mags2

The Picnic District 10 : Magnolia Park and Nature Reserve

The District Council website describes it as follows:

Magnolia Nature Reserve on the Ashingdon/Hawkwell border is a lovely area of habitat and can usually be found alive with bird life. One of the specialties that have been found most winters in good numbers is the increasingly rare Bullfinch.

This Nature Reserve is managed by Hawkwell Parish Council. The reserve was former brickworks and several signs of this trade are still apparent. The main element being the pond that was redeveloped in 1996 to which wildlife has gradually returned. A bridleway installed by Essex County Council gives access for horse riders through the reserve.

There are various pathways through the woods and some very long walks. For the bird watcher the best place to see birds in the woods is the area surrounding the public car park. Most of our woodland birds prefer some open spaces and the habitat in this area attracts most of the species to be seen in the woods.

There are no toilet facilities at Magnolia Nature Reserve.

There is a car park off of Rectory Road/Magnolia Road, Hawkwell by the railway bridge. It has a height restriction barrier and the gate is locked overnight.

There are pedestrian entrances into the nature reserve from Hogarth Way, Lincoln Road and from footpath 7 off of Rectory Avenue.

There's a car park at the entrance  , with an extensive mural by local young people.
There’s a car park at the entrance , with an extensive mural by local young people.
There is a play area for small children, equipment for  older children, and half a basketball court.
There is a play area for small children, equipment for older children, and half a basketball court.
Perhaps a Hawkwell or Ashingdon councillor could explain the significance of this wagon...
Perhaps a Hawkwell or Ashingdon councillor could explain the significance of this wagon…
There's plenty of room to run around - dogs seem to love it - and there's a picnic table...
There’s plenty of room to run around – dogs seem to love it – and there’s a picnic table…
Into the Nature Reserve...
Into the Nature Reserve…
Beware the deep water!
Beware the deep water!

90 main road hawkwell

Refuse, Pass Or Defer?

Apart from the Rawreth sports pitches, there were two other planning applications last Thursday  evening.

One was for a solar farm at Southend Airport, to help power the airport – this was passed. The other item was more contentious – an application to demolish some commercial buildings at 90 Main Road Hawkwell  and replace them with 37 houses.

In principle, the scheme had a lot going for it. It was a brownfield site,, which is the flavour of the month with everyone. Also the density — 34 per hectare – wasn’t particularly high. But there were plenty of concerns. None of the house types met the minimum government standards for interior space. (and our standards are about the lowest in Europe). Some of the gardens didn’t meet our policy standards, and some of the houses didnt meet RDC”s minimum 1 metre separation policy. (the root of these problems may be the irregular shape of the site). Also the scheme wasn’t financially viable  enough to allow affordable housing (something to bear in mind if we ever have an application at Rawreth Industrial Estate). Also Cllr Jamie Burton expressed grave concern about the  safety of the proposed pond/ drainage pool..

After a lot of discussion, nobody had moved anything, so after conferring with the ward councillors, John and Christine Mason,  Chris Black moved refusal. This got quite a bit of support  but was still defeated. Heather Glynn then moved approval – but only got only two votes in favour, including her own. Keith Hudson then moved deferral, and this was agreed. It gives time for a bit of negotiation and discussion.

Application For 37 Dwellings In Hawkwell

New planning application just in:

15/00075/FUL
Parish: Hawkwell Parish Council
Ward Hawkwell West
Responsibility:Committee /Weekly List
Proposal: Demolish Existing Buildings and redevelop to Provide 37 Dwellings With Associated Parking, Modified Site Access,
pumping station, open space and landscaping.
Location: 90 Main Road Hawkwell

Perhaps one of the Hawkwell Councillors could give us some context on this?

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.

“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.

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 Ł500 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.

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.

and

I’ve found over the years that sometimes there are councillors who think they are big but the truth is we’re no different to anyone else. The only difference is we’ll give up time to do it. Some people do it for personal gain; I do it for the residents’ gain, because that what we’re here for. My view is that you do what is best for the District, whatever political colour you may be.

Travellers In Hawkwell

Hawkwell Councillors John and Christine Mason have this evening posted on their facebook page:

TRAVELLERS – Just to let everyone know that Essex Police and Rochford District Council are aware that 8 Travellers Caravans (inc Campers) are visiting the Car Park at the rear of Clements Hall Leisure Centre nearest Hawkwell Park Drive, Hawkwell.

Planning Meeting Next Thursday – Sports Pitches In Rawreth, Flood Risk Questions In Hawkwell

Apart from the full Council meeting next Tuesday, there is also a meeting of the Development Committee next Thursday. Three of the items are:

1) Application by Academy Soccer for 8 sports pitches and other facilities in Old London Road Rawreth, next to the A130. This is recommended for approval by officers.
2) Application by David Wilson Homes for their 176- home development in Hawkwell to have a revised Flood Risk Assessment and revised mitigation measures.

To quote from the report:


3.2 Environment Agency:
The original strategy was to provide two discharge points to the north of the
site. Since the original submission, a more detailed survey of the river has
been undertaken and it is now known that the discharge points, as originally
proposed, will not function adequately. The revised proposals do not alter the
scheme from that originally agreed, other than to alter the point of discharge
from the site. The discharge rates, storage volumes and methods for storage
have not been altered. We therefore have no comments to add in that regard.
3.3 However, the proposal is to discharge all surface water to a smaller water
course, which runs along the eastern boundary of the site, rather than to the
water course to the north, as originally proposed. We would advise that this
water course should be checked for its capacity for carrying flows discharged
DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE – 27 February 2014 Item 5
5.5
from the site to ensure that this water course will not become overloaded and
increase flood risk to the surrounding areas. We recommend that you are
satisfied, through consultation with the developer, that there is capacity within
the water course to carry and store flows from the site, without compromising
the capacity of the system for flows that it may already receive from other
developed areas in the vicinity. We would recommend that the developer
demonstrates to you that there are no known capacity issues with this water
course that result in localised flood risk problems and that the additional flows
to this water course will not increase flood risk to the surrounding area, before
the condition is discharged.

3) Application by David Wilson Homes to waive one of the original planning conditions of their site, to allow 22 homes to be occupied before highways improvements have been completed.

Congratulations To Myra Weir BEM

myra

 

Congratulations to former Labour councillor Myra Weir for being awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours List. Myra is one of those people whose devotion to her community didn’t end after she stopped being  a district councillor.

 

As the Daily Telegraph reports:

Mrs Myra Anne Weir. For services to the Rochford Day Centre and to the community in Rochford and Hawkwell, Essex. (Hawkwell, Essex)

Myra was a Labour councillor for Hawkwell West until 2003, serving on the council alongside her husband, Jock.  They are both still  members of Hawkwell Parish Council.

 

 

Planning Concerns In Hawkwell

Over in Hawkwell Councillor John Mason is writing about what’s going on in his patch:

As District Councillors we expected that the detailed work with large scale planning applications would be carried out prior to Approval of the Planning Application.
Certainly our formal Pre-Application discussions with Officers and the developers indicated that.
Legal Agreements, formal traffic management agreements, hours of work, delivery routes, building materials etc., were all discussed before the Application was put to the Development Committee for a vote.
If an application is passed, as this one eventually was, then the Officers flesh out the Agreements and Conditions many of which should be in place before commencement of work.
We were concerned and perturbed to find that work commenced before these Agreements and Conditions were finalised and we are having to constantly re-negotiate these on behalf of residents with our Officers. In our view this should not have happened

This is something we will have to watch out for with future applications in Rayleigh, Rawreth and Hullbridge.