Rochford Housing Policy – What happens next?

March 16, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

So the public consultation on the Rochford Core Strategy – Preferred Options closed at 5.00 pm on 17 December 2008.

So what happens next?

Rochford District Council has shared with the public the outcome of the consultation.

But they have yet to say what they intend to do about the objections.

In the meantime the Councillors responsible for planning policy strategy have embarked on yet another tour of potential sites.  John asked the Portfolio Holder in public if these members would read all the objections before they visit a location.  He said that he would so let’s hope that all the others do and get up to speed with the problems that they did not forsee because of the lack of ward specific knowledge. 

Could 200 of the properties to be forced on Hawkwell be placed in the centre of Hockley?  Yes, if that option in the Hockley Town Centre Plan which was too late for the Core Strategy Consultation is chosen.  But only IF !! 
But the timetable for the production of the Local Development Framework has not yet been finalised.  The last John was advised in December was that RDC was still waiting for advice from GO East.  It is now 3 months on and it still has not been formalised which is a matter of concern.  Let’s hope that the latest dates for compliance have been chosen because Conservative Party policy promises to cancel the requirement for the houses and a General Election could be salvation for our green belt.

But there is concern that the RDC Core Strategy might have to be pushed along and into law on fears that there is no longer 5 years developable land in the District and that developers could force through unwelcome developments because the core policy is not already in place.  If that is the case then the Conservative leadership at the Council will be responsible for failing to spot the vulnerability and plan ahead because being able to delay progress and success of their own party at a General Election just could have saved the loss of so much green belt.

So what is the likely timetable?  It is likely, however, that the formal round of consultation on the Allocations DPD and Development Control Policies DPD will take place in June 2009, with pre-submission consultation on the Core Strategy in July 2009.

There will only be one formal consultation before the preparation of the submission document, and then formal consultation on “soundness” prior to submission.
“Soundness” is a particular procedure set down by the Government in a document called “Development Plans Examination – A guide to the process of assessing the soundness of Development Plan Documents.”  You can read it here.
The Allocations DPD is when RDC will finally reveal the individual sites that it wishes to see developed for new housing.

Consultation on the Allocations DPD will be carried out in accordance with the Council’s adopted Statement of Community Involvement.  The precise community involvement activities to be used and arrangements have yet to be determined, but it is likely they will be broadly similar to those used for consultation on the Core Strategy Preferred Options.
The consultation on the Allocations DPD will not simply be a referendum and we will be looking at the contents of any representations.  If a member of public wished to object to one of the options being put forward in the Allocations consultation, I would advise them to outline their reasons for objection and exactly what they are objecting to, rather than to simply state that they objected in principle. 
The Council is not obliged to withdraw a proposal in response to public consultation, but we are required to show how representations have been taken into account.
Hawkwell should be looking for the long list of sustainability and infrastructure objections that I raised on behalf of residents to be fully satisfied if “South” Hawkwell  or rather Hawkwell West remains a proposal for 330 houses.
If not then the final and ultimate test of soundness will be an appeal before the final Public Inquiry.

And if the total number of houses in Hawkwell can be reduced to 130 then perhaps they could be built on the industrial site in Windsor Gardens, Hawkwell.  Magees is on the Call for Sites.  But has it been looked at seriously in the latest Tour by the Councillors reponsible for planning policy and strategy?

Residents of Hawkwell should write to each of them and ask.

Consultation – On The Airport

March 10, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

Please let us have your Comments !!

Please add them to this Article and also add them to the Council’s Web Site,

I am very concerned about the future capacity of the B1013 to accommodate the vehicle traffic from the extended airport and the 3300 houses that the Government require to be built in our District.  I have seen no studies from Essex County Council which allay my concerns. I have already raised these concerns with the airport.

One of the Options (2.1) in the concurrent consultation on the Hockley Town Centre Regeneration Plan involves building up to 200 houses/apartments on the Eldon Way Industrial Estate.  Is this the best Option ignoring the interests of protecting Hawkwell’s green belt?  Where would the industrial users go?  To the proposed new industrial area at the Airport. If this Option were chosen then the total number of houses that are proposed to be built on green belt in Hawkwell could be reduced from 330 to 130 which in turn could be built on a brown field site like the industrial site at Magees in Hawkwell.

But if there the airport expansion plan does not get approval then the Eldon Way Industrial Estate has nowhere to move to and 330 houses will still be built on Hawkwell’s green belt.

What a dilemma for Hawkwell residents !! Is the key to Hawkwell’s future to say no to the Airport Expansion and No to the 330 houses?  Residents could say that or alternatively elect to press the Government and Essex County Council to provide the right highway infrastruture to allow the airport to go ahead and reduce the houses required in Hawkwell.

Southend Borough Council and Rochford District Council are in the process of preparing a Joint Area Action Plan in response to the challenges and opportunities offered by London Southend Airport, together with an airport related employment cluster.

The JAAP will;

* Manage growth and change in the area by establishing development and design principles
* Ensure the protection of areas and places sensitive to change
* Direct investment and form the basis for regeneration in the area
* Be deliverable

Rochford and Southend Borough Council produced an ‘Issues and Options’ Report which sets out the initial analysis and possible spatial plans for the development of the area in the period to 2021.

Following extensive consultation the Council’s have prepared a ‘Preferred Options’ version of the plan, which sets out the vision for the future of the airport and the linked employment land and provides details of the policy framework that will be required to deliver the vision.

The ‘Preferred Options’ document is now published for consultation – comments should be submitted by 27 March 2009.

You can download the document here (3 Mb)

More or Less New Houses in Hawkwell?

March 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

From the Echo;

“Councillors are preparing to tour the Rochford District to find sites for new homes. Last week, Councillors decided they would look at about 30 to 40 locations for settlements of more than 50 homes.  They will then draw up their plan, called a core strategy, which guides development in the district. Keith Hudson (Con, Hockley Central), Councillor responsible for planning, said a possible 100 magic prismhomes, which could be built in Hockley town centre, would be included in the 350-home total required for both Hockley and Hawkwell.  Last autumn, the district council revealed its provisional plans for where the housing would go as part of its preferred options for the core strategy.  The two most contentious areas were Hawkwell and Rawreth, where residents campaigned against their housing allocations.  The District Council earmarked 330 homes for Hawkwell and 1,050 houses for Rawreth.  During the consultation, Rayleigh Town Council and Hawkwell and Rawreth parish councils all listed their objections to the plan in strong terms.”

The Hawkwell Action Group has written to Councillors to make sure that they consider all sites and take into account all the objections including a 17 page dissertation from District Council Ward Member for Hawkwell West, John Mason.

“This email is being sent on behalf of the Hawkwell Action Group by myself, Carol Dutton and our Chairman, Jamie Popplewell.

“I would like to request that before you visit any sites within South Hawkwell (which is in effect Hawkwell West) you would take the time to read all submissions made and in particular those made by Hawkwell Parish Council and Ward Member for Hawkwell West, Councillor Jonh Mason.  Councillor Mason’s document I have attached to my email for your convenience, it is fairly lengthy but as it covers most of the local issues it is well worth the read.”