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


Bullwood Hall

The new drastically-reduced-in-size Development Committee meets tomorrow evening at 7:30 . You can find the details here.

The main application is in Bullwood Hall Lane, Hockley. It is an outline application for the demolition of the prison complex building, conversion of Bullwood Hall to residential use and residential development , to provide up to 60 dwellings. 35% are to be affordable housing.

There is a long officers report with plenty of objections from local residents. The scheme is recommended for approval – one of the conditions is that there is 35% affordable housing.


planning list

70 Hockley Homes, An Ashingdon Dementia Unit, 9 Rayleigh Flats And Some External Stairs

You can download this week’s list of new planning applications here.

Here are details of four of them:

70 new homes  in Folly Lane, Hockley:


Parish: Hockley Parish Council

Ward: Hockley West

Responsibility:Committee/Weekly List

Officer: Mrs Claire Buckley

Proposal: Erection of 70 Dwellings, Together With Improvements to Existing

Access, Pedestrian Access, Car Parking, Landscaping, Open

Space, and Related Works

Location: Pond Chase Nursery Folly Lane Hockley

Applicant: Charles Church

15-bedroom dementia unit in Ashingdon:


Parish: Ashingdon Parish Council

Ward: Ashingdon And Canewdon


Committee /Weekly List

Officer: Mr Mike Stranks

Proposal: Demolish Existing Outbuildings And Construct Single Storey

Extension To Create 15 Bedroom Dementia Unit

Location: Ashingdon Hall Church Road Ashingdon

Applicant: Mavis Wood Ltd

(there is also an application for listed building consent)

9 flats in Castle Road, Rayleigh:



Parish:Rayleigh Town Council


Responsibility:Committee/Weekly List

Officer: Ms Katie Rodgers

Proposal:Change of Use From Gymnasium/Beauty Salonn to 6 No 1- bed

and 1No. 2-bed Self-contained Flats to Ground and First Floors

and add Additional Floor With 2 No 1-bed Flats

Location: 5A Castle Road Rayleigh

Applicant: Land Investments Rayleigh Ltd

An amendment to add external stairs to an application by the big pond in Down Hall Road, Rayleigh ,

passed on appeal in 2007:


Parish: Rayleigh Town Council



Officer: Miss Elizabeth Thorogood

Proposal: Non-material Amendment Comprising Provision of External Stairs

to Approved Development of 7no Flats as Approved on 12th

October 2007 Under Application 07/00121/FUL

Location: 89 Down Hall Road Rayleigh

Applicant : IArch Consulting

Hockley Woods

Big Day In Hockley Woods Tomorrow!

From the District Council website:

Wild Woods Day

Wild Woods Day
Sponsored by Fusion Lifestyle
Saturday 30 May 2015
11am – 4pm
Hockley Woods

Plans are in full swing for our 12th annual Wild Woods Day on Saturday 30 May at Hockley Woods.

This year’s event is set to be the biggest yet with a host of new activities, experiences and entertainment in the planning. Visitors will have the chance to explore different zones including a Create & Play Zone, Green Zone, Active Zone and Wild Zone.

The activities on offer this year include:

Axe throwing
Climbing wallAxe throwing
Rope bridge building
Wild foods & foraging
Rare owls
‘Make and Take’ arts & crafts
Smoothie bike
Face painting
Under 5’s play area
And much more!

Entry is free to this family-friendly event which has a focus on ‘green’ themes including recycling, sustainability and protecting the local environment. An expanded pop-up market place will showcase local produce and upcycled and recycled products.

A dedicated food and picnic area will offer a hog roast, gourmet burgers and flatbreads, fresh Italian coffee and lots more.


Selected activities require a £2 ‘Wild Stamp’ which you can purchase on the day. Only one stamp is required per person and this is valid for a range of activities that can be accessed more than once throughout the event.

Tell Me More , Tell Me More!

hockley woods cinema


Having a few open air cinema evenings in our district sounds quite an exciting idea – at least in principle. Under its “Commercialisation” heading the District Council is allowing Essex Outdoor Cinema to hold events in Sweyne Park and Hockley Woods this year:

June 6th – Hockley Woods – Shakespeare in Love
June 7th Hockley Woods – Film TBC
August 15th – Sweyne Park, Rayleigh – Grease

The Sweyne Park event wasn’t discussed with the ward councillors nor with the Friends of Sweyne Park. We have asked for information about numbers of tickets (these are ticket-only events) and other issues like car parking, toilets, noise levels and specific location in the park. When we have the answers we’ll do an update. (We have also asked RDC to contact the Friends Group over this.)

We’ve received the following information today from RDC:

Essex Outdoor Cinema (EOC) is the organisation producing the event. They will supply all infrastructure including stewards, security, fencing, First Aid, litter picking, toilets, and temporary exit lighting. The event is produced at no cost to the Council except some Officer time to assist with joint promotion and providing advice around health and safety and event management. Risk Assessments and Event Management plans have been received from EOC and will be presented at a Safety Advisory Group.

Working with Essex Outdoor Cinema on the promotion of the event is important as the arrangement is that Box Office income is shared equally between the organisation and the Council.
This event has come about through an initiative at the Council for employees to come up with ideas that might generate income and further corporate priorities – in this case increasing use of open spaces through public events….

…. A Temporary Event Notice (TEN) for Sweyne Park would allow a maximum of 499 audience members. The same numbers would be permitted under a TEN at Hockley Woods, but in conjunction with EOC, RDC officers have agreed that 300 should be the maximum given that the event ‘arena’ (the clearing) and parking is reduced in size compared to Sweyne Park.


Sweyne Park Location: Area near the lake. The mobile cinema screen will back on to the lake with audience on the hill. The screen will be roped or fenced off.

Parking: Rayleigh Leisure Centre

Weather: The events will go ahead in all conditions except where high winds might be a safety risk (e.g. cinema screen falling)

Gates open 7pm

Showing 8.45pm to 10.45pm

Site completely clear by 11.30pm

Noise : “Average outdoor screenings produce around 75dbs of sound. We have designed the sound equipment so that a) it doesn’t need to run at excessive volumes – the quality is such that we can achieve great sound without turning it up to levels that would disturb local Residents and b) it is angled to minimize the sound dispersion – the way the speakers
are set up contains the sound without much spread. Sound levels can be monitored throughout the event and we are able adjust the mix as the film plays to ensure we get the balance right.”

Any Thoughts?

The Picnic District 2 – Hockley Woods

Hockley Woods are surely our district’s greatest natural treasure – the biggest remnant of the ancient woods that once covered Essex. There’s more information on the Council website here. And if you are seriously interested in the woods, you can buy Oliver Rackham’s Book “The Ancient Woodlands of England:The Woods Of South East Essex” from the Council.

There are some picnic benches near the entrance, next to the play space. It takes about an hour to walk round. The light can be rather special – sunlight dappled by the trees. Most of the time all you will hear is birdsong. But you’ll probably see small children in Wellies doggedly exploring the woods with their parents and also encounter happy dogs wagging their tails and getting muddy. First-time visitors may be startled by the coppicing – but a notice explains that this is a traditional part of the management of the woods.

There wasn’t much litter to be seen, largely because some regular visitors pick it up and remove it. But the question of litter in woods is something we are going to write about soon…






An Uneasy Committee Meeting!

Last week’s Development Committee wasn’t as dramatic as the meeting last month, where the “North of London Road” application was refused. In fact at one stage it was very dull. But there were a lot of twists and turns, and a bit of bad feeling. Cllr Toby Mountain writes a report on it here.

In brief:
Tesco Car Parking application – approved
Tiny cafe in Hockley Woods – refused (even though it was an application by the council!)
Conversion of an outbuilding in Rayleigh Town Centre into a house – approved
Retrospective application to remove mechanical wheel cleansing equipment from the big site in Hawkwell – refused.

4 Planning Applications

The agenda is out for next Thursday’s Development Control meeting.

You can find it here.

There are four applications shown, all 4 are recommended for approval.

1. For five extra parking spaces outside Tesco in London Road, Rayleigh
2. An application from the District Council itself for a very small cafe facility at Hockley Woods.
3. Conversion of an outbuilding at 4 Rayleigh High Street into a one-bedroomed dwelling.
4. Amending the planning condition regarding mechanical wheel-cleaning of lorries at the large David Wilson Homes housing development in Hawkwell.

A Stinker Of An Error



From the District Council website:

Important Information for Hockley residents

The latest edition of the Hockley Parish Newsletter contains an error relating to the disposal of dog waste. Dog waste can ONLY be disposed of in dog/litter bins or the purple lidded non-recyclables bin; Not the green compostables bin


Lost Walks Of Rochford

Paglesham -lookingouttoWallaseaIsland


From the District Council website


Help us rediscover lost walks and hidden heritage in rural and coastal Rochford District.

Join us on foot or online and help reveal the stories of Rochford’s changing landscape through a series of public walks.

Walk 1: Barling – Wakering
Wednesday 9 July 2014
10am to 2pm
Meet at All Saints Church, Church Road, Barling
Ends at St Nicholas Church, 2 New Road, Great Wakering

Walk 2: Hullbridge – Hockley – Hullbridge
Wednesday 9 July 2014
4pm to 8pm
Walk starts and ends at the Anchor Riverside Pub, Ferry Road, Hullbridge
Free Public Car Park next to the Anchor Inn

Walk 3: Ashingdon – South Fambridge – Canewdon
Thursday 10 July 2014
10am to 2pm
Meet by Ashingdon Primary Academy, Fambridge Road, Ashingdon
Ends at St Nicholas Church, High Street, Canewdon

Walk 4: Canewdon – Wallasea Island – Paglesham East End
Thursday 10 July 2014
4pm to 8pm
Starts at St Nicholas Church, High Street, Canewdon
Ends at The Plough and Sail Public House, East End, Paglesham

Please further information please phone 01702 318171or email

Share your stories and photos of rural and coastal Rochford on the Facebook page in related links

Follow the walks on Twitter @RochfordWalks

Lost Walks of Rochford is led by artists Ali Pretty and Richard White, working with Rochford District Council Arts Development. Ali and Richard regularly collaborate on creative walking projects described as ‘feet on the ground and digitally connected’. Their walks through Rochford District will be documented and archived using social media, mapping and tracking technology.


A Huge Fishing Lake, A Bungalow Next To An Electricity Sub-Station, Demolishing The London Road Filling Station, And Much More

We don’t normally write about so many planning applications.  But in the latest ‘weekly list’ of planning applications, there’s a wide range of items … including a fishing lake in Hockley, a bungalow on the Corner of Preston Gardens and Hambro Avenue in Rayleigh, and the demolition of the filling station in London Road Rayleigh.

You can download the list here. (193kb)

Unless any councillor calls it in, the officers recommendation comes into effect at 1 pm Wednesday.

Anyway, here are the items. For full information , download them via the link.


This is a 0.6 hectare lake for fishing, recommended for approval.

app2This is recommended for refusal, the reason being:

“The proposal would result in a cramped form of backland/infill development which would appear out of character in the street and amount to overdevelopment of the site. “


The report then lists the factors that indicate it is overdevelopment:

“The lack of a satisfactory parking arrangement which would allow all vehicles to satisfactorily manoeuvre within the site, the awkward rear garden arrangement and relationship between the proposed and existing property which would give rise to issues of privacy and the north facing garden which would be subject to overshadowing by the existing large tree, suggests that the proposal cannot be comfortably accommodated within the site and that the proposal amounts to overdevelopment.”

app3This is recommended for approval.


This is recommended for refusal, because if this land was no longer highways land it could prevent any future junction improvements:

“The proposed change of use will result in the loss of highway land and would be contrary to Policies T1 and T2 of Rochford District Councils Core Strategy to the detriment of future capacity improvements at this junction with Rawreth Lane and Chelmsford Road.”


This is another one recommended for refusal, for two reasons – over-development and undersized garden:


1 The proposal would fail to provide an adequate side isolation space between the resultant external side wall of the building and the site boundary. The proposal would immediately abut the highway resulting in the loss of space about the building and at two storey would significantly reduce the spaciousness about the junction. The lack of space would prove detrimental to the street scene resulting in a cramped appearance, harmful to visual amenity and uncharacteristic of the locality and representing overdevelopment ….

2. The proposal would fail to provide sufficient private amenity space for the existing dwelling and the proposed dwelling and would not be in accordance with the Local Planning Authority’s adopted standards, of which each garden should have a minimum of 50 square metres…


A previous application was refused, this one is recommended for approval because of the changes that have been made.

app7This is recommended for approval.