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Tory breaks rank over Dry Street
A TORY councillor has broken ranks to speak out against plans to build 725 homes at Dry Street.
John Schofield, a Conservative county councillor for Westley Heights, is the only Tory to actively campaign against the development put forward by the Homes and Communities Agency, South Essex College and Basildon Council’s ruling Tory administration.
And Mr Schofield may not be the last Tory to oppose it as husband and wife Stephen and Sandra Hillier, who represent Langdon Hills, have both highlighted concerns about the development.
Mr Schofield said hundreds of residents had contacted him and it was the biggest single issue in his ward with concerns over traffic and the environmental impact.
He also wants South Basildon and East Thurrock MP Stephen Metcalfe to join him in opposing the scheme.
He said: “As politicians we have a duty to represent the constituents and I am trying to convince our MP Stephen Metcalfe of this.”
The Hilliers say they are still forming a view and are not yet opposed to the scheme, but they have concerns. Mrs Hillier said: “It is very unfortunate that the development comes right down onto Dry Street.
We were assured it wouldn’t and what I saw in the public consultation is not what I have seen in the planning application. “I am not happy how many homes are planned and where.
Although there is quite a large area kept as green space and we are still of the view that should be put into green belt.”
Mr Hillier added: “I am working on my position on it. I have concerns over the overall scale of the development. i have been looking at the plans and will be making submissions but do not want to pre-empt it.”
The plans include building on the current college site as well to fund a new town centre campus.
There would also be a primary school and shops. No date has been set for the planning committee meeting which will decide on whether to approve the application or reject it.
Tory council leader Tony Ball said: “There is strategic will to make it happen, to enable the college to move and all Conservatives are signed up for that. Where we now have individual planning applications it is up to individual members as to how they view that.”