England's green belt is under threat from government plans to build huge numbers of new homes across the country. Both Basildon and Brentwood Councils say they need to find space to build thousands of new homes in the next few years and there are not enough brown field sites to meet the allocation. The councils fear a strong backlash if they try to build on green belt land near the more affluent areas of Brentwood or Billericay so they have hatched a plan together to build a new suburb with up to 6000 homes at Dunton straddling the border of the two districts. If they can get this through they can meet the rest of their new housing needs with dense housing on brown field sites.
This is such a good plan from the point of view of residents in other areas that it will be almost impossible for communities near Dunton to stop it. A quick consultation is now taking place but it has been kept under the radar so that residents do not have time to organise a campaign against the plans. The memorandum of agreement on the consultation between Brentwood and Basildon includes an opt-out clause to mitigate the risk from feedback. In other words they are not going to let the opinion of locals get in their way. You have until February 17th 2015 to send comments for the consultation. It is vital that everyone makes their opinion known (see below).
To stop this development or at least improve the way it will be planned we need as many people as possible to make a comment on the Dunton Garden Suburb Consultation. The easiest way to do this is online after registering at http://basildon-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal/. You should indicate that you object to the plan and then give reasons why you object and things that might be done to make it more acceptable to you. Some possible reasons you may consider are:
- Lost wildlife habitat in the green belt
- Road congestion
- Threat to nearby train stations
- Urban sprawl
- Too many traveller pitches
- Flood risk
- Lack of an adequate secondary school
- Pollution impact
- Pressure on local infrastructure such as hospitals and police
It will take about 1000 objections to have an effect and we only have until 17th February 2015 to have our say. When more than one individual in a household wishes to make a comment they should each register separately. Please spread the word with your local friends and on facebook. As well as the online portal you can object by e-mail or by post. If you do this you should make a clear statement at the top of your message to say "I object to the proposed development" otherwise it may be recorded as a comment and not counted as an objection. see http://www.basildon.gov.uk/dunton for the details.