Planning inquiry of Market Square tower blocks continues

Basildon town

The inquiry is being held over plans to build homes on land off Market Square in the town centre

Brooke House was not meant to be the only tall block in Basildon town centre, a planning inquiry has heard.

The inquiry is being held over plans to build 492 homes in a 17-storey development on land off Market Square in the town centre.

The flats plan, previously accepted by councillors on two separate occasions earlier this year, was then rejected by the Conservatives, leading developer Orwell to appeal to the planning inspectorate.

On day seven of the hearing a witness called by the developer made the case that Brooke House, the 14-storey block built in 1960-62, was not meant to be the only tall building in the town centre.

I think we have established during the enquiry that there was nothing in the original design intent in Brook House that it was meant to be the only tall building in Basildon, Lucy Malcolm, partner at Montague Evans planning consultancy, said.

There have been more made after Brook House and there is no prohibition in policy on further tall buildings, she said.

She added: I think generally this location is appropriate for tall buildings. It’s located in the town centre, it’s a brownfield site, there is good transport accessibility and there is good access to services.

Beyond that, Basildon has quite a robust urban structure that has very generous squares and large urban blocks. It’s an appropriate location to put tall buildings. It’s not like a market town where it would be difficult to incorporate tall buildings, she said.

Ms Malcolm went on to say that many of Basildon’s town centre buildings were “poor quality” due to being built in the year after the Second World War when there was a shortage of good materials.

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