onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003

 

January 27th, 2015

Essex Comes Second For Pothole Claims In England !

POTHOLE COUNTY

According to the RAC, Essex County Council still has the second highest figure in England of legal claims against it for damage cause by potholes !  You can download their data here. Only Surrey County Council had more claims. In the financial  year 2013-2014  there were 2548 claims, totally over £156,000. But the County Council only paid out on 98 of them.

 

 

 

January 27th, 2015

Well Done Essex Water

One of our onlineFOCUS readers informed us about a hole in the pavement in Down Hall Road (thank you, you know who you are!). It was caused by a badly broken Essex Water Company cover, leaving a hole nasty enough for someone to trip over , or maybe sprain an ankle, especially in the dark.

We reported it to Essex and Suffolk Water, who fixed it in about 2 days. That’s not all, their customer service people even phoned back to check everything was OK now.

Perhaps County Highways could learn from them.

 

 

January 26th, 2015

Residents And Greens Group Grows To Seven

the-magnificent-seven-denzel-and-fuqua-to-remake-classic-the-magnificent-seven-1960

 

The Greens and Residents Group on the District Council, led by John Mason and Michael Hoy, has just grown to 7 members. Toby Mountain , Phil Capon and Tracy Capon, who were previously Independents and before that Tories, have just joined the group. The council elections are going to be very interesting in the next couple of years….

January 25th, 2015

A Reminder To All Members Of the District Council

From Section G of our code of conduct on the Council website:

 

Don’t decide or discuss how to vote on any application at any sort of political

group meeting, or lobby any other Member to do so. Political Group Meetings should never

dictate how Members should vote on a planning issue.

January 24th, 2015

“Help Tracy Get Back On Her Feet”

tracy

 

From the fundraising page set up for her:

This is a fundraising page for our amazing Tracy who was a healthy 34 year old Mum of two small boys and was due to run a marathon this year. She was taken into hospital Christmas eve and none of us realised how terribly ill she was with pneumonia, but by Christmas Day she was put in an induced coma. 
 ___
Her life has been saved by amazing doctors more than once after suffering complete organ failure and she has battled through meningitis, septasemia, deadly blood clots and bleeding on the brain. She came out of her coma on new years eve and although still in intensive care at St Thomas’s she has shown amazing strength.  But it is now time for us to our bit.
 ___
The reason and sad reality of our fundraising is that tragically Tracy has lost both feet and her legs have been amputated below the knee as well as her fingers. We are raising money for her rehabilitation and ultimately the best prosthetic feet we can buy. So please, please, please let’s help Tracy get back on her feet.

January 23rd, 2015

Officers Recommend Approval On “Land North of London Road”

nolr plan

The officers report on the big planning application “North of London Road” is now on the council website. You can download it by clicking here.

Officers are recommending approval, with a lot of conditions attached.We will put more details below sometime this evening, Please leave any comments or thoughts or questions below, this will be the main comments thread until after the meeting.

Here’s some  points from the report . We are highlighting highways stuff in red  , drainage and flooding in  blue  (apologies if we leave out something significant, please mention it in a comment):
Page 1 , paragraph 4.2 sets out what is up for discussion here: The principle of having housing on this site, the amount of housing, the principle of having other uses such as shops, restaurants, pubs, health facilities, care home, day nursery
Page 2, paragraph 2.4 – the council’s allocation plan already allocates 500 houses to this site. That was the key decision by the council in Feb 2014 so it’s very hard to argue now that there shouldn’t be housing on this site at all. It’s no longer Green Belt.
The Echo live-blogged the meeting in 2014 and you can read what they wrote here.The Council minutes are here.  Note that the Lib Dems, Greens and Rochford Residents present at the meeting all voted against.

Page 3, paragraph 4.1 . Rawreth Parish Council have written at great length to object, and their objections seem to be printed in full. Their key paragraphs:
“The Council still has very grave concerns about the effect that developing the land will have on an area that already suffers from flooding. Whilst Council notes that balancing ponds, basins and swales have been accounted for, the Parish of Rawreth is unique in that it suffers from fluvial, tidal and surface water flooding and the Council does not feel that adequate notice has been taken of these factors and the correct information gathered and analysed. The Parish has suffered from the “one in a hundred years” event three times within eighteen months, however thadvice given to the developer from the Environment Agency asks them to work on the one in a hundred years scenario only; this is proven to be ineffective, vast areas of the Parish are cut off for days when these events happen, properties flood, roads are impassable and lives are devastated through loss and fear of it happening again.”
The Council is concerned that all the technical work is being done upstream of the site, but none is planned for downstream, Council believes this is because it is assumed there is no adverse effect downstream which is totally unacceptable and incorrect.
The Council also considers that the roads and infrastructure in the Rawreth area are completely inadequate to accommodate this proposed development as they are already full to capacity. The A127, A1245, A129 London Road, Rawreth Lane and Watery Lane just cannot take any more traffic and the proposed development will increase traffic to a completely unsustainable level. On numerous occasions this year and last year incidents within and on the outskirts of the Parish have brought traffic to a standstill for hours along London Road, Rawreth Lane, Watery Lane/Beeches Road and the Hullbridge Road. It took some residents 1 ¼ hours to proceed along Rawreth Lane and into Hullbridge – a distance of 1 ½ miles. We strongly recommend that an independent Traffic Survey and assessment should be done before any approval of this scheme. Without a long term solution to existing transport needs then this and any new developments are unsustainable.”
Page 6 , paragraph 4.2 Rayleigh Town Council writes more briefly to object. This seems to be their full objection:
After discussions Cllr E Dray proposed and Cllr J Burton seconded that the Town Council objects to this application. All Members agreed.
Based on the information provided to this Planning Committee the Town Council objects to this outline application due to over- development of the site and inadequate road access. Improvements should be made before construction takes place to the junctions of Hambro Hill, Rawreth Lane and Hullbridge Road and London Road and Downhall Road. The Town Council recommends that a traffic management survey is carried out between Essex County Council Highways and Rochford District Council to include the suggested bus route and the implementation of mini roundabouts at junctions
Page 6 , paragraph 4.3 . Mark Francois MP has written at length, particularly about flooding, highways and medical facilities.

Page 23, paragraph 4.10 County Council write about a deficit of school places. The only pre-school and only Day Nursery within walking distance are both full. They may want to expand existing primary school(s) alternatively they may want a new primary school on the site. They also forecast a deficit in secondary school places in Rayleigh by 2018-2019.

Page 41 , paragraph 4.27 – Six Hundred and Fifty-Nine letter of objection have been received from the public. The objections are summarised in the next 14 pages of the report!

Page 55, paragraph 5.1 onwards – here the officer looks at the planning issues, in terms of the council’s planning policies.
Page 57, paragraph 5.12 . Key paragraph on infrastructure from the officer – she concludes that the application would deliver the required infrastructure:

Policy H2 and Policy SER1 prescribe the infrastructure requirements which must be delivered in order to ensure that the new residential development is comprehensively planned; these areas follows:

• New primary school
• Local highway capacity and infrastructure improvements;
• Public transport infrastructure improvements and service enhancements, including a link between Rawreth Lane and London Road;
• Link and enhancements to local pedestrian/cycling and bridleway network;
• Link to green grid greenway no.13;
• Public park land to provide a buffer between the built environment and the A1245;
• Youth and community facilities;
• Play space; and
• Sustainable drainage system
The proposal would deliver all of the identified infrastructure improvements, as discussed in detail under the sections below, save for a link to green grid greenway no. 13
Page 62, paragraph 5.39 – density of housing. The proposed density is 33 dwellings per hectare, less than in Laburnum Way (which is 45 dwellings per hectare)

Page 85 – OFFICERS RECOMMEND APPROVAL, SUBJECT TO LOTS OF CONDITIONS.

That the application be APPROVED, subject to the completion of a LEGAL AGREEMENT under Section 106 of the Act for the heads of terms set out below and subject to the heads of CONDITIONS as set out below ,subject to any reasonable changes the Head of Planning and Transportation shall deem fit: –
1) The option of transfer of the education land at the site to Essex County Council (ECC) and a pro rata financial contribution towards provision of a new primary school with early years and childcare provision on-site or a proportionate financial contribution towards expansion of existing primary, early years and childcare provision .A financial contributiontowards secondary provision. A total estimated education contribution of approximately £5.1 million.
2) Prior to 50th occupation, a contribution of £250,000 (Two hundred an fifty thousand pounds) for highway infrastructure improvement at the Rawreth Lane/Hullbridge Road/Hambro Hill junction.
3) Payment of a £3000 Travel Plan Monitoring fee to ECC relating to the residential Travel Plan.
4) Provision and implementation of a Residential Travel Information Pack for every household
5) Provision of an extended bus service linking the development with Rayleigh railway station.
6) Bus service along the link road with the service to operate betwee0700 and 21 00 Monday to Friday with a minimum frequency of every 30 minutes and hourly on a Saturday and Sunday between 0900 and 1800 for a period of 5 years. Fallback requirement for financial contribution to ECC in the event that reasonable endeavours cannot secure provision of the service for use in the provision of a bus service.
7) Provision of 12 month season tickets for bus travel to all eligible occupiers of the development (maximum of2 per household).
8) A minimum of 35 per cent affordable housing shall be provided in each phase (Reserved Matters application site area) to a mix of 80 per cent affordable rent and 2 0 per cent intermediate housing subject to delivery triggers, appropriate location of units within the site, appropriate dwelling type/size, nomination rights and other relevant matters.
9) Youth facilities provision (subject to costs cap of £140,000) and financial contribution for maintenance to be offered for transfer to RDC. In the event tha RDC declines the transfer, facilities to be maintained in perpetuity by a management company.
10) Land for provision of sports pitches to be offered for transfer to RDC ( if to be transferred to RDC, to be laid out by the developer to Sport England standards to a specification to be agreed by the LPA , including any necessary fencing/planting and provision of a footpath link from the new pitches to Rayleigh Sports and Social Club) . In the event RDC does not accept the transfer – a requirement to lay the land out for informal recreation and be incorporated into the open space maintenance scheme.
11) Allotment land to be offered for transfer (with the necessary infrastructure for a water supply to the boundary, fencing around the boundaries and vehicular access to the boundary which shall provide route to connect to the adopted highway) to Rawreth Parish Council wit h a commuted sum for laying out . In the event that Rawreth Parish Council declines the land transfer the land would revert to public open green
space and be incorporated into the open space maintenance scheme.

12) Monies of £200,000 set aside for contribution towards any flood mitigation scheme associated with flood alleviation of the Rawreth Brook in the Parish of Rawreth to be paid to RDC in the event that a scheme is finalised and approved/agreed by the EA.
Monies to be made available as follows; 50 per cent prior to 10th
occupation and 50 per cent prior to the 150 th occupation unless a scheme is agreed for
implementation earlier in which case the monies can be called on at an
earlier time.

13) Provision of a Sustainable Urban Drainage system in accordance with
details agreed by the relevant planning condition. Maintenance of
the system by a management company, statutory water undertaker or the
County Council (should the County Council become an approved body)
in perpetuity to be undertaken in accordance with a maintenance
schedule to be submitted and agreed by the Local Planning Authority.

14) Marketing of health care site for provision of health care services for a period of 2 years following commencement of development at the site.Payment of a financial contribution
of £164,581.82) for capital projectsassociated with delivery of primary health care services in the vicinity of the sitein the event that the health care land at the site is not
developed to provide a facility which incorporates primary publically
available GP services within 4 years following commencement of development at the site.
15) A site of 0.38ha to the north east corner to be marketed for various non residential uses such as for retail, crèche/nursery, health purposes, for a period of 2 years from occupation of the first dwelling at the site. Further applications/approvals would be required for any such uses.
16) Provision of public open green space in accordance with the requirements of the relevant
planning conditions and maintenance of these areas and any play equipment within these areas by a management company.

Page 88 another important condition; putting on a 500-home limit  The residentially developable area, as shown on the approved Parameters Plan , shall accommodate no more than 500 dwellings in total.

Page 89 – Important Highways works to be provided along London Road :

8. Prior to the 50 th occupation at the site, the following highway works along the London Road Corridor shall have been completed entirely at the developer’s expense:
– a. Signalising and associated works of Dow Hall Road/London Road Junction,
b. Improved road markings and associated works at the London Hill /Lopndon Hill priority junction,
c. Signal upgrade at Victoria Avenue/ London junction to include but not limited to the provision of MOVA, associated enabling works and signal head upgrade.
9.Prior to the 50 th occupation details shall be submitted to and agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority for improvement of the existing public footpath number 23 up to its boundary with the St Nicholas Primary School. Once agreed ,the works shall be completed, as agreed and prior to first occupation.
10 Prior to the first occupation at the site, the priority junction with ghost right turn lane on Rawreth Lane shall be provided with a clear to ground visibility splay with dimensions of 4.5 metres by 180 metres to the east and west…
11.Prior to occupation of the 150th dwelling at the site or 5 years from the commencement of development, the priority junction with ghost right turn lane on London Road shall be provided…
Page 97 – lengthy conditions about surface water drainage systems.

 

January 22nd, 2015

The Cat Manifesto

Felix Black small

Welsh Lib Dem Peter Black (no relation) writes here about the charity Cat Protection’s 10 point manifesto for the General Election. it includes:

– Compulsory microchipping of owned cats
– A national database of cats entering the UK legally so those entering illegally without a rabies vaccination can be identified without delay
– Updating the DangerousDogs Act to allow prosecution of owners whose dogs attack cats
– Inclusion of animal welfare in the National Curriculum
– Clear labelling of flowers, plants and household products that are toxic to cats
– Outright ban on snares
– Stricter regulation on the ownership of air guns and crossbows

January 21st, 2015

Gentlemanly Conduct

Football

Back in 2010 Rayleigh Boys Youth Football Club got planning permission for 8 sports pitches in Old London Road Rawreth. When they got permission , there was a condition that the pitches could only be used on Sundays, and on 8 Saturdays per year. The club are now applying to change that to all day Saturdays and Sundays and 17:00 to 20:00 Mondays to Fridays.

The application number is 14/00900/FUL and you can find it here.

When they got permission last time, there were strong local objections on the grounds of noise and nuisance (plus some other issues), and there could well be local objections to this great increase in hours proposed. As always District Councillors are not allowed to make their minds up in advance of a planning meeting.

It’s worth mentioning that the club wrote a lengthy letter to Rawreth Parish Council before they submitted their application, explaining what they were going to do. That courtesy was much appreciated, and will certainly help maintain good communications between the club and the parish council (whatever view the parish council take towards the application).

January 20th, 2015

Action Groups Ally Together….

We’ve just been sent the following press release …. worth printing in full:

South East Essex Action Group Alliance Press Release Issue 1

Introduction

In towns and villages across the country residents are fighting to prevent unjustified housing developments, particularly those where Green Belt land will be lost for ever. Councils are wilfully

ignoring local concerns in spite of the Prime Minister’s drive for Localism. In the South East of Essex the situation is exacerbated by the limited supply of land suitable for development, the already-overstretched infrastructure and the existing high population density. A number of independent Action Groups have already been set up by concerned residents. Now these groups are collaborating, sharing information and experiences and preparing to fight together on their shared concerns.

The SE Essex Action Group Alliance, (AGA), has been initiated by action groups from Billericay, Rayleigh, Hullbridge, Daws Heath and Jotmans Farm (these fall within the Basildon, Rochford and Castle Point Local Authority areas). AGA will campaign on three main issues:-

 Unnecessarily high housing targets;

 failure to implement Localism;

 impact on the Green Belt and infrastructure.

Unnecessarily high housing targets

Councils across south Essex are making policy decisions that produce housing targets that are unnecessarily high. For example:-

 Basildon proposed a new homes target of 16,000 when natural growth would suggest just 8,900 homes are required;

 Rochford’s target of around 3000 new homes is twice the natural growth needed;

 Castle Point is proposing 4-5000 new homes when recent estimates show negative growth.

Other areas show similar disparities. There can be sound reasons for increasing housing targets beyond that required for ‘Natural Growth’, but the contrasts noted here are staggering.

Failure to Implement the Localism Act

In 2011 Central Government introduced the Localism Act with the stated aim of devolving detailed planning powers, including the setting of housing targets, to Local Authorities. Numerous Government Ministers have reiterated the intention of the Act to put Local Authorities and the communities that elect them in charge of planning in their areas. Unfortunately Local Authorities in South East Essex have universally failed to understand and implement the concept of Localism. They have allowed themselves, not necessarily unwillingly, to be held to ransom by developers and Central Government dictat, to the detriment of their residents and at the expense of their Green Belt.

Some residents groups have even resorted to taking expensive legal action against the Authorities who purport to represent them. The fact that residents of most towns and villages have to form an Action Group to give the public a voice speaks volumes about the way our Councils wilfully ignore the concept and implementation of real Localism.

Impact on Green Belt & Infrastructure

Local historic demographic data indicates a steady and relatively low rise in the number of new homes required for the existing local people which, in many areas, could be met by Brownfield sites
and infill building. This would leave the untouched Green Belt able to fulfil its purposes and give the inadequate infrastructure a chance to catch up. Government-prompted over-estimates of future housing quotas (driven by the myopic expansion of London), will destroy the existing Green Belt and overwhelm the under-funded existing infrastructure (roads /railways/ schools /hospitals etc ).

Our Conclusion

Untold and irreversible damage will be done to the towns and villages in Essex if National and Local Government continue to disregard the views of residents (the electors), by allowing unjustified
building and the destruction of the Green Belt. To stop this happening it is essential that local people make their views known through their local Action Groups who are working together to present a strong and united case to the decision makers.

The SE Essex Action Group Alliance invites other groups in the SE of Essex to unite with us to ensure the views of existing residents are no longer ignored by those who purport to represent them.

Contact info@billericayactiongroup.org.uk for more information.

January 19th, 2015

Planning Application Confirmed For The 29th

.10931210_10204570466315028_7317429567860889287_n

 
It was confirmed to us today that the “North of London Road” outline planning application will come to the Development Committee on the 29th.

It’s worth repeating what we put in our latest Focus:


The meeting is in the Civic Suite in Rayleigh (opposite Holy Trinity Church). It is due to start at 7:30 p.m…….

….. You won’t be able to speak at the meeting but we do urge people to come along and listen. As your ward councillors we will be pointing out all the local concerns – and will be hard to convince other councillors that we have problems like traffic and flooding if the public gallery is empty!

Over the last 30 years there’s been LOTS of development in West Rayleigh and Rawreth. Some of it has been very successful, for example in the Downhall Park Way area. But as each development has taken place, it has added to road congestion and put more pressure on our local infrastructure and facilities….

…..when it gets to the final stage of [being] a planning application, the rules change. No district councillor is allowed to make up their minds up in advance. (Including us, so although Ron and Chris will definitely point out residents’ concerns we cannot decide in advance how we will vote). In the same way all councillors have to listen to the debate, and there are no party whips. So let’s see what happens – we will be glad of your presence and your moral support.

January 18th, 2015

Holocaust Day 2015

From the District Council website:

 

Picture - Keep the Memory Alive - Holocaust Memorial Day 2015

 

Holocaust Memorial Day 2015

 
Date: 
Tuesday, 27 January 2015 – 12:30pm

 

To commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day 2015 Rochford District Council will be holding a public service at the Memorial to Victims of Persecution Bellingham Lane, Rayleigh followed by a short film and reading in The Mill Arts and Events Centre on Tuesday, 27 January at 12:30 pm

The Chairman of the Council would like to invite you, your family and friends to attend the service

Please RSVP to Lynn Rackley, Civic Officer

Phone: 01702 318144
Email: lynn.rackley@rochford.gov.uk

January 17th, 2015

A Question Of Floor Space, A Question Of Localism

question mark

There’s a planning application in Hockley to construct a two bedroom bungalow. The application number is 14/00807/FUL and the intention is to build in the rear garden of 28 Great Eastern Avenue but fronting directly onto Gladstone Road.

What’s interesting is that last month the council adopted policies about minimum floorspace in new homes. The floorspace in this application is below that standard, but officers are still recommending approval . The reason? The national government is going to enforce a national policy sometime in the future, which allow smaller homes. So much for localism! It’s also worth mentioning that there’s a general election soon- a new government might do something different.

The application will be passed unless at least one councillor calls it in to the Development Committee by Wednesday.

You can download the officers report here (it’s the third item).
This is the key extract from the officer’s report:

Policy DM4 of the Development Management Document 2014 refers to the
need for new dwellings to adhere to minimum habitable floor space standards
and a house with two bedrooms to provide 77m². Habitable floorspace
includes bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens but not hallways and
bathrooms. The proposed dwelling would be somewhat less than the recently
adopted figure with a habitable floorspace of 62m².
.
The preamble to policy DM4 also requires a floor to ceiling clearance of 2.5m
and the proposed section drawings indicate only 2.4m is achieved.
.
The Government has however proposed a national space standard as part of the Housing
Standards Review (2013) which differs from the standard that Policy DM4
seeks to achieve in several respects. The two standards are calculated
slightly differently with the national standard proposed to be calculated on
Gross Internal Area including voids, stairs and all rooms whereas the local
policy standard incorporates only certain ‘habitable rooms’. In some cases the
proposed national space standard would be less generous than the local
policy requirement.
.
Government advice is however clear that, once in force,Local Authorities
will not be allowed to require a more generous space standard than
the national space standard. The proposed national space standard for a
single storey two bed dwelling would be 70m² and as the
proposed dwelling would have a gross internal area of 77m² it would be
compliant with this. It is therefore considered reasonable to relax the
requirements of Policy DM4 in this instance.

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  • admin: More seriously Oz, “workR 21; is activity you don’t want to do. Representing Downhall and...
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500 HOUSES BETWEEN LONDON ROAD AND RAWRETH LANE

There's lots of information on the District Council website about the planning application "North of London Road ". To see it , just click here.

The Core Strategy

This is the official master document for planning policy in our district! To download it, click here click here. (2.5mb)

Planning Applications…

If you want information on a particular planning application, you can find it on the District Council website here.

If you want to know what new planning applications have been submitted this week, click here.

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If you want to report a problem, you can email Lib Dems councillors by clicking here.
There's also an independent website called FixMyStreet. It's very good for reporting minor street problems like holes in the road, grafitti or failed streetlights. You can find FixMyStreet here.

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To find the food hygiene rating for eating places and other businesses in our district , click here.

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