RAID press release: Garden Villages - 2 Dec 2017

This morning we heard the news that the government is backing Dunton Hills Garden Village as one of 14 new developments around the country. This still has to be approved as part of the emerging Brentwood Local Plan and will then go before the government planning inspectorate for approval. The RAID campaign group (Residents Against Inappropriate Development) will continue to oppose these plans. We will make the case before the government inspector that the Local Plan is unsound and should be rejected.

The government has allocated £6 million to be divided among the 14 new developments. Obviously this is a tiny amount of money that will not even begin to pay for the infrastructure that will be needed to support this development. More money for roads was promised in the Autumn Statement but all of it has been allocated elsewhere with nothing promised for this part of South Essex.

The new development in Dunton of up to 5000 homes will be next to the A127 which is already a problem road. If this and other developments in South Essex go ahead this road will need a major upgrade costing as much as a billion pounds, but because the road was taken out of the trunk road network in 1998 there will be no government funding to help.

This morning Dame Kate Barker told that the BBC that these villages were a good idea because they are “away from existing communities” Nothing could be further from the truth. Dunton Hills is sandwiched between Basildon and West Horndon on an important section of green belt. If these plans go ahead combined with a planned enterprise park between West Horndon and Upminster then Basildon will be effectively joined to London. This is just the kind of coalescence that the green belt is supposed to prevent. We accept that new affordable housing is needed but the houses that are being built in the area are priced for people moving out of London and are unaffordable to most local residents. We need the government to protect the green belt and find ways to provide affordable housing on brownfield sites.

The government and developers will call us NIMBYs, but in this case it is Brentwood Council that are being NIMBYs. Instead of building houses near Brentwood Town they are planning to move most of their development to a corner of their borough four miles away next to Basildon. The A12 corridor is getting huge investment from central government to widen it to three lanes and they have also had more billions invested in Crossrail. Nevertheless Brentwood wants to instead build its housing along the A127 corridor next to Basildon where there is very little money available for road or rail improvements. This is not a sound plan.

RAID website: http://raid.org.uk/
Contact campaign secretary and spokesman: Philip Gibbs: info@raid.org.uk, 07516 461173
RAID is a member of the South East Essex Action Groups Alliance: http://seeaga.uk/press.html