From the BBC website:
Average house prices have risen in just two local authority areas since the UK’s property boom peaked in 2007, research suggests.
According to the Halifax bank, the only two areas to increase were Rochford in Essex and South Lakeland in Cumbria.
Even in the areas that saw an increase, the rises were “marginal” according to the report – 1% in Rochford and 0.1% South Lakeland.
House price changes
* Rochford +1% (average £231,595)
* South Lakeland +0.1% (£212,457)
* Islington -1% (£470,206)
* Hart -1% (£326,555)
* Spelthorne -2% (278,216)
* Worthing -3% (£216,435)
* Ceredigion -3% (£177,968)
* Windsor and Maidenhead -3% (£396,826)
* Hillingdon -3% (£272,699)
* Derbyshire Dales -4% (£249,189)
* Brent -4% (£335,574)
Source: Halifax, 2007-2011
The outline application for 600 homes north of Hall Road, Rochford, was passed tonight.
A more detailed report tomorrow….
Ever wondered how the District Council allocates social housing to people?
There’s a new policy arrangement proposed here – unles it’s ‘called in’ in the next few days, it will come into effect.
Here’s some lengthy extracts:
The draft Housing Allocation Policy has been out to consultation with
Registered Social Landlords, and from the feedback received, minor
amendments have been incorporated into the final document.
The Council’s current Housing Allocation Policy requires updating and it is
now considered to be an opportune time for this to be carried out, as the
Council is also about to due to implement the new Choice Based Lettings
scheme in June 2011 and the two schemes / policies are intrinsically linked.
The current Allocation Policy is based on applicants to the Council’s Housing
Register being awarded various amounts of points, in relation to meeting a
range of criteria such as local connection, residency, medical needs, numbers
in household, inadequacy of present accommodation, time on register etc.
The new Allocation Policy will be much simpler and more transparent, whilst
aiming to give applicants an element of choice as to where they live. Once an
applicant has completed the appropriate application form, if they are eligible,
they will be placed in one of the five bands, A – E, according to their housing
need and connection with the district, as detailed in Appendix A.
The Council does not own any housing stock. All social housing in the district is owned and managed by housing associations, and the Council has agreements with many of these, enabling it to nominate prospective tenants to vacancies that arise.
There are relatively low levels of social housing in the district and although the Council is continually working with housing associations to provide more accommodation, only a limited number of vacancies arise each year. Priority is therefore given to those applicants with the highest need, who have a local connection with the Rochford District and who do not have the financial resources to meet their housing costs. Consequently many applicants will have no realistic prospect of being nominated in the foreseeable future.
The majority of applicants will be placed in one of 5 bands, A to E, according to their housing need and their connection with the district. A limited number of these applicants will then be invited to ‘bid’ (express an interest) in a property when it becomes vacant. Nominees will be selected from those who bid. Because of the low number of vacancies, bids are only likely to be invited from applicants in bands A, B or C.
Applications will be placed in one of five bands from A to E, according to housing need and local connection. Within each band the active date will be the determining factor.
Band A (Urgent priority)
• Applicants owed a duty by the Council under section 193(2) of the Housing Act 1996 (or section 65(2) or 68(2) of the Housing Act 1985).
• Applicants occupying insanitary housing or otherwise living in unsatisfactory housing conditions where repairs/improvements are unlikely to be completed in a reasonable period of time.
• Applicants living in accommodation that is statutorily overcrowded. Care leavers/move on
Applicants leaving care provided by a Local Authority under the Children Acts (or other statutory duty).
Applicants ready to move on from schemes the Council had referred them to or where the Council would have a housing duty on leaving.
Medical or Welfare
• Applicants awarded an A grade.
• Applicants suffering persistent harassment, violence or abuse.
Band B (High priority)
• Applicants who are owed a duty under section 195 (2) of the 1996 Act (priority need and not threatened with homelessness intentionally).
• Applicants awarded a B grade.
Need to move
• Applicants who need to move to a particular locality in the district where failure to meet that need would cause hardship to themselves or others.
Band C (Moderate priority)
• Applicants who are homeless (within the meaning of Part 7 of the 1996 Act) including people who are owed a duty by the Council under
section 190(2) (intentional homelessness), or occupying
accommodation secured by the Council under section 192(3) (no
priority need but not intentionally homeless).
• Applicants awarded a C grade. Environmental
Applicants lacking 1 or more bedrooms (non –statutory overcrowding).
Applicants occupying insanitary housing or otherwise living in unsatisfactory housing conditions where repairs/improvements are likely to be completed in a reasonable period of time.
• Applicants sharing facilities with persons other than the applicant’s household.
Band D (low priority)
• Applicants with a housing need but no local connection.
Band E (no priority)
Applicants with no housing need.
Applicants who have sufficient financial resources to resolve their housing situation.
Existing social tenants living in the district who do not have any housing need but wish to either down-size or move to another part of the district will be placed on a separate list, providing the Council has nomination rights to the resulting vacancy in the event of a move. Applications will be placed in the following order of priority.
1) number of bedrooms given up;
2) moving from general needs housing to older persons housing or sheltered accommodation;
3) moving to a similar size property.
Where applicants have equal priority, the active date will be the determining factor.
Existing social tenants with a housing need will be placed in one of the five bands referred to above.
Green party Councillor Michael Hoy has made a definite impact in his first 12 months. So we were pleased to see him volunteer to join the board of the Rochford Housing Association.
He’ll be very useful in that role. And credit to the Conservatives for letting him go on the board.
We were asked last week about the front of the Asda site in Rawreth Lane Rayleigh. We have had the following update from an officer at the District Council:
“The recent signage announcing the new development relates to the mixed use building comprising three commercial units at ground floor with 23 affordable flats that was granted permission at the meeting of 25th February 2010 under application reference 10/00021/FUL. It is the scheme that incorporates a roof garden but with the more domestic design that members considered better.”
We understand that the partners Sanctuary are keen to show their involvement. The development is due to commence shortly so the signage has gone up…
When the scheme was passed last year we wrote on onlinefocus:
The latest application was for 3 commercial units and 23 affordable flats in a more traditional, attractive design that we thought fitted in much better with Rawreth Lane. They provided extra garden space by having roof gardens.
Ron and Chris had the chance to meet with Coral and a council officer soon after the application went in, to get a better understanding of the scheme and suggest some improvements. For example:
# There is a condition that ‘no amplified speech or music shall be broadcast on the open areas of the site.
# There is an extra planting area / barrier at the northern end of the roof garden to prevent easy overlooking onto Rawreth Lane.
# The height of the stairwells on the roof has been reduced.
# There is a condition to prevent the three small commercial units from being converted into one big takeaway
Under the planning rules, Chris and Ron couldn’t confer in advance of the meeting. But we came to similar conclusions:
# disappointment that we haven’t got a building of more benefit to the general community
# a feeling that the latest building was more attractive to look at and offered a better quality of life for those living there
# some uncertainty as how the roof gardens will work out in practice
# a feeling that this was the best we could get here!
… a new press release from the Rochford Housing Association:
A family from Rayleigh, Essex, is celebrating the festive season in a newly-renovated home thanks to Rochford Housing Association.
Thanks to the association’s aids and adaptations scheme, the Holyland family home has benefitted from a new, purpose-built extension. This will enable the family to provide the best possible care for their wheelchair-bound son, Harrison, who suffers from a rare degenerative condition, Emanuel Syndrome.
The work included an extension to the side and rear of the property to accommodate a ground-floor bedroom and wet room for Harrison. The home’s kitchen and family room were also improved, with ramps and widened door frames added to allow easy access for Harrison’s wheelchair.
Improvements began in June and were completed in October so that the Holylands could move back into their new home in time for Christmas.
Mum, Miss Tracy Holyland, said: “Our new extension has made life for all of us much easier. We now don’t have to carry Harrison up and down the stairs and we have the space to spend time together as a family and offer him more independence.”
As you may know, the environmental and property business Connaught has gone into liquidation.
This has an impact on the Rochford Housing Association because of Connaught’s social housing division’s involvement in maintainance and home improvement.
We’ve checked with the District Council, who tell us that there were 20 homes in Rayleigh currently undergoing works. These works have temporarily been halted, but the RHA have visited each of the homes, spoken to the tenants and are arranaging for the works to be finished.
We understand that any future planned works, in other homes, as part of the overall Rochford Standard Programme, will still be delivered.
These are the latest figures:
Total empty homes 1097
Of those, empty over 6 months 639
(Of the total 37 are second homes)
The Echo’s John Geoghegan has a good report on the last Meeting of the District Council Review Committe, chaired by Lib Dem June Lumley.:
A HOUSING provider has built no new affordable homes in Rochford district despite promising to build 50 a year since 2007.
Members of Rochford District Council’s review committee heard the revelations at a meeting on Tuesday evening.
Councillors expressed their disappointment at members of Rochford Housing Association, part of national housing provider the Sanctuary Group, for failing to meet their promised targets for affordable housing.
The full report is here.
As June says:
‘the promise to deliver 50 homes a year was a key factor in the council choosing the association to take over its housing stock.’
The application for 24 flats and three commercial units in front of Asda is on the agenda for the Committee meeting on October 20th.
The application number is 09/00494/FUL and you can download the officer’s report here.
It’s a long report – 16 pages – and if you live near the site and are interested, it’s worthwhile you downloading it for a proper read.
You can also look at the application online here.
But here are some of the key bits of the report.
CONSTRUCT THREE STOREY MIXED USE BUILDING COMPRISING THREE COMMERCIAL UNITS (USE CLASSES A1, A2, A3, A5, D1 AND B1 (a) AND TWENTY FOUR AFFORDABLE RESIDENTIAL UNITS ASDA, PRIORY CHASE, RAYLEIGH
PROJECT CORAL (RAYLEIGH) LTD
1.4 The proposal is to construct a three storey rectangular plan building containing three 93 square metre commercial units at ground floor to the southern end adjoining the site car park entrance and to the remainder of the ground, first and second floors provide 6 No. one-bedroomed and 18 No. two-bedroomed flats.
The appearance of the building results from a fresh look at the setting of the site to which the previously approved developments sought to complement the existing residential development. The current proposal acknowledges more the commercial aspects of the site and that the resultant building would have a public frontage to all sides. The current proposal follows a more contemporary design approach.
The roof design shows an alternately sloping roof over the four elements of the building with zinc cladding.
The building would have an overall height of 11.7m lowering to 10.65m to the northern element closer to Rawreth Lane.
The building would have a frontage of 51.8m onto Priory Chase and depth for 13.4m beyond which would project balconies.
The layout of the site would provide 33 No. car parking spaces, including two disabled spaces. These spaces would be accessed over the adjoining supermarket car park.
The northern part of the building would be contained by a modest sized front garden area, whilst the southern part would be contained by paving to all three sides.
Essex County Council Schools, Children and Families Directorate Advise that, according to forecasts, there should be sufficient primary and secondary places at a local school serving this development.
Advise that the latest Childcare Sufficiency Assessment shows that there are no available pre-school places in the locality and the development will add to that need.
Therefore estimate that the development will result in the need for a contribution of £11, 095 towards early years and childcare provision and therefore request a developer contribution of this sum prior to the commencement of the development.
Housing Strategy Officer The strategic housing department is fully supportive of this proposed development of 24 No. one and two-bedroomed affordable homes. The Council has over 700 applicants on its housing register, which is continually increasing with the main areas of demand in the district being Rayleigh and Rochford. Rayleigh has the highest demand of all.
The Thames Gateway South Essex Strategic Housing Market Assessment 2008 indicated that the district has an additional net 131 homes to be provided per annum. Over the past twelve months the Council has struggled to provide half this figure for social rented homes (1 and 2 bedroom need), which is met by nominations to RSL properties, therefore demonstrating that the need is greater than the supply of affordable homes in the district.
One Letter has been received in response to the public notification and which in the main makes the following comments and objections:-
o Object very strongly to the three shop units as a hot food takeaway will cause further anti–social problems for residents in Priory Chase and Temple Way.
o There are existing problems with youths and their vehicles congregating in the Asda area, underage alcohol abuse in Sweyne Park and vandalism from late night users of the leisure centre skate park and Sweyne Park. The new football pitches will add to this problem.
o Area already excessively over-developed.
o Object to the takeaway being in close proximity to the primary school, encouraging unhealthy eating habits and further anti-social behaviour in young children.
o No objection to the flats in principle but concerned that the design is not in keeping with existing flats opposite.
o Concerned that there is inadequate parking and aesthetic bin store provision.
o Concerned that visitors to the shops will park dangerously near the junction of Rawreth Lane with Priory Chase.
o Concerned about loss of trees to the frontage with Rawreth Lane.
Advice contained within paragraph 47 to PPS3: Housing (November 2006) although setting a minimum density of 30 dwellings per hectare, no longer sets an upper limit, but amongst other things requires account to be taken of the characteristics of the area.
The site has an area of 0.21ha and, as well as the three commercial units proposed, would equate to a density for the 24 flats proposed of 114 dwellings per hectare.
In comparison the adjoining area for key worker flats and adjoining housing shows a typical sample area of 1ha to equate to a density of 47 units per hectare. However, the key worker flats opposite the site have a density of 144 units per hectare.
1.71 Whilst the density of the residential element of this proposal is high it compares in character to the flatted development recently constructed opposite the site. Apart from the failure in provision of amenity space considered below, there is no other conflict with the proposal in density terms.
Detailed Space Standards
The Council’s standards would normally require the provision of some 600 square metres of amenity space.
Council guidance allows for exceptions to be made where the site is adjacent to an area of substantial well landscaped and properly maintained public open space. Sweyne Park informal open space is near to the site as well as Rayleigh leisure centre and both a short walk from the site without having to cross a main road.
The layout of the site makes provision for refuse bin storage and cycle storage within the building.
As originally submitted, a small area of amenity space was provided at ground floor and enclosed by a 1.8m high enclosure. Provision in this way has the criticism that upper floor residents find difficulty in making use of this space because it tends to be dominated by ground floor flat occupiers and is less private for communal use. The County Council Urban Designer also expressed concern at the effect of such enclosure upon the public view of the building.
The layout has consequently been revised to lower the enclosure to achieve a front garden setting to the northern end of the building and enclosing a space of some 233 square metres in area within which there are proposed private balcony areas of some 26 square metres.
The Council’s adopted Supplementary Planning Document indicates that flats should have a minimum balcony area of 5 square metres with the ground floor flats having a minimum of 50 square metres patio garden or at least 25 square metres communal garden area per flat. In this case, the design includes private balconies of between 5 and 6.9 square metres. This, together with the enclosed garden space and the availability of a substantial area of public open space a short walk from the site, is considered to provide an acceptable provision of amenity space for the proposed development.
The proposal would provide for windows and balconies to first and second floors overlooking the public areas of Priory Chase and Rawreth Lane as well as the car park to the rear of the site. No overlooking of adjoining private areas to residential neighbouring properties would arise from this development.
The current application would provide 33 car parking spaces including two disabled spaces. This equates to 1.3 spaces per flat or 1 space per flat and 9 visitor spaces. This is slightly below the requirements set out in new parking standards recently adopted by Essex County Council, which would require a total of 42 spaces.
However, officers consider that this level of provision is acceptable to serve the development, given that the flats will be managed by a housing association and there is no objection raised by the County Highway Authority to the proposal on highway grounds.
The current application would normally require the provision of at least nine affordable units. The applicants are, however, offering all twenty four units as affordable housing.
Accompanying the application is a letter from Sanctuary Hereward Housing Association, which confirms that the association has been working in partnership with the applicants and sought grant funding for the development proposed. The association advises that it is in the final stages of agreeing legal documentation and hopes to sign shortly.
The matter therefore only requires a legal agreement or Unilateral Undertaking securing the affordable commitment to be completed prior to the issue of the decision notice should Members be minded to approve the application.
1.94 It is recommended that the Committee resolves to APPROVE the application, subject to the applicants providing an agreement or Unilateral Undertaking to provide affordable housing and to provide an education contribution for £11,095 towards early years childcare provision and to the following conditions:-
1 SC4B – Standard Time Limit
2 No development shall commence before details, including samples of all external facing and roofing materials (including windows and doors) to be used in the development, have been submitted to and agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Such materials as may be agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority shall be those used in the development hereby permitted.
3 No more than one of the permitted units shall fall within Use Class A3 or A5, as set out in the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended) at any one time, without the prior written approval of the Local Planning Authority.
4 Prior to the commencement of any use within use class A3 or A5 to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended) details of a mechanical extraction system to be provided to the kitchen area, together with details of all fume extraction and ventilation equipment, shall be submitted to the Local Planning Authority. The development shall be implemented in accordance with such details as may be agreed by the Local Planning Authority and shall be fully implemented and installed prior to the commencement of any use within Use Class A3 or A5 to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended) hereby permitted and shall be maintained in the approved form while the premises are in use for the permitted purpose.
5 No security shutters or grilles shall be erected to the outside exterior of the building hereby approved.
6 The development hereby permitted shall only accept deliveries of goods to be sold between the hours of 0700 hours and 2300 hours from Monday to Saturday inclusive and at no time on Sundays.
7 The use of the development hereby permitted shall only be open to the public between the hours of 0700 hours and 2300hours on any day.
8 Prior to the beneficial use of the development commencing there shall be provided 1.5m x 1.5m pedestrian visibility splays to both sides of the vehicular access at the rear of the highway boundary.
9 Prior to the commencement of works on the site the applicant shall indicate in writing to the Local Planning Authority an area within the curtailage of the site for the parking of operatives’ vehicles and the reception and storage of materials clear of the highway.
10 Prior to the commencement of works on the site the applicant shall indicate in writing to the Local Planning Authority the means by which the wheels of construction vehicles leaving the site shall be cleansed.
11 Prior to the beneficial use of the development commencing the car parking area indicated on the submitted plans, including any parking spaces for the mobility impaired, shall be hard surfaced, sealed and marked out in parking bays. The car park shall be retained in this form at all times. The car park shall not be used for any other purpose other than the parking of vehicles that are related to the use of the development.
12 Prior to the first occupation of the development the applicant shall implement a transport information and marketing scheme for sustainable transport for the residential element of the development hereby permitted, in accordance with details to be approved by Essex County Council and to include vouchers for 12 months free bus travel within the applicable zone (covering the relevant zone, as set out by the local operator and Essex County Council) for each eligible member of every residential household, valid for exchange during the first 6 months following occupation of the individual flats. Details of the take up of the vouchers shall be provided to Essex County Council’s Travel Plan Team on a 6 monthly basis, as indicated in Policy F32 Essex Road Passenger Transport Strategy 2006–2011.
13 Prior to the commencement of the development a scheme for the provision and implementation of water resource efficiency shall be submitted to and agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority. The works/scheme shall be constructed and completed in accordance with the approved plans / specification before occupancy of any part of the proposed development.
14 Prior to the commencement of the development a scheme for the provision and implementation of energy and resource efficiency, during the construction and operational phases of the development, shall be submitted to and agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority. The works/scheme shall be constructed and completed in accordance with the approved plans / specification at such time(s) as may be specified in the approved scheme.
Obviously we will be considering this very carefully in advance of the meeting. There are a few points we want clarifying, such as:
It’s also worth noting that the proposed condition 3 means that only one of the units could be used as a takeaway of restaurant.
We look forward to hearing comments from local residents.
We are Liberal Democrat councillors and campaigners in Rochford District.
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If you want information on a particular planning application, you can find it on the District Council website here.
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