tearing them down, just like those that were built in the 1960s and 70s, and they’ll wonder what the heck we were thinking when we built them.”
Defending the masterplan, Mr Callaghan said: “We have had extensive consultation on proposals for the last 16 months – probably the most there’s been on this large of a Basildon project in the modern era.
“It is impossible to consult anyone on the height of the buildings at this stage – this will happen as planning applications comes forward from developers, where everyone will have their opportunity to raise their concerns.
“The Conservatives have had 17 years to come up with an alternative, which I have continuously challenged them to do, and the number of people who I’ve heard from in my inbox supporting this outweigh the people who are on my feed against it.”
Visit https://bit.ly/36e4HA3 to sign the petition.