Basildon will be saddled with a massive waste plant after councillors voted in favour of plans for a biological treatment complext at Courtauld Road.
Borough councillors argued Basildon had done enough by taking in other people’s rubbish for years at Pitsea tip. But seven of nine members of County Hall’s development and regulation committee said the plant was in the interest of Essex as a whole.
John Dornan, Basildon councillor for the environment, said: “This is a great development, but it’s in the wrong location. You have to look at the impact on residents’ quality of life, especially the traveller site next door. There is the impact on traffic and the blight on local properties.”
He said there was not enough parking and the scheme could compromise regeneration plans in the area. He added: “The buildings are 66ft high – roughly a seven-storey block of flats. We pull those down in Basildon.”
Borough councillor Sandra Hillier, who is also on the county council, said: “Pitsea has taken waste from Essex and London for too long. Other authorities should foot the responsibility and the site should be more central in Essex.”
But she conceded the plans were going to be approved and asked for more cash towards community improvements.
The meeting heard there was a petition from Hovefields official traveller site, in Courtauld Road, but few other objections.
Richard Greaves, the county’s principal planner, said the site already had permission for a larger operation, and the new scheme, by County Hall contractor Urbaser Balfour Beatty, represented a reduction in the amount of waste brought in and lorry movements.
Environmental concerns had already been addressed, with a major operation to transfer newts and reptiles.
He said: “Under a legal agreement, the developer will commit £1million to highway improvements along the East Mayne corridor. There will be footpath and cycle ways along Courtauld Road and a toucan crossing. “The Essex waste strategy has been aimed at reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill and this will reduce the amount by 50 per cent. Over the 25-year project there will be savings in landfill tax of £200million.”
He said County Hall had secured £100million of Government funding to allow the development, which would create up to 300 jobs during construction, and 75 permanent posts.
There will also be a visitor centre open to schools and residents to teach about waste disposal.