Tens of thousands in planning ‘sweeteners’ are still to be spent in Basildon

TENS of thousands of pounds paid by developers to improve roads or pay for community projects across Wickford remains unspent.

House builders behind large developments have to sign legal agreements with councils to provide money for road and other improvements to minimise the impact of their schemes, as a condition of planning permission.

It has emerged there are cases in Wickford where more than £80,000 pledged under section 106 agreements signed between developers, Basildon Council and Essex County Council has been provided, but, years later, the work it was for has yet to happen.

In one case, a developer has not paid £30,000 promised for highway improvements in Lower Southend Road.

David Harrison, chairman of Shotgate Parish Council and a member of Wickford Action Group, said: “I think it is scandalous the council has let these slip. “The money is supposed to pay for benefits to the community, needed to minimise the impacts of the development. In some cases, they should have gone ahead before building started.”

The action group, which campaigns against the over development of the town, has highlighted a number of developments where this has happened.

These include: l £50,000 paid to Essex County Council by developer Metropolitan & County Group to improve pavements in around the Willow Centre after 28 flats were approved, yet unspent after four years.

l £30,000 promised by Bradgate Developments for highway improvements in Lower Southend Road, yet to be paid to County Hall.

l A legal agreement over improvements needed to Bridge Road, in Wickford, still not finalised seven years after 46 flats were approved.

Basildon Council leader Tony Ball said: “I am looking into this issue, and we are waiting to hear back from Essex County Council, as most of these centre around money for highway improvements. “The works are not just to minimise the impact of a development, but to improve the area as well but, in the main, these should be done quicker. If an agreement is made, it should be kept.”

Mr Harrison also appealed for more openness from the council over the legal agreements. He has been trying to get details of what the position is with a number of other developments in the town, but has had no reply for several weeks.

A council spokesman said his requests were being looked at, but a number of officers and agencies were involved.

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “We are looking carefully at the money for the development in the Wickford area. “We will be providing further information in the coming weeks regarding this spend.”

Comments (5)

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8:51am Tue 7 Aug 12

black jack ketchum says...

don't hold your breath!
don't hold your breath! black jack ketchum

10:27am Tue 7 Aug 12

The Cater Wood Creeper says...

Greggs will allegedly be getting a special, larger than usual delivery of pies in anticipation
Greggs will allegedly be getting a special, larger than usual delivery of pies in anticipation The Cater Wood Creeper

11:07am Tue 7 Aug 12

E-Types.. says...

" Mr Harrison also appealed for more openness from the council over the legal agreements. He has been trying to get details of what the position is with a number of other developments in the town, but has had no reply for several weeks "

Mr Balls councils usual tactic, ignore all concerns until it is too late...i wonder why the council didn't follow up this money owned by developers? if you owed money off your council tax they would certainly follow up...i wonder what it is with developers that allows the council to be so negligent in regards to money
" Mr Harrison also appealed for more openness from the council over the legal agreements. He has been trying to get details of what the position is with a number of other developments in the town, but has had no reply for several weeks " Mr Balls councils usual tactic, ignore all concerns until it is too late...i wonder why the council didn't follow up this money owned by developers? if you owed money off your council tax they would certainly follow up...i wonder what it is with developers that allows the council to be so negligent in regards to money E-Types..

7:37pm Tue 7 Aug 12

fearsiuil says...

Besides these developers, can there be anyone left
who has any faith
in this totally discredited council?

Let's not forget that some of these bungling bureaucrats are reputed to be on huge salaries which all come from
the public by way of taxation.

Anybody not familiar with how things are in Essex, just google "expenses fraud" or "convicted Tory councillor"
to get a flavour of the way things have panned out over the years.
Besides these developers, can there be anyone left who has any faith in this totally discredited council? Let's not forget that some of these bungling bureaucrats are reputed to be on huge salaries which all come from the public by way of taxation. Anybody not familiar with how things are in Essex, just google "expenses fraud" or "convicted Tory councillor" to get a flavour of the way things have panned out over the years. fearsiuil

8:37pm Tue 7 Aug 12

SpaffSpiff84 says...

They justify building over our parks by saying "but they will invest £150 in the nearest road" and then the council doesnt even chase them up, what a joke. They just want to keep the developers happy, thats their priority
They justify building over our parks by saying "but they will invest £150 in the nearest road" and then the council doesnt even chase them up, what a joke. They just want to keep the developers happy, thats their priority SpaffSpiff84

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