The echo have today published a letter sent on behalf of the GAG2011 committee. They have given it the title ‘Underhand move over college plan’
Here is the original version sent to them:
The Green Action Group GAG2011 have campaigned against the Nethermayne development, and the interdependent plans to build a new college in the town and relocate the market, since the plans were first made public. Despite considerable opposition from the community the three plans have all been passed by Basildon Council either in full or as outline planning permission. GAG have long argued that the housing development on a scheduled local wildlife site (LoWS) is unsustainable and will be damaging to the community, and that the economic and educational gains of the new college have been overstated.
We are extremely surprised to see the agenda of the cabinet meeting for Thursday 8th January which sets out a plan by Basildon Council to acquire properties that have legal rights that may prevent the new college being built in the current market place area. Put another way, the council are proposing to use compulsory purchase powers, and unspecified amounts of public money, to remove the possibility of legal action by property owners who will lose light and access to their premises if the new college is built. Surely Basildon Council must have been aware of this at an earlier stage or are they just making it up as they go along? This, by Basildon Council’s own admission, is a risky financial transaction. In a time of extensive public cuts it appears to be an act of desperation by planning officers, supported by a few councillors and the chief executive. The majority of councillors have already made their feelings clear and do not support any part of the development but they do not get a vote on this outrageous plan to risk public money.
We ask that members of the cabinet seriously consider the views of the local community on the Nethermayne development, new college and market relocation and the perception of such speculative public spending. Readers may like to email their views to the two party leaders who are members of the cabinet, Phil Turner and Linda Allport-Hodge.