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Archive for 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.

Hawkwell Update – An Issue About Reporting Environmental Problems.

The “Rochford Independent” website, edited by Councillor John Mason, has had some technical problems lately but is back in action now.

They have an update on the current big development in Hawkwell:


We have been concerned by a suggestion from Rochford District Council that problems and complaints on Environmental Health could be directed by residents in the first instance to an organisation other than RDC or Ward Members.
“you may wish to pass on the details of Meeting Place Communications to your constituents so that they may direct any queries or complaints they may have to them in the first instance.”
“Meeting Place Communications are the complaints handling firm employed by David Wilson Homes”.
We do not agree. It is important that all complaints are logged at RDC, investigated by RDC and any action necessary is taken in accordance with planning regulations and environmental health legislation.

Councillor Pointer Resigns

A Conservative District Councillor for Hawkwell North, Robert Pointer, has resigned. He was only elected in May 2011

On the District Council website:

Notice of Vacancy – Hawkwell North
District Ward of Hawkwell North

Notice is hereby given

that a casual vacancy has arisen in the Office of Councillor for the said District Ward

To call an election a request must be made in writing to the Returning Officer at the address below by TWO electors for the said District

Dated 12 March, 2013

A Road Closure- In Hawkwell

Thorpe Road in Hawkwell is likely to be closed temporarily to road vehicles. Councillors John and Christine Mason write about it here:

We have been very concerned that the Thorpe Road Closure proposals were not included in the planning application. We only learnt about this last Thursday and immediately protested in the strongest possible terms to the Managing Director.

But we are pleased to be able to advise you that DWH have taken the problems and concerns that their construction is causing seriously and DWH have put forward certain arrangements that will hopefully ease the disruption and perceived potential problems as far as possible.

A View From The Ward Councillors…..

Hawkwell District Councillor Christine Mason has written on the Rochford Residents Party website about the recent planning application in her ward:

What we as your District Councillors asked for at the Development meeting was for Rochford District Council to step in and negotiate with David Wilson Homes to prevent future problems for our community in line with their own publicly stated policy. The vote was narrowly lost 10/12. That is why we voted against the development despite all the many, many hours of work we have both put in to improve the design of the estate.

The full article is here.

Pool? Drainage Feature ? Hazard?

The other major planning application last Thursday was near King Edmund School.

This is a 13 acre site, and the scheme was for 100 houses and flats, a new access road, a new car park and new bus park for King Edmund School, and some open space.

This scheme had already been approved ‘in outline’ – it was the details that were being agreed here.

The big issue was, rather unexpectedly, over a new large water retention pond. It would slope very gently, and the maximum depth would be 4 feet. The idea was to have a new pond here to receive rainwater and prevent flash flooding. But some councillors, such as Gill Lucas-Gill, were concerned about the safety aspects for children . Councillor Keith Gordon was concerned that when there wasn’t much rain it might it get full of mosquitoes. Other councillors were simply very wary – this wasn’t in the middle of a big park, it wasn’t too far from houses.

In the end the scheme was passed.

When An Open Space Becomes A Credibility Gap !

There were two big items at the Development Committee last Thursday.

The first was an application by David Wilson Homes for 176 homes at the “Christmas Tree Farm” site in Hawkwell.

Last year the District Council refused a similar scheme on the grounds of poor design. So David Wilson Homes had a two-pronged response : they would appeal to a government inspector, but also a prepare a new scheme in case they lost their appeal.

In the end the inspector gave them permission for their original scheme. But David Wilson Homes had spent time and money drawing up improved plans with better architecture, and also spent time with local opposition groups. They pledged that they if the District Council gave permission for the new scheme, they would build it instead of the original one.

So really the committee was very likely to approve the improved scheme , and it did. But there was one issue still needing discussion – the open space that would lie in the middle of the site between sections of houses. How would it be maintained?

The ward councillors Christine and John Mason wanted it in public ownership – for example, owned and managed by the District Council. So they asked that the planning approval to be amended slightly to allow the council the option to have the land.

This was totally in line with what the Tory Leader of the Council Terry Cutmore had said at last Full Council when asked a formal question by Chris Black. Cllr Cutmore said:

“he saw no reason for any new public open spaces created to remain with developers,”

However, on Thursday , Cllr Cutmore wasn’t in favour of the District Council even considering having this open space, and the Mason’s attempt was voted down! It makes you wonder if it is worth asking questions at full council, under the present administration. It also makes you wonder about other open spaces in the future….

PS if you want to read the full question and answers on this at Full Council, here they are:

Questions by Members
Pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 12.2, questions had been received from Cllr C I Black as follows:-
(a) Of the Leader of the Council:-
“Policy CLT5 of our Core Strategy begins:-

‘New public open space will be required to accompany additional residential development, having regard to local current and projected future need. Standard Charges may be applied to developments as necessary. In particular the Council will seek the incorporation of a significant amount of public open space to accompany new, and be integrated with existing, residential development in the west of Rayleigh…..’
The creation of Sweyne Park was one of the major successes of the District Council in the last 30 years, and the future of the park has been safeguarded by placing it in the ownership of the National Playing Field Association. (Now known as ‘Fields In Trust’)
Does the Council plan to protect new open spaces created under CLT5 in the same way as with Sweyne Park, and transfer the ownership of them as quickly as possible to Fields In Trust, whilst continuing to manage them ourselves?”
_
The Leader, Cllr T G Cutmore, responded as follows:-
“I agree with the general presumption outlined in the question and at this point in time cannot see any reason to change a policy which, as Cllr Black states, has been successfully applied over a number of years. However, there may be other opportunities available at the time to look at other organisational trust arrangements and /or work with the Parishes/Town Council/local residents on such arrangements which guarantee that public open spaces remain as such in perpetuity.”
_
By way of supplementary question Cllr C I Black asked if any discussion had taken place with Fields In Trust in relation to new spaces created under CLT5 to move them away from ownership by developers.
The Leader confirmed that he saw no reason for any new public open spaces created to remain with developers, as indicated in the response to the original question.

A Bumpy Road On Highways

One of the humps in Magnolia Road installed by residents

The Rochford District Local Highways Panel met yesterday.

This is the panel where 5 County Councillors and 5 District Councillors are supposed to get together to spend about half a million pounds a year on minor and medium-sized highways schemes. This does NOT include road maintenance.

Here’s a few details:

The only County Councillor to actually turn up was Tracy Chapman, and she played an active and useful part in the meeting. However Stephen Castle wasn’t there – he has missed all three meetings now, which is disappointing. All five District Councillors turned up – Toby Mountain, Gill Lucas-Gill, Chris Black, Mike Steptoe and Keith Hudson. Also Rayleigh Town Councillors Cheryl Roe and Ian Ward visited.

The most difficult problem was Magnolia Road Hawkwell. This is a publicly-adopted byway – which means it is open to traffic but doesn’t have to be maintained by the County Council. However because of the speed of traffic here in a very narrow lane, the residents themselves installed some speed humps. (this was after two dogs had been killed). This has sorted out the speeding problem, but one resident has complained to the ombudsman and because of this, at some stage these humps are going to have to be removed. Tracy Chapman was extremely unhappy about this and said she would be lying in the road if the County come to take them away.

Graffiti

Graffiti came up as an issue and will hopefully be tackled now by the Highways Rangers. Chris Black and Mike Steptoe both identified places where graffiti needed to be removed.


Toby Mountain made some progress
in sorting out problems at Tesco’s in London Road , Rayleigh.

The panel agreed not to spend any money on bus shelters.

A vehicle and pedestrian survey has just been carried out in Hullbridge Road to see if we can get a pedestrian crossing opposite Lubards Farm.

It’s still possible that we will get a proper roundabout at the Hullbridge Road / Mortimer Road / Rawreth Lane junction but nothing has been agreed yet.

Chris Black asked for figures next time on how much money the panel has already spent.

“Why was the Council overruled on housing development in Hawkwell?”

John and Christine Mason have a new article on their website about the recent planning appeal in their area….. on an application for 176 homes refused for design reasons…

So did the Inspector ignore Essex County Council’s, Essex Design Guide?

The Inspector said “The Council identified in the reason for refusal nine failings with regard to advice in the Essex Design Guide. That document is described as Supplementary Planning Guidance, having not been through the process to be adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document under the 2004 Act. Policy CP1 of the Core Strategy refers to guidance not being overly prescriptive.”

So the Inspector hints that the council has blundered by not making the Essex Design Guide an ‘official’ Supplementary Planning Document for our district. If it is only guidance, it doesn’t have much weight….

Full article here.

Last Night’s Development Meeting

It was a long meeting last night (finished just before 10 pm). Briefly:

Replace Car Showroom by a 50 bed nursing home, 246 London Road Rayleigh. REFUSED -because of the impact on neighbouring properties and lack of parking -only 11 spaces on site.


Demolish existing care home, build new care home and 46 houses, Timber Grove, London Road, Rayleigh. REFUSED
It was refused on green belt grounds, insufficient affordable housing, and not enough information on the Flood Risk assessment.

The ward councillors, Toby Mountain and Joan Mockford supported approval, and Toby spoke very persuasively. he might have won the vote, except that the planning officers couldn’t confirm whether this housing would count towards the 550 in West Rayleigh. (in fact the officers doubted it).

New chalets at Brandy Hole Yacht Club, Hullbridge REFUSED. However the only reason for refusal was the need for more ecological information.

New house, 233 Rectory Road, Hawkwell. APPROVAL. Clearly after some work by the ward councillors (Christine and John Mason) , officers, and residents to sort out some issues.

New bungalow at rear of 24 and 26 Stambridge Road Rochford. REFUSED
This was a case of backland development (which is allowed in some circumstances) . But after a speech from a neighbour, and then speeches by ward members Gill Lucas Gill and Keith Gordon, the councillors were very definitely persuaded that this one didn’t apply with our policies, would have a bad impact on neighbours and set a nasty precedent for other backland development in Stambridge Road.

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