Further Public Consultation on the Core Strategy

January 1, 2013 by  


Happy New Year 2013.

This brings a further opportunity for residents to comment on the Rochford Core Strategy. This ends on 25 January 2013.

We have already raised our concerns about the Hockley Area Action Plan (HAAP) and now we turn to the Allocations Submission Document.

With planning permission having already been given for a new 176 dwelling estate in Hawkwell, despite huge objection by residents, residents groups and your two Independent District Councillors, you might think that this is the time for “no comment” from Hawkwell.

We think otherwise. We would encourage you to read our Article and consider whether you personally or your organisation will also wish to object. You might like to think about the concerns we have.

We have been informed that the response from the Housing and Development Section of the Hawkwell Parish Parish Plan (HPPG) Questionnaire was mainly against further house building with a weighting of opinion that the area is full up and cannot even take the current volume of traffic in a satisfactory manner.

In the Traffic and Highways Section 71% said that there was excessive traffic congestion.and 77% said that Tidal traffic congestion leads to gridlock.

There were 136 comments made freely on the questionnaires which all directly relate to housing and development and 60 of which related to roads and or infrastructure.

We understand that the roads have not been improved since green-space separated all towns and villages on the Shoebury peninsular (for want of a better name). The development of Cherry Orchard Way (B1013) resulted in Hawkwell West getting true through traffic avoiding the A127 congestion for the very first time.

The HPPG is so concerned that it has suggested to Hawkwell Parish Council that a Rochford Bypass should be reconsidered when planning to improve the current inadequate road infrastructure.

This concern regarding traffic congestion and inadequate infrastructure is not new and I had already raised this issue in the Core Strategy.

In May 2010 at a Public Examination about the Core Strategy in front of a Government Planning Inspector I raised concerns about the level of housing development and whether the roads could cope with the additional volumes.

I was assured that this matter would be looked at when the Essex County Council Local Transport Plan was reviewed in 2011.

Councillor Michael Hoy and Councillor Chris Black were both present at the PE in 2010.

Strangely Rochford District Council still agrees in 2012………….according to RDC (Minutes of Council 27/11/12); “Responding to a supplementary Member question relating to the cumulative effect of all the proposed development on the local highways, officers advised that the Highways Authority was looking strategically at the cumulative effect of traffic impacts through the Local Transport Plan; in addition, the emerging community infrastructure levy should facilitate strategic highways improvements.”………but there is not a Traffic Assessment of the District (TEMPRO) in the Evidence Base as far as I can see.

The Member asking the question was myself, Councillor John Mason.

But in 2012 as explained by ECC, “the current Essex Local Transport Plan (LTP) was developed in line with Department for Transport Guidance on LTPs. This LTP represents a significant change from previous LTPs. It is not a 5 year plan that sets out a specific programme, instead it is a long term document that provides the framework within which transport programmes can be developed.”

There are 3,500 new dwellings agreed in the Rochford Core Strategy. Already 976 have been given planning permission in the Central part of the District.

Councillor Michael Hoy has posted on Facebook that a Public Meeting is being held on Thursday 3rd January at the Hullbridge Community Centre, in Pooles Lane. The meeting is to start at 7.30pm. This meeting is for residents to discuss and decide what they can say to the consultation, being held by the District Council, about the 500 houses planned for Hullbridge.

We cannot see how the overall highways infrastructure can cope without major improvements.

Rochford District Council states in its Public Consultation that to be Sound the plan should be prepared based on a strategy which seeks to meet objectively assessed development and infrastructure requirements, including unmet requirements from neighbouring authorities where it is reasonable to do so and consistent with achieving sustainable development.

Essex County Council stated in an email to me on 21 December 2012 “On a local level every strategic development proposal is accompanied by a transport assessment, the scope of which must be agreed with the Highway Authority. This assessment considers the impact the proposed development will have on the highway network and includes industry standard forecasted growth (TEMPRO) to ensure a comprehensive approach that accounts for present traffic conditions (including any new and committed development) and future traffic growth.”

I conclude that the Allocations Submission Document is not sound as the Highways Authority has evidently not looked strategically at the cumulative effect of traffic impacts on the Rochford Core Strategy through the Local Transport Plan because the information quoted by ECC has not been published in the Evidence Base.

The Evidence Base for the Allocations of Sites DPD comes from the Core Strategy and that renders the Allocation of Sites DPD Unsound because it, and the strategic development proposed in the Allocations of Sites DPD, is not supported by sustainable evidence from a cumulative traffic assessment for the District.

The Planning Inspector is asked to reject the Allocations DPD and return this to Council with the requirement to await the formal and reported assessment of the strategic cumulative effects of all developments contemplated by the Core Strategy on Highways infrastructure in Rochford District by ECC in accordance with the LTP 2011.


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