civic suite

A Couple Of Close Votes

At the Development Committee tonight, both applications were passed 7-5.

The Folly Lane, Hockley , application was particularly contentious, as the Core Strategy indicated 50 dwellings for the site but 75 were proposed. Approval was moved by Heather Glynn, seconded ny Terry Cutmore and passed 7-5. The 5 who voted against were Christine Mason, John Mason, Chris Black , John Hayter and Mike Carter.

The London Hill, Rayleigh, application for three 5-bedroomed houses prompted a finely-balanced debate. It just about met with our policies, although the council’s conservation adviser recommended refusal on grounds of bulk and scale, and it was borderline on the car parking policy. Chris Black moved refusal on grounds of bulk, the motion was seconded by Heather Glynn but failed 7-5. Christine Mason, John Mason and Johhn Hayter also voted for refusal

golf course plan

Rawreth Golf Course Appeal DISMISSED – Christine Paine’s Final Triumph?

We are very pleased to report an important success regarding a planning appeal in Rawreth.

Back in December 2014 the District Council had to decide on an application for a 9 hole golf course near the Chichester in Rawreth. Nothing wrong with that, you might think, and the application was recommended for approval. However Ron Oatham and Chris Black were NOT happy with this one, not because we dislike golf but because of the direct impact on neighbours and the huge amount of material being brought on site to alter the landcape. As we reported on onlineFOCUS:

The Golf Course application near the Chichester in Rawreth was refused tonight. Parish Council Chairman Alistir Matthews began by setting out the parish councils objections. Chris Black and Ron Oatham then moved refusal on the grounds of:
loss of residential amenity during the construction period ( hundreds of thousands of tons of earth being moved there over 2 1/2 years)
loss of residential amenity when completed (one example was the position of the 9th hole an d the 9th green)
flood risk concerns during the construction period
flood risk concerns when completed
position of the access onto the A129, especially during the construction period

Councillors seemed particularly concerned about the vast quantity of material proposed to be brought to the site, some expressing the view that the application was all about making money from waste, rather than creating a golf course. In the debate we got particular support from John Mason and Michael Hoy, but when it came a vote we got support from nearly everyone , including Toby Mountain, Conservatives and UKIP.

We were really concerned about the vast amount of material involved. There were indications that there would be (40 lorries per day) x (20 tonnes) x (5 days) x (52 weeks) x (2 years) = 572 000 tonnes. Even at 20 lorries per day that would have been 288 000 tonnes. It isn’t often you get a “Sherlock Holmes” moment in a council meeting , but we noticed on the night that the layout plan was labelled JKS Golf Course, JKS being the haulage contractors. This was indicative that JKS were the driving force here.

The applicants went went to appeal, and we wrote to the planning inspectorate to reinforce our objections and also to endorse a very good letter written at that time by the now late Christine Paine, who lived nearby and wrote as a resident rather than as a councillor.

We’ve just heard that the planning inspector has rejected the appeal. So the application stays REFUSED. However the inspector didn’t seem to be bothered about traffic , or flooding – just on the openness of the Green Belt:

golf decision

We will be studying the appeal decision to see what implications it has for other sites.

houses2

Work On The Rochford 600 About To Start

From the Echo tonight:


WORK is finally set to start on a mini-town of 600 new homes and a new primary school in Rochford.

Building work on the new homes planned for fields off Hall Road, Rochford, will begin later this month, years after the initial planning application was put in to Rochford District Council.

The council confirmed the work would begin by January 17 at the latest.

Full report here.

We wrote about the application here back in January 2012.

south fambridge

Council Wins Ferry Appeal But Has To Pay Costs For “Unreasonable Behaviour” – Blames It On “Re-organisation and Restructuring”

Back in September last year, someone applied for planning permission in South Fambridge for “reinstatement of ferry crossing, together with ancillary car parking”. Basically the people involved wanted to operate a boat service between South Fambridge and North Fambridge, carrying a maximum of 12 passengers. This also included providing a grasscrete hardstanding large enough for 40 vehicles, a perimeter fence, and low -level lighting.

This was refused – on the grounds that the applicant hadn’t arrangedsuitable wildlife/ endangered species surveys, so there was a lack ofinformation about the likely impact of the application. The applicant appealed to a government inspector – and has recently lost that appeal . The inspector thinks the refusal was correct and wrote:

Overall Conclusion
14. In regarding the purpose of conserving biodiversity, whilst there may not be significant adverse impacts on the designated sites, this does not overcome the substantial lack of information in terms of protected species on, or near to, the site which may be affected by the proposal. For the reasons given above, I therefore conclude that the appeal should be dismissed.

However , that’s not the end of the story. The applicant also appealed for costs against the council. Now, even though an applicant has lost an appeal he or she can still be granted costs – if the inspector thinks the council has acted unreasonably. In this case the inspector has decided to award costs against the council because he thinks the council has taken an unreasonably long time dealing with the application. The inspector writes:

The facts are that the application was submitted to the Council in September 2014, with a target date of 19 November 2014. The applicant was advised it would go to committee in December 2014. It did not, owing to internal changes and demands at the Council. On 13 May 2015, well after either target date, the proposal was recommended for refusal, with a decision issued on 21 May 2015. Even though the appeal site is within or close to a European designated site (known as Natura 2000), the Crouch and Roach Estuaries Special Protection Area (SPA) which is also listed as a Ramsar site, the Crouch and Roach Estuaries Special Areas of Conservation, and the Crouch and Roach Estuaries Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) Natural England were not consulted until 18 May 2015, and a response given after the application was determined. All told, about five months separate the December 2014 committee date and the determination of the application, with little evidence that the Council sought to keep the applicant informed of its progress….

….Had this been communicated earlier to the applicant they could have undertaken the surveys during Spring 2015, and this could reasonably have meant that either appeal could have been avoided altogether, or identified for certain whether the scheme was acceptable on local biodiversity grounds. The failure by the Council to convey these concerns in a timely manner, and five months seems to be extraordinarily long time for comments received in October 2014 to be actioned, is unreasonable and has resulted in wasted and unnecessary costs for the appellant in submitting an appeal which may reasonably have been avoided by undertaking surveys in Spring 2015…

….IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Rochford District Council shall pay to Mr D Adams, the costs of the appeal proceedings described in the heading of this decision.

You can download the inspectors appeal decision and costs decision here.

In its defence the council seems to have talked about “re-organisation and restructuring to meet the challenge of reduced resources”

This gives the approximate location.

Another London Road Planning Application !

There’s another planning application on London Road, just over the parish boundary into Rawreth:

The location is “Land Adjacent Grange Villa , London Road, Rayleigh, Essex, SS6 9DR” The application is to provide “Residential Development Of 21 Flats And 26 Houses ( 47 Dwellings In Total)”.
It is a full application – not an outline. It is additional to the Countryside Scheme and the Timber Grove application.
You can find it on the District Council website here and then typing in the reference 15/00736/FUL

We are still of course studying this. Ron Oatham has asked for a site visit for councillors.

woodville

No Recommendation Yet On Traveller Application….

We wrote a while back about an application for on traveller pitch

Application 15/00448/FUL
Location: Land South Of Woodville, Hullbridge Road, Rayleigh, Essex,
Mixed Use of Land For The Stationing of Caravans For Residential Purposes and Keeping of Horses Together With the Formation of Hardstanding and Utility/Dayroom

If anyone is wondering, this application is still being considered by officers. We will let you know when we have some news. There’s no cause for alarm because of a bit of a delay…

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?