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What Residents Are NOT Told by Barratts and David Wilson Homes – Update Number 9

April 28, 2013 by  

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Photo by modot_stl_photos
Summary of Clements Gate, Hawkwell Update

Many residents will now have received the misnamed Hawkwell “Focus” from Barratts-David Wilson Homes.

As your Independent District Ward Councillors, John and Christine Mason, we will now give you much more information of what is going on with the issues that Barratts and David Wilson Homes left out of their glossy, expensive, news pamphlet and report on other issues covered by Barratts and David Wilson Homes but without “spin”.   We are going to cover progress with the Clements Hall Way Access, the continued use of the Rectory Road Access (not in planning approval), the so called “public “Open Space, The Rat Problem, Street Naming, the continual use of the permanent open space of the “Paddocks” for a Builders Yard contrary to the intention of a legal agreement, the inadequate width of the Rectory Road Footway and the “Estate Agents” Office.

If you do not have the Hawkwell “Focus” from Barratts and David Wilson Homes you can download it.

(https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1063718/Hawkwell%20Focus%2C%20April%202013.pdf)

Before you start thinking that we can take this pain and it will be all over in a little while please do read about the future we foresee.

The Future for Even More House Building

You will remember that at the General Election that you were promised that the house building required by the Labour Government would be stopped or reduced. That quickly gave way to “we can’t” for legal reasons and discarded completely with economic recovery would be assured with the Conservative Government policy of “Build Houses for Growth”.

We heard The CEO of RDC at the Business Breakfast on Thursday tell businessmen and women in his update that RDC was encouraging house building in the District.

Further another RDC Officer has written when discussing Planning Conditions and Non Enforcement with me “the local planning authority is required by Government to take positive stance on housing development”.

Both of these evidence that this promotion seems to be going much further than the binding requirements of the new NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework).

We have a Local Plan which currently requires over 3000 to be built with an embedded automatic increase of more than another 1000+.  There is documentation in public that suggests that Hawkwell West will get even more in new developments in Ironwell Lane. Worse than that perhaps there is a bunch of consultants currently telling us that we need many more thousands of houses in the Rochford District.   With real immigration figures into the District being very, very low you can forget the scaremongering by UKIP and the English Democrat Political Parties. As Independents we joined with the Greens to put forward long ago that we should only meet our local housing needs but this was savagely rejected by the Rochford District Conservatives.

Clements Gate Update

Rodent Infestations

Promises from Barratts and David Wilson Homes are not being met and the update actually appears in the Echo.  The problem appears to be spreading.

http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/10379891.Rat_problem_still_not_solved/

Clements Hall Way Access

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Barratts and David Wilson Homes advised that this will open on 3 May 2013.

You would think that the use of the Vega Nurseries Gate in Rectory Road would stop then?

No.

Vega Nurseries Gate in Rectory Road

Whilst we understand that Officers of Rochford District Council acknowledge that continued use of the Vega Nurseries Gate in Rectory Road, and that is what Barratts and David Wilson Homes intend, should be subject to a planning application there is no certainty that this formality will be fulfilled. Even if it is not we understand that there will be no enforcement action taken because RDC and ECC apparently do not see that any harm is caused.

An ECC Officer actually wrote I understand RDC want to progress this development and this would facilitate the process…”

You can see what we are up against “the local planning authority is required by Government to take positive stance on housing development”.  No planning permission would be clearly OK with the Conservative Party nationally and locally.

As Ward Councillors we would at the very least want to see a temporary permission with an end date agreed with all of the all the relevant protocols in place; but in the absence of a planning application this will obviously not be possible.

We had one success with the help of information provided by residents.  Barratts and David Wilson Homes have agreed in writing to us that there will be no construction traffic waiting in Rectory Road or parking on the inadequate footway.

Widening of the Footway in Rectory Road

Whilst Barratts and David Wilson Homes refer to this in their Hawkwell “Focus”, Officers at RDC advise as follows;

The footway is not to be widened; this is misinformation in the newsletter. The planning statement we considered with the application agreed to “relocate telegraph poles and lamp posts from the footway into the site”.

Open Space

This was stated in the Planning Application to be a PUBLIC Open Space in return of course as a benefit to the whole community for the loss of Green Belt.

Councillor Cutmore reneged on his promise for RDC to form a PUBLIC Open Space.

As Independent Councillors we fought for the right for Hawkwell Parish Council to be able to own and manage this as a PUBLIC Open Space.  Hawkwell Parish Council refused to even talk to Barratts and David Wilson Homes.  This was backed up in a public statement by The Hawkwell Residents Association which agreed with this decision.

Hawkwell Parish Council also refused to participate in allowing a link to Spencers Park (owned by HPC) by a bridge to facilitate access to the PUBLIC open space from Spencers Park PUBLIC open space.  We understand that HPC was concerned about youths moving to Spencers Park. Barratts and David Wilson Homes have agreed to provide £10,000 funding for this facility but if not built the money will be retained by the developer.

Instead of a PUBLIC Open Space we ended up with a PRIVATE Open Space just for the residents of the new estate.

HAG and the CTFDAG disagreed and Richard Hill, Christine and John wished to meet with Barratts and David Wilson Homes to discuss alternatives. This was never taken up by Barratts.  When we chased all we got was “Thank you for your patience.”

With Barratts and David Wilson Homes stating in their Hawkwell “Focus” that this will be managed by Trinity Estates this will be a PRIVATE Open Space.  Rochford District Council are required to approve the plan but with no reply from Officers of RDC we assume that this remains a mystery.

You might want to read this link. It has nothing to do with us. We found it on Google.

http://www.blagger.com/db4/company_id/9845/companyname/Trinity-Estates.html

We believe that the decision of Hawkwell Parish Council to refuse to talk to Barratts and David Wilson Homes could be seen eventually as a grave mistake.  If you wish this to be altered even at this eleventh hour please make representation to Hawkwell Parish Council as soon as possible.  They are now the only authority that can ensure that the loss of green belt is offset by a PUBLIC open space.  Without their agreement to the Bridge the Open Space will certainly become and stay private.

Street Naming

We wrote about this here; http://bit.ly/Y1qfGg

Here are the recommendations we put forward to RDC.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1063718/Ward%20Members%20Final%20List%20Clements%20Gate%20%281%29.doc

This is why we chose Lewis Close/Avenue and objected to ALL of the other personalised names.

http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/10252842.Naming_road_after_Rochford_soldier_would_keep_his_memory_alive__dad_says/

We hope that you agree.

The Paddocks

We have  been concerned that the “green strip” known in the planning application as “The Paddocks” which adjoins Rectory Road is being used not only for access but also for parking and storage of building materials.

The Agreement states “The Owner shall only use the Paddocks for agriculture, horticulture, forestry, grazing or as open land so as to ensure that they remain un-built upon except for any buildings ancillary to such permitted use and provide open space which mitigates the visual impact of the Development on the area in which the Site is situated.”

Despite our objections Officers of the Council have decided “As these areas are within the application site and this use is permitted by the General Permitted Development Order 1995, it is lawful to use the areas for these purposes during the construction works.”

All we can say is that Officers did not advise Members that this current use could be permitted when the idea of a Legal Agreement was put forward in the planning application.

We have always feared that a Legal Agreement between the Council and the developer might not protect the interests of residents and our request for this to remain green belt was turned down by Deputy Council Leader, Keith Hudson.

Here is what Councillor Keith Hudson stated to Councillor John Mason “I am of the opinion that we require a legal agreement with the Developer and the landowners and RDC within the Section 106 agreement associated with the application to ensure that these parcels of land remain areas of permanent open space; such an agreement would be far stronger and defensible in law than a general green belt designation and have far more meaning. Such a legal agreement would be binding on all parties concerned unless there was agreement by all parties to nullify or amend the agreement.

Do you agree that this current use as a compound/builders yard provides open space which mitigates the visual impact of the Development and ensures that these parcels of land remain areas of permanent open space?

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And finally the…………….

“Estate Agents” Office Approved in Established Residential Area

As we stated here, http://bit.ly/15Wro6D, we voted against this.

In his opposing speech (supporting Christine’s initial speech) John stated that he had not seen this particular arrangement put up for planning permission in his 13 years on the District Council or previously when he was on Hockley Parish Council and he was concerned about precedent.

A Tory Member pointedly suggested that he go and look at the EON Development and remember the Etheldore Avenue Development.

We followed up on this statement with Shaun Scrutton in writing and he agreed that neither of the examples referred to by the Tory required planning permission because they were unmodified and extended Show Houses.

The application approved in Hawkwell was different because it was an extended garage which had an internally modified layout for a commercial office and it does create a precedent as John stated.

Information Please

Please give us some feedback on these issues and let us know if you agree/disagree with the stances we are taking.  As your Ward Councillors we try to represent the view that we see as a local consensus and also to provide a voice for our community.  We can only do this successfully if you let us know what your opinions are.

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