The committee provided a steer to officers on its preferred responses to the Regulation 19 consultation, which is focussed on whether the plan is lawful and whether it is sound. Whilst it was agreed that the Brentwood Local Plan is legally compliant, concerns were raised about how many new gypsy and traveller pitches would be provided and the lack of clarity as to how transit site needs could be met in the future. Additionally, the committee expressed concerns about whether Brentwood has adequately assessed infrastructure needs and questioned how the plan has taken account of the Lower Thames Crossing, schools, transport and business needs along the A127 corridor.
The committee, which met on Thursday 7 March, welcomed the commitment by Brentwood to invest in the South Essex Joint Strategic Plan to improve the coordination of growth and infrastructure provision across a wider area in the future.
Cllr Richard Moore, Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee, said: "It's important that any strategic, cross boundary matters between Basildon and Brentwood are raised as part of this process. Whilst we accept that Brentwood Council has taken steps to address some of our initial concerns, we believe there are still areas where reasonable alternatives could have been taken into account.
"We're committed to working together with our neighbouring authorities to boost housing, provide improved infrastructure and drive economic growth. As a key partner in the Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA) and a Duty to Cooperate public body, it's our responsibility to ensure that all potential implications are considered by Brentwood Council and the plan is as effective as it can be."