Update on 330 new houses for Hawkwell

October 2, 2008 by  

Christmas Tree Farm SunsetThis is an update on the work that I am doing as your independent district councillor for Hawkwell with the Hawkwell Action Group which is fighting the imposition of 330 houses in Hawkwell West.

I have had a conversation with an Officer at Essex County Council responsible for transport and highway issues who has advised me that RDC has asked it to conduct an assessment of a site he called “Rectory Road”. When he confirmed the housing numbers at 330, I concluded that this was the whole allocation being put forward by the District Council in a “general location” which has been written in a report as Hawkwell – South.

I was told that the landowners have employed an independent traffic consultancy to undertake a full and detailed transport assessment.

A second Officer called me about my questions about education capacity confirmed the housing numbers as 330 but he described the site as “The Christmas Tree Farm”.

The reference to Hawkwell-South is complete nonsense and seriously misleading to those who live in West Hawkwell and I protested to the District Council. All they have done is changed it to South Hawkwell.

There will be a Key Diagram included with the Public Consultation on the Rochford Core Strategy so you should be able to draw you own conclusions. The District Council is not talking about specific sites at this stage but it is not too difficult to work it out, especially if you just call Essex County Council as I did and they may just tell you what they told me!!

The Public Consultation will start in early November. There will be an unmanned display at Clements Hall starting at the beginning of November for 3 weeks.

And a Meeting of the District Council will be held on 13 November at Hawkwell Village Hall, 19.30 hours where there will be a presentation and you should be able to ask questions.

I am against this proposal because it is just not sustainable. If you object then you must do so in writing during the Public Consultation.



5 Responses to “Update on 330 new houses for Hawkwell”
  1. George House says:

    There seem so many comments coming from John Mason regarding the Local Development Framework Proposals can he please tell us how many meetings of the meetings dealing with this LDF process he attended. It seems that everything he is quoting comes from the County Council and not from meetings with Rochford District Council.

  2. John Mason says:

    Thank you for the opportunity of answering these questions. It is of concern to me as well that I have to get information from Essex County Council rather than the Council to which I have been elected !! You seem to share those concerns.

    The LDF Sub Committee which deals with the LDF process is only made up only of Conservatives and one Lib Dem Councillor. I have not been given a seat on this Committee. The Conservative Administration could have made an exception in this case and given me a seat on this important committee. If the LDF is not a political matter then there would appear to be no need to preserve the political proportion on this committee and in any event, one Lib Dem and me could not out vote anyone !!

    Nevertheless I have read every piece of information provided by that Committee and given them feedback. I also attended the ONLY RDC Full Council meeting which has been held in 2008 on the LDF and spoke about the policies which related to infrastructure expressing concern that the right level of essential infrastructure might not be provided in our area.

    Essex County Council has given me information that about the likely location that Rochford District Council will not provide to me.

    Perhaps I could also quote this from the Lib Dem Leader’s web site. “It seems pretty evident that all of the Conservative councillors knew where the exact locations were – but the Lib Dem councillors weren’t informed until the summer.”

    For the record, as an independent, I was not informed of anything.

    So I was grateful to be given information by ECC and pass this on to the public so the public can know what is going on.

    RDC agreed at Full Council that it has not looked at the infrastructure required in South Hawkwell. I was told that it is up to the public to help identify the infrastructure issues ??? So I met with Essex County Council Highways on Monday to find out what the possible costs are. It was estimated that highway infrastructure costs would be a minimum of £700,000 to improve Nursery Corner with provision of a footway on just one side of that part of Rectory Road and no dedicated cycle path. Additional cost would come from compulsory purchase of land for the footway on the other side of Rectory Road where there is none. Are we talking about £1m? Who will pay this?

    Furthermore ECC acknowledged my concern about the other bottleneck at the railway bridge at St. Mary’s Church where it is not only the additional traffic from the South Hawkwell location that will create jams and congestion there but also additional traffic from other developments “rat running” to and from the B1013. Frankly they said that nothing could be done at the railway bridge to deal with this situation. On this basis many of the proposed locations are unsustainable.

    Working with Essex County County Council provides more information to the public not less.

    Why has the LDF Sub Committee not investigated the position and included this in the Rochford Core Strategy – Preferred Options document? Why indeed are the bottlenecks at St. Mary’s Church and Nursery Corner and the sub standard footway, with poles in the middle of it, (and none on one side) not even mentioned in the Infrastructure Appendix? You should be asking those Councillors that are on that Committee to explain why they missed this when they attended to review the draft in detail and pass this for approval at Full Council.

    Do you agree that a description of the preferred location as being South Hawkwell having looked at the Key Diagram? I protested to that Committee that this description was misleading to no avail. The triangle is clearly in Hawkwell WEST.

    Rawreth Parish Council has objected to the description in that area of the District which excludes the word “Rawreth” And I have learnt from the Chairman of the Hockley Residents Association that despite “Ashingdon” being referred to in other descriptions that no new houses are proposed for Ashingdon.

    Why did the LDF Sub Committee do this?

    Take a look at public opinion expressed so far on locations in Rawreth and Rochford.

    It doesn’t look that the public are happy with the LDF Sub Committee. Perhaps it is a blessing that I was not given a seat. And the Lib Dem Leader who is, was given a hard time personally – Well, THAT Wasn’t Very Pleasant

    Are you are in favour of the development of 330 houses in South Hawkwell? Or against?

    That is why we have a public consultation. Perhaps you could give your reasons here why you are in favour or against.

  3. Carol Dutton says:

    I would just like to say in response to Mr House, that John Mason has not had the opportunity to serve on the LDF sub-committee and this leaves Hawkwell as the only area not represented! I have written to Mr Stansby suggesting he try to get himself on the committee as he is the other District Councillor, he has not replied. Hawkwell West cannot support this kind of development, make no mistake, this is the biggest thing to hit Hawkwell for 20 years. I would also like to say how hard John Mason works for this area and as an independant he does not have to run the party line as the others do.

  4. Jamie says:

    I feel that I would like to mention that COUNCILLOR – JOHN MASON is indeed just that, a Councillor. This puts him on a level par with all the other local district councillors, and one should remember he has been elected by the people of Hawkwell.

    However there are times when I feel he is not supplied with the same level of information as others, especially when the subject matter is future housing for Hawkwell.

    For what reason this is one can only speculate, maybe it is because of his objections to future developments, where as the majority of other councillor’s have remained extremely tight lipped.

    With regard to Mr House’s comments I wonder if he would like to respond to Mr Mason’s question on whether he is for or against any developments in Hawkwell?

  5. Pat James says:

    In reply to Mr House’s question, I am replying with the following, as a District Councillor Mr John Mason cannot attend meetings that he is not invited onto and this appears to be the situation regarding the LDF Sub Committee. In fact there is no representative from Hawkwell West, perhaps someone can advise why that situation has arisen, when the the greatest threat to out green belt is the proposed development of 365 huses in Hawkwell WEST – no not South which is written in so much literature by Rochford District Council on the Core Strategy it is West, that is being effected by the proposal to build 360 houses.

    I am pleased that we have an excellent Independent Councillor such as John Mason who is prepared to ask questions on our behalf from any Council department, in this instant it happened to be Essex to enable him to receive answers that are not forthcomming from Rochford District Council. Otherwise, how would us the general public know what is happening in our village regarding housing? We are now thanks to Councillor Mason a little more enlightened.

    The future of our village is being discussed by four Conservatives and one Liberal Councillor on the LDF Committee without any representation from Hawkwell West is unacceptable. Then to read that only one full (Rochford District Council) meeting has taken place in 2008 to discuss this issue. Does this not makes it appear that individuals that are privy to matters surrounding the proposed development do not wish us, the general public to be made aware of what is happening, when this in the main is being discussed behind closed doors.

    Rochford District Council may offer us a public consultation but they have to comply to this. I like many others in Hawkwell West know that matters regarding housing are undoubtably much further on than the consultation period and ‘those in the know’ so to speak are obviously aware of this too. We the public are not naive, we have eyes, ears and enquiring minds and do not like getting duped. I for one will try to protect our village from housing development on the green belt and hope others in Hawkwell West will speak out and do the same.

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