onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003


July 26th, 2013 |

Don’t Be Surprised That The Public Are Surprised !

Chris Black writes:

In many parts of Rayleigh there is a sudden realisation about the proposed developments to the west of the town. People are upset that they didn’t know about it.

Why didn’t they know about it ?

1 – The process has been dragging on for seven years – and the big decisions were mostly taken about three years ago. A lot of people have moved here since then.

2- It’s a difficult topic for the press to cover thoroughly. The core strategy has thousands of pages of documents, as new reporters take over at a paper they have a tricky job of learning about all this stuff and then writing articles without any mistakes.

3 – The District Council hasn’t exactly made a huge effort to publicise things. Some roadshows every few years, something in “Rochford Matters” once in while…. and trying to find this stuff on their website isn’t easy unless you already know what to look for.

4.- Some councillors have tried to keep their residents advised , maybe some others haven’t !

5 – Sometimes people just don’t read about it , whatever you do. In Downhall and Rawreth , for example we’ve written about the proposed 550 houses fairly often – most homes have had three leaflets just this year from us that mention it (and Ron Oatham pays the 50p postage to mail them to the remotest homes in our ward). And yet we know some people here who genuinely haven’t heard about it – maybe they have a ‘no leaflets’ sign on their letterbox, or someone in their home chucks our leaflets straight in the bin? The most general reaction we’ve got from our residents is “Oh, it’s still going on then is it”.

Ultimately the District Council should have done better.

181 Responses to “Don’t Be Surprised That The Public Are Surprised !”

  1. 1
    christine paine:

    I think also a lot of people did think it would not go ahead because of the financial crisis in the construction industry. It would not be viable and by the time it was the core strategy would have changed again. Also the District Council have quite often been vague about the exact location of these houses. I know that three years ago I had to contact Chris to determine where was being talked about because their terminology was less than clear.

    I still believe the whole issue should be revisited in the light of no improvements to Watery Lane and the lack of a proper traffic assessment. Perhaps it still isn’t too late for Rayleigh residents to get together to make their feeings well and truly felt.

  2. 2
    The Mighty Oz:

    Apathy rules…..unless any development directly affects people then most of them could not care less.

  3. 3
    Cllr Colin Seagers:

    I am astonished that you believe the District Council should have done better, implying it has done little to communicate, yet if you are aware of some magic formula you have not seen fit to share it with RDC for the benefit of residents. Given residents in your own Ward do not appear to have benefited from any greater and more accurate understanding of the Core Strategy and Local Development Framework process, I presume you may not know of any more successful means than so far tried by RDC.

    For the edification of all those misinformed by the Rayleigh Action Group and Hullbridge Action Group now complaining that they were not informed by RDC, below is the rather extensive list of the means by which RDC did notify them, plus some helpful links:

    Subject: Communications with RDC Residents re Core Strategy etc.

    Please find attached extracts from the consultation statements that were prepared for the Core Strategy and Allocations Document examinations.

    These explain how RDC sought to engage with the community, the responses it received, and how this influenced the plan-making process.

    These documents were prepared as part of a formal submission to the Secretary of State. In response to the misinformation circulating in respect of what is proposed for Rayleigh, Officers are currently in the process of preparing an FAQ document that will seek to dispel the various myths, seeking to distil the information in the consultation statements into something still more accessible to the general public. It is still in draft form, and it is focussed on Rayleigh, but you may nevertheless find the draft text added below of use.

    What community involvement was there in relation to the Rochford Core Strategy?
    The Core Strategy was produced over a number of years, and involved significant engagement with the local community at a number of stages.

    There were four key stages at which representations were invited on the Core Strategy. These were the Issues and Options (September 2006); Preferred Options (May 2007); Revised Preferred Options (October 2008); and Submission (September 2009).

    Community involvement including through exhibitions, public meetings, workshops, free newsletter ‘Rochford District Matters’ distributed to every household in the District, and the operation of mailing lists (in which 9,166 people / organisations who have expressed in an interest in the future planning of the District are directly notified whenever the Council is seeking views on a planning policy matter).
    A brief overview of community involvement undertaken at the various stages in so far as it relates to Rayleigh and surrounding area is as follows:-

    o An article and questionnaire contained within the Council’s free newsletter (Rochford District Matters) which is distributed to all households in the District
    o Manned public exhibitions were staged locations across the District including on Rayleigh High Street and Rawreth Village Hall. The exhibitions were staged at various times, including at weekends.
    o Letters were sent to local representative groups, including Town and Parish Councils
    o Posters were displayed in locations across the District, advertising the consultation
    o Press releases were issued to local media
    o An online questionnaire, along with information on the Core Strategy, was put up on the Council’s website.

    o A summary of the Core Strategy, together with information on how to comment was included within the free newsletter issued to all homes in the District
    o Manned public exhibitions were staged again in locations across the District, including Rayleigh High Street, Rayleigh Windmill and Rawreth Village Hall. The exhibitions were staged at various times, including at evenings and weekends.
    o An online consultation system was introduced. This allowed respondents to submit and view comments online. A link to the system was placed on the main page of the Council’s website, along with a rolling banner promoting the opportunity to participate.
    o Press releases were again issued to local media
    o Posters were displayed in a number of premises across the District, advertising the Core Strategy consultation and the public exhibitions in particular.
    o Those on the Council’s mailing list – including representative groups as well as members of the public who had requested to be kept updated with opportunities to participate – were written to informing them of the consultation period and encouraging them to submit their views.

    o Again, a summary of the Core Strategy – including suggested revisions – together with information on how to comment was included within the free newsletter issued to all dwellings in the District.
    o Public meetings were held at the various locations in the District, including an evening meeting at Edward Francis Junior School in Rayleigh. A presentation was given explaining the Core Strategy Preferred Options document and how to submit comments on the document. This was followed by a session where people had the opportunity to ask questions.
    o Unmanned public exhibitions were staged in a number of locations across the District, including in Rayleigh Leisure Centre.
    o Leaflets were handed out outside of train stations in the District, including Rayleigh, during morning rush-hour. The leaflets provided an explanation of what the Core Strategy was and how representations could be made.
    o The online consultation system was again made available, and a link placed on the main page of the Council’s website, along with a rolling banner promoting the opportunity to participate
    o Press releases were again issued to local media
    o Posters were displayed in a number of premises across the District, advertising the Core Strategy consultation and the public exhibitions in particular
    o Workshops were held in secondary schools to get views of young people on the Core Strategy. All the District’s secondary schools were invited to participate, and a workshop was held at Fitzwimarc School, Rayleigh.

    o Letter / emails were sent to everyone on our mailing list, including anyone who had commented previously
    o An article on this consultation stage was published in the free newsletter issued to most homes in the District. The Core Strategy was also discussed in other local media.
    o The Council’s online consultation system was again made available, and advertised on the Council’s homepage.
    o Posters were again displayed at various locations, promoting the consultation
    In total the Council received 3,892 responses to the Core Strategy. Key changes to the Core Strategy in response to community involvement included the number of new homes proposed for Rayleigh being reduced from the initial proposed figure of 1,800; to 550 through an extension to Rayleigh’s town boundary, plus the redevelopment of Rawreth Industrial Estate for housing in the longer term.
    A detailed report on community involvement in the Rochford Core Strategy is available here
    What community involvement was there in relation to the Allocations Document?

    In 2010 a report was produced for public consultation that set out a number of options for the allocation of land. The options that were considered at this time are available to view online at the Council’s website (direct link: Allocations DPD: Discussion and Consultation document ).
    The Council’s actions to encourage public participation included the following in 2010:
    o Public meetings in locations across the District, including in Rayleigh and Rawreth
    o Letters / emails sent to everyone on the mailing list, including those that had responded previously to the Core Strategy consultations
    o The consultation was advertised in the Council’s free newsletter – Rochford District Matters – which is sent to all households in the District
    o The Council’s online consultation system was made available, and advertised on the Council’s homepage
    o Press releases were issued to local media, and the subject received coverage within local newspaper articles
    o A number of posters advertising the consultation were sent to parish/town councils and displayed in various locations throughout the District.
    o Information outlining the consultation and how the public can be involved was displayed on the electronic information boards in both the Rayleigh and Rochford receptions.
    Following community involvement, together with appraisal and assessment of these options, the Council agreed on the sites it felt were most appropriate, and the other options were rejected.

    There was further public consultation on the proposed final version of the plan between November 2012 and January 2013.The Council’s actions to encourage people to respond to this consultation included the following:
    o Letters / emails sent to everyone on the mailing list, including anyone that had responded previously.
    o Again, an article highlighting the consultation was contained within the Council’s free newsletter which is distributed to all households in the District.
    o The Council’s online consultation system was again made available, and advertised on the Council’s homepage.
    o Posters were sent to parish councils and exhibited in various locations throughout the District, promoting the chance to comment
    In total the Council received 8,710 representations on the Allocations Document. A detailed report on community involvement in the Allocations Document, including how it influenced decisions, is available here

    The above comments are those of an Officer of the Council and are without prejudice to further consideration of this matter or to the Council’s final decisions
    Planning Homepage:
    Find out the latest news on Rochford’s Local Development Framework:
    Register for an LDF Online Consultation Account:
    View planning applications:
    Make a planning application online:
    Do you want to be involved in other consultations across the Council? If so, visit to sign up to the Have Your Say Group

  4. 4
    The Mighty Oz:

    Colin is right, there is no excuse for anybody to say they did not know what was going on. More like could not be bothered to take any notice until, too late, they suddenly realised it affected them and not somebody else. They get little sympathy from me.

  5. 5
    The Mighty Oz:

    All, this is copied from the ECHO website, please take a look at the date…….

    Overwhelming objections to homes plan

    3:22pm Thursday 5th July 2007 in News By Geoff Percival

    JUST one per cent of respondents to a council housing plan support the allocation of 1,800 homes to be built in Rayleigh.

    Rochford District Council has been holding a consultation on its draft local development framework, which would mean the bulk of new homes required by the Govern-ment to be built in the area would go to Rayleigh.

    But of nearly 200 responses to the council so far, only two have been in support of the idea.

    Chris Black, Liberal Democrat group leader on the council, has been among the most vocal opponents of the proposed allocation of homes.

    He said: “I understand there are more responses to be processed, which are likely to be very much the same. I think this vindicates the stand taken by a number of Rayleigh councillors on the issue, and our demand for an extra consultation day when it was only proposed to have the exhibition in the town on a Sunday.”

    Tory Rayleigh councillor Simon Smith, who is chairman of the development control committee, said: “I know there is huge opposition in Rayleigh to the proposals, but the council is between a rock and a hard place. The Government is telling us we have to accommodate this number of new houses. The allocation of 1,800 new homes to Rayleigh is part of the proposal put forward for consultation, but it is certainly not cast in stone.”

    The Conservative-dominated Rayleigh Town Council is also against the proposals, saying western Rayleigh has taken more than its fair share of housing already. John Dawson, vice-president of the Louis Drive Residents’ Asso-ciation, in western Rayleigh, said: “We have a meeting shortly and I am virtually certain we will be opposing this strongly.”

    But Shaun Scrutton, the district council’s head of planning, said: “There seems to be a rumour going around that district councillors have decided exactly where all the housing is going, but this is not true.”

  6. 6
    Chris Black:

    Oz, if everyone was as interested in local affairs as yourself , we’d have a better district – and a better council. Colin, I’m grateful to you for spelling out what the council has done.

    Speaking personally, I believe the District Council lost its way when it ended having the area committee meetings in different parts of the district – including different parts of Rayleigh.
    We had some great meetings in the Mill Hall, at Rawreth Village Hall, at Hawkwell Village Hall, where lots of residents turned up, the core strategy was ofte discussed and even if they didn’t always like what they were told, they were kept informed.
    If there were still area committees , we wouldn’t have the this situation where so many people are just waking up to things.

  7. 7
    Christine Paine:

    So, under the weight of massive objection the original 1800 was cut to 550. But if you add to that number those going on the Bellway Homes development, whatever is going to happen at the Sports Club site, plus Rawreth Lane Industrial Estate, it is clear that this end of the District is being completely overdeveloped with no comparative improvement in infrastructure or services. The District Council have to address these issues properly and recognise and respond to the concern of residents. People in this area bought properties here because it offered a certain life-style, they didn’t want to be part of a big over developed urban sprawl. They certainly didn’t want to see prime agricultural land being grabbed for housing when brownfield sites were available, and certainly not at a time of rising food prices when we, as a country, need to produce as much food as we can.

    I know housing and the need for it is a big political topic, however, when is someone going to turn the equation round. The problem is not that there isn’t enough housing, it is that there are too many people. Our population has soared in the last decade. Rather than keep building and building until we have nothing but concrete everywhere we need to address the population issue. We’re a small island, we have finite borders, recognise that fact and act accordingly.

    We have a population density of 673 people per square mile, that is more than Pakistan, Germany, North Korea, in fact in a list of some 240 cuntries we rank 51st on density (2011 census figures), and much of this is due to the unlimited immigration policy so beloved of some politicans.

    OK, at a purely local level we can do nothing about the national problem, but we can fight to keep what we have, and rather than grab greenbelt and just build and build our District Council should be fighting for us and telling central government we can’t take this level of development.

    Sorry, bit of a rant there, but it is something I feel strongly about.

  8. 8

    I firstly posted this under ” A Traveller Site on London Road? It’s Not Going To Happen! but I now feel it would be more appropriate under this heading.

    Greenbelt: July 29th, 2013

    I was at this meeting and it was clearly stated that an action group was to be set up, which indeed it has. However, I clearly remember the speakers, Linda Kendall and Patricia ??? saying the action group would include the residents of Rayleigh, Rawreth and Hullbridge. A resident from Hullbridge even sat on the stage and addressed the packed hall of residents in attendance. I left the meeting clear in my mind that the action group would be called THE RAYLEIGH, RAWRETH AND HULLBRIGE ACTION GROUP but it now seems that although the support of these two other parishes is being sought, are we not worthy of being included in the title?. A longer title may not fit the need for a stupid acronym (RAG) but is one really necessary anyway. I am purely a resident of Rawreth, not a councillor or someone with influence, but I having lived in Rawreth Lane for 30 years I know exactly how the RD Council manipulate planning and developement. I’ve seen it all before, hence I keep myself well informed and have been well aware of this development proposal since it was first raised seven years ago.
    There is no excuse for those in the London Road area not knowing what has been going on as nothing has been hidden as is being suggested.
    Not only have I been aware of all the proposals, I have formally opposed the greenbelt and infrastructure proposals in the RDC Local Development Framework on both occasions before and after the government inspectors official scrutiny of the full LDF document. I was also called by the inspector to the hearing to explain to her my reasons why the lack of improvements to road infrastructure in the District was unsound due to no full road traffic assessment being produced.
    I think the formation of an action group will certainly help the cause but I am not convinced that I can agree with each and every point that has been raised so far. I need to give this some careful thought before I sign the action groups petition.
    So Linda Kendall and Patricia, if you have read this, I would like to hear your comments.

  9. 9
    bruce smart:

    A word of thanks to all those who fought against the original plan and had the number of new homes reduced. The fight has moved on now. Effort should be focussed on the community facilities that will be provided. The plan just uses that term with no indication of what a community facility might be. I am pleased to say that Rayleigh Town Council has committed itself to asking for a new doctors surgery to be included. With 550 homes that is a potential 1,000 plus new residents for already over stretched surgeries. Add this to the increased demands due to an ageing population and hopefully everyone will support this aim.

  10. 10
    Gavin Warner (resident):

    Clearly their has been some communication since 2006 on this development, but its also clear that RDC have failed to engage its residents effectively over this matter. I noticed about that you have a mailing list of people that emails and letters go out to it would be interesting to know what % of the RCD population are on that list. Not something I was even aware of.

    I guess the one positive you have out of this you have certain woke your residents/tax payers/voters up to what the council are doing and proposing in the area, but you really need to embrace some new methods of engagement. An action group on this matter has managed to engage approximately 2,000 members in 2 weeks and have raised awareness to approximately 10,000 house holds in the Rayleigh area. I would say based on the feedback I have seen from people in Rayleigh that this has been far more successful than the communication and awareness of your proposal.

    In terms of the proposal the biggest concerns are (not an exhaustive list)


    The lack of infrastructure changes to accommodate the increase in population, leading to a shortage in doctors, schooling and local amenities.

    Greater congestion the roads in and out of Rayleigh and surrounding areas

    Putting additional strain on the emergency services that cover the Rayleigh area

    The negative impact on housing prices a travelers site will have

    The environmental risk of flooding due to the reduction of natural drainage and increased air/noise pollution

    Communication through the Evening Echo are one sided stories and do not reflect a balanced view


    The wards in the respective areas have not engaged their communities about this change as they knew it would face opposition if they did, but that comes with the job. They need to be out and about meeting with the people in the community. If that cant do that then they need to stand down and let someone else who will. Those people need to be passionate about there town like many of the people I have spoken to in recent weeks.

  11. 11
    Mrs Beaney:

    Communication only works if it can be followed through. I for one, have not received a single local paper since January of this year. Let alone the Rochford Matters!
    Like so many others, we moved here to escape the over crowded schools and over populated housing in search of a semi rural environment to raise our children in.
    Alas, we feel certain councillors just see £ signs as they undoubtedly will lose their position in the next round of elections. Given they live in the proximity, money can be the only reward for them.
    The only people who pay the true price are the homeowners as we will all lose out when we try to sell up and move away (again).
    We are supposed to live in democracy, yet the people’s voice, who puts them in power, is neither heard nor listened to.

  12. 12
    Cllr Colin Seagers:

    Had the Members of RDC said no to any more houses or less than that now planned, and thus had no Adopted Core Strategy in place nor be able to demonstrate a five year rolling supply of development land, you would have suffered potentially tens of thousands MORE on any pieces of prime green belt chosen by developers and given virtually automatic approval on appeal under the previous Labour Government’s then existing and still current planning law, even if RDC Members refused the planning permission applications. I and other RDC Conservative Members have frequently reminded MPs that they should update planning law to make it more sensible, but all Westminster MPs have had so much greater priorities to address such as legalising Gay Marriage and enabling an EU Referendum as soon as 2017 – oh sorry that last is still only a conditional promise I believe.

    As to having available brown field sites, these are virtually non-existent in RDC now and would not provide sufficient land to satisfy the Core Strategy requirements for it to have obtained approval.

    Also to make quite clear, a proposal for 1800 homes in Rayleigh was never supported by RDC Members – it was an initial proposal suggested by RDC Planning Officers that was rejected by the Conservative Member majority, not just Chris Black and the Lib-Dems. You should note that those homes required to satisfy law were shared around the whole District, thus neither Rayleigh nor Hullbridge is being picked upon.

    If you still consider few or no homes should be built anywhere then please suggest to MPs how they and we in local authorities, across the South East particularly, should select which of our children and grandchildren should remain homeless in the future, but I do not think such a policy would win elections!

  13. 13
    Cynical, me!:

    So the Localism Act isn’t worth the paper it’s written on, so full of “get-out” clauses as to be utterly worthless.

  14. 14
    Christine Paine:

    Cllr Seagers – There are several things I would do.

    1. Withdraw from the EU Convention on Human Rights and replace it with our own Bill of Rights. No reason for this not to work, it works fine in Australia, New Zealand, America and others. This would allow us to deport those we wish to without years dragging through courts.

    2. Impose a complete moratrium on immigration of between 5 and 10 years. In this time identify and deport all illegal immigrants. Tell all legal immigrants they have to apply for permission to remain. Any on benefits, permission denied immediately. Those working, only allowed to stay if their employer can prove that after intensive and exhaustive searching and interviewing there is not one single unemployed British person who can do the job. Those who fail to get permission – sent home immediately. Those allowed to stay – position reviewed every 12 months. Make this policy part of our renegotiation with the EU and accept nothing less.

    3. All Local Authorities to be forced to identify and bring back into use evey vacant and derelict property in their area – use compulsory purchase powers if necessary. If they have city centre office blocks empty for 2 years or more, convert them to flats – if you look in Wickford the offices over what was Halifax BS have been turned into very nice flats – again compulsorily purchase the properties if necessary.

    4. This will do several things – create jobs both in processing immigrants legal and otherwise, border patrols, housing officers identifying properties etc. It will also reduce the population. Lower unemployment and a cut in benefits to immigrants will increase tax revenue and reduce benefit bills, which will help to pay for the extra staff

    5. At the end of this period reassess our housing needs and where plans are put forward for developments make it a planning condition that it has to be completely 100% clear on the effect on local infrastucture, what the developer plans to do about this, what services like Doctor, school, open space, shops, are to be provided and only pass it if it is clear that the development can be absorbed into the local community quickly and easily without negstive impact.

    6. At the end of the moratorium only allow in those immigrants who will benefit this country. America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and many others already operate this rule, why should we be different?

    Now I know that as a “professional” politican you are going to pick no end of holes in this, but there is no reason why at least some of it should’t work. We need breathing space, for a whole variety of reasons the whole country is running to keep up, we need a plan that makes us proactive not reactive and also preserves the very nature of the Country as a whole.

  15. 15
    Adam Priest:

    It astounds me that RDC did ‘ever so much’ to communicate these proposals to the general public and yet our polls show that over 97% were unaware prior to July 2013. Can they all be lazy, suffer apathy, accidentally thrown out the leaflet? I don’t think so.
    Houses need to built, but not to the excessive numbers being currently touted – and certainly not without the correct infrastructure to support (and, no, RDC – 1 primary school doesn’t cut it.)
    The RDC has upset a huge number of residents with their lack of contact and general disregard for the people that elected them – and for whom RDC are supposed to work for and represent. Be warned that this will be reflected come May.
    RAG is growing rapidly – over 2,000 active members in under 2 weeks. We are not a couple of rent-a-yobs but a group of equally angry, upset and dissatisfied residents led by a committee of 6 people of varying professional backgrounds.
    We will be sure to bring a professional case to the inspectors to highlight the inefficiencies in this RDC proposal.
    We aren’t saying no to progress. We are saying no to unfair distribution of the new houses. We are saying no to a loss if our greenbelt when there are valid brownfield sites available. We are saying no.

  16. 16
    Report by the Leader of Rochford District Council | The Rochford Independent:

    […] Colin Seagers wrote on the Lib Dem Web Site – Comment 12 […]

  17. 17
    Gavin Warner:

    Why are these houses being built here when there are no additional jobs in this area. Build them in Tilbury as there is a massive port with thousands of jobs. Or is that too much like common sense?

  18. 18
    Christine Paine:

    Nice idea Gavin, but as Tilbury isn’t in Rochford District Council area any houses there wouldn’t count towards the Rochford allocation quotas.

  19. 19
    Cllr Colin Seagers:

    Cllr John Mason/Rochford ’Independent’??? and Admin/Cllr Ron Oatham?

    You may not remember that I attended that Planning Policy SUB-COMMITTEE meeting on 23rd March 2007 as one of the two non-voting Visiting Members choosing to observe, along with Cllr Mrs Heather Glynn.
    My recollection is that RDC Planning Policy including that contentious ‘1800’ suggestion had been driven largely by Officer Andrew Meddle right up to that Sub-committee meeting, immediately after which he left RDC to join another authority.
    However, since when did a recommendation from a SUB-COMMITTEE totalling just seven Members attending dictate the view of the very large Conservative Majority Group (among 39 RDC Members in all)?
    The Sub-committee’s recommendation WAS turned down by the CONSERVATIVE MAJORITY, as previously stated, when the recommendation was subsequently put before them. How else could it have been voted down, since all the opposition parties combined formed but a rather small fraction of the 39 RDC Members in 2006/7. The Officers’ suggestion of 1800 houses to be allocated in Rayleigh was scuppered by the mass of CONSERVATIVES VOTING AGAINST.

    Adam Priest & Ors

    I would dearly like you to convey some key pieces of information to everyone:
    • Identify what practicable and affordable means not already utilised by RDC by which it could communicate its factually correct information to those that apparently will not see/read and/or will not hear/listen any of it, who are currently mislead by mischievous and malevolent RAG bunkum.
    • Identify the deliverable ‘brown field sites’ suitable for housing that are claimed to exist still in the Rochford District, stating the location and area of each and the potential housing numbers (working on an upper limit of say 30 per hectare for houses or 60/80 if suggesting multi-storey flats).
    • Explain how spreading housing allocations across much of the District is ‘unfair’ only to Rayleigh residents.

    Christine Paine

    Whilst there are some matters you mention which would possibly figure on many ‘King/Dictator for a Day’ wish lists, elected RDC Members must deal with the existing laws e.g. you accept they must comply with housing quotas, and can act only within their rather limited powers.

    It is sad but true that for its own narrow political purposes the Labour Party opened the UK borders to uncontrolled immigration without considering the extra demands placed on housing, education, healthcare and other infrastructure, whist the judiciary has lost touch with reality and the needs of the population in its extreme interpretations of the infamous Human Rights Act.

  20. 20
    Temple Way Resident:

    Why has nothing been done yet about the illegal Travellers site on the A1245 near the junction with Rawreth Lane? Apathy of the local Council and lack of Enforcement action to clear this site sets a precedent for other illegal sites to spring up.

  21. 21

    A very good question. The site does not have planning permission.

    We are advised by officers that it is very difficult to take any further enforcement action until the council has provided a legal site for travellers to use. That is the main reason for the council proposing having a council-owned and council-run site at the Michelins Farm / Fairglen.

  22. 22
    Brian Guyett:

    Christine, I agree with you about reversing the equation but, as indicated above, it seems it is not deemed a vote winner and will not happen (unless a major party political party adopts it as a ‘differentiator’).
    From personal experience, I would agree it is extremely hard to engage the public in these types of planning issues, at least until it affects them personally. I would have more sympathy for the council though if they hadn’t repeatedly mislead the public by misdescribing the areas affected (eg Raweth designated at North of Rayleigh). There was no good reason for this and it seems successfully designed to confuse.
    A number of references have also been made to infrasturucture concerns. These include highways issues, which seem to have been aggravated by the (revised) decision to scatter the 3,300 houses across about 13 sites. Consequently there are no economies of scale and it seems highly unlikely the District will get any significant road improvements for the foreseeable future. Somewhat bizzarely, the downside of not having at least one major development site , may adversely impact Rayleigh/Raweth the most as the ‘gateway’ to the District and thousands of extra cars transit the area through the bottle-neck.
    So what can be done about roads? It seems to me that the only viable option is a bypass (NOT that I am recommending it), something which Southend Conservatives are already canvassing for to alleviate Southend’s own problems. But how will a bypass be funded? Simple – more housing (and on a large scale). We really need a close look at this but RDC seem to be suppressing all highways assessments. Why?

  23. 23
    John Mason:

    @Councillor Colin Seagers

    To recap I have questioned your following posting on OnlineFOCUS;

    “Also to make quite clear, a proposal for 1800 homes in Rayleigh was never supported by RDC Members – it was an initial proposal suggested by RDC Planning Officers that was rejected by the Conservative Member majority, not just Chris Black and the Lib-Dems.”

    The 1800 in Rayleigh definitely went to a Public Consultation.

    I therefore interrogated the public CMIS System at the Council Web site to find exactly what happened in 2007.

    Looking at the two documents below I can see that 1800 for Rayleigh was approved for Public Consultation.

    Sub Committee


    Is it correct that the approval for the Consultation was given by 4 Conservative Councillors in Sub Committee and then by 8 Conservative Councillors in Committee?

    The Committee included Cllr C G Seagers.

    The Rochford Core Strategy Preferred Options (May 2007) was formally known as Regulation 26 Draft.

    The document is here;

    This was subject to Public Consultation during May, June and July 2007.

    At 4.6.10 of the Regulation 26 Draft appears a consultation proposal for 1800 in Rayleigh.

    “The Council will set out a policy allocating the total number of housing units to the top (90%) and second tier (10%) settlements, to gain a smaller number of large sites which will deliver the greatest amount of infrastructure improvements.The split (with approximate numbers) will be as follows:”

    Completions 2001-2006 900
    Rochford / Ashingdon 1000
    Hockley / Hawkwell 400
    Rayleigh 1800
    Smaller settlements 500
    TOTAL 4600″

    OnlineFOCUS on 23 September 2007  published a reference to a Report made to the LDF Sub Committee which, following the review of the Public Consultation conducted in May, June and July 2007, the 1800 in Rayleigh was eventually rejected by the new Sub Committee but having previously been rejected by residents having been through a Public Consultation.

  24. 24
    Cllr Colin Seagers:

    Ye Gods! How amazing!
    Cllr John Mason appears to be suggesting (contrary to his and many others’ previously voiced opinions!) that the CONSERVATIVE MAJORITY must have LISTENED and RESPONDED to consultation responses from residents before the CONSERVATIVES voted the proposal down, just as I stated.
    My PERSONAL opinion publicly expressed back then was, and to a large extent still is, that ‘Economic Geography 101′ diktats would perhaps rationally site a high proportion of development of all types in the South West of the District, to be closest to major roads (A127, M25, A130 & A13 especially) and rail communications, avoiding bottlenecks at the back of Southend and many of the District’s old and barely adequate roads. However, I do accept that there is a limit to that proportion, and that other conurbations elsewhere in the District must be provided with room to expand and house and employ their local indigenous population growth.

  25. 25
    Christine Paine:

    What it seems to come down to is “other conurbations elsewhere in the District must be provided with room to expand etc” whether they want to or not!

    May come under the “King for a Day Wish List” but roll on the day when every Councillor on every Council is completely independent, not bound to any party line, and they all work for the good of the community who elected them and actually listen to their wishes. So much in life would change.

  26. 26
    John Mason:

    @Christine Paine

    I am one of those independents. I have represented Hawkwell West under the Residents banner for 13 years. I listen to my community and work very hard to see their wishes fulfilled.

    This evening it was allegedy said and reported on FB “Apparently John Mason resigned the Conservative whip over it, according to XXXXX XXXXXXX.” (The Editor knows the content of XXXXX XXXXXXX and can add the name if wished.)

    That is not true. I have never been a Conservative Councillor and it is incorrect to say that I resigned the Conservative whip because I have never been subject to it !!

    If any resident would like a friendly mentor if they wish to stand as a Councillor, do contact me.

  27. 27
    Adam Priest:


    Your description of RAG is not only inaccurate, but shows your obvious nervousness. I wonder why? Is it because we are enlightening the people to the truth behind these proposals? I think so. We have seen several shoddy attempts at destabilizing our group this last week. I must thank you and your colleagues. It has helped unite our members even more and proven to be an excellent PR campaign FOR us.

    I notice in your reply, you avoided answering the point on supporting infrastructure. THAT is what makes the housing numbers excessive. Everything is relative. How can 550+ houses be built when, in Rayleigh, we already have traffic problems, a full schooling quota (as per Essex Council documentation), already a strain on doctors, dentists etc etc etc.

    You are planning to put more new housing into Rayleigh than any other Rochford district town, right? Does that therefore not make it an unfair distribution? You are also putting the whole of Rochford Districts Traveller allocation in to one site in Rayleigh. Is that not an unfair distribution? (Even though we have testament that a mixed Traveller site is NOT manageable.)

    The information coming out of RDC would be laughable if it wasnt such a serious issue. The leaflets that are being distributed currently by councillors Mockford and Mountain have a scandalous amount of holes and outdated information (but we have tried to assist by writing a correction in reply and posting to both councillors and our 3000+ members.)

    Let me also assist you with your obvious struggles – as requested. If you want to truly ensure the residents you represent are fully informed of proposals of this magnitude, why dont you reach out to them face-to-face. (AKA Door-to-door canvassing?) I can tell you, after the past 2 weeks personal experience of doing it, it is VERY useful to ensure your points are put across and to ensure you understand their worries. The simple FACT is that 97.8% of people we petitioned were unaware prior to July 2013. So YOU have therefore FAILED 97.8% of these people.

    The added sadness is that whenever the residents we speak with have tried to challenge the RDC about this, they are met with an aggressive, arrogant response. This from people who WE elected to represent US. (Well, once burnt and all that….)

    Oh, and i have purposely not listed the brownfield sites herwith. I would rather that they are saved for the objection report and the eyes of the inspector. (Im sure you will be advised 3rd hand.)

  28. 28
    Claire cleverley:

    Councillor, over 2,000 of the RAyleigh Action Group cannot be wrong! You certainly have NOT ensured that this core strategy was adequately brought to the attention of local residents!

  29. 29
    Jim Cripps:

    If your average Joe wants to build a Porch/Extention /whatever ,then his name/address/proposals have to be in the public domain on notices etc;.
    Why then is there a bar (for privacy reasons) on details of land ownership in the Rawreth/Rayleigh areas “proposed” for the development-
    Two sets of rules are there?.
    Never mind an Arab Spring we need a Rayleigh Spring………………

  30. 30
    Michael Buzza:

    My observation here is that there seems to be a significant disconnect between the councillors and the electorate on this issue. It’s clear that the council has not done enough to actively canvass opinion, otherwise we wouldn’t be in this position. It’s as simple as that. For all the derogatory comments from some councillors regarding RAG, perhaps they would do well to listen as given the rate of growing support for the newly formed group, one can clearly see they have the ear and support of the residents and local businesses.

  31. 31
    Jim Cripps:

    Re: Admin response post No 21 above:-

    Now let me make sure I understand this stated policy –
    We have had a 6 pitch Gypsy site for 11 years -which has been trouble free ( and free gratis because they own the land).
    We are now going to spend millions in set up costs and an ongoing yearly
    running cost (£?)so that we can accommodate an even greater number in
    You could’nt make it up .

  32. 32
    Tom McLovin:

    So it says here that Mark Francios doesn’t agree to building on green belt and understands when towns are lacking infrastructure…..he claims to be in touch with the people……

    This is a clear cut case. Residents have voted in the thousands in a matter of weeks, can you imagine how big that petition would be had it had been started months or years ago? I wonder if this is why plans like this get stealth mode activated because otherwise they know its not got a chance in hell of going through.

    When you look at these publications, it’s all done before elections, then WHAM… there goes your countryside people..

    Regarding the level of communication from RDC, I agree this falls way short of adequate and definitely not effective if 98% of the public are unaware pre July 13

    Echo »
    House plans criticised by MP

    Mr Francois has previously opposed attempts to build more than 1,000 homes on Radar Hill and wants to preserve the green belt.

    He claimed the town could not support the extra building, because it lacks the schools, medical and transport facilities needed to cope with a large number of new homes.

    He said: “I have fought a long-running campaign to help protect the town and its people from over-development, which these proposal represent.

    “The majority of the townsfolk do not want such massive schemes and neither do I.

    “I hope we can stop these so-called alternative proposals from being adopted so the quality of life for residents is not damaged by over-burdening the already limited infrastructure in the town.”

    MP raps plan for 300 new homes

    Mr Francois also raised his concerns about the amount of traffic and said the development was not in keeping with the area.

    He said: “I have received a number of letters and e-mails from my constituents who are opposed to this application. I, too, am concerned this represents overdevelopment in Hawkwell. There simply is not the infrastructure to cope with a development of this scale and I believe it is a bit like trying to ‘cram a quart into a pint pot’. I hope the inspector may yet decide to turn down the appeal.”

    Woodham: MP in plea over green belt homes

    Community leaders have welcomed calls by MP Mark Francois for a cut in the number of new homes planned for South Woodham Ferrers.

    If current proposals are agreed, up to 1,700 houses could be built on green belt land at Radar Hill over the next five years.

    Residents and councillors say the town simply does not have the infrastructure to cope.

    They are also angry that the number is about ten per cent of the entire new housing stock earmarked for the borough.

    The objections have forced a delay in the publication of the borough’s new Local Plan, but Chelmsford Borough Council is due to make a statement on its timescale later this week.

    In the House of Commons, Tory Mr Francois, whose Rayleigh constituency covers South Woodham, called on the Government to “trust the people”.

    He said they and councils should dictate their own housing policy to stop large developments being “crammed” into communities.

    Green belt campaigners’ plea to planning inquiry

    Mark Francois, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Rayleigh, added: “I don’t see why green belt should be violated in this way by a developer.”

  33. 33
    Jim Cripps:

    Cllr Colin Seagers post (No 3 above), 5th para
    includes a reference to a Rayleigh FAQ document being formulated………………..
    is that he same one launched on the RAG Facebook page on the 6th removed by the 7th
    when the false identity of the author was
    disclosed, lack of credibility there I think!!

  34. 34
    Christine Paine:

    Is the RAG group proposing to extend into other affected areas, in particular Rawreth. We also are affected by the 550 homes, the 200+ on Rawreth Lane Industrial Estate, Bellway Homes Development. I think most residents here would back the petition given a chance to do so.

  35. 35
    Cllr Colin Seagers:

    Adam Priest
    I suppose 97.8% of those allegedly petitioning might well have been unaware of some of the misinformation now promoted by RAG. However, given the requirement for RDC to provide a five year rolling supply of development land, RAG claiming to know ‘secret’ brown field sites that are either non-existent, unavailable or heavily insufficient to supply the required numbers of housing, would not have enabled the Core Strategy which has protected this District suffering many thousands MORE than currently proposed being built by predatory developers on any pieces of green belt land THEY chose, virtually automatically and ad infinitum on appeal.
    Identify those ‘brown field’ sites and demonstrate sufficient potential capacities to meet Core Strategy needs, or be laughed at.
    My £100 for the RDC Chairman’s Charity (a number of local ones benefit) against your £5 says you can’t name them.

  36. 36
    Cllr Colin Seagers:

    Why not post YOUR preferences as to where YOU think the Core Strategy numbers of new houses should be allocated if different and why? Note that fewer than it requires in total is most definitely not an option under the law – unless you really prefer to risk having possibly a doubling of the District’s existing housing stock!
    Perhaps we will see where the NIMBYs are.

  37. 37
    Christine Paine:

    Nice to see that Cllr Seagers values the voters of this district so much that he is prepared to alienate even more of us by name calling. I sincerely hope he isn’t expecting to keep his seat next time round.

    Not wanting to see an area ruined, congested, grid-locked, with people unable to get school places, an NHS dentist, an urgent doctor’s appointment isn’t being a NIMBY, it’s called caring about the place you live. If he and the rest of the Council had the same view then maybe the allocation would be less, maybe central Government would have been fought over it, maybe our MP would have been galvanised into action by the Council themselves.

  38. 38
    Adam Priest:

    Colin Seagers:

    As advised previously, we will be disclosing our findings, and alternate options, directly to the inspector as part of our objection documentation. Having consulted with professionals from both planning and legal on this we are confident in our figures.I have no need to show my hand to you any earlier and am certainly not naive enough to do so.

    I think you will struggle for Rayleigh/Rawreth support if your argument is that by putting these excessive numbers of development in Rayleigh/Rawreth you have reduced number for the district as a whole. Thats not a satisfactory argument for those living in Rayleigh/Rawreth and actually is a case of NIMBY from RDC councillors hailing from the other Rochford District towns!

    Christine Paine:
    We do indeed include Rawreth in our proposal objection. (We have several rawreth-based members from what i understand.

  39. 39
    Paul Dulieu:

    The most staggering thing from all of the above is that Councillor Seagers and the majority of his council colleagues cannot, nor will not, believe that a significant proportion of people in Rayleigh were not aware of these plans pre July 2013.

    It may not be a MORI or YOUGUV poll, but the survey undertaken by RAG speaks volumes.

    RDC was quick enough to put the PR wheels in motion once a ground swell of public opinion started rattling RDC with the unchallenging one sided Q&A in the Echo defending the proposed development. However, other than trying to belittle and discredit the hard work of RAG (a community backed efforts – surely the Conservative PM’s Big Society in action if ever their was) RDC seems unprepared to deal with the genuine and real concerns of the people of Rayleigh, instead hiding firmly behind “legislation” and the application of guilt e.g. if we don’t build these houses, our grand children will be homeless, which is total tripe.

    The concerns of the people of Rayleigh are real and, in many instances wholly resolvable. However, one suspects that the building of this site would look far less appealing to a contractor if it required the building of further infrastructure and/or contributions to upgrade existing infrastructure. It would also look far less appealing to the likes of Councillor Seagers if the travellers site was planned for a field on New Road, Great Wakering. Not that I am suspecting for one minute that he is a NIMBY.

  40. 40
    mark thomas:

    Dear Mr Segers
    Instead of calling people NUMBYs and betting your £100, why not stand up in front of the electorate and justify yourself.

    I await your time and place

  41. 41
    Michael Buzza:

    Cllr Seagers
    There are two issues here. This first being the 97.8% of people that were unnaware. Then, the second issue of what can feasibly be changed to accomodate the housing needs and traveller sites on a basis that is proportionate with the entire district. Apparently there are windfall and brownfield sites available which I understand will be detailed in the submission to the inspector shortly.

    I think overall, for all the positioning and claims of misinformation, we should let the inspector take a balanced view of the situation and move on from there. Anything else is pure positioning. The stance that people will be laughed at is suprising. These are concerned residents that are in the process of gaining transparency on fundamantal issues that will affect them. To reduce this to a ‘wild west’ wager belies your current position.

  42. 42
    Adam Priest:

    Colin seagers,

    As an aside to this – and in the spirit of NIMBY – can i ask the numbers of proposed new houses that are scheduled for Great Wakering, or if there as any proposal or even consideration to use any of the land behind your own house?

  43. 43
    Mike Bolton:

    Cllr Seagers in one of your earlier posts on this thread you ask for recomendations as to ‘Identify what practicable and affordable means not already utilised by RDC by which it could communicate its factually correct information to those that apparently will not see/read and/or will not hear/listen any of it, who are currently mislead by mischievous and malevolent RAG bunkum’.
    My suggestions would be that a simple letter outlining the salient points to every resident o the areas affected, addressed to ‘The Occupier’, and delivered in an official RDC evenlope, as I feel this would have garnered a lot more attention from the said resident than the Rochford Matters magazine.
    Another suggestion is that highlighting on the front cover of Rochford Matters (delivered to every resident) that there was some very important information contained within that required people to read, digest and potentially respond. I cannot confirm that this wan’t done, so will happily apologise if you can prove that it was.
    I personally was not aware of any of the plans until I recieved a leaflet through my door, and I am one of the people that does read Rochford Matters when I get it. However I do admit that I wouldn’t expect a free preiodical delivery to be the forum for such information to be offered to me.

  44. 44
    Jim Cripps:

    FAO – Mr Adam Priest , re: Cllr Seagers obvious nervousness at the content of the Objection being submitted to the Inspector.
    Keep your powder dry , don’t fall for it – I don’t think the Council have any idea of the mountain of data that has come forward in just 3 weeks.
    Oh and he did’nt answer my No 33 above either……………?.
    PS: FAO Christine Paine (post No 34)
    please bring all of Rawreth with you to the Mill Hall tomorrow evening -more than wwelcome.

  45. 45

    I know a lot of people are disagreeing with Cllr Seagers. However can we avoid personalising this ? (there’s one comment I’ve decided not to publish)

    At the very least he deserves respect for coming on here and engaging with people when he knows he’s going to get a lot of criticism- not many councillors are willing to do that.

  46. 46
    mark thomas:

    Dear admin

    Councillors are answerable to the electorate. I take it as an insult at being called a NIMBY.And if the councillors is going to wager £100 of charity money, then he should expect personal comment.

  47. 47
    Michael Buzza:

    Mike Bolton. Well said. I totally agree.

  48. 48
    Mike Bolton:

    I would like to apologise for the very poor spelling in my previous post, this is what happens when using a smart phone and not a proper keyboard. And I agree with Admin, I have respect for Cllr Seagers for even engaging in discussion on this forum and trying to give the councils point of view and perspective on this issue, whether I agree or not.

  49. 49
    Toby Mountain:

    Hi Chris

    I thought your readers may be interested in this reply I received from RDC planning department following a recent enquiry:

    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 but neither the Inspector nor Basildon Council can insist that this Council allocate a different site to the one Rochford District Council current propose.

    A change as significant as an alternative site for allocation would be a decision that could only be made by Rochford District Council, and only through Full Council (i.e. all of Rochford District’s Councillors would have a vote on such a decision). The Council has made clear that it does not support a Gypsy and Traveller site on London Road.

    With regards to Rawreth Industrial Estate and the proposed change in allocation of land, please note that the allocation of land does not grant planning permission, nor does it remove existing planning consents. The allocation of land will form part of the development plan for the area. This is relevant as planning applications are required to be made in accordance with the development plan unless other material conditions indicate otherwise (Section 38 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004). As such, the allocation of land will not affect existing planning permissions, but it will affect how the Council determine future planning applications.

    Rawreth Industrial Estate was allocated in the previous District plans in 2006 for employment use. This meant that the Council would only support development of the site if it was business, general industrial or storage/distribution use. However, an Employment Land Study in 2008 described Rawreth Industrial Estate as having “good quality buildings but poor internal access”. The study acknowledged that “the site has particular environmental issues”. and recommended that “The Council consider allowing a reallocation of this site to housing provided that the requisite industrial employment land is provided elsewhere, preferably on a portion of the green belt land West of Rayleigh” .

    Given all of these issues, and the need for the Council to identify land for housing, it was felt appropriate that the Council’s policy should be changed to allow for the industrial estate to be redeveloped for housing, and a new employment site be developed to the west. The Council do not expect that any redevelopment of the site for housing will take place in the short-term.

    I must stress however that the Allocations Document does not force landowners to redevelop their land, nor does it change the ownership / swap ownership of land, nor will it uproot any businesses – it simply states what the Council would consider appropriate if planning applications to redevelop the estate were to be made.

    In respect of the issue of the description of the land, for the purposes of planning, brownfield land is defined as “Land which is or was occupied by a permanent structure, including the curtilage of the developed land…and any associated fixed surface infrastructure”

  50. 50
    Cllr Colin Seagers:

    To answer a few of the many comments that are so wide of the mark:

    Firstly I am offering to donate to the Chairman’s Charity £100 if I am wrong, whereas if Adam Priest accepts the wager and is wrong and cannot justify his statements about brown field sites he only has to donate £5. I was NOT betting any monies belonging to the Charity!!! So shall I double the odds, yes I will I am that confident, so my £200 to Adam Priest’s £5 donation. local charities will benefit either way.

    Yes, there are houses coming to Great Wakering under the Core Strategy, which I previously provided links to for you to read, but no I do not expect to see housing developed on the flood zone behind my house, for fairly obvious reasons.

    No, I called no-one a NIMBY, but perhaps they would identify where they are concentrated when saying where no development should take place!

    Does everyone realise that in order to place a contrary comment on the RAG website you would first have to sign up to their petition! Talk about rigging the result!

    Post #33 I have absolutely no idea what you are on about, as you can see I post everything under my true name.

    Post 43# There are costs to that, what services would you cut to pay for that?

    Post #44 Not nervous in the slightest, merely calling the RAG bluff and bluster. You can keep looking for the brown field sites but you will not find sufficient, as I am sure Admin/Chris Black could testify. Would LOL be appropriate?

  51. 51
    Chris Black:

    Colin Seagers- To answer your question about Brownfield sites – I would have left the entire green rectangle between Rawreth Lane and London Road alone and used the Brownfield sites on the A1245 where there are currently garages and nurseries. It would have given a focus to the centre of Rawreth Parish and rail commuters from there would have used Battlesbridge Station rather than Rayleigh. There wouldn’t have been room for 550 but it would have taken a fair number. The District Council didn’t need to plan for such a long period ahead, with so many houses it could have used a shorter time period and then seen what sites became available in the meantime – such as eoN and even the prison site in Hockley.

  52. 52
    Jim Cripps:

    To clarify No 33 for you –
    Your post 3 mentioned that you were formulating a Rayleigh bias FAQ document -correct?.
    A document fitting that description was posted (by someone? with access to it )
    on the 6th then withdrawn 7th when the bogus
    Facebooker was exposed – that is also true.
    The question was – was it the RDC document or not, I have a copy if you wish to verify it or not!!!.

  53. 53
    Mike Bolton:

    Cllr Seagers, yes I agree there would be cost to the letter option, but not so high as to be unsuitable as a means of communication. I assume from your rather short response that the budget tolerances with in RDC are such that there is no flexibility to cater for any unforeseen circumstances / special cases?
    My second suggestion wouldn’t have incurred any costs though as you as a council choose to produce Rochford Matters so it is therefore I assume already budgeted for? Changing the words that appear on the cover wouldn’t have cost a penny. Then again to cater for my first suggestion I could also suggest cutting the production of Rochford Matters and using the money saved to produce the letters I suggested. After all if anything has been learnt from this it’s that apparently no one reads Rochford Matters to the detail that you as a council hoped they would, otherwise we would all have known about the proposed plans. Therefore I’d also suggest that the magazine isn’t fit for purpose and should be stopped and the money saved. Or isn’t the purpose of Rochford Matters a way of conveying important local information?

  54. 54
    Cllr Colin Seagers:

    Chris Black

    The areas on the A1245 that you refer to are not Brownfield land, they are green belt, and
    Essex County Council Highways refused access onto the A1245 for a development there.

    The National Planning Regulations require that we expand the urban envelope only of those settlements that already have some infrastructure to help support growth such as shops etc. Rawreth village has none. As recalled, the proposal put forward by Rawreth Parish Council was for up to two hundred new homes there, but even if that was possible there would still be a need for 350 on the land North of London Road.

    Chris, I know it is a complex subject and some details may have slipped your memory over the passage of time, but you were on the Planning Sub-committee as was and would have been perfectly aware of all these facts at the time.

    To have had a stand alone settlement the national guidelines at the time was for a minimum of 8000 new homes, more than twice what we need across the entire Rochford District. Clearly that would be a non starter, unless of course you want to join up with Wickford! It perhaps could be arranged for you in the long term, but I very much doubt it would be a popular choice across the District let alone with the residents in and around Rawreth and Rayleigh!

  55. 55
    Michael Buzza:

    Chris, these are some of the sites the residents are talking about. Regarding the strategy, I totally agree. While a seven year plan gives certainty it doesn’t optimise sites that become available during that time. Therefore the strategy isnt a near real time view as it becomes out of date in year one. This really needs rethinking. A rolling plan with annual check points would be significantly more beneficial for all.

  56. 56
    John Mason:

    At 23.15 last night Councillor Hudson sent me and other opposition councillors the following link without comment except for an email title “Interesting Statistics”.

    From the Press I received the following excerpt.

    Births pushing up population

    The ONS has said that more babies were born in the UK in 2011-12 than any year since 1972. In all, 813,200 UK births were recorded in the year, helping the UK’s population to grow by 419,900 to 63.7m between June 2011 and June 2012. The ONS said there were 254,400 more births than deaths and 165,000 more people came to the UK rather than leaving. The UK remains the third-most populous EU member state, behind Germany and France. France’s population grew by 319,100 to 65,480,500 over the same period while Germany’s went up by 166,200 to 80,399,300. The mid-2012 populations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are now estimated to have been 53.5m, 5.3m, 3.1m, and 1.8m respectively.

    Financial Times, Page: 2 The Guardian, Page: 6

    Any Comments?

    My view remains that we need to cut out all the house building that represents housing market growth that is greater than our local needs.

    Do we know in Rochford District the statistics for births, deaths and those moving in and out of the District?

    Or could we be making a provision for new houses beyond our local needs that are required by the Thames Gateway South East as a whole?

    This was proposal was forward by me and Green Councillor Michael Hoy in July 2010. It was not adopted by Rochford District Council.

    Residents realise from the past that this sort of so called economic growth does not benefit our district and leaves us with growing district wide infrastructural problems that are never solved.

  57. 57
    Cllr Colin Seagers:

    For those that don’t think the UK needs any more houses, the following link to the BBC news website will explain why we do.

  58. 58

    I was not going to get involved in this frenetic debate but there are several points on both sides that need clarification .
    The site that is referred to in Rawreth is not technically “brown field” but is a previously used site .Anyone who knows the site should be aware that it is a disused nursery which is 90% concrete and greenhouses.It can never be described as a benefit to the green belt and could never return to green fields.The three properties opposite are either operational as garages or disused ,although there are two domestic premises attached . It is not beyond the wit of man to devise a road junction to alleviate any perceived engineering problems which with imagination could also improve the Rawreth Lane junction as well .But of course we are talking about ECC Highways !
    There probably is room for more than 200 houses as there are two adjoining areas which at one point were considered for putting forward for sites .
    Two other areas of Rayleigh were also put forward for developement ,the site of the old nursery near the Weir which now admit tingly has reverted to scrub was well placed for communication .The site of Wyevale Garden Centre and the Disused nursery behind was also promoted but rejected . I also fail to see why areas of Great Wheatleys Farm in the South East corner which are only a few 100 yards from the High Road and the High Street also in walking distance of the Station were not seriously considered, nothing to do with with residents I am sure! There are small ares on the western fringes which could have taken a number of houses namely at the junction of little Wheatleys and London Road .
    The criminal use of good agricultural land is something that cannot be reversed .How Hall Road was approved was beyond me ,it is grade one land according to government guidelines should never be developed .I am afraid developers do not like sites which may have issues but prefer to bulldoze virgin land ,more profit .
    Rawreth will incorporate large numbers of houses bordering Hullbridge and Rayleigh ,neither will be looking to be part of our community ,whereas our scheme may have invigorated and cemented new householders into the heart of Rawreth .Sorry but we are so disappointed by RDC s lack of imagination ,the very fact of new housing would have provided new facilities . A comparison would show that the Rawreth site has in fact comparable advantages with the preferred sites .
    We have been actively involved from the beginning of the process ,leafleting all the parish as well as parts of Rawreth Lane and Downhall outside our Parish .We held two informal consultations at Rayleigh Leisure Centre as well as continual updates in the Parish Magazine which all households recieve .History looks as though it will repeat itself as Rayleigh swallowed up the old Parish Council in the thirties we are in danger of withering on the fringes again ,perhaps Cllr Seagers you are right our future may be better served by joining Chelmsford City Council ,perish the thought !
    There are things I do not agree with RAG about ,such as the stance on Traveller Camps , but I also agree with some of their points ,I wish them luck but I fear it may be too little too late the warnings and the opportunity were there several years ago if you did not read the press or Rochford Matters then need I say More .

  59. 59
    mark thomas:

    Dear Mr Seagars
    You state that Rawreth village has no facilities, which is correct, but part of the proposed new development is in Rawreth.

  60. 60
    Christine Paine:

    Cllr Seagers – could you please explain to me, in layman’s terms, why the housses currenty being built on the old e-On site do not count towards those required by the allocation? In simple terms, Rochford has to provide X number of new houses, a sizeable development is taking shape there of new houses, so why don’t they count.

    Secondly, the A1245 site, yes, it is greenbelt, but greenbelt that is already built on, unlike the prime agricultural land you want to grab and cover in concrete. As for no shops, a development there may in fact encourage Tesco or Sainsbury to put in a local shop, that ould benefit people other than just the new development. I don’t see how you can say you can’t build there it is greenbelt, when you are proposing to do exactly the same thing in a different place.

  61. 61
    Adam Priest:

    To be clear, the petition on our website gives the option of FOR or AGAINST. So am unclear how that would ‘rig the vote’ Colin? Please do not judge RAG by the dictatorship methods of RDC. We DO offer people a choice. (Or was it another case of lack of attention to detail perhaps upon reading the website??) Perhaps one piece of advice i could offer would be to ensure your facts are correct before making sweeping statements?

    Im so amused that, despite your lack of nervousness about RAG, you seem very quick to try and undermine us – albeit with incorrect assumptions.

    Again, i will not accept your wager simply as i would prefer the 1st reading of our findings to be the inspector.

    But i must say, I think its extrememly good that you will ensure there is no building on the flood-risk land of Great Wakering. Its just a shame that same care and attention couldnt have been extended to the flood risk areas of Rayleigh and Rawreth that are to be built on (another case of NIMBY perhaps?)

  62. 62
    Paul Dulieu:

    Cllr Seagars, as jolly useful as the BBC birth rate statistics must appear to you, it does somewhat question the logic in the proposed development only providing one junior/infant school. You are probably aware that small children grow into bigger children and need senior schools. The addition of 700 properties to the Rayleigh/Rawreth area will, without a doubt, pressure on senior school places in the area. As I have previously posted (but you chose to ignore), the residents of Rayleigh and Rawreth think about these things and it bothers them. A great deal. Meanwhile, as long as RDC fulfils its quote, it doesn’t matter about the mess you create as you’ll all be off to pasture by the time the chaos ensues.

    Seeing as you like statistics. I thought I’d share these with you. In 2012 there were 710,000 empty homes in England with a third of these empty long term. By RDC’s own admission, there were 417 long term empty properties in the district in 2008 (presumably everyone has been too busy trying to build new homes to re calculate this figure during the last 5 years) and RDC says on its website that it is/was “researching to determine why such properties remain empty in order to determine the most practicable way to bring them back into use.” Add in to the mix empty commercial properties which, with changes to usage and a little gumption, could also be converted for residential use, and the “we need to build loads of homes because the population is growing” and “if we don’t build homes, our children and grand children will be homeless” scaremongering start to lose their impact as there are alternatives.

  63. 63
    Jim Cripps:

    just to add weight to the lack of detailed consultation, we are now receiving letters from businesses on the Rawreth Ind Estae (Makro area) – seems they did’t know they were going to be ‘relocated’ either. Not best pleased after 30-40 years of toil and investment .
    I’ve thought of a new informative magazine it ‘s called –
    ROCHFORD Matters – RAYLEIGH does’nt………………

  64. 64
    Jason Richer:

    So someone at the top messes up with uncontrolled immigration and a lack of border control and the whole country has to pay for it in the form of ever decreasing green spaces. The schools in Rayleigh are already struggling to cope with the current years intake, quite how one primary school is going to solve all these problems I would be very keen to hear.

    I used to live in Ilford and moved out because of the development there. I do not want to see Rayleigh or its surrounding areas go the same way.

    When the last blade of grass, the last tree and the last green space has been concreted over perhaps then the powers that be will realise that you cannot eat money.

  65. 65
    Paul Dulieu:

    With reference to Mr Guyett’s point (#22) above, I think some sort of bye-pass opening up the North and the East of the district would be a splendid idea, especially as there are a heck of a lot more fields over that way to build on and it would reduce congestion to the west!

    As to concerns that the land to the east of the district is flood plane, fear not. Man has successfully drained and managed fenland and flood plane for many centuries. Further more, think of all the jobs it would create!

    So a multi-pronged whammy (if such a thing exists!): lots of jobs and houses for our children and grand children and a reduction on conjestion. Everyone is a winner!

    Oh! What’s that residents of the North and East of the District? Not keen? No, I didn’t think you would be. Maybe you should just have the “travellers” site then as they don’t seem to travel much nowadays and, by all accounts, the sort of site being proposed shouldn’t see any trouble at all!

  66. 66
    Cllr Colin Seagers:

    Councillor Mason
    Re your comment #56

    …”My view remains that we need to cut out all the house building that represents housing market growth that is greater than our local needs.”
    You know full well that is definitely NOT an acceptable option. As I and other RDC Members have oft stated to you previously, if we had not now the RDC Adopted Core Strategy in place, which has fulfilled merely the MINIMUM requirements that Planning Law imposed on this District, then you also know that otherwise we would then as a District be open to TOTALLY UNCONTROLLED and UNLIMITED DEVELOPMENT on any or all Green Belt of THEIR CHOICE when predatory developers took their refused applications to appeal. That happens to other Districts across the country without such an Adopted Core Strategy in place, and may well do so soon in ones quite near by.
    I now invite you to reconsider and re-state your policy statement/strategy, or do you really have a hidden agenda to deposit THOUSANDS MORE HOMES and other development on RDC green belt, and MUCH MORE IMMEDIATELY TOO, than is proposed on less than 1% over the longer term by our current RDC Adopted Core Strategy?

  67. 67
    John Mason:

    Colin, I am glad that you have responded because it gives me the opportunity to ask you how many more new houses are likely to be required in the upcoming 2013 version of the SHMA?

    Whilst many people know what the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) is perhaps I can just add this to the posting.

    Thames Gateway South Essex Housing Group comprises five local authorities of Basildon, Castle Point, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock.

    A Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) for the Thames Gateway South Essex (TGSE) sub-region.

    The Strategic Housing Market Assessments (SHMA) is intended I understand to consider the mix of housing required, and together with Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessments (SHLAAs), are intended to inform the level of future housing provision in the sub region. These assessments are intended to inform Local Development Frameworks (LDFs) and future revisions of the Rochford Core Strategy.

    As I understand it the total for the TGSE is then allocated in the SHMA to the 5 participating local authorities which includes RDC.

    ”My view remains that we need to cut out all the house building that represents housing market growth that is greater than our local needs.”

    If the SHMA requires our District to have a new houses target greater than our district local needs then that would not be acceptable to me and I believe that will be supported by many residents. I invite them to comment.

    I hope that explains ”My view remains that we need to cut out all the house building that represents housing market growth that is greater than our local needs.”

    When the Rochford Core Strategy was approved by a Planning Inspector in 2011 it was recognised that it started late and finished early.

    So in addition to any provision coming from the SHMA there is a built shortfall which has yet to be allocated in the Rochford District.

    Whilst the windfalls, new houses not planned within the Core Strategy like EON, will reduce the “shortfall” do you know how many more need to be added over and above those currently being consulted upon? And from the SHMA?

    Furthermore does the current MINIMUM requirement of new houses to meet planning law you refer to in the unrevised Core Strategy meet MORE than our local needs?

    I do not have any hidden agenda but I believe it would helpful to residents for the Council to openly answer the questions I have posed.

  68. 68
    Jim Cripps:

    Ref: my previous (unanswered) No52.
    Been reading the apparently non-existent Future Development in and around Rayleigh FAQ’s (why only Rayleigh I wonder), anyway……….
    It talks about Rawreth Ind Estate and I quote “In addition the industrial estate was considered a ‘bad neighbour’ for the residential area next to the estate, with concerns about noise & air quality.” unquote. The Ind Estate has been there in some form for more
    than 40 years – who approved the housing scheme built right up to the scrap yard fence? (less than 10 years ago)- I rest my case.

  69. 69
    John Mason:

    Addendum to Post 66

    The RSS (Regional Spatial Strategy) which was put in place by the Labour Government could not be repealed by the Coalition until after the Rochford Core Strategy was adopted. Because of that RDC had no choice but to build 250 per year rather than 190 as RDC preferred. I acknowledged that by voting for the numbers because I had no choice. But I still did not agree with all of the Allocations in terms of numbers and Locations. I did not vote for the Adoption of the Core Strategy.

    But noting that the Inspector stated that there must be an early Revision of the Core Strategy and I understand that the RSS has now been repealed then why has RDC not revised The Core Strategy and reduced the yearly build rate to 190?

  70. 70
    Chris Black:

    Jim @68 Can’t remember offhand when those houses were approved though its more than ten years ago , I’ll do some digging through the council website and see if I can get a date…

  71. 71
    Christine Paine:

    Chris, it might be more than 10 years ago, but the industrial estate was there first, so really planning to allow building right up to it should never have been given.

  72. 72
    Toby Mountain:

    Jim #68 and Chris #70

    Victoria Avenue was developed by David Wilson Homes following a consent granted in September 1997 – ref: F/0473/96/ROC.
    There are 128 dwellings on the Victoria Avenue site – The Victoria Avenue area (the area to the west of Sweyne Park) was identified in the 1988 Local Plan for future development. As such, this sites would have been previously identified as being in the Green Belt within the 1982 Structure Plan (produced by ECC).

    Chris – Am I correct in believing that in 1988 and at the time this development was approved, RDC was under either a liberal or labour administration?

  73. 73
    Jim Cripps:

    Chris – my point was the Ind Estate was there
    long before the developers (David Wilson I think)were allowed to build literally up to the Scrap Yard fence (see Googlemap sat pic).
    Now one of the justifications for shifting the Ind Estate is they are ‘bad neighbours’.
    Which to me suggests the intent to extend the housing has been a plan for a long time (nudge,nudge,wink,wink- say no more..) -JIM.

  74. 74
    Christine Paine:

    I have a family of stoats living in my garden. I often see a sparrowhawk perched on the back of a garden seat hoping something is unwary enough to think he is asleep. Tonight, when investigating why my back outside lights were on, I had the rare treat of seeing a badger eating fallen seed etc. at the bottom of one of my bird tables. How long I wonder will it be before we are no longer able to see these things because of the sea of concrete. RDC used to care about the greenbelt and protecting it. Even now, it is not unusual to see planning permission refused for small alterations or single dwellings because they are not appropriate for greenbelt – so how can they justify building on a swathe of it. Why are they dumping such a disproportionate amount of development in such a small area with no regard for local feelings, let alone the inadequate infrastructure and damage to the environment. Cllr. Seagers and others can go on about allocations etc. etc. until they are blue in the face. The truth is we are being dumped on because they need housing for Tilbury and we are nearest. There is no benefit at all to Rayleigh in this. We should have houses adequate for local needs only. If Tilbury wants housing then let it be built in that area – I’m sure they could squeeze in a small housing estate of 500 or 600 places around the massive development going on there.

  75. 75
    Cllr Colin Seagers:

    John Mason re #67 & #69

    Thank you for confirming that RDC Members did not freely choose to build more houses than its originally preferred 190 p.a., as many residents in the west of the District especially appear all too ready to accuse us of wanting excessive numbers.
    As for starting the revision process for the current Adopted Core Strategy (‘ACS’), which we will be required to begin by 2015 if memory serves, besides there being a question of Planning Team resource to consider, do you not think we and they will need to complete the site location process of the current ACS first, so as to ensure the rolling 5 year provision of development land?
    I regret that I have no more information than you regarding a forthcoming update to SHMA etc.

    Jim Cripps re #33 & #52 re my #3
    My post at #3 was essentially a draft received from a RDC officer. If I understand you correctly you appear to think I am a Facebook user, then think again, because although one of my daughters opened an account for me anticipating for family use some time ago, I have never yet used it myself. There is simply not the time in the day for me to devote to it as yet another form of media, let alone to bother faking an identity or commenting on the misinformation and drivel that I am advised is to be found on the RAG Facebook page.

    Chris Black re #70 re #68
    Over ten years eh?! Then I guess that could well be down to the lost years of RDC under Labour and Lib-Dem control possibly, before Conservative majority control from May 2002?

  76. 76
    Jim Cripps:

    Someone had access to it it and posted (under a false name), obviously not yourself sir -but someone did ,that is a fact.

  77. 77
    Chris Black:

    The planning application for the site near the industrial estate came to the planning committee in 1996, when most councillors were indeed Lib Dems.
    I can remember that at the time many of us felt this was a pretty dumb idea.

    However we were hamstrung by previous decisions of the council!
    When the council was run by the Conservatives back in the 80s the site was allocated then for future housing.
    Once we took control of the council we did what we could – we managed to delay the Laburnum Way development for a few years, and we saved some allotments that the 1980s Conservative administration had allocated for housing. But the Local Plan had already been approved.

    We have a similar situation now – the sites have been allocated under a Conservative Council, a future generation of councillors will have to implement their decisions, to a greater or lesser degree.



  78. 78

    As a resident living within the Rochford District Council area for 46 years, 16 years in Ashingdon and 30 years in Rawreth Lane, I find Jason Richers post somewhat hypocritical.
    I bought my first house in Ashingdon at 22 years of age with a mortgage from Rochford District Council as the banks would not fund me even though I had saved a 25% deposit for the house with them.
    I chose my house because it was adjacent to open fields north of Rectory Road but within 10 years the developers had moved in and the fields soon became a large housing estate full of incomers to the district.
    I then moved into a house in Rawreth Lane with a back garden that is partially in the green belt, agricultural land opposite to me and no development at Downhall Park Way, Farm View, Quest End, Cavendish Park Way, Priory Chase or Laburnum Way.
    This is what the real local community has had to endure over the years despite protests and appeals to RDC all along the way.
    Now, this is where I make my point about hypocrisy.
    So many of the houses built on the sites I have mention above are crammed with incomers from Greater London and the fringes of the M25. We have been through all this before but now the last generation of incomers, who did not think twice about moving here on to land that was formally green spaces, are complaining that there will be decimation of our green belt again from a new generation of incomers who live far beyond our district. How hypocritical is that.
    Since 2007, the Rawreth Parish Council, some stalwart District Councillors and genuine locals like myself have been fighting yet more planning application that are being dealt to us from the District Council. To date we have done far more than all those 1000 people who attended the last RAG meeting and we are still fighting, but in our own way.
    How many of those 100 individuals have sent the own personal comments and recommendations for refusal to the RDC? . Less than 5% I would guess!!

    Good luck with the campaign to stop the building on our green belt but don’t think you are the only ones fighting this battle. I will not be joining you as I cannot agree with all of your proposals.

  79. 79
    Mike Bolton:

    In relation to several comments about (68, 71, 73 etc):
    I live in a house adjacent to the said industrial estate (in Stirling Close) and I wouldn’t say they were ‘bad neighbours’ at all. The noise is minimal during the week (no worse than, for example, living next to a busy road or railway line) and non-existent at weekends (when I’m at home all day virtually), and I’ve never noticed bad or poor air quality. And this has been the case for the whole time I’ve lived there, since 2000.
    I’ve never been asked if I thought they were ‘bad neighbours’ (i.e. too much noise or air pollution) so I’m intrigued as to how this conclusion was reached? I can only assume, rightly or wrongly, one of two things happened 1) A survey of nearby residents was conducted (in which I wasn’t included.) or 2) Complaints were received from nearby residents indicating there was problem.
    Obviously people have complained otherwise the notion of ‘bad neighbours’ wouldn’t have occurred in the first place I guess. So my questions would be:

    1)How many complaints were received to warrant that conclusion or prompt an investigation?

    2)What were the specifics of those complaints? Were they complaints of constant noise and/or poor air quality, or were they complaints of late night / early morning noise? (I mention this as I believe there are guidelines as to at what times an industrial unit is allowed to operate between).

    3)What investigation was carried out against government guidelines (both noise and air pollution levels) to ascertain if there was indeed a problem?

    4)Who bought a house there thinking that the industrial estate wouldn’t be a potential issue, seeing at it was there long before any of the housing was?

  80. 80
    The Mighty Oz:


    For info

  81. 81
    Jim Cripps:

    Have you noticed how politicians (be it National or Local) always blame ‘the other lot’
    at the first opportunity. Do they really think we (Joe Public) think there is any difference between them?.
    Oh how this country needs a radical shake-up
    in terms of how we are governed (Nationally) and Administered (Locally)- long overdue.

  82. 82
    Chris Black:

    Mike Bolton @79. Any houses affected would be in Sweyne Park ward so I wouldn’t necessarily know about them. But I am in communication with one family regarding noise, both in terms of time of day and the level of the noise, and I know they are not the only ones who have complained. I think the problem has only arisen since a new business moved in, Enforcement action has been taken and I hope it will work.

    Regarding air quality, this is something that has come from District Council monitoring , I don’t think there have been any specific complaints from residents.

    I do take the point about people moving in next to any industrial estate….

    Though I wouldn’t want to over-emphasise the neighbour issue here. It’s also about looking to the future – what’s the best place to have new businesses set up, in say 2030?

  83. 83
    Mike Bolton:

    Hi Chris, Thanks for the reply. I asked the question on the RAG Facebook page and the respose was mixed. It became obvious that people who backed on the the industrial estate were encountering issues with noise and/or pollution, and have indeed notified the council. But those people who were a little removed hadn’t noticed any issues at all. My main concern was that the ‘bad neighbour’ thing was an assumption being made rather than a fact, but my fears have been allayed in that respect. I’m all for getting the facts correct, and presenting those facts whether they fall on my side of the arguement or not.

  84. 84
    The Mighty Oz:

    Greenbelts post 78 is the most sensible thing I have read on this topic…….

  85. 85

    After spending (probably far too long) reading all the for’s & against’s on the subject of the proposed developments for Rayleigh, Rawreth, Hullbridge & any other area in the Rochford district either here, on social media, the press & more importantly the case presented by the elected RDC councillors, myself, & i would think anyone that will be looking at the overall picture, should have come to the conclusion by now that the residents in any of the aforementioned areas really do not want the current proposed developments to go ahead.
    The against’s far outweigh the for’s.
    Lets put it in simple terms.
    Elections for RDC are held, the candidate with the most votes wins, no questions & the said candidate accepts the position, if there are a small minority of the electorate that do not like the fact that that candidate has won by fair vote, then it will have no bearing on the result.
    If this proposed development was put to a public vote, you do not have to have a degree in the appropriate subject to work out that this would be voted out just by the sheer scale of opposition to it.
    You were good enough to listen to the electorate when you was voted in (by voting you in).
    So RDC, i would strongly advise you listen to the voters, they are made up of people from all walks of life, all with their differing opinions as to why this development should or should not go ahead.
    The fact remains that the against’s far outweigh the for’s, you can not argue that fact.
    Something that will be reflected in the next elections i am sure of that.
    So far, i have seen no evidence of the use of social media (& lets face it we are in the year 2013 now & social media is becoming/has become a very powerful tool)of a group set up to support the proposed developments.
    The actions of RDC are now being brought into question & rightly so, out of all the people i have spoken to personally, all have been quite shocked as to the way certain RDC councillors have answered & reacted here.
    I applaud the councillors that come to a forum & get involved in debate, having said that, why shouldn’t they? They are the elected representative after all.
    A couple of final messages to some (not all) RDC councillors.
    Some will know the term ‘do you need a bigger shovel to dig yourself a deeper hole’? Well in this case it looks like some have gone all out & bought a JCB!

  86. 86
    Mike Bolton:

    Does that include posts 2 & 4 Oz?

  87. 87
    The Mighty Oz:

    Hello Mike, sadly in this case yes….I’ll go to the back of the class….

  88. 88
    The Mighty Oz:

    Maybe not the right place for this but at least it’s something to feel good about.

  89. 89

    Thank you Mighty Oz. I missed Reads Nursery and the Cattery (Kelso Close area) in the list of sites built on and the figure of 100 in the penultimate sentence should have read 1000

  90. 90
    Mike Bolton:

    Interesting point made by Mr Todd in that article:
    ‘Paul Todd, from the Green Flag scheme, said: “Quality green spaces are absolutely essential to happy, healthy communities.

    “They are fundamental to our quality of life, whether in cities, towns or villages.’

  91. 91
    Christine Paine:

    With regard to the post made by Katie. When we vote for a council member or an MP we vote for the person/party that we feel will act in our individual best interest, and the best interest of the country/community overall. It does sometimes seem though that the same people come forward for election time after time, and because they get re-elected they start to feel that they can do pretty much what they like. A good example of power corrupts but absolute power corrupts absolutely. When a Council starts to act against the clearly expressed wishes of the community they are supposed to serve, and not only that, to tell you that your wishes are clearly wrong and they know best, is that not the time to put the matter to a public vote. Now I don’t know if there is any mechanisim in place for local referenda to be held, but if there is surely these development plans are a prime candidate for one.

    By the way, I would like to make it clear I exclude Chris Black from the power comments. He is a good Council member for this ward, acts in the local interest all the time as far as I can see. Nationally I don’t necesarily support his party, but at local level he does a sterling job. He is however somewhat hamstrung by the very large majority held by one party, who all toe the party line irrespecitve of what their ward members want.

  92. 92
    The Mighty Oz:

    Chris, at the risk of asking a stupid question…but…can you please clarify for me.

    The term RDC has been often used on this thread, are we talking about the people who sit in the offices in Rochford ( in effect civil servants ) or elected councillors like yourself. And secondly, how does the relationship work ?


  93. 93

    Christine Paine, I totally agree with your last paragraph in post 91.

  94. 94
    Jim Cripps:

    I too believe Chris is a notable exception, we
    don’t always see it the same way but he is the only one you see regularly on local issues and he did vote against the Core Plan for us.
    But fear not, even if the conceptual allocation phase goes through, every single planning application in the next detailed phase has to “consult ” the people and now they are aware each will meet a big organized challenge.

  95. 95
    Chris Black:

    Thank you for the kind words. Being a councillor for this area is a joy.

    To answer some specific points:

    Mike Bolton @99. Yes I agree absolutely that green spaces are essential to happy, healthy communities.Looking back at the development of Downhall Park Way, we gained more traffic and lost some fields and blackberry hedges but gained a generally lovely park. I fear that we are not going to get similarly good parks this time around. A related issue is the question of gardens/ private amenity spaces with new blocks of flats. One of the issues with the proposal for the flats in front of Asda was the lack of amenity space, and this was dealt with by the roof garden (which you can’t see from the road)

    Oz @92 It’s not easy to explain what “RDC” means in each stage of the core strategy. Let’s start with the parts of the core strategy that aren’t about particular sites , but about general stuff such as minimum standards for the size of flats, gardens etc. Officers prepare recommendations based on previous council policies , current government guidance etc. The LDF subcommittee (which I’m on) then looks at this stuff and any of us might make suggestions for changes. (for example I got the policy changed so the minimum size of one bedroom flats is slightly bigger now.) This stuff wasn’t controversial.

    Then you get the controversial stuff . For example, overall housing targets. If I remember correctly the target for Rochford was set by the East of England Regional Assembly, then the Assembly wouldn’t accept their own plan any more, then the Coalition gave councils more freedom on this, but the council stuck with the same figures and general locations, but spread them out over a longer period. I think this is a bad thing because it forces councillors in 10 years to accept building in a particular location -when a more appropriate site might have become available in the meantime. The decision to stick with these overall numbers was voted through by councillors

    Then you have got the general locations. e.g. 1800 for Rayleigh, The initial proposals (eg 1800) were I think worked out by a particular council planner at that time.(not someone with the council now) However they were supported by most councillors on the LDF sub-committee who voted for a public consultation on those figures. Councillors then voted for a Plan B after a certain council election result and the public were coming out totally against.

    Then the LDF subcommittee looked at the various locations around the district where each general allocation should go. e.g. if we are building x hundred houses in a village where should they go? The coucnillors on the subcommittee voted for various choices, though sometimes they were constrained by the advice of County Highways.

    Jim @94 Yes, detailed planning applications will have to be made. At this stage the rules for discussion change. Councillors will have to keep an open mind on the applications until the planning meetings take place. So although as ward councilors we will DEFIINITELY be keeping people informed, we will very cautious about expressing an opinion. (and incidentally that also applies to anyone who isn’t a Councillor now but might be one day). But to make a general point- once an inspector has agreed that an area of land should be zoned residential rather than green belt, there are still all the issues of highways, density, overlooking, layout, garden sizes, appearance, open spaces, amentities, education, drainage etc to deal with.

  96. 96
    Christine Paine:

    That’s interesting Chris, thank you. Isn’t it quite hard though for a councillor or group of councillors who have pushed for something to be zoned residential instead of green belt, with a target for number of houses, to then be open minded when it comes to planning. What if, for example, having to improve road junctions, give bigger gardens, reduce the density, give better amenities, anything like that, would actually end up reducing the target number of houses? The cynic in me has this nagging thought that some of those issues might be relaxed to keep to target because the councillors looking at the planning are the very same people who pushed through the zoning and targets. The “I want to believe people are really good” part of me says that they will be objective and have that open mind, but the cynic is sort of winning out at the moment.

    Also, if the number of houses ended up being reduced where would the shortfall be made up. Would it end up with another area being re-zoned to take up the slack?

  97. 97
    Jim Cripps:

    Chris – I will be delighted if the Objections are listened to (at this Allocation stage)and
    ‘the people’ are consulted, but, as RDC are
    obliged to meet government set targets and the Secretary of State will be backing the Inspector so………………………….?.
    If so (and the RDC policy is true) then all major planning applicants will have to include public consutation findings (within the applications)- with awareness now raised I can see a packed Mill Hall opposing them very effectively. But thats plan B , I think the Inspector is going to find it hard to ignore a lot of ‘facts’ in the formal Objection to the core Plans.

  98. 98
    Chris Black:

    Christine, well , in the case of “North of London Road” I’d think at this stage that the area is perfectly big enough to get all these things sorted. The Rawreth Industrial Estate is another matter! But if the number of homes built there was less than predicted the shortfall could be covered by what are called ‘windfall’ sites – smaller sites that come up in the years ahead that aren’t in the plan – eoN is an example of a big windfall site, though I think it should have been treated as “Land North of London Road”

  99. 99
    The Mighty Oz:




  100. 100
    Mike Bolton:

    I’d also like thank Cllr Black and Cllr Mason for taking the time to explain things or reply without going on the defensive immediately (I think you might have an idea who I’m referring to there). I also totally agree with the sentiment ‘hamstrung by the very large majority held by one party, who all toe the party line irrespecitve of what their ward members want’.

  101. 101

    Regarding ‘windfall’ sites, how many residential properties are to be built on the site in Hockley Road Rayleigh (Just north of Victoria Road)and could this be classed as a ‘Windfall Site’?
    Also is Imperial Park Industrial site in Rawreth Lane safe or could this be ordered to move to Michelins Farm as is Rawreth Industrial Estate?. A good few more houses could be built on brown field land here, not that we want them!

  102. 102
    Jim Cripps:

    It was the first of August that Mr M Francois MP said he had asked for a meeting with senior Councillors -how long does it take to organise a meeting ………?.

  103. 103
    Christine Paine:

    To be fair Jim, it is main holiday season. Could be that one or more of the people he needs to meet are away. He needs to meet with them before the Inspector gives the decision though, after is going to be too late.

  104. 104
    Temple Way Resident:

    Um? So the illegal Travellers site on the A1245 is allegedly “trouble free” but it’s existence shouldn’t be ignored. The Council are waiting for a legal site to be established before they can take legal action against the illegal site? Not sure Eric Pickles would agree with that. So is it acceptable for me to build anyting I wish on my property without planning permission? I can guarantee this would also be “trouble free” but would the Council take such an apathetic approach to me breaching planning laws? No! Didn’t think so. The Council’s apathy and pathetic groundless excuses and failure to take enforcement action sets a precedent for more illegal Travellers pitches. NB however not a precedent for law abiding tax paying citizens. It may be worth noting that [EDITED] the …… should be properly secured when not in use (it isn’t always) as I have twice seen suspicious nocturnal activity by 4×4 vehicles around this site….probably only a matter of time before Travellers take advantage of this oversight.

  105. 105
    Cllr Colin Seagers:

    Chris Black
    Re #98
    I think you may be slightly wrong there. My understanding is that if sites identified in the Core Strategy/Site Allocation in total fail to supply the required numbers, then up to 5% more may be permitted (still subject to site planning permission) on those sites in the CS able to make up the shortfall.

    Temple Way Resident
    Re #104
    What really counts is not what Secretary of State Eric Pickles utters but what his Planning Inspectorate and individual planning inspectors actually decide.
    I think you will discover that most RDC Members abhor retrospective planning applications and the fact that it is not actually illegal to develop a site without first obtaining planning permission, whilst enforcement powers against such developments are so heavily constrained by law. Revision of Planning Laws ought to be high on the list of Westminster priorities, by which I mean not the infamous so called ’50 pages’ (not achieved!) of ‘Guidance’ so heavily favouring uncontrolled development, but such things as simplification and acceleration of the enforcement and appeals processes, with unsuccessful appellants automatically paying the planning authority costs in full, and making developments without permission a criminal offence irrespective of who undertakes it.

  106. 106
    The Mighty Oz:

    I had to have a wry smile today, I see that folks have put some ” No Houses” posters on their railings on Rawreth Lane near to the junction with Downhall Park Way. Do they realise that the land their houses are built on was, until a few years ago, Reids Nursery. Mmmmm, ok for me to live here but nobody else can… the correct word hypocrisy ?

  107. 107
    Jim Cripps:

    Christine – yes I take your point of course, but just lets see how long it takes now -given
    the deadline for Objections was 16/08 , the Inspectors hearing is 03/09>10/09 and a ruling soon after. As you say ‘no good after the event’…………….JIM.

  108. 108
    Chris Black:

    Colin @105 yes you are correct – I should have mentioned that. As you say, if sites identified in the Core Strategy/Site Allocation in total fail to supply the required numbers, then up to 5% more may be permitted (still subject to site planning permission) on any her sites in the Core strategy able to make up the shortfall.

  109. 109

    T.M.Oz @ 106
    I think I spelt out the hypocrisy point @ 78 and 87 above and included many other examples of similar sites but the only response was from you. Anyone feeling ashamed?
    Someone also dis-respectably affixed a poster to the memorial for two the young boys killed in a road accident which is sited in the grass area west of Priory Chase. I removed it and will do so again if it is replaced.

  110. 110
    Paul Dulieu:

    As at 1 April 2013, there were 959 homes in the borough sitting empty. Of these, 531 had been empty for more than six months.

    Does anyone know if RDC is doing anything to tackle this issue? When housing is such a hot topic that people are prepared to build on green belt, surely common sense suggests that everything should be done to make sure all existing housing stock is in use first!

  111. 111
    Jim Cripps:

    Re: 106 above –
    Built on the site of Reids Nursery/House, so that was a Brownfield site (how very dare them)- with all that Green Belt/Flood Plain to choose from too……………

  112. 112
    Christine Paine:

    Re post 110. Not only could those houses be brought back into use, but they would have very little impact in infrastructure etc. as they are spread out. Every single one of those could be treated as a brownfield or windfall site and take the place a new build. If they were all compulsorily purchased, refurbed and either sold or let out as affordable housing it would go a very long way towards the complete allocation. Come on RDC, show some imagination and flair. Show you don’t have to rip out swathes of good agricultural land and ruin communities. Make your housing strategy one based on zero empty. unused houses, and only build once that is achieved, and then only use brownfield sites such as the old nursery, which would be more than big enough for the houses needed to make up the shortfall. Voters across the whole district would applaud this and you may even set an example/model for the rest of the country.

  113. 113
    Paul Dulieu:

    Greenbelt, for the avoidance of doubt, how old should one’s property be so that one can protest without fears of being called a hypocrite? After all, this was all green fields once upon a time.

  114. 114
    Mike Bolton:

    Hi Greenbelt, in your post #78 you mention that you cannot agree with all of the groups proposals. Can I enquire which of the proposals you disagree with? And also if you would have an alternative for those proposals you disagree with?
    And I’m genuine is asking this, and not trying to be sarcastic etc, as getting as many points of view / thoughts as possible can only be a good thing I feel.

  115. 115
    Cllr Colin Seagers:

    Paul Dulieu re post #110 (and subsequently Christine Paine re post #112)

    Your reference to ‘borough’ brings the source of the data which you quoted subsequently for Rochford DISTRICT Council into grave doubt. For the avoidance of doubt, the statement by Cllr Hudson below gives the appropriate empty homes figure for the RDC area. It amounts to 1.4% of the current total housing stock within RDC, and is rather lower than percentage figures (which may have been quoted elsewhere recently) for most other local authorities in Essex it appears. A further reason omitted from those already listed is in regard to homes left empty whilst under or awaiting renovation or re-development.
    Reasons for homes being empty for periods shorter than 6 months are many and varied, don’t forget that the typical turnover of owner occupied homes normally ranges around once every 7-10 years, whilst rental properties may well have much more frequent changes of tenancy and resulting voids.

    The big question anyone must answer if hoping to bring even more homes back into occupation would be: ‘At what point would you force an owner to sell their property and in what circumstances?’. Otherwise they may end up proposing to evict someone from their own home who, through no fault of theirs, may be unable to occupy it, e.g. through long term hospitalisation after injury or during illness, when in fact they may recover and wish to return to it later.

    Rochford District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, Transport and Heritage, Councillor Keith Hudson, said: “The number of homes that have been empty for more than 6 months as at April 2013 is 488, it’s important to be aware these homes are empty for a variety of reasons including probate, owner in care, receiving long term medical treatment, or the owner may be abroad and may have chosen not to rent out their property. Where we identify problematic long term empty properties we make every effort to persuade the owner to bring it back into use, for example, by offering government funded grants & loans. Empty homes can make a useful contribution towards housing need, but with respect to the District of Rochford the number of empty homes that could realistically be brought back into use and made available to our homeless is miniscule and would have no significant effect on the overall housing needs of the District and its people.

  116. 116

    Paul Dulieu @ 114 It’s nothing to do with the age of the property it’s more an attitude thing.

  117. 117

    Mike Bolton. I have already stated that I have made representations to RDC through all stages of the Local Development Framework therefore I have declared my objection in a formal manner and on time. Due to this fact, there is no need for me to vote again via your petition.
    If you are that keen to seek my opinions, they are available on the RDC website. If you (or RAG) had acted within the LDF time framework, your objections could also have been recorded there now and you would have had the opportunity to speak to the Government inspector, as I did, when she conducted her formal hearing in Rayleigh.

  118. 118
    The Mighty Oz:

    After 117 posts lets just tell it as it is, these houses will be built come what may. The only saving grace being that we may be able to get some concessions etc by protesting. There is nothing else left to say.

  119. 119
    Jim Cripps:

    Re: No 113 above –
    Yes I was thinking the same thing, how long do you have to be resident in Rayleigh to have an opinion of your own (is there a formulae to calculate this?). Rayleigh has been expanding ever since the Railway came , the issue is the size and rate of change -nowhere else in RDC
    Plan is getting Large scale Housing + Light Industry + Heavy Industry and a Traveller Site . Not even in Rayleigh in general but all in one part of Rayleigh (the West)……

  120. 120
    Jim Cripps:

    Oh boy , here is a good one for you all :-
    RDC site now shows all data (inc Objections) and includes a Council commissioned study (London firm of experts)dated 23/07/13 -better late than never!!!!.
    Apparently it finds the ‘costings’ of moving Rawreth Ind Estate and building 272 homes are
    not viable.
    That is why the Councillors piece in the Rayleigh Times is quoting “only 550″ houses –
    those on the Green Belt/Flood Plain presumbly.
    And if Rawreth Ind Estate stays put then presumably we don’t need a new Heavy Ind estate at Michelin Farm or a Light Ind estate at Swallow quatics area.
    Seems the Planning Inspector is currently wasting his time……………!!!!!

  121. 121
    Christine Paine:

    So if we don’t need those estates do we need the travellers site. After all, it now lacks the automatic bar on expansion that the industrial estate would have given, although I suppose moving the recycling area to there is still on the cards, although with the access as it is at the moment I can’t see how that would ever get planning permission.

    This shows that the whole plan is fundamentally flawed. This should have been done well before the allocations document etc. was finalised by RDC. The Inspector should throw the whole thing out and make them start again.

  122. 122
    Mike Bolton:

    OK, thanks Greenbelt. Were your objections submitted under the name Greenbelt? If not, how will I know which objections are yours?

  123. 123
    Jim Cripps:

    Ref- Mighty Oz (No 118 above):-
    If my memory serves me correctly the average turnout to vote at the last General Election was only forty something percent (it’s called Apathy).
    So Rayleigh expressing itself loudly in the last 4
    weeks has taken many by surprise -not least RDC,
    because their activity (press/online etc;)has peaked over that period. WHY -because they know we can make a difference and hold them to account,the
    “Rayleigh Spring” has momentum -join in.

  124. 124
    The MIghty Oz:

    The fundamental root cause of the problem is one of an increasing population on a small island fuelled by successive governments chasing votes by funding people to have kids regardless whether they can afford them or not. After World War II, bringing up several children was encouraged to restore the birth rate, and in 1945 the Family Allowance was introduced to provide benefit for second and subsequent children. It’s now 2013 and despite the birth-rate ever increasing we are still paying it. Madness !!

    These children eventually have to live somewhere when they grow up but this does not seem to register with the anti housing brigade, many I suspect, have kids themselves. A few brave souls have already alluded to this ( Christine & Colin )but its the one truth nobody else is willing to acknowledge. So as long as people continue to have 2/3/4 kids then our land will be concreted over.

    ps: I best keep a look out for the Parent Posse no doubt getting ready to burn my house down….

  125. 125
    Christine Paine:

    Well said. We also have an increased population due to the immigration policies embraced by the Labour Government and inflicted on us by the EU. We simply cannot keep concreting over the whole land forever though. At some stage people have to accept that having too many children is anti-social. Personally I would completely stop all child benefit and tell people that if they want children then they have to pay for them, not the rest of us. I can speak from a sort of moral high ground here as, by choice, I don’t have any.

    Sooner or later a Government will have to grasp the nettle of the population problem – it will probably be too little too late as it will not prove popular, but if we want to retain a “green and pleasant land” someone has to do it eventually.

    Now joining you in hiding from the Parent Posse.

  126. 126
    Jim Cripps:

    #124 Above –

    So what % of ‘affordable’ homes (for the kids) do you think will make up the “developers” vision of
    the Green Belt Estate?.

  127. 127
    Paul Dulieu:

    Re: #115 above. Cllr Colin Seagers

    Just because I have mistakenly used “borough” instead of “district” does not bring the source of my data into grave doubt nor make a blind bit of difference. My information is sound. Please see below an email from the principle environmental health officer for RDC. I suggest you go and check your facts, Colin.

    Hi Paul

    Total number of empty homes in the district as at 01.04.2013 = 959
    Number of empty homes that have been empty for 6 months or more = 531

    Hope this is helpful – let me know if you require any further information.

    Kind regards
    [EDITED – name below was of Principal Environmental Health Officer at RDC]

  128. 128
    Paul Dulieu:

    Further to #115 above.

    Other councils in England are introducing measure to reduce long term empty homes (empty for more than 6 months) and, if we are suffering such a housing crisis then this issue needs resolving, even if it is a tricky subject to broach. There are ways and means of bringing empty houses back into circulation and making reference to someone in hospital being evicted is just pure scare mongering and clouding the issue.

    The fact remains that before a single house is built on green belt, every spare bit of brown-filed land and every empty shop and home should be bought back into use for housing.

  129. 129
    Christine Paine:

    The point we are all missing though Paul, and the one that none of the Council who are so set on their path that any thought of deviation from it is met with ridicule and scorn will admit to, is that it is so much cheaper and easier for a developer to bulldoze a greenbelt site that is just a field than it is to clear a brownfield site. They therefore make more money out of greenbelt and are much keener to get involved with this sort of development because of that. For developers money comes when they build big and build quick. Brownfield sites may have had all sort of nasty things on it, developers may have to decontaminate first. There are often neighbours to consider and who complain about vehicle movements, noise, mud, dust etc. No real money for them in refurbishing single unoccupied houses either. Brownfield and refurb makes them nowhere near as much money so they are less keen to sign contracts with the Council to carry out the work on smaller scaloes etc. When in doubt follow the money.

  130. 130
    The Mighty Oz:

    Jim Cripps at #126.

    You, just like all the others who post on this site, have failed completely to see the argument raised by myself, Christine and Colin about unfettered population growth. Less kids = Less new houses. End of.

    It’s the same old story, too many houses, too many cars, too many kids, all belonging to OTHER people.

  131. 131
    Paul Dulieu:

    Very well put Christine. I’d actually have far more respect for RDC if they stood up and said it was all about money rather than come out with all the tripe they do to justify things.

    It is interesting to see that the homes built on the EON(?) site on London Road, Rayleigh, start at £227,000 for a 2 bedroom property. Considering RDC constantly using the “we must build more homes or our children and grand children will be homeless” scaremongering tactic, the reality is that few of our kin are likely to be able to afford to get on the property ladder at £227,000 and cant imagine the planned development in West Rayleigh/Rawreth would be much different.

    Re: #126 above, my guess would be: enough affordable and social housing to satisfy quotas/planning rules but not a single one more. The property developers wont want to put too many in as no one want to spend £0.5m on a four bed semi and find out they have people on benefit next door but one!

  132. 132
    Jim Cripps:

    Well said Christine (#129)-
    Which is why the Councils own Consultant (23/07/13) report
    shows the proposed re-allocation of Rawreth Lane Ind Estate as being financially unviable. Obviously thought that one through then….!!!

  133. 133
    Jim Cripps:

    Mighty Oz at #130 :- I repeat my #126 , this housing is’nt going to solve the affordable housing issue
    (also acknowledged by #131 above). So you try and stop the birthrate and I’ll try and stop wanton building on Greenbelt – best of luck.

  134. 134
    The Mighty Oz:


    In that case we are both doomed to fail.

  135. 135
    The Mighty Oz:

    I see that our MP, the Rt Hon Mr Mark Francois, lists housing as one of interests. Maybe it’s me but I cannot seem to recall anything he has said about this issue. Is he still a functioning MP ?

  136. 136
    Jim Cripps:

    Nice one Oz – but think I might have slightly better odds than you. Seriously though I’m under no illusions that we can stop it -but do
    think we can influence it. By that I mean fight for the inclusion of an Infrastructure to match the development. At the next stage of
    detailed Planning Applications the public can object in big numbers untill the scheme covers Infrastructure aspects -that’ll slow it down.
    All the best with your contraception efforts(lol).

  137. 137
    Christine Paine:

    Perhaps when they’re sorting out the drains they can arrange to slip something in the water at the same time – that’d sort out population. RDC might be a slightly harder challenge.

  138. 138
    Jim Cripps:

    Christine – your No 103 (16/08/13) , still no response from our MP regarding a meeting with RDC and as pointed out just above – not a word on the flooding either, and the Inspectors Hearing starts on Tues 3rd………..

  139. 139
    The Mighty Oz:

    Something that, I believe, would be very useful as part of any new development would be an “old fashioned” community centre.

  140. 140
    The Mighty Oz:

    ps. Our MP could open it as he doesn’t seem to have anything else to do.

  141. 141
    Christine Paine:

    Well, he likes photo opportunities so why not.

    On a serious note, I am starting to wonder if he is still a functioning MP. Nothing on the development, despite the supposed meeting with RDC, not a word from him on the floods. Perhaps deep down he does’t want to be re-elected next time round. Ignoring your constituents when you’ve had a slew of e.mails and letters from them seems to be a good way to get that wish come true.

  142. 142
    Ian Jordan:

    I seem to remember a community centre was proposed on the Asda site, but in the end shops and flats were built

  143. 143
    mike bolton:

    In post 43 I suggested that leaflets in official RDC envelopes should have been sent out. In post 50 I was advised that would cost money and asked to suggest which service we should stop. Well I’d like to suggest stopping the newly introduced ‘spray the dog mess orange’ initiative. It apparently will shame the owner of the dog. No it won’t, they have left it there already so obviously don’t care. Seeing it sprayed orange a few days later isn’t going to prick their conscience. Yes it may mean that other people won’t tread in it, but it also means that our landscape will be covered in orange dots, which will look unslightly potentially long after the dog mess has naturally degraded. If RDC are going to spend budget on the problem of dog mess maybe invest in more bins.

  144. 144
    Chris Black:

    Christine @ 141

    I’m told that Mark Francois has met with ‘senior members’ of the District Council and council officers of both the County and District Councils. Though I haven’t spoken to him recently myself!
    If he’s staying silent , I would give him the benefit of the doubt for now, and wait to hear what he does eventually say.

  145. 145
    Christine Paine:

    OK Chris, fair comment. I think he should say something soon though as a lot of people would like to know where he does stand on this and I’ve seen a few comments about his apparent lack of action.

  146. 146
    Adam Priest:

    Chris #144 – happy to give MF time, but how much time can we afford? Our inspectors hearing is in a week’s time re.development/housing. And a lot of his residents are still struggling in the aftermath of the flooding – trying to find temporary homes,replace possessions etc. I think they’d like to hear something sooner rather than later!

    Oz – believe it or not, i DO AGREE that we need more housing to compliment the growing population. (I also believe we need a change of immigration policy at a national level to slow growth, but thats a different issue.) I think the issue many have regarding these particular proposals is that the heavey quota of housing is being lumped in to one part of one town of the whole district without adequate infratsructure to support ot (one primamry school with no senion school and Deanes already closing is NOT suitable/realistic.) As i say, i think a lot of people are very aware that we need new housing and many, like myself, are happy to therefore have new houses in our back yard – i just dont think we want ALL the new houses and we certainly dont want them without an increase in supporting infrastructure. And, finally, we dont want them on our greenbelt land if there are still brownfield sites available.

    Its very easy (and lazy) for people to label the opposition to these plans as NIMBY for any housing aspects and rascist for any Traveller aspects. But i think the majority of arguments against that im aware of are very sound and actually justified. They arent arguments of “no, we dont want it full stop” they are arguments of “we know we need housing BUT dont think your proposals are fair and equitable or structred correctly.”

  147. 147
    Paul Baldwin:

    I hear a lot of criticism about residents being informed over a period of time and not reacting earlier to the housing development but lets be brutally honest there are still a fair percentage of residents who believe that locally elected councils are there to protect our best interests and think that the infrastructure, schools ,doctors and everything else within the area has been taken into account and look at thoroughly by the people put into office to protect our interests.Well all I can say is this proposal has taught a very large number of residents that this is not the case plus comments from a number of members have shown a lack of care for the community the whole plan is ill thought out due to the lack of future planning for education,roads and health let alone for the unknown of flood risk. There has been little or no information given out by the RDC to those people who will be affected both short or long term a completely good example of how not to treat the constituants.

  148. 148
    Jim Cripps:

    The Heading of this thread contains a ‘post it’ link -” A Traveller site on the London Rd?, its not going to happen.” That is what Cllr Hudson (head of planning)said in the Evening Echo a few weeks ago – please bear that in mind in the coming weeks!!!!.

  149. 149
    Christine Paine:

    I agree with Adam Priest (146). Mark Francois has now had more than enough time to say something, but appears to be missing in action, or even inaction. How he can ignore the concerns of so many of his constituents is a mystery to me, and many others. For his sake I hope he doesn’t knock on my door looking for a vote next time round.

  150. 150
    Jim Cripps:

    #149 – Christine , I think there might be a response – but not till after the Inspectors hearing on Tuesday 10th methinks. Never mind
    waiting for a meeting on the Core Plan – what about responding to flooded residents in his
    constituency. Plenty of Rayleigh Times photo opportunites there I would think.

  151. 151
    Colin Seagers:

    Paul Baldwin re post #147
    As I have reminded readers on other threads on this site, the responsibility for providing educational, transportation and healthcare etc. infrastructure is not within the remit of a District authority such as RDC.
    However, those other authorities with the responsibility can now plan their provisions on the back of the RDC Adopted Core Strategy produced by RDC, so as to cope with those future demands coincident with the actual additional demand arising. Bear in mind that not every development area is scheduled for several years even, and there can be no guarantee that developers will not sit longer on land zoned for development before seeking site permissions and then even longer before building those out.

  152. 152
    Jim Cripps:

    Resurrected thread on the subject of communication :-
    I’m hearing that the Councillors for Trinity Ward have put out a leaflet regarding a
    Meeting at the Mill Hall ( 6th March ) – have’nt actually seen it as yet so I will not
    comment at the moment ……..has anyone got a copy please ?.

  153. 153
    Jim Cripps:

    Re; #152 above – a bit more info:-

    Despite there being no final Inspector’s report as yet, the
    Council are starting the charm
    offensive on the DONE DEAL housing
    North of London Rd.
    They are hiring the Mill Hall (03/03>)in order that the public can view the plans before they are finalized.
    Strange they have launched this in Trinity ward, presumably tactical!!!.
    So, West Rayleigh and Rawreth people keep watching this thread – we need a mass turnout to leave them in no doubt about our views on Traffic/Flood Plain/Infrastructure-
    they have’nt mentioned the Traveller Site funny enough, again presumably tactical.
    KEEP your diary free early March.

  154. 154
    Jim Cripps:

    WAKE UP CALL for West Rayleigh and Rawreth –
    I now have a copy of the Conservative leaflet called ” intouch” which has not ( as usual) been widely distributed and certainly not to the residents most impacted- YOU.

    Apparently RDC and their ‘Developer’ chums are launching their proposal for the
    mass building ( 600 > 800 ) on the flood plain land between London Rd & Rawreth Lane – at the Mill Hall Rayleigh on 3rd March.

    RDC’s own rules require that the findings of any such ‘Consultation’ be included in the subsequent formal Planning Application documents , it is therefore essential for all of us to attend and make our feelings known. No doubt you will have you own questions
    But as a minimum we must get concrete answers on the following points:-

    1. What upgrading of both Rawreth Lane and London Rd is planned for PRIOR to the
    5 years of heavy construction traffic to / from the site ( bear in mind 500 also being built in Hullbridge via the same routes)?.
    2. Given the current and recent past headlines on flooding ( inc Rayleigh ) why are
    they building on land classified as Flood Plain ? ( Rayleigh Brook bisects the site -EA
    Flood risk maps show it dark blue).
    3. Given mass building in Rayleigh / Hullbridge / Hall Rd / Blinking Owl area etc; what
    measures of coordination will be in place to avoid overwhelming the local infrastructures ?.

    We all need to attend , please spread the word to friends, neighbours & family, your
    last chance to have a meaningful say …..JIM.

  155. 155
    Jim Cripps:

    Point 2 above is becoming even more relevant , I understand that on the night of
    16-17th Jan the road manholes in Canterbury Close were overflowing with water
    the heavy rain. They can’t keep saying it is a rare event – surely the current news
    Says don’t build anywhere near flood plain , does’nt it ?.

  156. 156
    Jim Cripps:

    Whoops – just spotted my typo ,’ should have said due to the overnight heavy rain’. ,
    # 155 above…..apologies – JIM.

  157. 157
    Jim Cripps:

    TODAY – BBC. Look East item on Rawreth flooding, ie:- suffering from upstream
    Developments pushing more water and faster down to them from Rayleigh, Benfleet and Bowers Gifford Brooks. Bridge on the bend in Church Rd was flooded AGAIN.

  158. 158
    John Smith:

    As a follow up to Jim Cripps’ comment on 10th Feb.about the manholes in Canterbury Close (SS6 9PS) overflowing after heavy overnight rain on 16/17th January at 1 p.m. this afternoon (Friday 14th February) the drains in the road are starting to fill up again and backfilling into the individual drains from the houses. This is despite recent efforts by Anglia Water to clear the drains. Examination of the “drains map” provided by Anglia Water reveals what appears to be a design fault in the drainage system in that locality. A pipe that is supposed to allow water to flow down it towards the outlet into Rawreth Brook actually slopes upwards towards a bigger pipe coming from the opposite direction! It is hardly surprising, therefore that the drains overflow in Canterbury Close. I shall be monitoring the situation because my daughter lives in Ccanterbury Close and is one of several families flooded out of their homes last August and have yet to return.

  159. 159
    Jim Cripps:

    I hear that the Inspector’s rubber stamp of the DONE DEAL is about to happen and not one response on here to my Mill Hall 3rd March heads up – I guess they will do
    as they like again then……..

  160. 160
    John Mason:


  161. 161
    Jim Cripps:

    Thank you , can anybody find where on the flood plain the new Rayleigh Town Sports& Social Club will be moved to ?……

  162. 162
    Chris Black:

    John Smith – thanks very much for your comment. I am trying to get the watercourse between Hedgehope Avenue and Down Hall Close completed culverted – there is a still an open stretch there and the grille downstream of that can get blocked by debris. Once that work is done it will very probably be taken over by Anglian Water. Once that is done it will make flooding downstream in Down Hall Road, Deepdene and Canterbury Close less likely, though obviously fixing basic design faults like the one you mention is also essential!

  163. 163
    The Mighty Oz:

    Given the numbers of kids around today ( seemed like millions ) then forget 550 houses, we’ll need more like 5500. We’re doomed.

  164. 164
    Christine Paine:

    Jim, I have put 3rd March in my diary.

    I find myself confused (not unusual these days). On one hand, in their Rayleigh Town Centre Action Plan document RDC say that Rayleigh is the premier shopping town in the area and they want to maintain it as such, encourage diverse retail, leisure etc. etc. but on the other hand they encourage building to the extent that existing roads will be gridlocked and people will end up avoiding the town because of the traffic. Then there is the abolition of free parking on Saturdays (still to be finally decided) that doesn’t fit in with encouraging use of Rayleigh. Neither does the traveller site, people will avoid a town centre that is extensively used by travellers, that happened and is still happening to Wickford.

    Our neighbours and us often used to go into Rayleigh of an evening for a meal, but since Lynx and Bar Blanco we don’t. It just doesn’t feel safe, is that the sort of leisure they want to encourage.

    There have been beggars in the High St a few times lately, why aren’t they being moved on. First time in 25 years I’ve seen that in Rayleigh.

    It seems as though RDC have left hand/right hand and they don’t talk to each other. They can’t maintain the character of Rayleigh if they build all over the place, so what do they want. Urban sprawl or a historic market town that is a nice place to live and shop. A semi rural aspect for the outskirts, or development as far as you can see. Seems to me the ruling majority speak with forked tongue a lot of the time. Tell the people what they want to hear until you are ready to put the real plans forward then refuse to listen to anyone.

  165. 165
    JIM Cripps:

    Seems they are thinking twice about 3rd March now ( because the word is out) they appear to be doing a softer launch via plans in the Civic Offices coincident with the full council vote on Tuesday 25th- I believe a lot of people are planning to attend……..
    Watch this space.

  166. 166
    Jim Cripps:

    Christine & others – it seems RDC are adopting their usual low profile in public consultation ,although not publicised the outline plans for 600-800 houses
    will be displayed in the Mill Hall ( 3rd>7th March).
    As far as I know there will be not be any person to talk to – just a chance to see vague overview plans,
    hopefully it will give a Council website address we can bombard with objections?.

  167. 167
    Jim Cripps:

    PLEASE READ this one –
    Although not widely published, RDC have hired the Mill Hall ( Rayleigh ) from the
    3rd > 7th March in order to display outline plans for the mass housing between
    London Rd and Rawreth Lane. We would urge all residents to take the time to look see what they are outlining, as the next 5 years will be impacted by Construction works and by 600>800 new homes thereafter.
    Please also note that, in direct response to this, the RAG group have hired the Mill Hall ( Sunday 9th March – 4:30 pm ) in order explain the ramifications and methods
    of formally objecting to both the Consultation & Planning Application phases – your last chance to mitigate the impact.
    During the week 3rd > 7th RAG will be distributing leaflets to homes in order to raise awareness , we have most areas covered but need some volunteers for the Downhall Park Estate – please contact me direct on 07989 079174 if you can help.
    Thanks – JIM.

  168. 168

    Am I right that RDC are consulting with residents at mill hall Monday 3rd to Friday 7th march, 9am – 5pm?

    I would think that discriminates against those residents who work, or are there also some evening slots at an alternative location??

    If the plans have already been approved, what scope is there to change them?

  169. 169
    Jim Cripps:

    You are correct that the plans will be displayed during the working week, wether any Planning or Developer representatives will be there to “consult” with is unclear……….
    and no the plans are not approved, the Rayleigh Action Group meet at the Mill Hall
    On Sunday 9th March will explain how to lodge objections – please attend.

  170. 170
    Chris Black:

    Deanne @168 , there are really 3 stages to all this.

    STAGE 1 : The Core Strategy. In this, RDC decided overall housing figures for the district, and allocations for general locations. This was the most important part of the process, starting in 2007 and finishing about a couple of years ago. In the area west of Rayleigh the general allocation was actually pretty specific. Instead of being 550 “West of Rayleigh” it was 550 “North of London Road”
    STAGE 2 : The allocations document, which was finally approved earlier this week. That identified the specific sites for housing, employment land and the traveller site.

    I don’t think what the council are doing now is a consultation, just an exercise to explain to the public what the results of stage 2 are. I don’t know if planners will be onsite to explain anything.It would be a lot easier for many people if these plans were just put online!

    STAGE 3: Actual planning applications. Hawkwell and Rochford went through this stage before stage 2 was completed – plans have been approved and houses built. I’m expecting an application to be made fairly soon and I hope to have more news on Monday about how the applicants intend to consult residents. This is going to be important.

  171. 171
    Jim Cripps:

    CHRIS – with respect , the RDC philosophy document categorically states that the results of public consultation have to be included in the subsequent Planning Application . It is therefore critical that public feeling against all this is LOUDLY recorded during consultation such that it is a negative when included in the Planning Application , so that basic aspects have to be addressed by the Planners ie:-
    Even the Planning Inspector acknowledged ( quote ) –
    ” The point made, that adequate infrastructure should be either in place, or put in
    place before development is committed, is a reasonable one”.
    It has to be a given, before 5 years of Construction traffic slaughters the area.

  172. 172
    Jim Cripps:

    PLANS….. don’t get excited, they are there but appear to be nothing new (think some of the wording has been tweaked a bit ). In fact they seem out of date – the North of London Rd site is shown as stopping at the Pylon lines ,the Inspector granted more space to the West?.
    It is worth going if only to fill in the forms there with your views…..

  173. 173
    John Mason:

    Jim @ 172

    Jim, I am rather concerned to hear that the plan “on show” is considered “out of date”.

    Could it be that this represents an updated plan and the situation has changed?

    I really think hat Chris and his team should take a look a this.

  174. 174
    Corey Vost:

    Call me pessimistic, but couldn’t a whole bunch of negative views written on HDC forms be mislaid?

  175. 175
    Corey Vost:

    That should read RDC forms!

  176. 176

    Jim, as always grateful that people are looking at these things.

    I’m looking at the exhibition map entitled “allocations plan : a closer look at West Rayleigh” and comparing it with figure 6 on page 38 of the adopted allocations document. I think the two areas marked in purple are the same, and in the northern two-thirds of the site extend a little further west than the original figure 6 in the initial allocations document prior to the inquiry. So unless I’ve missed something (which is totally possible so please correct me )I think the latest map is correct.

    By the way, I’m unhappy at the way maps like this are labelled as West Rayleigh, as if Rawreth doesn’t exist.

  177. 177
    John Mason:

    On this Map the Rayleigh Sports and Social Club appears to remain in place. Or have I misunderstood?

  178. 178
    Jim Cripps:

    Admin @ 176 –

    The Countryside Plot plan is different to RDC one at Mill Hall which shows RTSSC and Lower Barn Farm absorbed into the scheme……something is out of date!!!!.

  179. 179
    Jim Cripps:

    Also can’t see a School , Youth & Community Facility on the Countryside Plan either ( (as Stated on The RDC Plan ) let alone a Doctors / Shops etc;.
    Left Hand Right hand springs to mind.

  180. 180
    Jim Cripps:

    Have your say people – ” CONSULTATION road shows “….

    Rawreth Village Hall 19/03 4:30 – 8:30pm

    St Nich School Priory Chase 22/03 10:00am – 5:00 pm

    This is your chance – what about Rawreth Lane / London Rd subject to 5 years of Construction Traffic
    Etc; etc;

  181. 181
    Jim Cripps:

    Big thanks to the 400>500 people who gave up their sunny afternoon to attend the Mill Hall today – it was covered by both BBC Look East and the Evening Echo.

Leave a Reply

eight + 2 =

You can add images to your comment by clicking here.

Choose the layout you want to see

April 2015
« Mar    

Who We Are

We are Liberal Democrat councillors and campaigners in Rochford District.
We want to improve local decision-making and we see onlineFOCUS as a good way of keep residents informed and involved.
Please click here to email us .

Comments Policy

We welcome your comments, they are very important to us. However please note:
* We may not necessarily agree with the comments made by our readers
* We ask everyone to treat people with respect when making a comment. No personal abuse please.

Daily Reporting by Chris Black

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

Latest Comments

  • admin: Hi Jim, yes I saw that and was going to link to it today. Will do so later on after Ron and I done our...
  • Jim Cripps: The Echo has been running a piece on the recent ( recurring ) local Highway problems for the last week or...
  • admin: Good point Geoff, as you know we reported it in February, I will make a phone call on Monday…
  • Geoff: If there is any paint left any chance of marking the junction at Harbets Way/ Downhall Park Way ?, I will send...
  • Oz the Positive: Folks, as we all just can’t get enough of the election this is a useful site ( from the BBC )...
  • Ron Oatham: The email detailing the changes went to Rawreth Parish council, not Rayleigh Town Council and to Stephen...
  • Ron Oatham: I note the bit about “maximisi ng the efficient use of brownfield opportunities&# 8221; Is that why...
  • Jim Cripps: This seems at odds with the Royal Town Planning Institute’ ;s rose coloured view in the item listed...
  • Chris Black: Oz, I’m grateful for your concern, but things are OK. Besides – and this shows that some...
  • Oz the Caring...: Chris, I can only echo James’s post @ 13. I have not met anybody that does not value the work...
  • Christine Paine: If they are among the best I hate to think what he worst are like
  • Jim Cripps: A truly stunning manipulation of the facts – you have to admire their ability to talk it up and get...
  • James Newport: Chris, you’re an excellent councillor and have my upmost respect, but seriously save your money...
  • James Newport: It’s not April fools is it?
  • admin: :)
  • Steve Tellis: I would certainly agree that Kingley Wood and adjacent parkland is a beautiful open leisure area. There...
  • Jim Cripps: Admin – I assure you it has’nt been forgotten , we have four teams of three people , each...
  • John Mason: RAG have a large team of residents working on the four main reasons for refusal just in case that The...
  • Chris Black: It’s important that we don’t forget about this appeal just because there’s an election...
  • Chris Black: Christine, I’m not sure how one defines ‘serious& #8217; here. Certainly Mike is capable of...
  • Oz the Positive: I think we can all safely say Pitt the Invisible will not be moving any time soon….
  • admin: Christine, yes if Mike overturned Mark Francois’ 22,338 majority at the last election and won he would...
  • Christine Paine: NHS should free at point of use for all British citizens. If others need medical...
  • Jim Cripps: Not living in the constituency is not that unusual for MP’s ( neither the Labour or Green...
  • Oz the Positive: Admin, depends if you have paid in or not…..alt hough what that’s got to do with Pitt...
  • admin: Meanwhile Oz do you agree that NHS services should be free at the point of use? (apart from prescription...
  • admin: Candidates can either show their full address or show the constituency. I don’t know of any particular...
  • Oz the Positive: Admin, do you know why other candidates addresses are, quite correctly, listed on the electoral web...
  • Tom: What happened with the notice of intent that was published months ago? Still no action taken I see. Still idiots...
  • Jim Cripps: Christine @4 & Alistair @7 – absolutely right ……& #8230; The short-term sound bite...

Recent Posts

Lib Dem logo
Legal Statement for the purposes of complying with electoral law: This website is published and promoted by Stephen Tellis at 22 Beech Av, Rayleigh, SS6 8AE on behalf of Liberal Democrat Candidates all at c/o 22 Beech Av, Rayleigh The technology and hosting used for this website is provided by 1&1 Internet Limited, The Nova Building, Herschel Street Slough SL1 1XS

Technical Help : Graham Osborn

Posts To Remember



Asda or Makro Council Budget Council Drama Crime & Policing District Core Strategy District Wide Elections Essex & East Future Housing Green Belt Highways & Parking History and Culture Hockley Hullbridge Leisure and Sport Liberal Democrats Local Democracy Local Facilities National Politics No Category Planning Applications Rawreth Rayleigh Rochford Web Stuff YouTube and Video


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.

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.

Food Hygiene Ratings

To find the food hygiene rating for eating places and other businesses in our district , click here.

Essex Political Blogs

Geography, History , Science

Lib Dem Websites

Local Council Websites

Local History

Local Info

Non-Political Stuff

Other Lib Dem Blogs

Planning Issues

Join Your Local Team

If you read onlineFOCUS for a while you can see the kind of things we are trying to achieve locally. Maybe you would like to help us?

If you fancy helping us deliver leaflets, or actively campaigning for us at election time, or simply just helping behind the scenes with paperwork, please contact the onlineFOCUS team here.

“Rayleigh was the birthplace of Britain’s first surviving quintuplets, but that’s just one of its many claims to fame”

When the Olympic Torch came to Rayleigh, Chris Black wrote about the town in the Guardian - read it here

Join the National Team

If you would like email updates on what the Lib Dems are doing nationally, click here.
If you would like to join the Lib Dems click here.