There Is No Hawkwell Split

February 18, 2010 by  

The Editor of the Rochford OnlineFocus Website (Lib Dem) described the earlier publication of the HAG Statement as “Hawkwell Split?” (

There is no Hawkwell Split !!

There are three residents groups in Hawkwell with a common theme which is, on undisputed common ground, simply to oppose development.  They are all different with their own identities and committees.

The Hawkwell Residents Association (Hawkwell RA) was formed in 1994 and is headed by two Hawkwell Parish Councillors, Angela Heath and Alan James.(

The Hawkwell Action Group (HAG) was formed at a public meeting in June 2008 and is run by Jamie Popplewell as Chair, with Committee Members, Carol Dutton and Pat James (

The third has only just been formally constituted as The Christmas Tree Farm Development Action Group and its Newsletter just delivered through my door is here ( It has been operating since October 2010 and the CTFD explains this in its Newsletter.  Here is an extract.

“Since we came together as a Group in October last year to fight the David Wilson Homes planning application for 330 houses in the green-field site in and around the Christmas Tree Farm in West Hawkwell, we have used the name “Hawkwell Action Group”. As you will see below, we have decided to change our name to the “Christmas Tree Farm Development Action Group”. This is in part to reflect our prime objective of fighting the DHW Planning Appeal but also to avoid confusion with HAG, another local action group who have a wider agenda which relates to development anywhere in Hawkwell. In this respect, we have drawn up a group Constitution and are opening bank accounts for the deposit of all donations received from members. Formal Rule 6 documentation mentioned above will also be submitted under this name.”

The CTFD Action Group newsletter, was only delivered to local residents that the CTFD Action Group considered were particularly affected by their proximity to the proposed DWH development.

Unfortunately The Statement of Case under Rule 6 has already been put forward in the name of The Hawkwell Action Group.

Please see the Comments at the very bottom of the screen which have been contributed since publication.

The CTFD has given instructions (8/3) for the Rule 6 Case to be withdrawn and RDC has deleted this from its  web site. It is understood that the CTFD will, nevertheless, request leave to speak at the Appeal. 



7 Responses to “There Is No Hawkwell Split”
  1. Carol Dutton says:

    The Hawkwell Action Group

    info [at] [dot] uk


    The Hawkwell Action Group wish to state that we remain dedicated to fighting against both David Wilson Homes 330 houses in Hawkwell West Ward and also the Rochford District Council’s Core Strategy 175 houses. Another residents group has been formed which may have a different stance to this but HAG has always stood for NO HOUSES IN HAWKWELL and this remains so.

    Whilst the fundraising last November was undertaken in the name of HAG and funds were held by the Hawkwell Residents Association, HAG was not actually involved in this. HAG has not changed its name and the residents promoting the fundraising have formed their own organisation and now have their own bank account. HAG is not involved in any fundraising.

    Jamie Popplewell, Chairman

  2. Chris Black says:

    Jamie, you and John are the experts in Hawkwell, not me.

    However I’m surprised by one of the paragraphs in the appeal submission sent in on behalf of residents – para 2.3 which say that they are not against ANY development in principle.

    Considering the strength of local opposition, I wonder who instructed the professional planning consultant to write that – and why.

  3. John Mason says:

    Chris, as HAG was not involved in the commissioning of this Case it is obviously difficult for them to comment.

    Indeed you will have seen that HAG has made no comment on this above.

    But having spoken with Carol, who in turn had already had a conversation with one of the new residents group, I do understand that it would appear to have been recommended by the professional advisers. This surprises me as much as yourself. I am willing to comment further.

    Let’s look a the whole of the para that you mention.

    “2.3. Consideration of the application by the Action Group. The evidence of the Action Group will show how the application has been carefully considered. The Group do not raise objection of principle to any development but are concerned with the scale and the form of the proposal.”

    I understand that the first part is professional advice to counteract the potential accusation of nimbyism which position might not present well at the Appeal.

    Personally I can’t quite see that because surely the only issue to be decided at the Appeal is 330 dwellings or not and not the 175 recommended by the Council or indeed any other number for that matter. Discussion of the level of development that a residents group might prefer or not, does not feature. On that basis an able witness would not need to answer.

    I respect HAG’s position because it does reflect everything that the majority of residents have written to me about. Can’t see anything wrong in it. Why not say it and just be counted?

    As to the second part it focuses, of course, on whether the proposed new buildings would fit in with the scale and form of adjoining development if it, or its component parts, respected the size and shape of adjacent development.

    This was one of the reasons for refusal by the Council and with the current support of the objection of the Essex County Council Specialist in Urban Design it is something that I would leave the Council to defend rather than be put on the nimby rack by a barrister accusing a residents group of not wanting flatted buildings over two storeys in their back yard !!

    Will this group still be leading with its professional advisers when, hopefully, the Appeal has been won and Hawkwell is faced with defending itself from a housing estate of 175 dwellings? There will still be a need for professional advice at the Public Examination of the Core Strategy and an even greater one when you consider that instead of backing up the Council which is fighting the Appeal residents will be alone fighting the Council and the developers !!

    I have raised the matters of Urban Design and the “175” with the Christmas Tree Farm Development Action Group and hopefully I will be able to post an update.

    Update from the Chair of the CTFD “We feel that the original Hawkwell Action Group and the Hawkwell Residents Association would be better suited to dealing with issues relating to the discussion of the Core Strategy at this time, as this is more in line with their declared objectives, whilst we concentrate on the very relevant DWH application.”

    Will residents still be willing to make further sizeable donations? Something like winning the battle and losing the war comes to mind.

    I’d welcome seeing residents called to a public meeting to talk and decide.

  4. Brian Guyett says:

    I have noted all the comments but am now confused.

    I read the HAG, now CTFDAG, submission with great interest, hoping and expecting to learn from a professional submission, but this has not been the case!

    The paper’s main defence against development is that this is a ‘special’ place that needs to be preserved. But it then goes on to support development through paras 2.3 (as discussed above) and 3.2, which states:

    “The Action Group will lend support to the ordered, democratic process that has led to the emerging Core Strategy submion and will add their support to the relevant PPS Guidance”. This seems to contradict their own argument.

    Do the people of Hawkwell want development on this site or not?

  5. Pat James speaking as a Resident of Hawkwell West says:

    Time is getting quite close to the pending Appeal by David Wilson Homes who submitted a planning application in Hawkwell West to build 330 houses on green belt land. Rochford District Council has turned down the application hence the appeal.

    The general feeling in the village is that residents do not want 330 houses, which is after all a large housing estate of mixed development. HAG Hawkwell Action Group has always been very clear with its stance against any development in Hawkwell West speaking out against 330 houses and the Core Strategy of 175 houses. In fact a firm ‘no’ to any large scale development in the village.

    Suddenly there is confusion within Hawkwell West, a new group is formed using the same name but asking for donations to commission professionals to act on their behalf, yet we the general public within the wider area have no knowledge of who they are, who they are representing but above all what their policies are in the longer term and do the residents that they are asking for financial contributions from know either? They are being asked to contribute to the ‘fighting fund’ knowing nothing more than they are objecting to 330 properties on this site in Hawkwell West.

    In fairness they should clarify under their new name Christmas Tree Farm Action Group exactly where they stand in respect of the longer term as well as the 330 houses in this present appeal. There is no point in asking for financial contributions from residents to assist with the cost of being legally represented against 330 houses built on this site only to be then faced with David Wilson Homes putting in another application for 175 (the number of properties agreed by RDC under the Core Strategy) and the CTFD action group finding this acceptable. They have already stated that ‘The Group do not raise objections in principle to any development.’ From this I can only understand that if a property developer places an application for a lesser number of houses in Hawkwell West they will have no objection in principal to that application, if that is the case then surely they must make this quite clear to the residents that are supporting them and contributing financially of where they stand by calling a public meeting.

  6. Editor says:

    March 1 2010.

    Dear John

    As requested by you, our potential involvement in the local formal discussions about the Core Strategy, was discussed by our Group this evening.

    As you are aware, we support the need for an ordered, full and frank democratic process, in order to properly determine an acceptable Core Strategy for the Hawkwell district.

    We are as you also know, a very small group with half of its members working very long hours, in addition to then working voluntarily for the CTFD Action Group. We believe that we should concentrate our limited available time, to ensuring that we work with our professional advisors, in order to produce as strong a case as possible, against the building of what is known as the Christmas Tree Farm Development, not only to provide robust valid arguement(s) against the current Appeal by David Wilson Homes, but also to create precendents through this appeal process (on environmental and other issues), that can be used to further resist the inevitable subsequent planning applications on whole or part of the total site currently under scrutiny, should as we hope, this planning appeal by David Wilson Homes be rejected.

    We feel that the original Hawkwell Action Group and the Hawkwell Residents Association would be better suited to dealing with issues relating to the discussion of the Core Strategy at this time, as this is more in line with their declared objectives, whilst we concentrate on the very relevant DWH application.

    As a final thought, if DWH win their Appeal, the current Core Strategy proposals will be irrelevant, as DWH will then have to go ahead to build 330 not 175 homes, with a high concentration of apartment blocks included in that 330.

    With kindest regards,

    Richard Hill
    Christmas Tree Farm Development Action Group

  7. Editor says:

    Email Received from Shaun Scrutton, RDC today about The Christmas Tree Farm Development Action Group (CTFDAG).

    I have received a letter from the Chairman of the Group confirming instructions have been issued to withdraw their Rule 6 Statement. The CTFDAG will simply attend the inquiry and request to speak.

    I have arranged for the Rule 6 to be removed from the Council’s website immediately in advance of formal notification from PINS.

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