Facing both ways are we?

In our previous post – New faces, same old shite:( – we drew attention to Tory run Basildon Council seemingly plucking a figure out of the air to claim that residents were okay with any new development in the town centre going up to 12 storeys but no higher. We now have this from the council: Basildon Council to spend £2million on fighting homes plan.

This relates to a bid by Basildon Council to scrap a proposed scheme for the Market Square area of the town centre which would involve the construction of 492 flats – this would include a 17 storey tower block. The leader of the council, Cllr. Andrew Baggott, claims that they’re doing this because they have ‘listened’ to the residents regarding their concerns over the height and density of apartment blocks being proposed for the town centre.

There are questions…

Is this nothing more than a bit of a spiteful dig at the town centre masterplan championed by the previous Labour / Independent administration led by the now departed Gavin Callaghan?

Is it the case that Baggott genuinely wants to listen to and facilitate the views of the residents regarding the height of apartment towers in the town centre despite having arbitrarily plucked a figure of a 12 storey maximum out of thin air?

Is this just bit of public relations window dressing from Baggott and his chums plus a bit of parameter setting for the developers?

Or, as we suggested after a glass or two of vino last night, is it the case that anything over 12 storeys would be clearly visible from the leafy heights of Billericay and that simply will not do?!

Let’s just say that the waters are being muddied a bit with this one! We will be keeping a close eye on this because we can’t help but get the impression there are some mind games going on here. When it comes to councils, developers and how they relate to us mere plebs, mind games are pretty much par for the course. That’s symptomatic of a system of local governance that, as we’ve said more times than we care to remember, is not fit for purpose…

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