onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003

 

Archive for Rawreth Green Belt

“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…

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.

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…

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.

The Council Gives Some Answers

 

The District Council now has a set of “Frequently Asked Questions” on its website – about development to the West of Rayleigh. Whatever your views, its worth a read. Here are some key extracts:

 

 

 

I would like to be on the Council’s mailing list, so I am contacted whenever there is
an opportunity to have my say on future planning policy. How do I do this?
You can sign up to the Council’s consultation system at http://rochford.jdi-consult.net/ldf/ .

If you do not have access to the internet, please send your preferred contact details to the
following address, stating that you wish to be added to the mailing list:
Planning Policy
Rochford District Council
Council Offices
South Street
Rochford
Essex
SS4 1BW

 

Has Basildon Borough Council objected to the Gypsy and Traveller site? What does that mean?

Basildon Borough Council is not the Planning Authority for the area, but as a neighbour they were asked for their view on the proposed allocations and they have formally objected to the proposed allocation for a Gypsy and Traveller site. The Government-appointed Inspector will consider their objection. The Inspector may agree with Rochford District Council and decide that the current proposed site is sound; or he may agree with Basildon Borough Council and find that it is unsound, and that it consequently cannot be allocated.

If the Inspector does not recommend adoption, but recommends modifications to the Plan, the Council will have to decide whether to implement the Inspector’s recommendations in order to be allowed to adopt the Plan; or alternatively make its own modifications and re-submit the amended document to the Inspector for examination.
A change as significant as an alternative site for allocation would be a decision that could only be made by Rochford District Council through Full Council (i.e. all of the District’s Councillors would have a vote on such a decision).

(our italics)

What is the Allocations Document?
The Allocations Document will determine how land will be allocated, and is required to conform to the Core Strategy.
For example, as the Rochford Core Strategy identifies 550 dwellings (plus new primary school and other infrastructure) to be developed within the
general location of Land North of London Road, Rayleigh, the Allocations Document is required to allocate a specific site for this development…..
….Those wishing to develop the land will still be required to make a planning application to the Council, and for it to be granted permission before they can develop the land

 

What happens if the proposals are not approved –if the Inspector finds the Allocations Document unsound?
If the Allocations document is not adopted the District will still be required to accommodate development, and the Rochford Core Strategy will still form part of the plan for directing how much development goes where, but no specific sites will be allocated. The Council will have to consider making changes to the Allocations Document and resubmitting to the Government for examination

A Sketch Map

For everyone trying to understand what is proposed to the west of Rayleigh, here’s a map – hand-traced from a scale map. Double-click on it to enlarge.

It shows :

550 Houses “North of London Road” – the site also includes at least 4 hectares / 10 acres of open space, and land for a primary school.
222 houses where Rawreth Industrial Estate is now.
Employment land South of London Road, near Swallow Nurseries. Existing businesses there could continue, with a smallish area for light industy on western side ,and land for offices to the east.
An industrial site near the Fairglen interchange, for heavier industrial uses and maybe a civic amenity site. Behind a buffer would be the traveller site, council-owned and council-run.

The map also shows Rawreth Hall, Macro and Sweyne Park but these are just there as markers, they should not be affected in any way!

Going back to the council meeting on November 27th last year, we reported:

Last night the District Council approved the latest stage of the Core Strategy – the specific allocations for housing and other development. This will now go to public consultation, on whether it is sound and legal…

The Conservatives voted it through (although Cllr Angela Hale from Hullbridge abstained.)

The Lib Dems present and the Greens all voted against.

Setting out the Lib Dem objections, Chris Black said that

the council still couldn’t say what improvements were needed to Watery Lane,

there hadn’t been a traffic impact study on the cumulative effect of the sites to the west of Rayleigh,

the new open spaces were small compared with open places like Sweyne Park

Rayleigh Sports and Social Club were being bullied by the council – into being relocated so that houses could be built on their present site.

Questions and Answers On “Land North Of London Road”

 

We are almost certainly going to get about 550 new homes “North of London Road” and about 220 on the Rawreth Industrial Estate. We didn’t want it, but now we must work to get the best outcome we can. Chris Black has been asking the council some questions recently – here they are, with the answers:

QUESTION
I notice that in the Allocations Document, in the section dealing with Land North Of London Road, it states:
“A Health Impact Assessment must be undertaken and accompany any planning applications to develop the site. Actions required to address any negative impacts identified through the Health Impact Assessment must accompany the development of the site.”
What sort of impacts could these be? Could they result in an additional local GP surgery?

ANSWER:

A Health Impact Assessment should consider the impact of the proposed development on health care provision in the surrounding area, including an assessment of existing healthcare provision at the time the application is made, and whether additional facilities would be required.
A Health Impact Assessment should also look at the wider health impacts of a proposed development, examining such issues as access to open space and leisure facilities; and whether the design of the development would contribute positively towards health through, for example, the density being such that it allowed for good size living and amenity areas.

QUESTION
Who will carry out the assessment? What developers have contacted the council so far regarding “Land North of London Road”

ANSWER
The assessment will have to be submitted alongside the planning application and would be produced by the agent / applicant, or a consultant on their behalf (for example, the health impact assessment for the application to redevelopment the former brickworks site at Star Lane, Great Wakering was produced for the applicant by Pegasus Planning Group). As part of the planning application process, public health (now transferred from NHS to County) will be consulted and have the opportunity to review the assessment (in a similar way to how ECC highways would review a transport assessment submitted alongside a planning application).
Countryside Properties have stated they have control over land between Rawreth Lane and London Road, and are in the process of drawing up a masterplan for the development of the site.

 THREE MORE QUESTIONS
– are Countryside also involved with the redevelopment of the Rawreth Industrial Estate, and how is is that proceeding?Is anything you have told me in this exchange of emails confidential or not suitable for publication?

ANSWER
I do not believe Countryside are directly involved in the redevelopment of the Rawreth Industrial Estate. However, they are mindful of the need to ensure development of the proposed site to the west can integrate with the proposed redevelopment of Rawreth Industrial Estate in the future. Redevelopment of Rawreth Industrial Estate is projected to take place later in the plan period than the adjacent greenfield site.
In terms of progress on redevelopment of the Rawreth Industrial Estate, it is still at a very early stage. Property consultants are currently looking at the detailed viability of redeveloping the site, and of course there remains the matter of ensuring suitable alternative land for displaced businesses is allocated, which the Allocations Document currently being examined by the Planning Inspectorate seeks to do.

None of the information I have set out above or below is confidential or unsuitable for publication.

New Planning Application In Goldsmith Drive

About a year ago we reported here that a planning application for a site for travelling show people in Goldsmith Drive , Rawreth, was refused for Green Belt ard road access reasons.

A new application has now been submitted – application number 13/00118/COU – and you can find the details (and submit comments) here.

Hullbridge Housing Meeting (And Relevant To Rawreth Too….)

From the A Green Read blog:

A Public Meeting is being held on Thursday 3rd January at the Hullbridge Community Centre, in Pooles Lane.  The meeting is to start at 7.30pm.This meeting is for residents to discuss and decide what they can say to the consultation, being held by the District Council, about the 500 houses planned for Hullbridge.  The Consultation has already started and will finish at 5.00pm on 25 January 2012.It is important that people respond to this consultation based on whether it is “sound” or “legal”  The meeting will provide information on these points and assist with questions on the completing the consultation itself.The consultation page at Rochford District Council can be found here.Please come to this meeting and make as many people as possible aware of it.  Cllrs Michael & Diane Hoy will be at the meeting to answer questions.

 
 

This meeting is very relevant for Rawreth as well – as about half of the “Hullbridge” housing will actually be in Rawreth …

 

 

New Primary School West Of Rayleigh…..

The minutes of the last full council are available on the District Council website . You can find them here.

Chris Black asked a couple of questions and the answers are below:

There are two main things to come out of these questions. First of all, the District Council is willing to protect new open spaces by passing them onto Fields in Trust (the new name for the National Playing Field Association). But we still need to keep a careful eye on this.
The second point is that a new primary school will be needed on the West Rayleigh / Rawreth border.Again we are going to have to keep an eye on this to make certain it is ready at the right time.

(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.

(b) Of the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transportation:-
“It is very likely that the planned development in West Rayleigh will result in the need to either enlarge St Nicholas School (which has been specifically designed for future expansion) or to build a completely new primary school.
How do we ensure that this new facility is available when the new houses are first occupied?”

The Portfolio Holder, Cllr K H Hudson, responded as follows:-
“The Core Strategy appendix H1 sets out details of new infrastructure and services to accompany residential development. Following consultation with the schools service, it was confirmed the proposed housing development in West Rayleigh would generate the requirement for a new primary school.
The schools service will be closely involved in the provision of facilities for new school places and, in particular, the phased provision of those to relate to the construction of the new homes. It is understood that the aim is to ensure that school places are available as homes are occupied rather than seeing all new places being immediately available when it may be some years before those places are required.
In order to provide as full an answer as possible to Cllr Black’s question the schools service has been contacted and they have responded as follows “it would not be possible to open it [a new school] prior to the housing development being occupied. There are the practical issues of servicing and access to the [agreed school] site and then the need to consider when there would be critical mass to make a new school viable.”

By way of supplementary question Cllr C I Black asked if the Portfolio Holder recognised the need to be alert to potential problems that could arise with this subject.
The Portfolio Holder confirmed the need to always be alert.

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Latest Comments

  • Brian Guyett: I think its appropriate to ask WHY make this statement at this time. What is their aim?
  • Jim Cripps: So , £2.1 million spent over 7 years and they have only just realised that the Core Plan ( for each...
  • A.mattbhews: Without breaking any code of conduct,I would like to say I am somewhat surprised at the Councillors...
  • Christine Paine: I was staggered and am still spluttering with disbelief/rage to read in the Echo tonight that...
  • Jim Cripps: A good point Brian , in fact it is now obvious that most Towns & Villages in all the SE Essex...
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  • Tom Smith: Hi, Is the Waste recycling centre still being moved from Castle Road to this area? There seem to be no...
  • Brian Guyett: A welcome, overdue initiative but I agree with John Mason – we need to consider the whole...
  • Jim Cripps: PS: And can you explain how a party political leaflet “in touch” has the authority to cancel...
  • A.mattbhews: Please note this is not a flood prevention solution but is the replacement of a foul sewer . Despite...
  • Jim Cripps: Well done Chris/ John and sorely needed as they have already cancelled two promises ( RTSSC & new...
  • Jim Cripps: Two quotes for you :- Cllr K Hudson via Evening Echo ( Fri 11th April ) – “The process we...
  • Jim Cripps: That is exactly why it is later ( negative election impact ) , however all the voters need to do is ask...
  • Jim Cripps: Greenbelt – it is’nt the same show ( the Battlesbridge one is in June ), the one last weekend...
  • John Mason: As far as I can see “by 9 April” quoted in your Article allowed “the 5 day rule”...
  • Greenbelt: The ‘RaveR 17; type event last year which caused many complaints on this site was clearly audible...
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  • admin: I would think you can hear it over half of Rayleigh, with the windows closed….
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