Tory councillor champions opposition to 344 new homes - then blasts opposition for making political capital out of the issue

  Posted: 26.01.21 at 23:29 by The Editor

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A THURROCK Conservative councillor says she is leading the fight against a controversial planned housing development in her ward - and has criticised political rivals for making capital out of the situation.

Chafford Hundred councillor Abbie Akinbohun, who defected from Labour to the Tories last year says she is at the forefront of opposition to the plan for 344 new homes on land to the rear of the Bannatynes fitness centre on Howard Road.

As Thurrock Nub News reported yesterday (Monday, 26 January) the scheme has raised a significant amount of local opposition.

Cllr Akinbohun says: "Most agree that a good quality development would tidy up this corner of Chafford Hundred, but this application is not the right one.

"The developer behind this scheme already has planning permission for 200 homes and they should accept this is enough.

"Chafford Hundred residents should not suffer the consequences of an overdeveloped site just so the developer can make more money.

"I have met with the Conservative leader of Thurrock Council and made clear that residents do not want this application.

"He has confirmed that the council's Conservative administration is not supporting the plans. The site is not included in building targets and there is no need to allow such a harmful application of this size."

Somewhat obtusely, in a heavily Conservative-branded address to residents Cllr Akinbohun then appears to attempt to make her own political capital out of her party's opposition to the scheme - but at the same time condemns political rivals for attempting to do the same.

She says: "The planning process is semi-judicial and any arguments against the application must be based on planning grounds.

"Unfortunately, some other political parties locally are trying to hijack this issue for electoral gain.

"This risks derailing the fight and playing into the developer's hands.

"Thankfully, as an experienced councillor with a strong Conservative team in Chafford Hundred behind me, I am leading the fight.

"The application will soon come before the council's planning committee. I intend to speak at the meeting and put forward sound planning arguments against the plans.

"The committee is not allowed to consider the populist noise from those planning to make this an electoral issue. If it did, the developer could appeal to the Planning Inspectorate and win their application that way.

"We cannot afford the planning committee to be distracted from the real issues this plan presents to Chafford by party political rhetoric. I will present out case from a factual point of view."

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