One thing we learnt from the Dunton Garden Suburb consultation is how easy it is to miss major developments going on in our neighbourhood. The Councils don't always send out notification by mail and when they do it is only to a very limited area. To avoid missing something important you can register for email notifications about any consultations or planning applications that might be important to you. Here is how to do it.
Firstly you should register to hear about all consultations by the Basildon Council. To do this go to the consultation portal at http://basildon-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal You will first need to register. If you have commented on a consultation already via the portal you will already be registered so just login.
Once logged in, click on the "My Account" menu tab and select "My Details". Then make sure the selection for "Receive email notifications about new consultation events?" is "yes" and click on "OK" to finish.
You might want to do the same thing for other nearby local authorities including the Essex County Council at http://consult.essexcc.gov.uk/portal Some councils have different ways of doing this so you will have to search in each case.
These consultations are rare but there are also planning applications being made frequently that can also be commented on by anyone. For these go to the Basildon Planning Service at http://www.basildon.gov.uk/eplanning Again you need to register for this and/or log in. Next click on "View planning applications - Advanced" to get to the search feature. Here you can set up any search criteria you want to be notified about. For example, use the "Development Type" selector to specify "Dwellings 200 and above", then click on the "Search" button to get the results. Finally from the "Save Search" button set the response to "Notify me via email about new search results" to "yes" and Save. You can repeat this for different searches so add another one for "dwellings between 10 and 199" or anything else you want to know about.