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Core Strategy – A Done Deal Despite Further Consultation?

July 31, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Although the Dismissal of the David Wilson Homes Appeal for 330 dwellings was known over a week ago I have not felt able until now to comment over and above publicly stating in the Echo that I am delighted with the result.

The residents groups of Hawkwell, the parish council and the many residents who have individually campaigned against  the proposals of David Wilson Homes are to be congratulated heartily for the work that they have done for our community.

Housing Strategy Motion put to Full Council (RDC) on 27 July

July 8, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Councillor Michael Hoy (Hullbridge) and Councillor John Mason (Hawkwell West) have given notice for a Motion to be put to Full Council on 27 July.

“Pursuant to the Parliamentary Statement made by The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on 6 July 2010, this Council agrees to carry out a housing needs study for Rochford District and adjust the housing allocations proposed in the Core Strategy to satisfy the minimum needs of our community.”

The Motion was Lost.

This what I actually said in Council.

Will Tough talk on the election trail actually be turned into action right now?

July 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Today the Secretary of State announced the revocation of Regional Strategies with immediate effect.

In its Press Release on 17 June, Rochford District Council declared that it needed legal revocation and Government guidance in order that it could take action on pre-election promises on the Core Strategy – now it has both !!

What were the promises?

“Following its adoption [The Rochford Core Strategy] and when our electorate returns a Conservative Government to Power next spring, we shall be able to carry out our own housing needs study, it is then that we shall be able to adjust the housing allocations, as I promised so many months ago, to satisfy the needs of our community – not a penny more nor a penny less.”

Will The Pickles Letter and Abolition of the RSS Actually Matter?

June 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

DEVELOPERS have won a legal battle to build more than 300 homes on Green belt land at East Tilbury, prompting a leading local councillor in Thurrock to say he fears the “floodgates” are about to open.

Whilst back in Rochford in an email to a resident representing the West Rochford Action Group (WRAG) (and openly copied with no restriction to all Members of Rochford District Council) Portfolio Holder and Cabinet Member, Councillor Keith Hudson writes I must profess disappointment and not just a little concern with respect to the planning appeal in East Thurrock towards the end of last week, the detail within the report is worth careful consideration.”

Rochford Core Strategy – It’s Half Time

June 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Basically it’s half time in the Rochford Core Strategy and the Council is taking a breather !! 

Come on England !!

This is a light hearted article by style and approach but it does focus on some real issues that concern residents of Hawkwell and the Rochford District.  

Rochford District Council, in its amorphous legal identity rather than a Cabinet Member charged with the personal responsibility for planning development or its paid Head of Planning, has issued a Press Release in response to my letter to Cabinet Member, Councillor Keith Hudson, on the matter of the Core Strategy following a series of announcements by the Conservative led Coalition Government.

Councils Can Surely Halt Housing Development Decisions – if they really try !!

June 13, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Sarah Calkin’s article on “Housing targets are to be scrapped” published on the Echo Online on 5 June carried some fairly luke warm comments from Councillor Keith Hudson who is the Cabinet Member for Planning on Rochford District Council.

I have heard Councillor Hudson say in public many times that he did not wish to see so many houses built in Rochford District but that he had no choice but to put forward such proposals because the Government required this by Law.

Here is what he has published.

Government Planning Inspector says that Pickles’ Letter is Material

June 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

PUBLIC scrutiny of Castle Point’s housing proposals has been postponed following the Government’s announcement it will return planning powers to local communities.

The change comes after Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, confirmed the Government planned to scrap Labour’s housing targets.

Government inspector Paul Crysell, who will be carrying out the examination, said: “Because the Government intends to abolish  regional  spatial strategies, this becomes a material consideration in examining development plans.”

“For this reason, it is necessary to defer, at the very least, the hearing session on housing into the Castle Point core strategy until clarity is provided in a formal ministerial statement.”

Will the Rochford Core Strategy Remain Unchanged?

June 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Currently, under existing Legislation, no local authority can avoid the targets set out for it in the RSS (regional spatial strategy), as the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 strengthened the powers of the previous Secretary of State over local planning authorities.

The LDF (local development framework) and the Core Strategy, which the Rochford District Council has produced, must be in general conformity with the regional spatial strategy and is currently before an examination in public by a planning inspector before approval. That planning inspector can recommend changes and, hopefully, Miss Laura Graham, the planning inspector, will make the changes that were sought by residents at the Hearing on 12 May 2010.

The Pickles Effect – Forest Heath throws out planning application in Newmarket

June 2, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

BBC Look East carried a story tonight with presenters in Suffolk and in London stating that this was the first planning test of the Coalition Agreement ‘s declaration that the RSS housing targets would be abolished and the controversial letter that was issued by Eric Pickles on 27 May to all council chief planners in the UK.

Tonight BBC Suffolk carries the decision at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/suffolk/10221305.stm

Here is an extract of  Forest  Heath District Council’s Report Update to Members dated 1 June including Counsel’s Opinion 

Decision Making at Rochford District Council – Change or No Change?

June 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The Rochford Independent has run a series of articles over the last week which have focused on the new policies for local government that will be introduced by the New Lib/Con Coalition Government.

In many of these what we are wishing to do at the Rochford Independent Web site is firstly inform and then to put the issues, risks and impacts to Rochford District that we see on record and open to public scrutiny.  In certain instances we will be a campaigning voice with a point of view that we think will be supported by many residents.

Council Inspections/Assessments by Audit Commission to be Stopped

June 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The Coalition has acted………….again.

Local auditors are advising councils to stop all work relating to the Comprehensive Area Assessment ** (CAA), with the Audit Commission set to outline urgently how it will wind up the programme.

The officer added that instead of councils receiving a use of resources (UoR) score, local auditors had advised them they would instead get a “broad brush” value for money statement on the direction of travel the authority was heading.

 The news will further fuel speculation that the Audit Commission is going to have to make swingeing job cuts in the coming months.

Will Rochford District follow South Oxfordshire & Scrap further work on The Core Strategy?

June 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

South Oxfordshire’s announcement immediately follows a letter yesterday from the Secretary of State for Communities Eric Pickles to Local Authority Planning Chiefs telling them that Regional Housing targets are to be scrapped, which has in effect given a green light to Local Authorities to halt decisions on development plans and planning applications.

But will Rochford District Council, given the huge number of written objections made by residents over the last 3 years of expensive consultations do the same? 

Many residents groups even went to the trouble of making themselves available to discuss their objections directly with the Government Planning Inspector on 12 May which was reported on very fully by the Echo.

Will it be a Happy New Year for the Developers……but not for residents?

June 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

I am told by some readers that there is nothing to worry about because the green belt will be protected by the New Lib/Con Coalition.

But when will the Bill scrapping the housing targets go through Parliament?

Our MP’s Office says “Unfortunately, no dates appear to be available yet however, once these are known, they should be listed on the following website.”

http://www.parliament.uk/business/bills-and-legislation/

According to the Queen’s Speech the Bill which will, amongst other things, scrap the Regional Housing Targets is called The Decentralisation and Localism Bill.

Would the Government please explain exactly what this means for Rochford District

June 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The New Liberal/Conservative Coalition Government has made some big announcements on planning today and we have taken this direct from the full document below.

But does this really mean;

  • the end of the Core Strategy?
  • the certainty of dismissal of the Hawkwell and Coombes Farm Appeals?
  • that RDC can turn down the queue of big planning applications simply on prematurity?
  • Or will some or all of these things skid through because the Law will not be changed quickly enough?

Against Homes Development Proposals in Rochford District

May 15, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Emma Thomas (emma.thomas [at] nqe [dot] com) wrote a great double page spread in the Echo entitled “United Against Homes Proposal” which reported on the representations that were made by many residents’ groups across Rochford District to a Government Planning Inspector.

As an objector myself (district councillor John Mason) I came away feeling so proud that there were so many people in our community who were prepared to enter a public inquiry to make their views so well known.

But I have pondered on the question of was that enough for common sense to prevail?

Rochford District Housing Development Consultations

March 10, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Rochford District Council is holding two further major consultations on its Housing Development Strategy (Core Strategy).  The public is being encouraged to comment online via its web site, by email and letter. The consultation period is 17 March to 30 April 2010.

If you are just interested in Hawkwell you can download just those sites here.

This is a surprising choice given that it is increasingly likely that the General Election will be well underway during this period.  If the Council has no choice but to do this now then these should have been conducted earlier to avoid such a distraction and possibly a low response because there are expectations of repeal if there is a change of Government.

Mobility Scooters and yet another Planning Appeal

March 4, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Richard Boyd is CEO of Disability Essex and a resident of Hawkwell, in Rochford District, Essex .
 
Members of the Commons Transport Committee were given a list of people in Essex and Norfolk who had been killed or injured in scooter incidents.

An Essex disability group said the list of fatal or dangerous incidents involving drivers “goes on”.

Richard Boyd from the campaign group Disability Essex told the committee: “One lady in Chelmsford fell off her scooter and was killed by it.”

He added: “Another lady in Clacton was taking her dog for a walk on the sea front, the dog pulled the scooter over and it fell on her and killed her.

Conservative Party Green Paper on Planning

February 22, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

In an effort to be first with an informed review of the latest NEWS in planning , I am publishing my immediate reaction to the new Conservative, shadow policy, on Planning.  It was published just this afternoon, 22/2. It was an interesting read of just 20 or so pages.  (That’s quite good in itself actually.) 

I think that many residents in Rayleigh, Hawkwell, Hullbridge, Rochford and Stambridge were hoping that the Conservative Party nationally would be the “white knight” which would promise to save their green belt if only they returned a Conservative Government.  May be…. may be not…. do read on.

Salting/Gritting in Rochford District

December 29, 2009 by · 5 Comments 

STOP PRESS, 7/01/2010.  The Government has announced that steps are being taken to control the national distribution of salt !!

This means that it will be necessary to reduce the schedule published here 0n 8/1 and 9/1 -go here  or here to find out more information 

With more snow and icy conditions on the way after the Festive Season our thoughts turned to the problems we experienced in Rochford District from 17/18 December right up to Christmas Day.

ECC Local area offices with knowledge of local requirements can also get involved in deployment. Roads are treated in their order of importance and usage.  So what is considered of importance in Rochford District?

Bins of Confusion

December 29, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

Bin collection update 07 January 2010

All bin collections have been suspended throughout the District due to dangerous icy conditions on all side roads and pavements.

This is what happened before Christmas bins

BIN collections across Rochford district were suspended until 28 /12.

The District Council announced the suspension on Christmas Eve because of “icy conditions proving very dangerous for both the personnel and vehicles”.

From Monday 28/12 contractors Sita  started collecting all the bins they were unable to collect last week, but compostable food waste will not be collected until this week.

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