Housing Strategy Motion put to Full Council (RDC) on 27 July

July 8, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Councillor Michael Hoy (Hullbridge) and Councillor John Mason (Hawkwell West) have given notice for a Motion to be put to Full Council on 27 July.

“Pursuant to the Parliamentary Statement made by The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on 6 July 2010, this Council agrees to carry out a housing needs study for Rochford District and adjust the housing allocations proposed in the Core Strategy to satisfy the minimum needs of our community.”

The Motion was Lost.

This what I actually said in Council.

Since I joined Councillor Hoy in putting the motion forward the Council has made a Statement on housing following revocation of East of England Plan.

The Council has already made a decision that should be subject to further study and research in the form of a local housing needs assessment. 

A lot of residents hoped that when the previous government left office, this Council would listen to local people. They expected the Council to reduce the amount of green belt that would be swallowed up.

Many residents contacted me this weekend when they realised that despite the Hawkwell Appeal being dismissed that 175 will most probably still go ahead even when they say that such a development is not welcome or needed in Hawkwell West.

What the Council is proposing is to adopt the housing figures put forward to the previous government in the form of the draft review of the East of England Plan (RSS31).  This means building the same number of houses but over a longer period and I cannot see that any green belt will be saved.

My concern is that even the reduced targets of the previous government represent the provision of housing significantly in excess of local needs.

The two SHMA studies are put forward as evidence.

The date of the latest SHMA is as at January 2010 under the previous Government but it was not published until May 2010. These assessments are a “housing market assessment” which says to me that the figures not only include needs but also demand as promoted by growth targets in the Thames Gateway.

By giving up determination of housing development strategies to local people the new Government is saying that there is no need any more for Rochford District to simply give up green belt to satisfy this demand for construction growth from the Thames Gateway or London. Residents realise from the past that this sort of so called economic growth does not benefit our district and leaves us with growing district wide infrastructural problems that are never solved.

When the Core Strategy was debated in Full Council before submission last September I raised the issues of the district wide infrastructural issues and I recall that the Leader of the Council echoed my concern as did many other Members but reflected that this is outside of our control.  So it is and with the Spending Cuts we cannot expect the district wide infrastructural needs referred to in the Core Strategy to be delivered especially for new public transport initiatives.

On that basis I feel that we need to cut out all the house building that represents housing market growth that is greater than our local needs.

I have asked our Officers a series of numerically based questions and I was referred to study the SHMA’s. I could find any direct answers in terms of housing numbers to the questions I had asked.

We also have the enigma of the SHMA 2010 recommending that 196 affordable houses are required annually for Rochford District but at the annual level of total house building by the Council is only 190 inferring only 60 affordable units will be built each year. This needs to be examined critically because I have no wish to consign people to being homeless in our district if the 196 is right. Furthermore I note the comments in the SHMA about the increasing need for single homes for older people and I hope that all Members viewed the evidence put forward by Panorama last night. Both concerns are inherent in the Motion.

So Members if we want to be sure that we are really making the right decision then I would say that we need to commission GVA Grimley to delve further into their research and extract figures and recommendations having carried out a housing needs study for Rochford District and adjust the housing allocations proposed in the Core Strategy to satisfy the minimum needs of our community.

Will a Parish Plan arrive too late for Hullbridge?

December 29, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Time to show opposition to 450 planned houses, VILLAGERS need to make their voices heard about plans to build 450 new homes, a worried councillor has said.

Monday 28th December 2009 By John Geoghegan in the Echo 

Michael Hoy, a Green Party parish councillor in Hull-bridge, believes the village has been subdued in its opposition to the plans which form part of Rochford District Council’s core strategy for housing across the district.

He raised the issue at a recent parish council meeting, where he also called for a village plan to help shape any development and to make sure Hullbridge gets something in return from the developers.

Mr Hoy said: “The core strategy has been well-publicised, but we’ve had no-one at our meetings about it. I also feel there should be more visible support from our district councillors on the issue.

“We must start acting now to let people know what is going on and either try to reduce the housing numbers or, at least, get something back from the developers.”

He compared Hullbridge’s reaction to Hawkwell and Rawreth, where there has been strong vocal opposition to their housing allocations. The 450 new homes would increase Hullbridge’s population by about 30 per cent.

Mr Hoy added: “At the Asda development in Rayleigh, money was forthcoming from the developers for other projects, such as sports pitches and the leisure centre.”

The parish council decided to look at the proposals and will hold meetings to get a parish plan up and running.

About 5,500 new homes must be built in Rochford district by 2025 under the East of England plan, which sets the Government housing targets for the area.

The district council must decide where the houses should be built as part of its core strategy.

More or Less New Houses in Hawkwell?

March 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

From the Echo;

“Councillors are preparing to tour the Rochford District to find sites for new homes. Last week, Councillors decided they would look at about 30 to 40 locations for settlements of more than 50 homes.  They will then draw up their plan, called a core strategy, which guides development in the district. Keith Hudson (Con, Hockley Central), Councillor responsible for planning, said a possible 100 magic prismhomes, which could be built in Hockley town centre, would be included in the 350-home total required for both Hockley and Hawkwell.  Last autumn, the district council revealed its provisional plans for where the housing would go as part of its preferred options for the core strategy.  The two most contentious areas were Hawkwell and Rawreth, where residents campaigned against their housing allocations.  The District Council earmarked 330 homes for Hawkwell and 1,050 houses for Rawreth.  During the consultation, Rayleigh Town Council and Hawkwell and Rawreth parish councils all listed their objections to the plan in strong terms.”

The Hawkwell Action Group has written to Councillors to make sure that they consider all sites and take into account all the objections including a 17 page dissertation from District Council Ward Member for Hawkwell West, John Mason.

“This email is being sent on behalf of the Hawkwell Action Group by myself, Carol Dutton and our Chairman, Jamie Popplewell.

“I would like to request that before you visit any sites within South Hawkwell (which is in effect Hawkwell West) you would take the time to read all submissions made and in particular those made by Hawkwell Parish Council and Ward Member for Hawkwell West, Councillor Jonh Mason.  Councillor Mason’s document I have attached to my email for your convenience, it is fairly lengthy but as it covers most of the local issues it is well worth the read.”