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January 25th, 2008 |

New Housing – The Debate Hots Up

The argument about where to allocate new housing in the district seems to be hotting up again.

According to the Echo:

Could a new town be the answer? Hawkwell Parish Council believes it is. It suggests a new town in the west of Rayleigh would be the best policy to pursue.
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Originally, Rochford District Council officers had said Rayleigh should take the bulk of the new homes, but this was changed after angry opposition.

Revised plans worked out at a private meeting of councillors cut this number by half, but meant an increase in the allocation for villages across the district, particularly Hawkwell and Hullbridge.

Hawkwell Parish Council vice chairman Vic Leach said: “There is strong opposition to any major green belt development within the parish from many residents.

“Our preferred option for all housing requirements is to create a single new community within the district, thus allowing services and infrastructure to be properly and viably provided.

“This new community would be ideally situated in the west or north west of the district to allow best access to public transport, cycleways and dual carriageways.”

Mr Leach said if this option was not acceptable, development should be shared equally throughout the area, based on the size of parishes and their populations.”

47 Responses to “New Housing – The Debate Hots Up”

  1. 1
    Christine:

    Surely this smacks of NIMBYism. Rayleigh has taken more than its fair share of housing over the years and, as suggested, a New Town be built to the west even with the provision of services etc would still overload an already burgeoning infrastructure.

  2. 2
    ST1:

    Actually I’ve always been in favour of creating new towns of villages rather than always adding on to the edges of existing towns. Where we are off of Downhall Park Way, the centre of town feels too far away, so I don’t really visit it as often as I should. Towns just get too big and impersonal.

    However, while I can see the north west of the region makes sense in terms of access for traffic, in reality there’s not much space, so a new town will end up being right next to Rayleigh, and eventually will just expand and merge.

    Already you can’t see where east Rayleigh ends and Eastwood starts. Is this going to happen on the west side of town, with Rayleigh merging into Rawreth, then into shotgate, and finally into Wickford?

    And in terms of facilities, we already have a ridiculous situation where our closest school (Downhall) has a catchment area that excludes a large number of homes in the DPW, as the catchment area has been distorted to include all the additional new homes that have been built off of Rawreth Lane.

  3. 3
    Rayleigh Resident:

    ST1

    You say: ” Where we are off of Downhall Park Way, the centre of town feels too far away, so I don’t really visit it as often as I should” – Too far away ! you can walk it in 20/25 mins….even up Crown Hill. ( quicker on the way back after a Costa coffee ).

    On a serious note – I can see that West Rayleigh will become one huge estate running towards Wickford, soon be time to look how much it costs to move….

  4. 4
    Canterbury Close Resident:

    ST1 – not sure that your comment re catchment areas is totally correct.

    Despite me living within a stone’s throw of Downhall School and my eldest daughter being accepted for a place there when we first moved here we were later told that the place was being taken away and that our catchment school was Glebe!!

    However, I think, but please correct me if I am wrong, that Downhall does not have a catchment area that includes “all the additional new homes that have been built off Rawreth Lane.” The relocated St Nicholas School takes pupils from the Laburnum Estate and also Priory Chase etc.

  5. 5
    Mike Nobes:

    Christine, you are absolutely right. Where I live which is the start of Bardfield Way, near the Grange Community Centre, is built up with residential dwellings into the town and beyond. This part of Rayleigh has had the most new builds over the past 10 to 20 years, even more than Rawreth. There are other parts of the Rochford District Council area which should take houses. It is unfair to the people of Rayleigh when because we have taken more housing in the past we are expected to take more now. If the council decide to build 500 new homes in the west of Rayleigh, we will have lost our identity and more we will have lost that small buffer between Rayleigh and Wickford. I really do not trust the town planners or some councillors. We have the local elections very soon, I suggest that we tackle OUR COUNCILLORS now on how they will vote if the option to build substantial new homes in the west of Rayleigh is put forward.

    Chris I would value your comments on how the Lib Dems would vote.

  6. 6
    John Mason:

    Mike, I am going to act as devil’s advocate here.

    The Government has told Rochford District Council that it must adopt a professional approach to strategic sustainability planning. It is an objective analysis and assessment based on data and information. Whatever this report says it cannot be ignored. That will be politically expedient. It is not our fault, we have no choice. Such a report wiil not start with a notion of “Fair Shares For All” nor will it end with it and neither will it appear in the middle!!

    The fairly abrupt decision made by the Rochford District Conservative Group to significantly reduce the number of new homes that the District Council might propose to be allocated in Rayleigh was an expedient decision to quell the internal concerns of the Tory Rayleigh Councillors who were being tormented by the Rayleigh Liberal Democrats and the and the residents of Rayleigh. Remember it was a POLITICAL PROPOSAL not a COUNCIL DECISION.

    But will the next Rochford District Council public consultation on the Local Development Framework be before or after the May Local Elections? I can’t answer that but one can speculate.

    Getting back to strategic sustainability planning. Infrastructure is going to be very expensive. It takes a lot of new houses to pay for what is necessary. The developer pays, remember, because there’s no public investment ever going to come from the Government for the infrastructure. So expect that the professional study will recommend building any enabling infrastructure on existing higher level infrastructure which could support more development. A major build of infrastructure, in the form of a Southend/Rochford By Pass for a new town in the East, for example, is only really sustainable at 12,000 new homes. So the probability for this plan comes back to the West, Rayleigh.

    The “Fair Shares For All” approach to the allocation of new homes should be recognised just being a political expedient in response to the noise that was being generated in Rayleigh.

    I could be quite wrong of course and I expect to be told so.

  7. 7
    Mike Nobes:

    John, I understand completely all you have said, however the standard of living for existing Rayleigh residents, and council tax payers, should not be ignored in the rush to build new houses. These decisions will be partly politically based, please dont tell me otherwise. Everywhere in Rayleigh there are a great number of flats going up. How do we know that the number which has been proposed for Rayleigh 740 new dwellings has not been breached already when our planning department can only give us housing figures up to March of last year! The infrastrucure issue is a real problem. The developers will get away with paying as little as they can re infrastructure and no doubt we will be left with roads and pavements which will need renewing within a few years! I will write later about a programme that I watched regarding building small amounts of dwellings in all the towns and villages which would both be sustainable and not look out of place, as all those flats do in Rayleigh. The other issue on the table is that of ‘affordable’ housing. This is a joke, how many of our youngsters can afford the houses going up in the district? Very few.

  8. 8
    Chris Black:

    John, be careful about playing Devil’s Advocate here – otherwise you might be blamed unfairly by the public.

    “Fair Shares For All” is something that Rayleigh Lib Dems have been saying for quite a long time time now, and maybe one or two Rayleigh Tories are now adopting the idea as well.

    Of course I will look at the professionally produced officers reports very carefully. But I don’t always agree with them – for example, the one a few years ago that said we should have sports pitch provision in Rayleigh below the national standard…. if the officers had come to a different conclusion that might have blocked quite a bit of development in our area.

  9. 9
    dee:

    Im sorry to say this but Rayleigh is going to turn into Basildon !!!!

    Why should Rayleigh take all these homes we have only 2 senior schools within the (Rayleigh area Sweyne and Fitz), no swimming pool, no cinema, not enough doctors and bus services keep on being cut does this really sound like a town that can cope with more people living here, even the trains for the comute into London are packed every morning it only takes 1 thing to go wrong then you already have dangerous amounts of people.

    Rayleigh used to be a nice town when I grew up I was proud to say that I came from Rayleigh now i’m not so sure!

    The majority of the New Homes that will be built are going to be vastly overpriced and the ones that will be shared ownership will either be key workers only or flats!!!!

    The young people growing up now cannot afford to buy these, therefore we are going to end up with people moving in from London and other surrounding County’s and the young people who grew up here will have to move away to be able to live, sometimes maybe far away from there families I know this as both my nephews have had to move away, one of my nieces has gone as far as Plymouth.

    Its got to stop !! Why should Rayleigh take this !!

    I for one am seriously considering moving away Rayleigh is loosing it’s charm and if all these propsals go through the Roads and Public transport cannot cope and I for one do not want to live in a concrete jungle!

  10. 10
    Chris Black:

    Going back to some earlier comments about school catchment areas, this played a significant role with the Reads Nursery development (Kelso Close, Salisbury etc).

    When the developers first applied it was clear that the application was “premature” – that is, the council had already allocated enough housing for the present time. The council could safely refuse it if it could show it was premature and would be cause some demonstrable harm.

    A meeting was held in the planning office between the officers, myself, Cllr Sylvia Lemon and the developers.

    The senior chap from the developers began playing things fairly tough saying that they would spend £100K on a top barrister if necessary.

    However Sylvia and I had been well briefed by residents on the catchment areas. I explained that the problem at that time with school places was so acute that children within about 100m of Downhall School couldn’t go there.

    I stabbed my finger at the map at Canterbury Close – “There’s a lady there who can’t drive for medical reasons. She’s already going to have to take her children to Glebe. Do you see there’s a problem now? ”

    The expressions on the faces of the developers began to waver, as they realised the situation. End result : Instead of the development taking place immediately and not counting towards any housing figures it ws held back 5 years, counted towards the next housing allocation and the schools situation was slightly better.

    So it was worthwhile making the effort.

  11. 11
    Chris Black:

    Dee:

    “I for one am seriously considering moving away Rayleigh is losing it’s charm and if all these proposals go through the Roads and Public transport cannot cope and I for one do not want to live in a concrete jungle!”

    I always try to keep comments like this to quote to the council and councillors when appropriate – after all the council policy is “To make Rochford District the place of choice in the County to live, work and visit.” !!!! (and some officers read onlinefocus anyway).

    We need to get the housing numbers right, the quality of the housing right and the facilities right. We made a start last summer with the campaigning against the 1800 figure. I don’t think we ‘tormented’ them as John Mason says but we forced them into a retreat – at least for now.

  12. 12
    Mike Nobes:

    This issue will very very political. There are a some Councillors who fear losing their wards if these houses are built in West Rayleigh. As Dee says this part of Rayleigh has had enough houses built already.

    Chris, it is proposed that Rayleigh now takes 740 houses/flats. Now that 740 is from the ‘original figure’ how many dwellings are we now expected to take when you deduct those already built???? The Council is not that clever that they can pull the wool over our eye’s. Please someone answer that one! Councillors will not be able to dodge that question come the local elections.

  13. 13
    Ian Jordan:

    Quote from the Echo

    “This new community would be ideally situated in the west or north west of the district to allow best access to public transport, cycleways and dual carriageways.”

    Not much public transport or cycleways in West Rayleigh

  14. 14
    Mike Nobes:

    We need to start letting our local Councillors know exactly how we feel about this proposal and how it might effect their political careers if we were forced to take these homes. The people of Hawkwell, Hullbridge and other villages were not shy of stating their views to their Councillors so it is up to us to do the same. Councillors Vic Leach and Myra Weir are just promoting that we take all these houses to appease their voters and keep themselves on the council. We really need to make our Councillors understand that they do not have a god given right to their positions.

    And while telling them this please ask why we still pay for a Planning and Transportation Department that cannot give us up to date housing figures. This is one issue that plays directly into the District Councils hands and keeps all of the tax paying residents in the dark!!!!!

  15. 15
    Corey:

    Am I the only one wondering how big the ASDA store will be in the middle of the new town?????

    On a more serious note – Dee, I understand your concern with the youngsters of Rayleigh being outpriced to buy here, but it already a sad reality that first time buyers are already have to source mortgages that are 5.5 to 6 times salary or consider taking out mortgages at 120% thereby placing them in negative equity before they even start. Unfortunately this is a problem for most fist time buyers living in the south east of England. The only possible solution for first time buyers is the shared ownership schemes.

    On a side note, the Echo has contacted me to run a story about the drastic drop in property prices on the Coppice Gate development thanks in part to ASDA.

  16. 16
    Jeff:

    I hope there are pleanty of Lib Dem candidates standing in the elections this year

  17. 17
    Sid Cumberland:

    I believe our two secondary schools are pretty well full. Any new housing would therefore require a third secondary school, in west Rayleigh. I’m wondering if the Rayleigh Leisure Centre would be a good place to build one …

    Sid

  18. 18
    Mike Nobes:

    Sid, Maybe they could use ASDA for the new school, they already have the carpark, as a playground!

  19. 19
    Corey:

    Isn’t ASDA a school already? Most of the people I see in there wearing their uniform are kids!

  20. 20
    Mike Nobes:

    Corey, I think you are right. I reckon the initials stand for Asda Supermarket for Delinquent Adolescents, or something like that.

  21. 21
    Canterbury Close Resident:

    You must go in there at the wrong times of day Corey – I think they employ more “ladies of a certain age” than teens!!

  22. 22
    Corey:

    I avoid going in there as much as I can!! Only an emergency like running out of cat food will see me pop in, but I do see a number of employees walk past my house in their delightful uniforms – most of which are teenagers. Mind you that said, you could be right – I would only go in either during the evening or at weekends – and it is certainly during the weekends I see green and black sail past my windows.

  23. 23
    Rayleigh Resident:

    I was as much against ASBO’s as the rest of you but at least the people working in the store ( young, oldish, old & ancient) are earning an honest wage, not sitting on their backsides sponging off of taxpayers.

    As for the younger people working there – they set an example to the yobs, graffitti merchants and scumbags that now live in this area. Let’s get off of their case please.

  24. 24
    dee:

    Hello can someone please clarify the below point to me.

    If this new town goes ahead does this mean that the allocation from Hockley and Hawkwell and other surrounding area’s get added onto what Rayleigh already has to take, so if this new town was built in west Rayleigh, we would loose loads of fields and open spaces get more congested and more pollution and nothing would get built anywhere else e.g. Hockley ect ect or have I miss understood.

  25. 25
    admin:

    Hi Dee

    No you haven’t misunderstood !!!!

    The total remaining allocation for the district is around 3600 – so it would be a small ‘new town’ or large ‘new village’.

    If this was all allocated to the west of Rayleigh, then Hawkwell etc. could expect to get nothing.

    We could have a fight on our hands….

  26. 26
    Chris Black:

    By the way Dee, did you get my email at the weekend ? (sometimes things get lost in spam-traps) :)

  27. 27
    dee:

    I am sorry but I am completley against this many houses (3600) being built anywhere near Rayleigh, if these houses were to be built in west Rayleigh we would be joining up with Wickford.

    Its going to be crammed chok a block with flats, its houses that are needed with garden’s not flats!

    This is wrong on so many levels !!! Leave Rayleigh Alone !!! its nice as it is !!! don’t ruin a good family town !!!

    Rayleigh should not be the dumping ground for the rest of the district, it will be like Rayleigh and Eastwood, there is nothing wrong with that but there will be no open fields left!!!.

    Who are these houses being built for because not many of the younger people can afford to buy them, even on shared ownership scheme you need to have over 3k in a deposit to even get on the scheme even then you might not be condisdered !

    I thought that the council sold off most of there houses in order to provide more houses for people within the district where has the money gone from that !!! Now the council houses have gone over to an Heyward Housing so unless you have 3k in the bank the young people of Rayleigh are stuck.

  28. 28
    Rayleigh Resident:

    If we need more houses why are the estate agents windows full of properties for sale….is it me ?

  29. 29
    Fedup. Rawreth Lane:

    If, as it appears, green belt land will have to be used to build a town to the west of Rayleigh, why not use the riverside land to the east of Hullbridge. A decent road could be built from the Rettendon Turnpike end of the A1245 running close to the sea wall and this would relieve Beeches Rd./Watery Lane and Rawreth Lane of some traffic.
    The new town of Hullbridge could the provide waterfront properties, shops, restaurants a decent pub, and even a marina. More affordable property could be built closer to Lower Rd.
    It’s about time RDC approved some development that generates money for the District, eases the rate burden on residents and provides nice facilities to enjoy. Most people I know visit Leigh or Southend for a meal out.

  30. 30
    Mike Nobes:

    Dee, I can see you are passionate about Rayleigh. I have lived here a relatively short time, seven years but this town is a very warm welcoming town and that is why I moved here. We do have our problems but no more than other towns. I for one do not want to lay down and let people dictate to me that I must now live in a concrete jungle. Collectively, we made the district council see that we were not going to be dictated to and they recommended that housing development in Rayleigh be reduced.

    We now have another battle to fight, that of the Councillors in other parts of Rochford protecting their jobs as Councillors in Hockley etc. We residents can make that difference. If we say, well we cant change, challenge or rebel against what is right for us and our children then we have lost the battle and we will become a concrete jungle BUT if we make OUR COUNCILLORS IN RAYLEIGH understand that they will be out of a job if we are forced to take these houses, we may, just, win another battle.

    I wrote to our MP, got him to question Paul Warren and Shaun Scrutton regarding the 1800 houses that were going to be built in Rayleigh. I wrote to the ECHO virtually every week about housing and asked some embarrasing questions in the West Area committee meetings. Collectively with everyone else doing their bit, the Tories reduced those housing figures.

    We can do it again. We must get on the phone to our local councillors, we must write to our MP, we must engage our local papers in what we believe is right.

    You are right, we do not have the infrastructure here to cope and by the council or their preferred CONSULTANTS who have put this plan together (and by the way Chris, we need to know how much this has cost us ratepayers) saying the infrastructure will come during the development stage, is living in cuckoo land, as most consultants do.

    Dee, the only people who can turn this around is the residents. Do we go for it?

  31. 31
    Mike Nobes:

    Chris, Jackie, Ron,

    You can see see the amount of conflict we residents have with Rochford District Council. What is your party going to do about the amount of disatisfaction we feel with those that are both voted into power and those that have power by way of being paid employees. It is about time our Liberal Councillors took the bull by the horn and put things into perspective. There is enough backing to confront the Tories head on and endorse the rate payers views. Soon the National as well as the local papers will take up our fight against those that want to build concrete jungles. Are you with the residents?

  32. 32
    Chris Black:

    Mike, our position as a group is clear-cut.

    We support a ‘fair shares for all’ policy for new housing in Rochford District.

    When Rochford DC decided that their consultation last year would be on the basis of 1800 for Rayleigh, I voted against it (the only Lib Dem on that committee)

    When the council went ahead with the consultation, we complained loudly that the only time the council’s exhibition would be in Rayleigh was on a Sunday afternoon at the windmill – the council were forced to come back to Rayleigh on a weekday.

    We made as many people aware of the consultation as we could. We sent out blank copies of the forms to over 1800 households in Rayleigh to encourage them to respond.

    We publicised the issue on onlinefocus and in the local press.

    The result – massive opposition and the Conservative group forced to back down to a figure of 740.

    But things could still change again.

    There are only 5 Lib Dem Cllrs at the moment. We’ve shown that even with 5 we can make a difference. Partly because the ruling group knows that there is enough disatisfaction for them to lose quite a few seats in May. But we do need more candidates in May. For those who really really haven’t got time to be candidates, we can use your talents in other ways – for example studying council documents and discussing them with us.

  33. 33
    ST1:

    Is the western boundary of Rochford district the A1245, or does it extend further west in places?

    I would think that the only areas “west of Rayleigh” are the fields along Rawreth Lane or the A129 London Road, which would mean a new village of 3600 homes being built very close to the edge of Rayleigh. So close that you wouldn’t be able to tell where one ends and the next begins. It would be like claiming the Laburnum estate is a small hamlet in it’s own right.

    I should imagine that any children in these homes will go to St Nicholas, Downhall and Sweyne. They will use the doctor’s practices in Rayleigh (and the one near Asda if/when they build it). Many will want to use Rayleigh station, but due to the distance you may find a lot drive part of the way and leave their cars in side streets. Many will want to use Rayleigh high street, adding to traffic up Crown Hill, and pressure on parking resource.

    And if it’s in Rawreth Lane, or even if they build around Hullbridge or Hockley, how many extra vehicle movements would we see along Rawreth Lane, on top of what was added by the new Asda?

  34. 34
    lyn hopkins:

    New town/houses North West of Rayleigh = Rawreth

    New town/houses North West of Rayleigh = Rawreth Lane,
    A129 and A 1245
    New town/houses North West of Rayleigh = total & utter chaos

    Today is an example of the complete and utter chaos that would ensue if a new town was built in North West Rayleigh .

    2 accidents closed the A127 for 1 1/2 hours at peak time this morning – RESULT – surrounding roads, A129, Rawreth Lane, A130, A1245 at a virtual standstill both ways for hours. We could not get in or out of Rawreth Lane without joining and sitting in the queues.

    I wonder whether any of our District Councillors were caught up in this chaos and whether they have the guts to admit that the roads in this area can’t cope!

    With the extra traffic from Asda already making things more difficult and the proposed extra 740 houses (if we are lucky to get away with this number!) we are going to be in real trouble.

    Like many of you say, I think local Councillors should think very, very carefully about this whole problem if they want to remain in “Office”.

  35. 35
    Rayleigh Resident:

    I’m getting a bit confused about the number of houses that will constitute Chav Valley – is it 3600, 740 or somewhere in between. Given the track record of this council to date I’ll be amazed if they do not get built.

  36. 36
    admin:

    Lyn, I was indeed caught up in the traffic this morning – but I’m not one of the councillors who needs convincing!

  37. 37
    ST1:

    On the subject of road accidents, does anyone know the details about the multi-car crash on the northbound A1245 the other week?

    I passed it on my way home from work, and it looked pretty nasty. In a previous post about the proposed 40mph change in Rawreth Lane I warned about the risk when the right hand turn lane for Rawreth lane gets filled up, so stationary traffic queues back into the fast moving “straight ahead” lanes.

    This situation seems to happen a lot when there are problems on other surrounding roads, forcing drivers to find an alternative route along Rawreth Lane. Traffic can stretch the entire length of the road and back up onto the A1245.

  38. 38
    A. Matthews:

    STI
    The western boundary of Rawreth and indeed Rochford extends beyond the A130 bordering on Shotgate . So there is more land available than you imagine I am quite sure that some landowners would be only too happy to promote a large “Village ” in that particular area . We must also remember a few years back the pressure on the north bank of the river Crouch the enormous threat of a new Battlesbridge Some bright spark might literally add two and two together and make an even bigger developement both sides of the river . I am I hasten to add a landowner in that area I have not been approached nor have I promoted such an idea . I still quite like living where I was born I do not mind sharing it with a few extra households but I do not wish to be drowned in a sea of suburbia .
    So I agree with the idea of proportionate developement through the district . But I really worry about the infrastructure which cannot cope now an escape route out of the Rochford Peninsula is necessary perhaps a Bridge either side of Hullbridge to link up with the A132 which should be duelled from S Woodham to link in with the A130 at the Turnpike .

  39. 39
    Fedup. Rawreth Lane:

    A Matthews.
    What a good idea, a direct link to the A132. Substitute that idea for my road suggestion (above) and then consider my other suggestion for the location of houses etc. as an alternative to Rayleigh West.
    I have often thought that an additional bridge would solve a lot of problems but a who would fund a bridge structure tall enough to allow yachts with 60 feet high masts to pass underneath? or are you suggesting that the upper stretch of the river should be a No Go area for yachts and sailing dinghies?

  40. 40
    A. Matthews:

    Fed up Rawreth lane
    Yes there may be a problem over sailing types . But the road would have to built over the marshes on piles so would gain enough height to satisfy all but the biggest sailing craft (Thames Barges) !we have not seen many of them in the last 40 years ! The problem of access from the south as to where the road should link into existing network without too much expense maybe an extension from cherry orchard dual carriageway due north and into crouch valley . This would provide Southend with its dreaded northern byepass and pick up traffic from any expansion in all areas of Rochford .
    As to who should pay well our government think these extra houses in the south of essex are such a good idea but refuse to provide the infrastructure ,
    then it is down to local authorities to put more pressure on the quango to push for these funds otherwise I cannot see how this area will function and will just grind to an embarassing halt , I was always taught in geography never buid large connurbations on penninsulas there is only one way out .Just so !!!

  41. 41
    Fedup. Rawreth Lane:

    A Matthews
    I agree totally with what you say but you have now opened up a can of worms by raising the subject of the Southend northern bypass, this makes me think that with the airport expansion now imminent, more traffic will be passing through Rawreth & Rayleigh.
    Your suggested link with Cherry Orchard Way could be seen as the obvious route and perhaps Councillors should be considering the outcome now before it is suddenly dropped upon us.
    The new railway station at the airport will be used by some passengers but my feeling is that the majority of people will arrive by road. Think of the revenue created by airport parking!!

  42. 42
    admin:

    It looks like there will be a couple of council committee meetings in April that will start to deal with the housing allocations questions. Obviously, we’ll keep people informed when we have dates.

    To summarise: There are about 3600 houses to build in the district between last year and about 2020.

    The originally proposal from the council was to build 1800 in Rayleigh. After the outcry last summer, the Conservatives are suggesting only about 780 in Rayleigh (or is it 740, can’t remember offhand).

    But this lower figure is only a suggestion, there have been no votes on it yet, things could change again…..

  43. 43
    Mike Nobes:

    First of all, Chris, it was 740 not 780, we should all remember this number. Things could change only if we let it. The Tory Councillors will not be happy because they are now between a ‘rock and a hard place’ We all know that. What the Tories want to do to Rayleigh is to turn it into an extention of Southend, do you want that? The time to ditch politics and get down to grass roots is now. You have heard what the people of Rayleigh want and do not want. We do not want an urban jungle. We have very little time left to ensure that we are not confronted with a scenario that is not exceptable. We need strong leadership, not politics. I maybe new to this but I do know what we want and what we will not except. The Tory Councillors will vote this thru AT THEIR PERIL because I will ensure that every voter at the coming election will know what they voted for. I will personally visit every voter in my ward and explain why all these houses are being built and maybe that there is more to this than meets the eye. At times like this we need to meet some of the Independents as well as the Tories head on. You know who I am talking about and I dont blame them for trying to protect their constituents and their ‘jobs’ but is this correct? I look forward to answers from the Planning and Transportation department, the tories and lib dems.

  44. 44
    Chris Black:

    Mike, yeah, you’re right, I need to memorise a few figures! :) You raise some important issues – rather than leave a comment here, I’ll respond in a new post later this weekend.

  45. 45
    Anonymous:
  46. 46
    Concerned:

    RE: Nr 99 on the call for sites document
    Mr Black
    I wondered if you could comment on the current situation with the ownership of the large area of farmland running along Hockley road and down to the railway track on Hambro Hill which it is rumoured to have been recently brought by the council for housing, as I understand it someone approached the council regarding the feasibility of leasing this land from the owner to develop a large mountain biking/activity centre to coincide with the 2012 Olympic mountain biking in Leigh-on-sea. Upon declining the change of use required for this project to go ahead the council proceeded to make the land owner the fabled ‘offer he couldn’t refuse’ and this was accepted. I can only assume the change of use from greenbelt to residential will be upon us in the foreseeable future.

    Although not attached to this proposal in any way shape or form I do believe this is something that would have greatly beneficial to the town and surrounding area and is defiantly something which would have fitted nicely into the ‘tourism and leisure’ plan for the future of Rochford district. Your comments would be appreciated….

  47. 47
    Chris Black:

    Concerned – I hadn’t heard the suggestion for the biking / activity centre before. It seems like an idea worth looking at, though there would probably be access problems and no motorised activities – sound from that hillside travels a long way.

    As for the land being used for residential purposes, it was , as you said, put forward for development – by someone with an interest in the land. It was not a suggestion that came from the council.

    Now, although I can talk about general locations, I can’t talk about individual sites. All I can say is what is already in the public domain – that the current preferred options document from the council does NOT include any land for development in this general location.

    At the moment the council is not making any ‘offers’ to any landowner, as far as I know.

    A revised version of the document will probably emerge in July.

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