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Archive for Future Housing

Two Extra Sites For Housing In Rayleigh?

you-cannot-be-serious

Back in 2010 we said that the District Council shouldn’t have continued so far in to the future with their Core Strategy:


Of course , once land is taken out of the Green Belt, it’s very hard to protect it again. Wouldn’t it better to let future councillors – in 2025 – make decisions on what housing is needed then rather than have councillors and council officers try to guess things now 15 or 20 years in advance?

Why is our council so keen to press ahead with all this?

So with the council having already allocated some unsuitable sites for development, we have two new planning applications to look forward to. One is at the old prison site at Bullwood Hall, mostly in Rayleigh but partly in Hockley. Harrow Estates are holding a public consultation session tomorrow at the Parish Hall (Upper Room) 58 Southend Road Hockley from 2 pm to 8 pm. There should be more info available after the event at Harrow Estates Website.

The other is for 100 new homes around the Timber Grove site off London Road Rayleigh.
This application shouldn’t be a surprise to coucnillors – there was an application in 2012 that was refused, but only on the chairman’s casting vote.

A View From Hullbridge

The submission from the Hullbridge Residents Association to the planning application on the Hullbridge/ Rawreth borders can now be found on the council website here.

It’s not a brief letter either, not even a long letter, its 46 pages long….

Amenity Space Saved, Wakering Development Squeaks Through……

At tonight’s meeting of the Development Committee:

The outline  application for 6 dwellings on the amenity space at Brocksford Avenue was refused by an overwhelming vote of councillors. Refusal was moved by  Ian  Ward and seconded by Heather Glynn. This pleased the public gallery, which was packed with concerned residents.

The application for 116 dwellings at the old Star Lane Brickworks in Great Wakering was passed – but only just. This is another one of the big sites that has come forward as part of the local plan. Chris Black and Ron Oatham moved refusal, saying that the application was contrary to our core strategy, because extra funding for the local primary school wasn’t being provided. We lost the refusal  11-9. Interestingly , none of the ward councillors supported our refusal. Cllr Mrs Wilkins voted against our refusal , Cllr Hookway was absent and Cllr Seagers declared an interest and quite properly left the chamber.  A motion of approval was then moved and the scheme was passed 14-5

The District Council applied to itself for planning permission to install a banner in Bradley Way to advertise public events – and the committee refused this , on the grounds of it being a conservation area.

“Rochford Fears Possible Merger With Wickford”

Slightly surprising comments in the Echo from Councillor Keith Hudson, bearing in mind that the Conservative Group has already voted to allocate enough housing to double the population of the parish of Rawreth, that also causes a merger with both Hullbridge and Rayleigh:

ROCHFORD Council fears overdevelopment in Wickford could lead to it merging with Rawreth. Major development is in store for Wickford over the next 17 years, which campaigners claim could change the face of the town forever.About 2,800 homes are planned by 2031 as part of Basildon Council’s local plan, with 760 homes to the south, 620 to the north-west, 220 on the western edge and 150 to the north-east. Rochford Council shares residents’ concerns claiming the influx of new homes – particularly plans for 150 properties north east of Wickford – will lead to the town becoming indistinguishable from neighbouring Rawreth.

Just A Reminder…

countryside

 

The deadline for commenting on Countryside’s website is April 11th…

What The Leaders Said….

The minutes of the last full District Council Meeting are now on the council website.

All the four group leaders are quoted on the Allocations Document, which the Tories pushed through on the night:

The Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Cllr C I Black, made reference to the Allocations Document needing to be seen in the context of the Council’s objectives and values, as set out on the second page of the meeting Agenda. The Rochford Core Strategy was the overall key document. The Allocations Document did not adequately address known issues associated with subjects such as flooding in Hullbridge and the Rayleigh Sports and Social Club. Community benefit aspects were relatively light in the context of what had been achieved with previous projects such as Sweyne Park and the Cherry Orchard Jubilee Country Park. As far as Cllr Black was aware, there had been no public meetings on the Allocations Document.
_
The Leader of the Rochford Residents Group, Cllr J R F Mason, referred to the Council having already given approval to over one thousand houses without an Allocations Document in place. The value of the Document was questionable and it could be argued that it would be appropriate for the Council to hold a face to face public forum to enable residents to have their questions answered, particularly in respect of concerns about flooding and District infrastructure. It would be inappropriate to adopt the Document if residents had material concerns.
_
The Leader of the Green Group, Cllr M Hoy,
observed that addressing residents’ concerns should be seen as fundamental. Notwithstanding the Inspector’s Report, it was felt that appropriate weighting had not been given to some of the evidence and that the document in its current form did not serve the best interests of the District.
_
The Leader of the Council, Cllr T G Cutmore, quoted paragraph 7.1 of the officer’s report setting out the risk implications of failure to have an Allocations Document in place, which included the Council being vulnerable to planning applications for development on unsuitable sites and/or of an appropriate form. The intention was for development plans to be spread as evenly as possible throughout the District in a fair and equitable way. Public meetings had been held in many parts of the District.
On a show of hands it was:-
Resolved

That the Allocations Document, as attached to the officer report, be adopted as a Development Plan Document. (HPT)
Note: Cllrs C I Black, Mrs D Hoy, M Hoy, C J Lumley, Mrs C M Mason and J R F Mason wished to be recorded as having voted against the above decision. Cllr Mrs A V Hale wished to be recorded as having abstained.

The District Council’s Explanations…. And Countryside Properties Masterplan For “West of Rayleigh”

exhib

The District Council have displays in the Mill Hall for a few days and in our district’s libraries for at least the next two weeks. You can find the exhibition material here.

masterplan

And the developers Countryside Properties are now showing what their ideas are
They say they will be holding 2 public exhibitions later this month and sending a newsletter to local residents.
They are also giving people a chance to register their comments with them online here.
Any thoughts?

A Big Night Next Tuesday

Market Car Park 2 78009. crop
There are four big items on the agenda for next Tuesday’s Full Council meeting:

- a motion to keep free parking on Saturday afternoons. This looks like being a very tight vote.
–  whether or not to finally approve the Allocations Document, which has just been okayed by the government inspector
whether or not to approve the Hockley Area Action plan
setting up of a ‘flood forum’

It would nice to have some people in the public gallery! It’s harder to argue that free car parking or protecting the green belt is important, if absolutely nobody from the public bothers to turn up!

The meeting starts at 7:30 in the Civic Suite, opposite Holy Trinity Church. The public can come along to listen, but can’t speak. (Unless someone has submitted a public question).

A Valentine’s Day Message From The Planning Inspector

inspector 0

 

The final report from the planning inspector Mr Smith has been published today. You can download it here,

A lot of people are going to feel crushed – he hasn’t changed much in the council’s Rochford Allocations Submission  Document (RASD) , and the changes he has made aren’t very helpful from a ward councillors point of view. If you were expecting major changes in the housing allocation, you’ll be disappointed. If you were hoping for some really significant improvements in infrastructure, you’ll be equally disappointed.  Here’s a brief summary of his views on the RASD:

(you can click on any of the extracts to enlarge them)

PUBLIC CONSULTATION: The inspector accepts that very many people in Rayleigh hadn’t been aware of the specific proposals, but he still thinks that overall the consultations regulations have been complied with:

inspector 2THE ALLOCATIONS DOCUMENT IS  A FOLLOW-UP TO THE CORE STRATEGY: The frustrating thing about the past year’s campaigning is that the most  important document – the Core Strategy - was already passed back in 2011. If you look back at onlinefocus you can see we were battling on this as far back as 2006 – and highlighting the flooding in Rawreth issue back at the start.  So once the council had passed a core strategy that included , for example, 550 houses North of London Road, it was going to be very hard to change that. The inspector emphasises  again and again that  Core Strategy is the central document:

 

inspector 3

inspector 4

inspector 5

inspector 8

 

When residents said it was ‘a done deal’ , they were right – at least in the sense that the most important decisions had already been taken in the Core Strategy.

NO NEW INSIGHTS ON INFRASTRUCTURE: The inspector himself points out that there isn’t much in the council’s RASD about road conditions – but hey- the County Council aren’t worried, and we’ve already had the core strategy , so things can go ahead:

inspector 6

 

INFRASTRUCTURE NORTH OF LONDON ROAD:  The inspector says:

inspector 7

WATERY LANE:  The inspector wants some improvements – we’d be interested to know the views of Hullbridge , Rawreth and Battlesbridge residents on whether they think this is enough:

inspector 10

THE TRAVELLER SITE – He seems OK with the location. And there is no suggestion of having it near Swallow’s Nursery instead:

inspector 11

CANEWDON — Canewdon gets a reduction in new housing from 60 to 49,  because of the effect on the appearance of the village:

inspector 12

 

 

How To Respond To The Council’s New Planning Consultation

About 10 days ago we reported on the last District Council meeting:

“The government inspector has asked for a number of changes to the council’s allocations document. The most notable change concerns what happens if development sites are not developed as quickly as expected…
The council has to allocate land so that there is always a 5 year supply of building land available. In case there is a shortfall somewhere , the council’s document allows extra housing at the other sites. However this only happens if
A) there is a shortfall elsewhere
B) if there is still space available for any proposed amenities or infrastructure
C) any extra housing would be capped at 5% of the original proposal. So for example, at the “North of London Road” site, where the proposed figure would be 550, there could only be an extra 5% of 550, which would be 28 extra homes.

However the inspector wants to do away with the 5% cap, which means that some sites could end up with a lot more housing.

The Conservatives pushed this through last night, despite an amendment to keep the 5 percent cap, proposed by Chris Black, seconded by John Mason, and supported by Ron Oatham, Christine Mason plus Michael and Diane Hoy.

At least one Conservative councillor abstained.

This now goes to another round of public consultation…”

Well, that public consultation has now started, and you might like to respond, especially if you are concerned about the removal of this 5% cap. The inspector probably won’t take any notice, but it’s worth a try. One argument against removing the cap is that it makes unsound the previous public consultations and the evidence base for sustainability : if people were consulted on, say, 550 houses and it suddenly turns into a lot more. Or you can argue that increasing the number of homes about the 5% level is poor in terms of sustainability and quality of life for residents (both existing residents and new ones).

The best way to respond to the consultation is online – with some effort you can find it on the council website here. You need to register and then log in to make comments.

consultation

If you want to object in terms of “North of London Road”, that is dealt with section MM20 of the document (click to enlarge)

consultation 550

and you would need to say that you oppose the deletion of the words in red: “plus a flexibility allowance of 5% if required”.

In the same way, Hullbridge is dealt with in section MM44.

A Big Consultation Next Year

We understand that if the inspector approves the allocation document, that sometime next year the house builder Countryside Developments will carry out a public consultation on the housing “North of London Road”.

It will involve leaflets to every home in Downhall and Rawreth, Sweyne Park and Grange Wards, exhibitions in 2 or 3 local venues, and a website…

Another Frustrating Council Meeting

Another frustrating council meeting…

The government inspector has asked for a number of changes to the council’s allocations document. The most notable change concerns what happens if development sites are not developed as quickly as expected…
The council has to allocate land so that there is always a 5 year supply of building land available. In case there is a shortfall somewhere , the council’s document allows extra housing at the other sites. However this only happens if
A) there is a shortfall elsewhere
B) if there is still space available for any proposed amenities or infrastructure
C) any extra housing would be capped at 5% of the original proposal. So for example, at the “North of London Road” site, where the proposed figure would be 550, there could only be an extra 5% of 550, which would be 28 extra homes.

However the inspector wants to do away with the 5% cap, which means that some sites could end up with a lot more housing.

The Conservatives pushed this through last night, despite an amendment to keep the 5 percent cap, proposed by Chris Black, seconded by John Mason, and supported by Ron Oatham, Christine Mason plus Michael and Diane Hoy.

At least one Conservative councillor abstained.

This now goes to another round of public consultation…

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500 HOUSES BETWEEN LONDON ROAD AND RAWRETH LANE

There's lots of information on the District Council website about the planning application "North of London Road ". To see it , just click here.

The Core Strategy

This is the official master document for planning policy in our district! To download it, click here click here. (2.5mb)

Planning Applications…

If you want information on a particular planning application, you can find it on the District Council website here.

If you want to know what new planning applications have been submitted this week, click here.

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If you want to report a problem, you can email Lib Dems councillors by clicking here.
There's also an independent website called FixMyStreet. It's very good for reporting minor street problems like holes in the road, grafitti or failed streetlights. You can find FixMyStreet here.

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