(Almost) the right homes but – on the WRONG site!

We’re not NIMBYs. We recognise there’s a need for new housing to meet the needs of our community. In principle, we support innovation in building techniques that deliver energy efficient homes at a lower cost than using traditional bricks and mortar construction methods. We recognise that sometimes, some greenfield land will have to be used to build new homes. A caveat – we would like to see the majority of that new housing provided at genuinely affordable rents as opposed to the government’s weird idea of ‘affordable’.

Taking the above into account, we should have been pleased when we read this item about a proposed new development of modular built homes for shared ownership or ‘affordable’ rent on a site adjacent to Victoria Road in Stanford-le-Hope: Factory-built homes to plug affordability gap caused by new Help to Buy thresholds in Thurrock. We’re not in the least bit pleased by this announcement – in fact, we’re pretty bloody alarmed. This is not disrespecting the work of ilke Homes in developing this form of modular housing, far from it. It’s simply because in our opinion – and that of pretty much everyone who lives in Stanford-le-Hope – this is the wrong bloody location to stick new homes on! Sure, the site is in a convenient central location with easy access to shops, buses and the railway station but…it’s on a floodplain…

On 14 January, after a lot of heavy rain plus some strange hydrological goings on related to the nearby A13 widening project, the proposed site for these new homes was either underwater ors seriously waterlogged. As you can see from the above image! Whatever your views on climate change, for whatever reason, precipitation levels in Essex have increased. This winter is one of the wetter ones we can remember for a good few years. Predicting how the climate will change in the future is a fraught business. However, until we have a better idea of what will happen, the precautionary principle should be brought into play with a moratorium on any further building development on flood plains.

At the risk of repeating ourselves, a joined up, holistic approach to planning how our communities grow and thrive is needed. An approach where the residents feel they have ownership of the decision making process. However, we won’t get this until people get serious about radical social, economic and political change. There’s work to be done…

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