Basildon is preparing a response to Thurrock Council after being asked for feedback on a major housing plan that could have seen extra homes built within the borough.

Members of Basildon’s planning and infrastructure committee met last night to discuss Thurrock Council’s Local Plan, which has the aim of building more than 1,000 homes each year.

The housing need for Thurrock over a 20-year period is expected to be as high as 27,620 but a Basildon council officer said it only has a capacity “within its existing urban areas for around 6,478”.

To make up for the shortfall, Government guidelines advise that Thurrock should explore options for making up the numbers outside of the borough, including in Basildon.

However, the possibility has been dismissed by the planning team, who wrote in a report that it is “not a realistic option” and that Basildon itself has had to find space on its own green belt.

Speaking at the meeting, the council officer said: “Thurrock does recognise that provision outside the green belt elsewhere in the housing market area doesn’t actually exist. Thurrock has therefore explored meeting the need within the current extent of their green belt.”

The options Thurrock are now considering include building a new settlement to the west of Basildon, on a plot of green belt in West Horndon.

Thurrock estimates that it could build 10,000 homes at the site but notes that it would require significant funding for new education, health and community infrastructure. It could also lead to further congestion on the A127.

Another option is for a site near to Basildon’s southern boundary but this would not be large enough to warrant infrastructure improvements impacting GPs, school places and roads.

Labour Councillor Jack Ferguson said the impact on the transport network with any of the options could be “significant”.

The officer said that they would expect Thurrock to share details of how they would deal with this once they had determined which option they would take.

The consultation marks the second time that Basildon has been asked to comment on Thurrock’s Local Plan.

In a previous response from 2016, the council agreed to “treat the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers as a cross-boundary issue” due to Basildon’s own difficulties in finding appropriate sites within the borough.

Basildon is required to provide Thurrock with a response to their Local Plan by March 8 and councillors agreed to designate this responsibility to council officers.