onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003

 

Archive for Future Housing

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…

Two Traveller Applications – And Another Meeting On Housing Allocations And Hockley Town Centre.

There are two district council meetings next Thursday evening.

The first is a routine Development Committee meeting – the main items on the agenda are two planning applications that , by coincidence, are both for very small traveller sites. One is at The Pear Tree, 750 New Park Road, Hockley, and the other is at Land West of The Pumping Station, Watery Lane, Rawreth.

Officers are recommending that both are given temporary permission until the end of 2018.

The other meeting is an extra meeting of Full Council to deal with the proposed Allocations Document in the Core Strategy and also the proposed Hockley Area Action Plan. It will take place as soon as the first meeting is over.

Basically the Planning Inspector has suggested some changes to the allocations document; this meeting is to agree to lots of changes in wording to comply with his suggestions, and then there will be an eight-week public consultation period. However the consultation won’t be on the whole core strategy, just on the changes that the inspector wants. So the consultation won’t include the principle of 550 houses “North of London Road” or the proposed traveller site at ‘Michelins Farm, because the inspector seems happy with this. But the consultation will include removing the 5% cap on additional housing for each site – because the inspector wants to remove that upper limit! So the council is saying, for example, it is allocating 550 houses North of London Road, but if other sites fall short they would allow a maximum extra 5% here, to increase it to 578 homes. But the inspector doesn’t want an upper limit… Thats’s something that will worry a lot of people…

In a similar way there will be changes in wording to the Hockley Area Action Plan and an 8 week consultation period.

It’s useful to quote parts of the officer’s report.

On the allocations document:

3.3 The Inspector’s initial assessment into the soundness of the Plan was
received by the Council on 18 October 2013 and published on the Council’s
website. A number of observations were made, including to the proposed 5%
cap on housing numbers for residential extensions, Policy NEL3, Policy
SER7, Policy SER1, Policy NEL1 and Policy BFR4; and recommendations to
make the Plan sound and/or legally compliant were suggested by the
Inspector. These recommendations have been integrated into the schedule of
modifications.

3.4 The schedule of modifications can be divided into main and additional
modifications. Main modifications are defined as those that are required to
satisfy legal or procedural requirements or to make the plan sound, and
additional modifications are those that do not materially affect the policies.
The Council is only required to consult on the main modifications agreed by
the Inspector, which would make the Plan sound and/or legally compliant.

3.5 Proposed main modifications in the schedule include, but are not limited to:-
 Making reference to viability testing for brown field land development
(Policy BFR1, 3 and 4);
 Removing the 5% cap for residential extensions (Policy SER1-9);
 Aligning the western boundary for proposed development to the north of
London Road in Rayleigh with the pylon line (Policy SER1);
 Amending the requirements for site access and relocation of the sports
pitch (Policy SER1);
 Removing the land to the north of Lark Hill Road and to the west of
Church Lane in Canewdon from the proposed residential allocation (Policy
SER7);
 Reducing the housing numbers to be delivered over the plan period for
Canewdon to 49 (Policy SER7);
 Removing proposed employment land to the south of London Road in
Rayleigh (Policy NEL1); and
 Moving the proposed relocated employment site for Great Wakering
(Policy NEL3) northwards so that it abuts proposed residential
development at the brick works site (Policy BFR1).

3.6 If accepted by Full Council, it is proposed that the schedule of modifications
will be consulted on for approximately eight weeks (longer than the usual sixweek
period in order to take account of the Christmas period and ensure there
is sufficient time for interested parties to respond). Those who commented at
the pre-submission stage, as well as general and specific consultation bodies,
will be invited to comment on the schedule. This is a formal consultation
stage, which forms part of the examination process.

3.7 Following completion of the consultation, the results will be submitted to the
Inspector who will consider them before preparing his final report…

For Hockley centre:

3.5 Proposed main modifications in the schedule include, but are not limited to:-
 Amendments to Policy 6, replacing the criterion that limited a new food store to a maximum of 3,000m² with one that sets a maximum overall additional retail capacity for the centre of 3,000m² (gross);
 Additional text to Policy 6 to make clear that the Council will favour the development of smaller retail units in the centre; and
 Additional text to Policy 6 setting out the criteria a larger retail store would need to meet in order to be considered acceptable.

A Day In The Council Chamber

 

So, today the planning inspector Mr David Smith looked at the various proposals for “West of Rayleigh”. Here’s a summary of the key points.

  1. Mrs Linda Kendall spoke on behalf of the objectors, made some determined points, and with a lot of concerned residents in the council chamber, was applauded quite a lot of  times. She was assisted by Peter Scott.
  2. Mark Francois MP spoke in the afternoon, and got a round of applause as well.
  3. Mr Sam Hollingworth was the speaker on behalf of the District Council.
  4. Other speakers included an officer from Basildon Council, an officer from County Highways, two planning agents on behalf of the developers Countryside (who control the “North of London Road” site), and notably, a representative of Sport England.
  5. The feeling in the public gallery was that Mr Smith conducted things fairly.
  6. He said he was there to test the ‘soundness’ (there’s a special planning definition for this) of the proposals and if they were legally compliant.
  7. During the discussions the proposal to relocate the businesses on Rawreth Industrial Estate began to look pretty shaky.
  8. The planning agents for Countrywide queried whether any homebuilding at the Industrial Estate would actually happen, there appeared to be no promoter for the site, and it would need compulsory purchase which didn’t seem likely without a promoter.
  9. They also claimed that the density of homes proposed for the Industrial Estate site for the site was probably too high to be viable
  10. When the subject changed to the site of the 550 homes, the planning agents said it would take about 5 years to build and sell them.
  11. When the planning agents stated that the drainage system installed would be designed to ensure that the speed of water leaving the site would be no greater or actually less than the current speed. This was greeted with some scepticism by the public listening.
  12. The planning agents think that the ‘green buffer’ could extend from the 550 houses up to the A1245, but if it was that large some of it would be agricultural land rather than park land.
  13. Up till now it’s been proposed that most of the traffic from the 550 would go onto London Road, with less going onto Rawreth Lane. But it was agreed that this would be looked at again at the detailed highways design stage.
  14. Peter Scott argued that the traffic survey results used by the council were either too old, or didn’t cover the right locations.
  15. The chap from Sport England had quite a few concerns about relocating the Rayleigh Sports and Social Club. He wanted detailed wording included to ensure that the new facilities were at least as good as what was currently there, and there should be a proper new lease offered to the club. Not some kind of short-term rental.He warned that in terms of phasing it would take 18 months to get new pitches ready. And he wanted flexibility in the wording to leave open the possibility of the club staying exactly where it is.
  16. Mrs Kendall pointed out that where they wanted to put the new pitches, there used to be a lot of ponds , where there are ponds there is water.
  17. In her most scathing comment of the day Mrs Kendall said that the Core Strategy already approved was like “Noddy and Big Ears”. If the Rawreth Industrial Estate was left alone, she said, there would not be a need for the new employment/ industrial sites south of London Road and at Michelins Farm.
  18. One surprising statement from the District Council’s Mr Hollingworth was that the employment site might not be needed , office space might become available in Rayleigh, and Hockley Town Centres. He said the employment site on London Road was a long-term aim, there was a lack of interest from the owners.
  19. When the discussion moved to the traveller site Mrs Kendall said the decision was a political one and racist – the site wouldn’t be suitable for habitation  so close to industry, traffic , etc.
  20. Mr Hollingworth said this would be a planned scheme [as opposed to something that happened accidently without a proper design] and mitigation could be put in place.
  21. The officer from Basildon council explained that they still objected , they didn’t think this site was the most suitable one for this sort of development. He also said that since Rochford District Coucnil had come up with this proposal, Basildon had given permission on the land next door for a construction workers training school. Part of the training would include practice earth moving operations  any time from 7 am to 6 pm Monday to Saturday.
  22. It was agreed by everyone, including Rochford District and Mark Francois that putting a new traveller site on London Road was unacceptable and not viable – apart from anything else, there would be electricity pylons and flooding issue to prevent it.
  23. Mrs Kendall supported allowing  the unauthorised traveller site on the A1245 to become legal and queried why we had to have all the travellers in West Rayleigh
  24. Mr Hollingworth answered that there were actually 6 other [small] sites already in the district.

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Daily Reporting by Chris Black

With support from:
Ron Oatham Ron Oatham Bruce Smart Bruce Smart Chris Stanley Chris Stanley

Latest Comments

  • Proper Planning: If the Judge were to find in the appellant’ ;s (Linda Kendall) favour, then his decision would...
  • Jim Cripps: James – beyond our own ‘local event’ I think there is now a dawning by the public at...
  • bruce smart: Sadly one mans voice seems to carry, or people posting think it will, carry more weight than that of...
  • The Mighty Oz: I wonder what could have woken up our invisible MP, look, he’s at it again. He will wear himself...
  • admin: Jim @ 13. , that’s the next one to write about. But I,m just back from serious dental work, so it might...
  • James w: Then again….th is may be his plan. If he knows development wont go ahead, as it’s so unpopular,...
  • Jim Cripps: Admin – as you have quoted the MF objection , you might want to quote the objection from the RTSSC...
  • richard lambourne: Christine@ @3 cynic maybe, but I think he has noticed that UKIP have taken over parts of his...
  • Linda Kendall: Chris. Your comments are all true. At last years hearing one local Tory Councillor, sitting listening,...
  • James w: Don’t be fooled! He knows he can object and win over some naïve voters, whilst development will...
  • richard lambourne: Well Angelina @5..why not cite an example where his “concerns ” have translated into...
  • Chris Black: Any attempts by Mark Francois to improve the situation would have been boosted 10 fold if there had been...
  • Jim Cripps: @ 5 – well 10 years is enough time to have done something about it…… ;😳
  • GordC: Way too late Mr Francios.. surely this land she be kept to help feed the country with the crops is...
  • Angelina: He has had concerns about infrastructure for at least the 10 years I have been dealing with him. I first...
  • A.Matthews: Oops just been told road is now en !
  • A.Matthews: Also wires appearing in old Chelmsford Road both exits from Beeches Road/Watery Lane ,and it’s not...
  • Linda Kendall: Am I permitted to say isn’t this just too little too late from someone who hasn’t lifted a...
  • Linda Kendall: Christine. Judge said he will act as fast as is possible but estimate was 6-8 weeks from 3rd October.
  • Christine Paine: Oh Richard you cynic! Perhaps he finally got round to reading all the letters sent by his various...
  • Jim Cripps: Been away for a few days , just noticed more road survey wires set up in both Rawreth Lane and Hullbridge...
  • Jim Cripps: Oz at # 8 – I know, you are probably right , I’ve always thought it will happen but if you...
  • Jim Cripps: Obviously Rawreth Village put potential downstream flooding as their main issue – but some useful...
  • Jim Cripps: Oh how very dare you – the man has obviously been reading all our comments on here and taken them...

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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.
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