Hockley doesn’t want 150 New Houses in Town Centre

August 20, 2009 by  

From the Echo 19 August

RESIDENTS have given a “resounding thumbs-down” to a council plan to revamp Hockley, a pressure group says.

The Hockley Under Threat campaign was set up by neighbours in response to the Hockley Area Action Plan, which aims to revitalise the town centre with new shops, a smarter look and more homes.

Earlier this year, Rochford District Council asked residents what they would like to see. But many complained they were unaware of the plans.

The group’s committee has examined more than 250 responses to the plan and found 77 per cent were against.

Of the 253 responses, 195 were opposed to the plan and ten expressed support, while the remaining 48 were general comments.

Gabrielle Yeadell, chairman of the group, said: “Rochford District Council had put forward an area action plan with no visible notification to traders or residents.

“A public meeting was held in Hockley on April 19 where the majority objected to the plan.

“The group was formed to raise awareness of the plan and to work with other organisations to make clear to the council the plan was unacceptable in its current form.”

The council put forward six options, all of which included redevelopment of the town centre and building 100-150 flats.

Some options suggested redeveloping the Eldon Industrial Estate, moving businesses from the park and creating a new town square in Spa Road, near the junction with Eldon Way.

Keith Hudson, district councillor for planning, said: “This was a consultation document, not a plan.

“We wanted positive feedback indicating people’s preference. We want to draw up something that suits residents and businesses and come back with something to please the majority of people.

“Without such a blueprint, it will be difficult to resist applications which have no place in a village centre, such as a huge supermarket.”

Mr Hudson said residents had been notified of the proposals in the council magazine, Rochford District Matters, in a presentation to Hockley Residents’ Association and at the council’s west area committee meeting. He said there would be further consultation next year.



One Response to “Hockley doesn’t want 150 New Houses in Town Centre”
  1. Editor says:

    Here is the Press Release from Hockley upon which the ECHO picked up the story.

    “Hockley Redevelopment Plans Rejected by Villagers
    95% Reject Rochford District Council’s Hockley Area Action Plan Proposal…

    Hockley residents who responded to the Rochford District Council (RDC) consultation over its Hockley Area Action Plan (HAAP) gave it a resounding thumbs-down. Over 95% of the respondents explicitly said no to the plan as it stands.

    Six ways to destroy the heart of a village…

    RDC put forward six options including large scale redevelopment of the Village centre and surrounding area. This included the change of use of current brownfield land at Eldon Way to additional housing. This would displace the existing businesses, relocating them to what is currently green belt land.

    Why are the locals so upset…

    Anger at the way RDC managed the HAAP consultation phase led to an independent public meeting being held in Hockley on 19 April 2009. Here residents angrily voiced their concerns that RDC had failed to publicise the plan effectively, leaving them little time to respond to the formal consultation phase. Campaigners are convinced that many residents remain unaware of these plans.

    Here’s why…

    Concerns from residents included the need to retain the Village character, not add any additional stress to the local infrastructure or amenities (buses, medical facilities, shops, etc.) and the need to fundamentally engage with local residents to develop a suitable and widely acceptable solution for any future redevelopment.

    Who built the “HUT”…?

    The meeting’s 400 strong attendees fully supported the formation of a new local interest group, the Hockley Under Threat Campaign (HUT), chaired by Ms Gabrielle Yeadell. This group’s aim is to increase public awareness of the HAAP, to engage them in understanding the contents and to work with other local organisations in making Hockley residents’ opinions known to RDC.

    Determining policy before consultation

    It has now come to light that RDC has made amendments to its separate Core Strategy (CS) which effectively implements a large element of the HAAP proposal without any additional consultation (Eldon Way redevelopment into housing). These amendments to the CS are expected to be approved by RDC on 9 September 2009.

    Outrage that RDC appear to be ignoring its own consultation results…

    A spokesperson for the HUT Campaign revealed that they will be seeking to alert residents to the threat and to ensure that RDC takes due note of residents’ views. They asked “What is the point of having a consultation and then totally ignoring it? As a first step, we hope that RDC will urgently reconsider their Core Strategy plans!”

    Read more…

    Further information can be found via the HUT campaign website: http:\\”

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