Housing – Time to have your say on the Allocations Submission Document

On Tuesday night Rochford Council discussed the Allocations Submission Document, the document that identifies the specific locations for where the 3,790 housing units are to go in the District (mostly on Green Belt land), including the 500 planned for Hullbridge.

The document discussed and agreed (subject to a few relatively minor changes) by the Council, with only Green Cllrs Michael & Diane Hoy and Lib Dem Clrrs Ron Oatham & Chris Black voting against, can be read in full here.

For the Green Councillors the main issues with this document were

  • Watery Lane – There appears to be no idea what improvements need to be made to this road, either for the housing planned for Hullbridge, or for the totality of the Housing in the West and Centre of the District.
  • Roads Generally – Highways are to be considered on a planning application basis, therefore, for Housing in Rawreth say, that housing only will be considered when looking at the impact on road infrastructure.  There will be no cumulative view of all the Districts housing and how it will impact on road infrastructure, just a piecemeal approach.
  • Open spaces are tiny compared to other developments, a point raised by Cllr Chris Black.  It should be noted that all these plans have been drawn up with a large field showing as proposed open space in Hullbridge, but that is now nowhere to be seen.
  • Rayleigh Sports and Social Club being forced to relocate onto new pitches.  The pitches they have taken years to cultivate, something that is not possible in a few years as evidenced by the poor quality pitches by ASDA.
  • Quality of design – There is only a weak reference to the Essex Design Guide saying developers should pay it attention.  Cllr Michael Hoy spoke up for this, asking for the Design Guide to be accepted as policy by the District, although not possible to adopt on the night Cllr Keith Hudson did suggest this could be done in the near future, however no changes were made to make the commitment to good design stronger.
  • Rawreth/Hullbridge – Of the 500 houses planned for Hullbridge around 250 are actually in Rawreth, this does not build a good community it splits it, those houses will come under a different Parish and District Ward but will to all intents and purposes live in Hullbridge.

There is now to be a consultation, on whether the document is Sound and Legal, which will last to the end of January 2013, the Consultation can be answered via this page.  However we are planning a public meeting to allow residents to discuss this and allow them to be in a good position to respond to the document, this should be in early January and the date and venue will be advised.

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5 responses to “Housing – Time to have your say on the Allocations Submission Document

  1. An interesting fact is that the green belt boundaries were established to Protect the unique character of rural communities that might otherwise be absorbed by expanding suburbs.The fields highlighted in the document are on the boundary of Rawreth and Hullbridge parishes so by developing in these fields it is impossible to protect the green belt boundary of the Hullbridge Parish as it will no longer exist. To ensure the green belt boundary is protected the parish boundary will have to be moved into that of Rawreth.

  2. So what can be done. Are Councillors actually interested in the majorities opinion, whether that is for or against these plans or will they just plough on ahead regardless. I know these decisions are never easy as the government (previously Labour and now Conservative) have declared so many houses have to be built but when will all local Councillors get a back bone and stand up for what the local community want. Personally I have not come across a single person that wants to see more houses built. The road infrastructure in Rochford and Hullbridge is not enough to cope with continuous increase in housing. Especially as most housholds these days have at least two cars. Flooding in the area seems to becoming a norm and yet we want to build on the flood plains. Threats of water shortages during the summer and yet we want to increase the consumption. This isn’t a nimby thing. It is obvious when you look at the population density across the country that more homes are not required in the South East but better distribution of employment across the country. There are many areas in the North that are crying out to be developed if only there were chances of employment in those areas. So instead of just developing the South into one concrete city, Coucillors and MP’s should stand up and do their job representing the true wishes of the public majority. If the true wish of the public majority is new homes then so be it, although it goes against my desire, but I have a feeling if put to a local referendum vote they would find it is a resounding ‘NO’ to the new builds. It is time for all Councillors and MP’s to stop hiding away and truly justify their decisions without just blindly following their party line. Make your community proud of you or at least know who you are. I’m ashamed to say I couldn’t name my Councillor or MP. Partly my fault I know but also a resounding failure on their part as they should be making an effort to connect with all members of constituency whether they voted for them or not. I have lived in the Rochford district for 12 years and not once during election time have I seen anyone from any political persuasion (including the Green Party) canvassing for my vote. At most a leaflet through the door and rarely that these days.

  3. The Friends of the Earth have sent me a think piece on “The Housing Crisis in South East Essex” -”Saving Green Space with High quality, high density housing”. It is here to download. Comments please !! https://dl.dropbox.com/u/1063718/120815_SEEFoE_Housing%20discussion%20doc.doc

  4. Apart from backing Michael in Council on the question of The Essex Design Guide ( I explained why it is was important in technical terms to assist) my concern is that the cumulative effects of each development on highways and infrastructure would not appear to have been finalised.

    I asked that question in Council on 27 November and I was assured that the ECC Local Transport Plan had been revised in 2011 when it had “expired”.

    I was then sent by email a copy of the revised Local Transport Plan which indeed had been revised in June 2011 and that it was good for 15 years.
    But when I ask if RDC was consulted I am told that was not the case.

    Then a resident shows me an email where a Councillor writes “I am aware that this ECC Plan is at present under review for many reasons and including locally, London Airport (Southend), the Joint Area Action Plan for Southend Airport and its Environs and new education, employment and residential locations as identified within the Rochford District Council’s Core Strategy.”

    From that I conclude that the cumulative effects of development are still under study but RDC has approved the Core Strategy and planning permissions have already been granted for 926 in the Central area. (It is not all in the West !!)

    I understand the issue of protecting the District from predatory developers but why has Essex County Council left our District exposed to the risk of the cumulative effects without a plan for strategic improvement?

    The Hawkwell Parish Plan Group are so concerned about the effect of 875 houses in the Central part of our District that they now are actively promoting a Rochford Bypass.

  5. Pingback: The Green View « onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District

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