passivhaus1

What Are Passivhauses ?

This week’s “Yellow List” of planning applications can be downloaded here. These are applications that probably don’t need to go the Development Committee. Officers have prepared a report on each one, with a recommendation. If no councillor calls it by Wednesday lunchtime, the recommendation comes into effect.

Two of the applications this week are small ones for building in the Green Belt – both are recommended for refusal on Green Belt grounds.

One is at “Land East Of Gardiners Lane, Lambourne Hall Road Canewdon” for a bungalow

The other is at land “opposite 1 – 10 Disraeli Road Rayleigh” and is an outline application for ” 2 4-Bed Passivhauses, Associated Landscaping And Biodiversity Enhancement”. You may well be wondering what Passivhauses are. Well, there’s a clue in the details of the report:

“The proposal is to create two new dwellings to the passivhaus standard. The
dwellings would also incorporate the installation of ground array photovoltaic
panels, rainwater harvesting and aim to achieve a zero carbon rating. The
dwellings would incorporate 300mm of insulation, feature triple glazed
windows, mechanical ventilation heat recovery and high standards of build
quality.
There are no details of the scale and design of the dwellings apart from it
being stated that the buildings would have an elongated linear appearance to
integrate the dwellings more successfully into the landscape than a
conventionally designed dwelling. It is proposed to landscape the upper part
of the site with deciduous trees and to plant the lower party of the site with
wildflowers.”

If you want to know what something is, try wikipedia:


The term passive house (Passivhaus in German) refers to a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, reducing its ecological footprint.[1] It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling…
Estimates of the number of Passivhaus buildings around the world in late 2008 ranged from 15,000 to 20,000 structures.[6][7] As of August 2010, there were approximately 25,000 such certified structures of all types in Europe, while in the United States there were only 13, with a few dozen more under construction.[1] The vast majority of passive structures have been built in German-speaking countries and Scandinavia.

Building new homes in the Green Belt is only allowed in very special circumstances (unless you take the land out of the Green Belt, as is happening on big sites around the district). Does being a Passivhaus make it very special circumstances?

canewdon1

A Clash of Opinions In Canewdon

One of the items on the latest ‘weekly list’ of planning applications is in Canewdon. You can download the details here (it starts on page 9)

The application is to change the use of some land to ‘recreational’ to be used in conjunction with a child-minding business which is operated from another location, the children would walk there by a ‘walking bus’ arrangement. According to the report, this piece of land doesn’t directly share a boundary with any residential properties, the rear gardens of the closest dwelling being some 25-30 m away. There would be a number of structures here, including a composting “Rota-Loo”, a horse shelter and a chicken coop.

However, some residents have complained about potential noise, which has incidentally prompted the officers to refer to this year’s football pitch playing days application in Rawreth as a comparison. However other residents are supportive, so the report contains a range of views from the nearby residents, from:

I do not understand why this should be allowed to happen as this was a
quiet part of the village. They have no consideration for the people who
live here

to:

It’s a great place for kids to learn about the great outdoors, respect
wildlife and play nicely together in a secure area away from busy roads
and unruly teenagers that seem to hang around most parks

Officers are recommending approval, unless any councillor calls it in it will be passed on Wednesday.

rspb

Breaching The Sea Wall

We’ve posted things before about the big wildlife project on Wallasea Island :

Wallasea Island Wild Coast project is a landmark conservation and engineering scheme for the 21st century, on a scale never before attempted in the UK and the largest of its type in Europe.

The aim of this project is to combat the threats from climate change and coastal flooding by recreating the ancient wetland landscape of mudflats and saltmarsh, lagoons and pasture. It will also help to compensate for the loss of such tidal habitats elsewhere in England.

Once completed, this will provide a haven for a wonderful array of nationally and internationally important wildlife and an amazing place for the local community, and those from further afield, to come and enjoy.

Although the reserve is planned to be in development until around 2025, you’re welcome to come along and view the progress as each phase comes to life and the marshland naturally regenerates. The current sea wall access along the Allfleets Marsh Trail sea wall is a wonderful place to come to relax and enjoy, whether for walking, cycling, birdwatching, painting, photography or simply taking in the sea air.

Over the coming years, the scheme will create a varied wetland landscape with more than nine miles (15 km) of new and improved access routes, and eventually a range of visitor facilities.

The latest step is to deliberately breach the sea wall. See this new video to get more of a idea….

wall5

The Picnic District 5 – Wallasea Island

Our district has three scientific claims to fame . First of all, the remains of the most important ship in the history of science- Charles Darwin’s Beagle – lie in the river mud near Paglesham. Secondly, due to the connection with the physicist Lord Rayleigh, the town of Rayleigh lends its name to more scientific terms than any other place in the world (for example Rayleigh Scattering, which explains why the sky is blue). The third reason is the Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project:

Wallasea Island Wild Coast project is a landmark conservation and engineering scheme for the 21st century, on a scale never before attempted in the UK and the largest of its type in Europe.

The aim of this project is to combat the threats from climate change and coastal flooding by recreating the ancient wetland landscape of mudflats and saltmarsh, lagoons and pasture. It will also help to compensate for the loss of such tidal habitats elsewhere in England.

Once completed, this will provide a haven for a wonderful array of nationally and internationally important wildlife and an amazing place for the local community, and those from further afield, to come and enjoy.

Although the reserve is planned to be in development until around 2025, you’re welcome to come along and view the progress as each phase comes to life and the marshland naturally regenerates. The current sea wall access along the Allfleets Marsh Trail sea wall is a wonderful place to come to relax and enjoy, whether for walking, cycling, birdwatching, painting, photography or simply taking in the sea air.

Over the coming years, the scheme will create a varied wetland landscape with more than nine miles (15 km) of new and improved access routes, and eventually a range of visitor facilities.

We’re not sure if the RSPB are actually keen on picnics – nobody wants litter here. But a flask of coffee and maybe a banana wouldn’t go amiss. To get to the project you have to drive past Canewdon. Beware of lorries and tractors on the winding country lanes! When you get there, all you can do is walk along the sea wall for a mile or two. That’s it. You can see the existing marshland on one side with some fields and an impressive expanse of bare earth on the other side. The construction vehicles look absolutely tiny in this vast area. It’s probably not very exciting for children, but if you want to see some wading birds, hear some beautiful birdsong and get some fresh air, it’s certainly a tranquil place to visit. One day, when the existing sea wall is deliberately breached and the new habitats created, it will be much more spectacular.

When you get there, go past the notice board up to the sea wall
When you get there, go past the notice board up to the sea wall
To your left is marsh and seawater. To your right is dry land (but only for now).
To your left is marsh and seawater. To your right is dry land (but only for now)
Earth which has been excavated from the Crossrail project in London is brought by sea to Wallasea Island. This is then used to raise the ground level on the island  in varying ways that will  create small islands and lagoons when the sea wall is deliberately breached in future years.
Earth which has been excavated from the Crossrail project in London is brought by sea to Wallasea Island. It is being used to raise the ground level on the island in varying ways that will form small islands and lagoons when the sea wall is deliberately breached in future years, creating a huge haven for wildlife.
There are signs warning you to keep to the sea wall - don't wander off into the construction area!
There are signs warning you to keep to the sea wall – don’t wander off into the construction area!
The construction area is a vast expanse of bare earth!
The construction area is a vast expanse of bare earth!

Fancy A Wallasea Wander? (Booking Essential!)

“Wallasea Island Wild Coast project is a landmark conservation and engineering scheme for the 21st century, on a scale never before attempted in the UK and the largest of its type in Europe.The aim of this project is to combat the threats from climate change and coastal flooding by recreating the ancient wetland landscape of mudflats and saltmarsh, lagoons and pasture. It will also help to compensate for the loss of such tidal habitats elsewhere in England.

Once completed, this will provide a haven for a wonderful array of nationally and internationally important wildlife and an amazing place for the local community, and those from further afield, to come and enjoy.”

Find out more here. And there’s a special event next Saturday:

wallasea wander

The Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project….

The project is described as “Conservation for the 21st century, on a scale never before attempted in the UK!” This video explains what’s there.

The RSPB website has a new comment from a satisfied visitor:

I visited Wallasea for the first time today. I cannot get over the numbers of corn buntings. Flocks of well over 100 in more than one area, smaller groups numerous, there must have been well over 300 visible along the road and sea wall, with many in full jangle song. Simply wonderful. 3 short eared owls, at least 4 marsh harriers, half a dozen or more kestrels, over 1,000 brent geese and the constant backdrop of skylarks more than made up for failing to find hen harriers or a rough legged buzzard (a common variety was over the other side of the Crouch). What a great area, I can’t wait to see how the RSPB develops it.

A Flock Of Godwits

a flock of godwits

The webpages for the Wallasea Island Wild Coast project have fairly quiet this year , but there’s some new stuff on there now:

Many visitors to the reserve have come to catch some great views of the hen harriers, marsh harriers and short-eared owls that are hunting across the reserve daily. Some have taken some great images of these birds hunting across the rough grassland and wild bird cover. I wish I was as good a photographer!

We have also seen our annual increase in wader and waterfowl numbers on the lagoons and mud flats. A large flock of over 300 black-tailed godwits along with a few hundred lapwing can be seen on the lagoons, along with smaller numbers of golden plover and ringed plover.

Crossrail are continuing their work as best they can now the ground conditions have become so wet. They have imported over 90% of the material they are bringing in and once you have crossed the footbridge, you can now see the work up close to the sea wall. Channels have been created to spread the incoming sea water across the area, and you can see lagoons which will stay wet even on a low tide and islands which the birds will be able to use for roosting and nesting.

Believe it or not at this time of year it is well worth a visit!

Solar Farms and Other Enviromental Applications

As the Echo has reported here, there’s an application in for a big solar “farm” in Canewdon

A MONSTER solar farm generating enough energy to power 4,125 homes could be built in Canewdon.

Under plans submitted to Rochford Council, farmers Paul and Mark Woodford would lease the 50-acre stretch of farmland between Fambridge Road and Canewdon Road to solar panel company Solar Assets.

The deal would be for 25 years, and the solar farm could be generating renewable energy for the area as early as April next year.

Canewdon Parish Council has already voted overwhelmingly to support the plans for approval ahead of them going before Rochford councillors in January.

The three-metre-tall panels would be positioned at an angle facing the River Crouch and would have a wildflower meadow around it, with sheep keeping the grass short….

You can find the application here on the council website here.

There is also an application for a ‘solar farm’ at Southend Airport – you can find that one here.

Meanwhile there are also two applications in connection with the creation of the wildlife reserve on Wallasea Island:

“Continuation of the importation of waste to develop a coastal nature reserve without compliance with condition 2 (compliance with submitted details) attached to permission ref ESS/09/14/ROC to allow modifications to the landform design within Cells 1 and 5, including a net reduction of suitable natural waste material in Cell 1 by approximately 450,000m3.”

and

“Continuation of the importation of waste to develop a coastal nature reserve without compliance with conditions 2 (compliance with submitted details); 39 (cessation of operations and restoration by 31 December 2019); and 40 (removal of construction in frastructure) attached to planning permission ref ESS/54/08/ROC to allow importation of suitable natural material and to require cessation of site operations and restoration by 31 Decmeber 2025, together with the inclusion of previously agreed non-material amendments to permission rf ES/54/08/ROC. Condition No 8. Noise monitoring.”

Looks like the Wallasea project is going to take 6 more years than expected…

The Capons’ Greatest Moments

 

Phil and Tracy Capon are husband and wife, and both are currently  Conservative Councillors on Rochford District Council. In fact Phil is the Chair of the Development Committee. Word reached us at the weekend that they had both been deselected by the Conservative Association – so they cannot stand as Conservatives when they both come up for election next May.

This is pretty dramatic by Rochford standards – councillors are very  seldom deselected against their wishes, except on the grounds of old age, which doesn’t apply here. Might it possibly be that they can’t manage to slavishly follow the party line? Here’s a  few things we have written -on onlineFOCUS over the years:

 

September 12th, 2014 |

An Admirable Attitude

Rochford Life has a short interview with Hawkwell Tory District Councillor Phil Capon. Phil is Chair of the Development Committee – the one that deals with planning applications. He makes some good points, for example:


I’ve always believed that if you are going to be on the Council you should be open to all views and be open to change. It’s what I don’t like about party politics where it tends to be go with the prevailing view rather than think through alternative possibilities that may be good from other parties.

July 27th, 2014 |

The Ones Who Signed – And The Ones Who Didn’t

These are the 20 Conservative Councillors who signed the motion to abolish ordinary councillors’ rights to call in a decision to full council:

Cllrs T G Cutmore; Mrs C E Roe;
K H Hudson; D Merrick; I H Ward; M R Carter; M J Steptoe; Mrs L A Butcher;
Mrs M H Spencer; Mrs G A Lucas-Gill; Mrs J E McPherson; M Maddocks;
C G Seagers; K J Gordon; S P Smith; Mrs A V Hale; Mrs C A Weston;
R R Dray; Mrs J A Mockford and B T Hazlewood:-

and these 7 are the ones who haven’t signed:

Phil Capon
Tracy Capon
Heather Glynn
John Griffin
Jack Lawmon
Dave Sperring
Barbara Wilkins

June 20th, 2009 |

A Very Important Principle

At the last meeting of the Standards Committee, there was an item on updating the Councillors Code of Conduct On Planning Matters.

You can find the full officers report here. Chris Black noticed that something quite startling was being suggested by officers:

Members should copy and pass on any lobbying material, such as correspondence or leaflets they receive, to the Head of Planning and Transportation.


This would have meant that if anyone wrote to a councillor about any planning issue, the councillor would have been required to pass a copy on to the Head of Planning – Shaun Scrutton – or otherwise face disciplinary action!

Chris strongly opposed this. One reason is that it would destroy any privacy between councillors and members of the public. (What would be next? Tapping councillors’ phones? ) The other is that it wasn’t practical. On a really contentious planning application, 20 people might write to each councillor. That means that Mr Scrutton would have to receive nearly 800 copies of letters!

Thankfully, other members of the committee supported Chris on this – in particular, Cllr Phil Capon. And the sentence was changed to something reasonable:


‘Members should consider whether it is appropriate to copy and pass on any lobbying material, such as correspondence or leaflets they receive, to the Head of Planning and Transportation’.

 

October 10th, 2006 |

“Vote for Parent and Child places? – We’ll throw you out of the Tory Group”

At tonight’s District Council Committee meeting we had the debate on whether to allow some Parent and Child bays in our Council Car Parks.

As we wrote a few days ago, the officers were recommending… doing nothing. Apparently there are some spaces that could be widened into Parent and Child spaces, but it would cost an estimated £500 per space (!) to adjust them, and then it might be a problem that they might be left empty when they could be occupied by non-parents.

However the item was up for debate by councillors. The committee has 9 Tories (2 of them didn’t turn up), 1 independent (who didn’t turn up) and 1 Lib Dem (Chris Black.) When the chairman of the committee, Tory Phil Capon , began speaking, it looked like we would get some spaces agreed:

“Since becoming a father my eyes have been opened to the many issues and problems that the parents and carers of children face. I can appreciate what my residents have been telling me for some time.

To return to your car and find you are unable to get your child back in his or her car seat due to the thoughtlessness of others is potentially dangerous and annoying.

I don’t advocate the loss of parking bays but merely that end bays should be designated ‘parent and child”

We continually hear that we must prevent the High Streets from dying and that ‘out of town’ shopping centres are luring people away. This is true – they appreciate the problems and offer suitable parking bays.

We can not only show our commttment to child safety but also that we support local businesses.”

Chris Black felt quite good at this point as he was on balance in favour of the idea and it looked like it was going to happen. BUT THEN – a sombre Cllr Capon continued to speak:

 

Sadly members, my dream is not to be. Due to the blinkered views of other members, who I can only assume care nothing for the wellbeing of children and who don’t want local shopping centres to survive, a wonderful chance is being lost.

The “whip” is on, I cannot vote against it otherwise I lose my right to represent ny residents. Morally , I cannot vote for the recommendation so I will abstain”

The situation became clear. Cllrs Phil and Tracy Capon had raised the item in the private Tory group meeting. They’d lost out in a vote to the Tory ‘dinosaurs’ . Then the Tory leadership had enforced a whip, so that if Phil Capon voted for Parent and Child parking bays, he’d be thrown out of the Tory group.

After Phil Capon spoke, there was an embarassed silence. Chris jumped in and proposed allowing some Parent and Child parking spaces but didn’t get a seconder. So Tory leader Terry Cutmore proposed having no Parent and Child Bays and Cllr Tony Humphries seconded that.

Chris then scornfully said that in his 20+ years on the council he’d never seen any political party impose a whip on such a small item. He was very disappointed with the Tory group’s behaviour.

The voting was:

No Parent and Child Bays : 5 Cllrs Terry Cutmore, Tony Humphries, John Pullen, Mavis Webster and David Merrick (all Tories)

Abtaining : 2 Cllrs Phil Capon and Colin Hungate (both Tories)

For Parent and Child Bays: 1 Cllr Chris Black (Lib Dem)

A big mistake by the Tory leadership tonight. If they’d let Phil Capon vote with his conscience, the issue would have been over in 5 minutes. But now it won’t be forgotten so quickly, and it shows them in a bad light.