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Hawkwell and Coombes Farm – Possible Tests of a A New Government?

January 24, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

I have had several conversations with local residents this weekend asking what they can do about the Planning Appeals in Hawkwell, Christmas Tree Farm/Thorpe Road and Coombes Farm,Rochford/Stambridge.

Public Comments close on both Appeals on Wednesday, 27 January 2010.

Both Appeals will be heard by Public Inquiry in April following which the Secretary of State makes a decision based on the Planning Inspector’s report.

You could contact Caroline Spelman, Conservative MP because she could decide the fate of Coombes Farm if the Conservatives win the election as the future Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government.

It looks to me as if  Hawkwell and Coombes Farm will effectively be Test Cases for a new Government.

Could Caroline Spelman dismiss the Appeals?  Yes, but it depends if Government Guidance on Planning Policy or the regional housing quotas are going to be changed by the new Secretary of State within 16 weeks of the conclusion of the two Public Inquiries.  Coombes Farm commences on 13 April and Hawkwell on 27 April.  Both are not likely to take longer than 4 days.

With the General Election most likely to the held on 6 May, or latest 3 June, there certainly appears to be time for a new Secretary of State to make the decision but there might not be enough time to make changes. 

It is entirely possible that the “old” Secretary of State could make the decision if General Election was held on 3 June and The Planning Inspector had submitted the report very quickly !!

Hopefully Caroline Spelman will be kind enough to look at the position and let us know.  It would be helpful if people write to copy in Mark Francois MP for Hawkwell and James Duddridge MP for Coombes Farm so that they can lobby Caroline Spelman to do the best she can for us if the Conservatives win the election and she is the future Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government.

It might be that there would not be enough time for the new Secretary of State to make the changes necessary changes to save the green belt at Coombes Farm and in Hawkwell which would be a dreadful shame.

What residents do deserve is a clear answer; Will she change Government Guidance on Planning Policy Yes? or No? Will there be time to dismiss these Appeals.  Yes? or No?

We can’t ask if Ms Spelman will dismiss the Appeals because she cannot pre-determine this……………..but she could indicate whether it could be possible or out of the question?   

That seems perfectly reasonable for residents to ask for before they vote in the General Election of course !! And remarkably local with a direct immediate effect on peoples lives for a change given how remote national politics can appear to be.

Interesting challenge I think.

330 reasons to object to new houses in Hawkwell

November 14, 2008 by · 4 Comments 

160 residents from Hockley and Hawkwell went to the Rochford District Council Meeting held at the Hawkwell Village Hall to protest against the proposal from the Council to build 330 new houses between Thorpe Road and Clements Hall Way.

Independent District Councillor John Mason for Hawkwell West spoke at the end of the Meeting at the request of a resident to explain whether he was against the proposal.

Councillor Mason confirmed that he remained steadfastly against the proposal, indeed as he had said at two public meetings arranged by the Hawkwell Action Group.  He took time to say that he had been conducting his own technical appraisal of the location described as South Hawkwell under the Government Policy on sustainable development PPS12 and that he had concluded that it was NOT a sustainable development and should be dropped by the Council.

Download “330 reasons to object to new houses in Hawkwell”

 

 

John said that he would make his findings available on the web and that he hoped that residents would consult this and write their own letters of protest to the Council, by letter, email or by direct input into the Council’s Database.

Councillor Hudson, on behalf of the Council, said that he welcomed the input that would be provided by Councillor Mason and residents because the Council did want residents views in writing not just as expressed at the meeting.

John Mason’s hugely detailed letter of protest on behalf of residents can be downloaded here.  He urges all concerned residents to write to the Council by 17 December which is the closing date of the consultation.

Is Rochford Brickworks a site for 200 houses?

June 25, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Coastline near Southend-on-Sea:  approaching London City AirportAt the Public Meeting in Hawkwell a resident asked me to explain why this has not been considered in the planning for the strategic housing development plan for Rochford District whereas it was include in the London Southend Airport Report (JAAP)?  The Brickworks Site could support 200 new houses.

The detailed position is as follows.

The formal consultation period on London Southend Airport Report (JAAP) started on the 24 June.  If you look at the four possible development scenarios you will see that a mixed development scheme is suggested for the old brickworks site under Scenario 3.

This is simply a consultation on issues and options and no decisions whatsoever have been taken about the development that might ultimately be agreed in the area of the Action Plan.
 
The JAAP stands on its own as a development plan document, though Rochford District Council will be referring to it, as you might expect, in the revised version of the Local Development Plan Core Strategy.

The Brickworks site is about 1.9 hectares (4.7 acres).  However, you may recall there is a company pushing for the development of a retirement village on the site together with surrounding scrubland – if included, this would make the site about 4 hectares (10 acres).  The boundary shown on the issues and options document is the larger area. This would support 200 houses.

New Hawkwell Housing – How to Protest

June 22, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Bloor Street Corridor Visioning Study Kick-Off Meeting, Walmer Road Baptist Church Upper Gym, Wednesday, May 9, 2007 - 267Having seen the huge turnout at the Hawkwell Action Group’s Public Meeting many of you asked how you could object.  Rather than wait for an official public consultation you can protest now especially as it is known that the Planning Policy Committee has reviewed the sites.

Here is the draft of a letter you could send to the Council, Click here.

365 new houses is the biggest threat to the lives of residents in Hawkwell West for 20 years. Is it a real threat?  Yes, because the people who want it to happen went to the trouble of meeting in secret and then gave an “exclusive” to the Echo to publish it.  Who are these people?  Are they greedy land owners?  No these are the people who residents across the district elected to run Rochford District Council.  The powerful councillor who wants this is your “neighbour” in Hockley where he demands only 36 new houses against the 365 for Hawkwell West.

The infrastructure in Hawkwell West has not changed in over 80 years……and why should it, if the residents don’t want it? The biggest change in the last 20 years was the decision to site the then biggest leisure centre in the East of England in Hawkwell West and that was a mistake.  It has brought too much traffic to Hawkwell.  Ashingdon Road cannot cope with the huge housing developments in East Hawkwell and Ashingdon and now we find that Rectory Road is a rat run with the bottlenecks at St. Mary’s Church and Nursery corner leading to the new Cherry Orchard Lane link to the A127.

Hawkwell West does not have the infrastructure to sustain 365 houses on any of the sites put forward.  And the infrastructure cannot be improved without totally ruining the area.  Neither does Essex County Council have any plans to do so.

So if the houses are built then it will be a disaster. One site is on the flood plain. Another is in the Roach Valley Conservation Zone.  And the last is believed to be a place where rare plants and animals have lived undisturbed for centuries.

As your independent district councillor and I promised to fight for our Green Belt.  I have represented you in successful campaigns since 1994 and I have already been fighting this proposal in Council and Public Consultations for 18 months.

I was delighted when the campaign gave birth to the Hawkwell Action Group and I joined with these residents immediately to help. At two public meetings you have said that you do not want 365 new houses in Hawkwell West.

What you need to do now, because the sites have already been visited by councillors and we are told that the decision will be made in the Autumn is for you to write personally to protest about this before it is too late. PLEASE WRITE NOW.

John Mason, Independent District Councillor for Hawkwell West

 

Hawkwell says it does not want 365 houses on green belt

June 14, 2008 by · 1 Comment 

Residents at the Public Meeting arranged by the Hawkwell Action Group said “No !”

[tab:click here for photos]

[tab:click here for aerial photos]
Here are the Aerial Photos, to view the maps please click here.

For a map of all the individually owned plots in the Thorpe Road Site – Click Here 

Here is a list of the sites offered by land owners to Rochford District Council – Click Here 
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Please protest about this here

The Hawkwell Action Group (HAG)

May 14, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

A group of residents in Hawkwell West have formed a organisation called the Hawkwell Action Group (HAG) which has the purpose of ensuring that all of the residents of my Ward are independently advised of proposals affecting Hawkwell West in the Local Development Framework (Planning for Housing) and that as many residents as possible respond to the public consultation.  I was invited to join the HAG Committee and I have done so.

From the Echo, 12 May 2008 – Do you believe that Hawkwell Green Belt will be saved? Or is it still at risk? 

District’s green belt aims to skirt housebuild quotas

THE majority of cherished green belt land in the Rochford district will escape development as part of Government housebuilding targets, a leading councillor says.

The Rochford district has been given a quota of providing 2,500 new homes by 2015, which fuelled fears some of green belt would have to be developed.

However, deputy council leader Keith Hudson said: “I think the good news is that the amount of land will be very small, perhaps only two or three fields. It is just a few acres, but there is always the danger the targets will increase. What we will be seeking to do is to make sure those sites which already have been given planning permission are actually developed.

“A major example is the site opposite the cemetery in Hockley Road, Rayleigh, which has had planning permission for many years.

“This and other sites could take a large amount of the housing quota without having to use other areas.”

Mr Hudson spoke after a Campaign for the Protection of Rural England report on the threat to the green belt across the country. 

Evening Echo – Reluctant Rochford’s 3,000 new homes

September 17, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

Reluctant Rochford’s 3,000 new homes
By Geoff Percival

Rochford councillors have reluctantly agreed 3,000 more homes might have to be built in the district by 2021.

But councillors are angry that the Government is trying to force so many new houses on area.

The proposals will mean 90 per cent of the extra homes would be in Rayleigh, Hockley, Hawkwell, Rochford and Ashingdon.

However, Rochford District Council leader Terry Cutmore (Con, Ashingdon) pointed out the plan had yet to be ratified by the East of England Regional Assembly, which drafted it.

He added: “Effectively, we are looking at a plan which has not even been approved by the assembly which put it forward, because of worries about the number of homes involved and the infrastructure of the East of England.”

Peter Webster (Con, Rayleigh Wheatley) added: “This is not what we want to do. It is something we are being forced into by a Socialist government.”

John Mason (Ind, Hawkwell) said he felt 3,000 new homes was an unrealistic number. He did not believe so many could be fitted into the existing main residential areas.“We need to put a lot more work in on this before it is finally approved,” he suggested.
Head of planning Shaun Scrutton said the plan was in its infancy and it was too early for a final decision.

Head of planning Shaun Scrutton said the plan was in its infancy and it was too early for a final decision.He pointed out there would be a period of public consultation before the council had to agree on it.

Mr Scrutton added: “The concept of the whole plan will then be tested by an inspector at a public inquiry later next year, making the final decision.”

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