There seems to be a bit of a theme emerging at the moment centred around the spending priorities and decisions of local authorities. Following on from our previous post about Southend Borough Council blowing central government money on piles of rusty metal in a bid to tart up the approach to the town centre, we have Basildon Council selling a plot of land next to Basildon Golf Club to a developer for just £1: Basildon Council to sell land it bought for £1m for £1.

A plot of land it had purchased in March 2017 for a cool £1million in a bid to facilitate the development of a ‘high quality’ hotel. Apparently, councils can sell plots of land for less than market value if they think the ensuing development will provide an economic boost to the area. Basildon Council seem to have blurred the lines between selling a plot of land for less than market value and pretty much giving it away for free with a nominal £1 price tag.

You have to wonder what Basildon Council’s grasp on reality is. We’re just over a month away from being blundered into a chaotic, no deal Brexit that will knock a parasitic UK economy for six. If they seriously think that a developer is going to proceed with the development of a four star hotel in Vange in the midst of what will be a serious economic depression, they’re deluded. Meanwhile, the developer who has forked out just £1 for the plot can afford to landbank it for a decade or so if needed. Congratulations Basildon Council, you’ve just been mugged!

A four star hotel in Vange… With no disrespect to the residents of Vange, we can’t think of who would actually want to fork out for a few nights at a four star hotel there. The only think we can think of is that it’s handy for the Homebase down the road at the Five Bells roundabout and that’s pretty much it. Actually, we can think of another use for the rooms but as we’re trying to keep this blog family friendly, we won’t go ito details!

So Basildon Council have wasted £1million more or less giving away a plot to a developer. This is only down the road from the Vange Hill and Ryedene estates, both of which suffer from more than their fair share of neglect and deprivation. Knock on any door on those estates or stop anyone on the streets and we’re pretty sure they’ll come up with a lot of constructive suggestions for how £1million could have been invested in their neighbourhoods to make their lives better.

We’re getting sick of having to say this but here we go for the umpteenth time. This is yet more evidence that the system of local governance we have to endure is not in any way, shape or form, fit for purpose.