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MP talks to residents about housing plans
10:30am Wednesday 21st August 2013 in Local news
NEGOTIATION plans were made by villagers when their MP came to discuss a controversial housing plan.
Brentwood and Ongar MP Eric Pickles held a special surgery at St Francis Church Hall on Friday to hear West Horndon resident’s views on the proposals involving green belt around the village.
Brentwood council is planning to build 1,500 homes which residents fear would strip the area of its cosy village status.
During the surgery which attracted more than 50 people, Mr Pickles said he thought 1,500 was “rather a lot”, but people should be prepared to compromise.
Mr Pickles visited to find out what the local people wanted to get out of the plans, reassuring them that they had more of a say than they expected.
He said: “Councillors need a sounding board, you are in a much higher position than you think.
“I think there’s a way we can negotiate. It is important to not reject everything straight away.”
Most residents were against the excessive amount of houses, saying that it was the quantity, not the prospect.
Robert Barlow said: “It wouldn’t be bad if it was a small amount, but the volume they are talking about is too much. I want to keep West Horndon as it is.”
Other concerns brought up by those at the meeting included losing the greenbelt area, the affect it would have on traffic and fears over travellers descending on the village.
The plans to ensure a strong supply of housing will not affect West Horndon until around 2020, however Mr Pickles felt that a “broad consensus” was needed now.
He said: “This is about looking towards the future, it’s massively important to get it absolutely right.
“What I would ask is for you to let your parish council now get on with it and look at what we can do.”
Mr Pickles added he hoped residents would be willing to accept this idea, knowing they would have a strong influence.
“We need to make sure they know all the facts and understand all the possibilities,” he said.
“Localism means local people make the decision.”