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New Hawkwell Housing – How to Protest

June 22, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Bloor Street Corridor Visioning Study Kick-Off Meeting, Walmer Road Baptist Church Upper Gym, Wednesday, May 9, 2007 - 267Having seen the huge turnout at the Hawkwell Action Group’s Public Meeting many of you asked how you could object.  Rather than wait for an official public consultation you can protest now especially as it is known that the Planning Policy Committee has reviewed the sites.

Here is the draft of a letter you could send to the Council, Click here.

365 new houses is the biggest threat to the lives of residents in Hawkwell West for 20 years. Is it a real threat?  Yes, because the people who want it to happen went to the trouble of meeting in secret and then gave an “exclusive” to the Echo to publish it.  Who are these people?  Are they greedy land owners?  No these are the people who residents across the district elected to run Rochford District Council.  The powerful councillor who wants this is your “neighbour” in Hockley where he demands only 36 new houses against the 365 for Hawkwell West.

The infrastructure in Hawkwell West has not changed in over 80 years……and why should it, if the residents don’t want it? The biggest change in the last 20 years was the decision to site the then biggest leisure centre in the East of England in Hawkwell West and that was a mistake.  It has brought too much traffic to Hawkwell.  Ashingdon Road cannot cope with the huge housing developments in East Hawkwell and Ashingdon and now we find that Rectory Road is a rat run with the bottlenecks at St. Mary’s Church and Nursery corner leading to the new Cherry Orchard Lane link to the A127.

Hawkwell West does not have the infrastructure to sustain 365 houses on any of the sites put forward.  And the infrastructure cannot be improved without totally ruining the area.  Neither does Essex County Council have any plans to do so.

So if the houses are built then it will be a disaster. One site is on the flood plain. Another is in the Roach Valley Conservation Zone.  And the last is believed to be a place where rare plants and animals have lived undisturbed for centuries.

As your independent district councillor and I promised to fight for our Green Belt.  I have represented you in successful campaigns since 1994 and I have already been fighting this proposal in Council and Public Consultations for 18 months.

I was delighted when the campaign gave birth to the Hawkwell Action Group and I joined with these residents immediately to help. At two public meetings you have said that you do not want 365 new houses in Hawkwell West.

What you need to do now, because the sites have already been visited by councillors and we are told that the decision will be made in the Autumn is for you to write personally to protest about this before it is too late. PLEASE WRITE NOW.

John Mason, Independent District Councillor for Hawkwell West

 

‘Fair Shares for All’ Housing Allocation? – 365 is NOT a Fair Share in Hawkwell West

May 26, 2008 by · 2 Comments 

The story so far:

In the Summer of 2007, after the first public consultation, 32 Conservative Councillors met in private to allocate 2200 new housing units across Rochford District.  They came up with 365 for Hawkwell West and just 740 for the whole of Rayleigh.

The Liberal Democrats seem to have gratefully accepted the reduced allocation for Rayleigh and have not raised any objection yet to the allocations across the remainder of the District. Not surprising because any objection to what is going on elsewhere might lead to the Rayleigh allocation increasing !! 

But Lib Dem Councillor Chris Black, Leader of the Opposition at RDC, has written “We support a ‘fair shares for all’ policy for new housing in Rochford District.”

But how can 365 new houses in Hawkwell West be described as ‘Fair Shares for All’ ?  It is not Fair Shares At All !!

  • A ‘Fair Shares for All’ policy would mean just 110 new houses in each of the 23 District Wards
  • Rayleigh should have 1000 new houses not 740
  • Hockley should have 330 not 36
  • So why is one Ward in Hawkwell allocated 365?
  • This would mean an increase in the number of houses in Hawkwell West by 25% Read more

Not Sustainable – 3700 Homes for Rochford District

May 26, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

From the Echo 19 May 2008.

PLANS for 3,000 new jobs and 3,790 new homes in the Rochford district are not sustainable without improvement to the area’s transport links, according to an RDC Councillor.”We wonder if the Government has any idea at all of the daily problems our residents face due to the severe lack of infrastructure in our area and the East of England generally.”

But Rochford District Council has come up with a spin strategy to make everyone feel happy about things.

Councillor Keith Hudson, Cabinet Member and Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transportation said: “I think the good news is that the amount of land will be very small, perhaps only two or three fields. It is just a few acres, but there is always the danger the targets will increase.”

“What we will be seeking to do is to make sure those sites which already have been given planning permission are actually developed.”

“A major example is the site opposite the cemetery in Hockley Road, Rayleigh, which has had planning permission for many years.

“This and other sites could take a large amount of the housing quota without having to use other areas.”

The last statement is an empty statement and a typical of the factually incorrect comments we get from politicians. They don’t expect anyone to check up on them!! But we have. The only site of more than 50 units that has not been started is the Carter & Ward site opposite Rayleigh cemetery.  The consent dates from 1979 and was for 86 units, though you may recall that a corner chunk of the site has been used for an elderly persons home.

These are the weasel words of politics, smoke and mirrors around the numbers. Discounting those 86 still not built but approved RDC was always a requirement but RDC will still have to find places for around 3,700 new houses. Why But as Councillor Hudson says about our precious green belt “It is just a few acres…perhaps only two or three fields”.

Who is he kidding? Don’t let him fool you !!

 

 

  

 

Planning Policy to 2021 – an extra 3000 houses

September 13, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

The District Council Planning Policy and Transportation Committee meeting on 12 September presented the Council’s Core Strategy on planning for the next 15 years or more. Nothing was decided and there is public consultation.

But it gave a strong bias as to where the council will allow 3,000 extra homes to be built up to the year 2021.

These are required by the Government and the East of England Regional Assembly is not even supporting the requirement. This is supposed to be a LOCAL framework and Government direction of the level of development WE want is a nonsense and anti democratic. The Council Officer recommendation is that 90 percent of the housing should be concentrated around the largest build-up areas of the District – Rayleigh, Rochford, Hockley ,Hawkwell and Ashingdon. About 10 percent should go to Hullbridge, Great Wakering and Canewdon.

This became a nonsense when I looked at some of the wording that related to th 90% option ” They are capable of sustaining some expansion, infilling and development”.

The Officers admitted that the word “some” was there as a requirement of the Government that there was no detail in the strategy !!

The highways and all services are overloaded with no realistic expectation of the level of improvement needed to sustain housing development. And the dreaded word “some” without enumeration creeps in. If it is only “some” then 90% is not probable; it is improbable. Hardly a strategy you can have any confidence in.

And coalescence of the “villages” is now on. A retrograde step which will lead to one urban mass.The Lib Dems say on their web site” Last night Hawkwell Councillor John Mason made it clear that he wanted it more fairly shared out.”  Nice to be appreciated for speaking out for the District.

I hope that you will also have your say and make your opinions known.

I hope that you will also have your say and make your opinions known.John Mason

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