Councillors have been accused of “panicking” by agreeing to encourage planning applications for new homes before the Local Development Plan (LDP) is formally in place.

Maldon District Council has been given three months to prove its target of 4,410 homes is enough after planning inspector David Vickery raised concerns it may need more.

Councillors agreed to “proactively encourage” applications which are in accordance with the LDP for sites in north Heybridge and south Maldon and officers would work towards “achieving compliance” with the masterplans for both areas through the planning process.

Kath Vale, chairman of Save Maldon Action Group, said: “They are all panicking about having this LDP in place, otherwise there will be a free-for-all from developers and we will get twice the number of houses.”

But she said even with an LDP in place, more homes could be needed anyway.

However, Wickham Bishops and Woodham councillor, Mark Durham, said it was vital the plan was put in place quickly.
“Developers are waiting in the wings,” he said.

“We will get thousands of houses and not get the money for the infrastructure and there is nothing Maldon District Council can do to turn them away.

* Full story in this week's Standard.