by Philip Jones
BATTLE lines have been drawn over plans for 500 new homes west of Rayleigh as councillors insist the town cannot cope with extra traffic.
Developer Countryside has submitted an outline application to Rochford District Council, but Rayleigh town councillors strongly railed against the plans on the grounds of overdevelopment and a lack of adequate roads.
The town council argues righthand filter lanes, for access to the site between London Road and Rawreth Lane, simply will not cope with the extra traffic associated with 500 new homes.
Councillor Chris Lumley said: “In 1777, there was London Road, Rawreth Lane and Downhall Road, more than 200 years later these are still the same basic roads we use.
“They cannot cope with the current traffic in Rayleigh, adding 500 more homes and their cars, will be a nightmare.”
Recent roadworks to Beeches Bridge, Hullbridge, have closed Watery Lane and forced villagers to use Rawreth Lane, leading to long delays on that and surrounding roads.
Councillor Bruce Smart said: “One day there will be an emergency vehicle that will not be able to get where it needs to go because the correct roads have not been put in.”
Rayleigh Town Council’s planning committee voted, almost without objection, against the outline application and called for a full traffic survey to be carried out to assess the impact of the new homes.
Residents were allowed to speak at the beginning of the meeting, with all of them raising similar concerns over congestion.
Tim [sic] Cripps said: “Rawreth Lane is just that, a lane, it is not a highway.
“Putting T-junctions in there, and on London Road, will cause mayhem, to add to the chaos we already have.”
Chairman of the Rayleigh Action Group, Linda Kendall, of Lubbards Close, is currently waiting to hear the result of her High Court challenge to Rochford District Council, which could stop these homes being build.
She said: “We have to stop Countryside getting outline planning because once they do, they will just bulldoze everything else through.”
The outline application will be heard by a meeting of the Rochford District Council development committee on an, as yet, undecided date.