PLANS for a multi-million pound development in East Tilbury could “ruin village life”, according to a leading councillor.
A public consultation into the future of the Bata Shoe factory site starts on Monday and designs include proposals for between 500 and 800 homes.
Barry Palmer, leader of Thurrock Council’s Indep-endent group, said infrastructure has to be put in place before new homes are built on the old factory site, just off Princess Margaret Road.
Cllr Palmer, who worked as an engineer at the famous shoe factory for 30 years, said: “The plans as they are are really diverse and a lot more detail is needed.
“I do find the proposals very concerning because we simply don’t have the infrastructure in the village to support such a development.
“It’s all right for these planners to sit in their ivory towers painting pretty pictures, but they don’t live here or see it at rush hour times.
“The infrastructure needs to come before the homes and there is hardly any mention of that in the brief.
“It seems to me this is a step backwards in terms of teaming up homes and industrial development on the same site.
“A development of this size could ruin village life.
“At the moment we have the right amenities for the village and you still have the feeling of living somewhere semi-rural – that could be lost.
“I don’t want East Tilbury to just be a dormitory town where people commute to town and are not part of the community.”
Resident Liam Crowley, 40, of Beechcroft Road, Linford, added: “I think it is a really good idea to regenerate the site. My mum used to work there when it was the shoe factory and now it is just an eyesore.
“If they are going to build more than 500 new homes the road network and infrastructure seriously needs to be improved.
“There are only two country lanes in and out of the village, and once the railway crossing is down it creates havoc with the traffic.”
Dean Harris, of Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation, said: “The Bata factory site in East Tilbury is an important, historical site for Thurrock.
“The DC has been, and is, working hard with the site owners, their agents and the community to restore the site while improving the surrounding area.”
The consultation runs until Monday, June 20.
The design brief will be on show at East Tilbury Library on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10am and 1pm and 2pm and 6pm, Fridays from 2pm- to 6pm and Saturdays from 10am to 1pm.
You can also see the design brief by logging on to www.thurrocktgdc.org.uk