The Basildon Labour Party have consistently warned the Conservative Administration and residents of the dangers of delaying our local plan and the potential that further delays could lead to additional homes. Unfortunately that warning became a reality.
On Tuesday 24th July, as anticipated the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government published their revised version of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). It contained a raft of updates with the most concerning being a new formula for the calculation of housing need. This gives a current outturn figure of 21,400 new homes for Basildon Borough, an increase of over 1,400 additional homes. The policy is also very clear that if a Local Plan is not submitted by 24th January 2019 then the new formula will apply. In addition, the formula will be reviewed in September this year which means that the calculation is likely to lead to an even greater figure if we have not submitted our plan in time.
Says Labour’s Spokesperson for Strategic Planning, Cllr Gavin Callaghan, “We warned that this would happen, and we have been proven right at every stage. The leader of the council, Cllr Andrew Baggott has been proven wrong at every turn. We are under pressure now to get this local plan submitted by 24th January next year which is going to be a real challenge given the recent actions of the Conservatives who have rolled back our plan making process to move a handful of homes out of Billericay. Cllr Baggott has yet to have his formal visit to Basildon and meeting with the ministry and can therefore cannot give us any guarantees that he has secured an exemption from this increase. This a true head in the sand situation.”
Adds, Basildon Labour Leader, Cllr Adele Brown, “The government are talking about an additional 176,000 new homes in South Essex by 2050. So, this new formula comes as no surprise. The clock is now ticking until we will have to take at least an additional 1,400 homes and likely more. Who knows what the Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government has planned for us? Intervention from Central Government is a real possibility in Basildon and at that point the situation will become a lot worse than where we are today.”