The Lab/Lib Coalition, who now run Brentwood Council with the support of the Brentwood First party, have u-turned on their promise to develop a site at Hallsford Bridge for social housing.
Despite announcing the development as a flagship policy back in Spring, the administration has now conceded the plan is not appropriate and the site will be sold.
Conservative Opposition spokesman for Assets and Entreprise, Roger Hirst, said, "They knew we had looked into this last year and found the site was unsuitable for housing. For the last six months they have pushed the issue back and forth between committees, but now the Coalition have conceded their proposals simply won't work. We should be selling the site and using the money to provide affordable housing elsewhere in Tipps Cross."
Despite the earlier public scrutiny which showed the site was inappropriate for housing, the Coalition's chair of Assets & Entreprise announced the Council would be building social housing on the site before the Coalition had even formally taken control.
Cllr Hirst added: "It worries me that the Coalition are pursuing vanity projects without looking at the funding implications or the feasibility of their ideas. Their plans to spend on private sector rents would eat up the money from the sale of Hallsford Bridge, which could otherwise go for affordable housing on another site. But I doubt this will be the only scheme on which they fail to deliver."
Both the planning and housing experts had explained from the start that Hallsford Bridge was not a suitable site for residential development and at the meeting last week Conservative councillors made the point loud and clear.
Shadow Health & Housing Chairman, Roger McCheyne, who has previously spoken about the proposals said, "We all want to see more housing of good quality in the Borough to meet the needs of Brentwood residents but they must be in the right place and with the right infrastructure around them. Hallsford Bridge is simply not suitable and I am pleased pressure from us made the Coalition see sense."
The site will now be sold for industrial use as was originally planned by the Conservatives. Unfortunately the Coalition failed to back Conservative proposals to use the money for affordable housing elsewhere in the ward, choosing instead to put the money into some of their more fanciful projects.