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Inappropriate Development (Benfleet)

Volume 462: debated on Monday 25 June 2007

I am pleased to present a petition against inappropriate development next to one of the most important and beautiful conservation areas in Essex, opposite St. Mary’s church in Benfleet. It is remarkable that Brian Keeler, a campaigner who is held in high public esteem, was able to gather almost 1,000 signatures in a very short space of time. I am grateful to other excellent campaigners from our community, such as the president of the friends of St. Mary’s church, Chris Findlay. The petition explains why the development is totally unacceptable, and I urge local councillors to listen to residents and to reject the application. I thank each of the petitioners for caring enough about their community and environment to sign this excellent petition.

The petition states:

To the House of Commons,

The Petition of people living around the St. Mary’s Church Conservation Area, declares that we the residents of Benfleet and surrounding areas object to the proposed demolition of the parade of shops opposite the historic St. Mary's Church, in High Road, Benfleet to make way for a new block of four shops with five one bed and eight two bed flats in a two storey development above the shops with underground parking, on the grounds that the access is unacceptable, there are insufficient parking arrangements, particularly for visitors to those new properties and shops, and consequently the shops and public will suffer, because the bulk of the proposed building would be unacceptably detrimental to the street scene in this sensitive position around the Conservation Area and because this would put unacceptable additional stress on the existing infrastructure at a sensitive point on the highway and for many other valid planning reasons as set out by the Member of Parliament and the previous Council members for the ward, in their objections to the earlier applications which were rejected.

The Petitioners therefore call on the House of Commons to implore the Government to impress upon Castle Point Borough Council, and the three Boyce Ward councillors in particular, the imperative that this application is decided by members rather than unelected unaccountable officers, and the need to reject the application on behalf of all residents of Castle Point who are sick to the back teeth of the attempts to overdevelop their community.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.

To lie upon the Table.