Tonight Rochford District Council held an Extraordinary Meeting to discuss the problems it has got itself into over the Core Strategy and the numbers of houses it plans to build.
After the Coalition Government said they could plan to build what they wanted the Council chose to reduce the number from 250 a year and instead planned to build 190 units a year but over a longer period so the sites and overall numbers remained effectively the same.
However the Government has not yet put this into law yet so the reduction to 190 units a year would be illegal. The choice tonight was to revert back to the previous numbers of 250 per year, or have no Core Strategy. The prospect of no Core strategy however would mean that developers could put an application in to build units and the Council would have little defence against them. In addition the 250 could well be greater based on current Government proposals.
For Hullbridge this means that the 500 houses have been moved from 2026-2031 to 250 between 2015-2021 and 250 between 2021-2025.
Both Green Party Members had to abstain in the vote. They both felt a vote for would be an agreement to a policy they have consistently opposed whilst a vote against would allow developers something close to a free for all. However the vote was carried with no member voting against.
The problem, as all along, has been in the substance of the Core Strategy and the Administrations failure to properly consult the residents over the whereabouts of any houses including the failure to structure the Core Strategy properly so that Rochford did not have to build houses for other Thames Gateway Districts/Boroughs/Unitry Authorities, just, and rightly, for its needs.