Illegal developments in Wickford

Conservatives continue to press Basildon Council to take enforcement action.

Buckley
by
Cllr Malcolm Buckley

Conservative Essex County Councillor for the Wickford Crouch Division

 

Residents have contacted myself and other Conservative councillors regarding developments in Studland Avenue and Newlands Road, Wickford. Since March, various works have taken place on the site, which now has hard-standing and apparently a septic tank, various groundworks having taken place. The site is in the Green Belt and has no planning permission.

 

Together with my two borough colleagues, Cllrs Stuart Allen and Terri Sargent (Con, Crouch), I have sought a number of actions from Basildon Council in respect of Studland Avenue, with little response to date. With a bank holiday pending it is quite apparent that at this time there is a significantly higher risk of illegal developments taking place. So, over a week ago, I asked for a contact number for use over the weekend where an officer with enforcement powers could be reached and could act without waiting until Tuesday. So far, despite repeated appeals, my request has been unanswered.

 

In the past, the Council has used ‘Stop Notices’ where development has commenced without planning permission. This makes continued work a criminal offence. I have repeatedly asked for a stop notice for Studland Avenue, and my colleague Cllr George Jeffery (Con, Wickford Park) has sought enforcement remedies for Newlands Road. Again, these have been ignored

 

It is blindingly obvious that these sites are at high risk over the next few days in particular, yet the Council wants to rely on Planning Contravention Notices, which give the developer up to 21 days to respond.

 

It is blindingly obvious that these sites are at high risk over the next few days in particular, yet the Council wants to rely on Planning Contravention Notices, which give the developer up to 21 days to respond. Having been Leader of the Council during most of the Dale Farm enforcement, I can assure anyone that it is much more expensive and time-consuming to achieve compliance retrospectively than to prevent development in the first place.

 

I can only presume that there is no will from the Labour/Independent administration running Basildon Council, who are more concerned with grandiose schemes for flats and an arena in Basildon Town Centre than they are with upholding the law and preserving our Green Belt.

 

I have attached an email trail below (with names and personal data redacted to protect the interests of constituents).

 

I hope we can get this resolved and will continue to keep residents abreast of developments.