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Archive for Rawreth Green Belt

Rawreth Meets…

240px-Rawreth_sign

 

Just a reminder that Rawreth Parish Council meets on Wednesday at 7:30 in the village hall. As usual there will be a public question time, and the public and press are welcome.

One of the biggest items will be the planning application for “North of London Road” which is entirely in Rawreth.

Landhold’s Ideas For the “West Of Hullbridge” Site

hullbridge

If you are interested in the big planning application or applications coming on the Hullbridge / Rawreth borders , you can find out more and offer comments (until June 30th) on Landhold Capital’s website here.

Here’s something on flooding:

hullbridge 2

And here’s what they say about transport (nothing very dramatic here….)

hullbridge 3

hullbridge 4

And these are their design principles:

hullbridge 5

A Photo For Election Day !

A beautiful photo taken this week in Rawreth by our onlinefocus reader “Greenbelt” , featuring a pair of Goldfinches. Click on it to enlarge:

Green Belt - Goldfinches

The Education Situation

We’ve been enquiring into the situation with primary school places in Rayleigh – why Essex County Council were originally asking for a new primary school “North of London Road”, and now they’re not.
It seems that on the basis of a planning application for 475 homes , ECC don’t believe an extra school is needed. Admissions to primary school places in Rayleigh for September 2014 are high, but future school intakes are projected to reduce (this is based on GP registrations).

“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.

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Daily Reporting by Chris Black

With support from:
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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.

Reporting A Problem

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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