The Rayleigh Area Action Plan

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Another matter approved at the last Full District Council was the Rayleigh Area Action Plan. This now goes out to final public consultation but only on “soundness” and “legal compliance”.

This is another plan that has been prepared over several years. At the last round of discussions, the idea of a multi-storey car park on Websters Way car park was thrown out (and most people were happy about that).

So the plan isn’t likely to cause as much controversy as its counterpart in Hockley.

You can download it and the meeting report and the draft plan from this page. ( You need to then click on “Item 14 Appendix 1″).

But here are the essentials (you can click on the images to enlarge them)

 

 

Primary and Secondary Shopping Areas

 

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The plan defines a “primary shopping area” in the High Street from the junction with Crown Hill until just past the junction with Bellingham Lane. The rest of the town centre is defined as “secondary shopping area”. It also  identifies two parts of the actual highway in the High Street as being suitable for “an improved public realm” (that’s the areas in green stripes).

 

 

Policies for these Shopping Areas

 

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It also has policies for the primary and secondary shopping areas. The aim is basically to keep the “primary shopping area” as a strong retail area, with leisure, cultural and community uses allowed elsewhere in the town centre. There are also detailed policies in the document for 5 different parts of the town centre.

 

 

Making It More Attractive For Pedestrians

 

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And what about those “improved public realm” areas? – The idea is to make the areas more attractive to shoppers. Here’s how the High Street would look, facing north near the Library.

 

But these schemes are expensive. So maybe they won’t ever happen….

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These would be expensive, and the funding would have to come from developers or Essex County Council. Just look at the costs ! The District Council certainly can’t afford to do any of them.  At the council meeting Chris Black was one of the few councillors to speak, saying  he could think of better ways of spending , say , half a million pounds, and in any case would prefer any funding to come from the European Union rather than the County Council. We also have to consider any impact this would have on road congestion.

 

11 Comments

  1. bruce smart

    Can you make it clear if this Action Plan is a legal requirement? The district Council being oblidged to do this due to central government? Most people would want minimal if any change but more shops selling goods rather services and imroved parking would be meet with majority approval.

    Reply
  2. Brian Guyett

    Admin, you are right about RaAAP being different to the plan for Hockley. RDC spent 5 years pursuing their dream of a supermarket based development, despite clear advice from their own consultants to the contrary. So no surprise the Inspector rejected it.
    They now propose a plan based on offices and shops but again this is contrary to their own experts advice (see report from GL Hearn on Evidence Base). Not sure if Inspector has picked up on this yet.
    The great danger is RDC will get go ahead for a White Elephant no one wants. It will also make it harder to do anything about highways. I’ve asked before but can anyone tell me what will happen if no developers come forward?

    Reply
  3. Jim Cripps

    Yep, circa £0.5million spent addressing some of the flood
    spots (highlighted in August)
    would get public support.
    A much more worthwhile spend
    I would suggest – just ask the
    people not yet back in their
    homes since August.
    Please submit your suggestions
    on a postcard to Cllr Cutmore [edited]

    Reply
  4. The Mighty Oz

    I have heard that the “old” Johnson’s dry cleaners is going to become a Pie and Mash Shop. Any one heard that ?

    Reply
  5. Chris Black

    Bruce, I don’t think an an actual Action Plan is a legal requirement, and RDC probably wouldn’t have produced one without some central government funding for this. Though we would have needed some written policies in our strategy somewhere to control the types of uses in the High Street. Regarding the proposals, it’s very handy to have something produced, so that if a big developer or retailer was interested in moving into the Town Centre, they could see what policies and ideas we have already prepared.

    Oz, yes there was a planning application a while back – refused. Might come back again.

    Reply
  6. Jim Cripps

    Re: my #3 above, if you need guidance on where we flood just go to the environmental Agency website
    (link is)http://watermaps.environment-agency.gov.uk/wiyby/wiyby.aspx?topic=ufmfsw#x=357683&y=355134&scale=2
    type in post code SS6 9PZ.

    Surprise ,surprise it shows Canterbury Close/Fairmead/Salem/Priory/Temple and Laburnum as medium to high risk,
    and ones for the future the Eon site
    plus the currently proposed 550+ site.
    Anyone know if Bellway included a detailed flood risk assessment in
    their planning application?….

    Reply
  7. christine paine

    I recall when Basildon put forward a plan for Wickford Town Centre. I was working in Wickford at the time. Well, the lovely block paving got done, eventually, with massive disruption to local business. First time it rained it was very evident how uneven it was, and within weeks Utility companies were digging it up for various reasons. They allowed two of the most hideous blocks of flats you will ever see to be built. Pavement café society, never happened, market regeneration, never happened, riverside living, never happened, niche speciality shops with some majors, never happened. Wickford High St is one of the most depressing places I can think of to visit, unless that is you want a Bank, Building Society or Fast Food outlet. I sincerely hope that if and when anything is done to Rayleigh it is far better controlled and thought out than Wickford ever was.

    Reply
  8. bruce smart

    Why do anything at all to Rayleigh. Everyone wants more retail and less food outlets and cheaper and easier parking. Can anyone suggest anything else which would have a lot of support.

    Reply
  9. christine paine

    In all honesty no. The High St is attractive enough, some changes to traffic flow might be a good idea to improve the bottleneck at Eastwood Road/High St./Crown Hill junction where two sets of lights, one mini roundabout and a pedestrian crossing just don’t work well in such a short space, but that is traffic management, not redesign. The best thing they can do with Rayleigh is leave it alone, encourage retail into the High St. and that is all. I don’t think parking is that expensive in fact. I moved here from Bouremouth over 20 years ago now, when I left it was £1 an hour to park in Bournemouth centre (holiday area = high parking charges) going to £2 in summer – you could buy a season ticket and not be guaranteed a space. Put in that context Rayleigh isn’t that expensive.

    Reply
  10. Jim Cripps

    Untill Cllr Hudson puts them up to pay for flood management, see other thread ( lol ).

    Reply
  11. The Mighty Oz

    “Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.”
    ― Marcel Proust

    Reply

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