Could Be A Long Night On Tuesday…

It could be a long night at Next Tuesday’s Full Council Meeting. It includes the following:

  • There is a public question on notice from Mr Alan James about Hockley’s toilets.
  • Plus two questions from Cllr Diane Hoy , one about park homes sites and the other about car parking enforcement.
  • A notification that there will be free car parking on Saturday mornings in council car parks in the run-up to Xmas. (This had to be dealt with as an urgent item without a council vote – the arrival of Christmas seems to have caught the council by surprise.)
  • A big controversial item regarding council public toilets – to transfer to parish councils and/or replace by more modern ones:
It is proposed that Council
That all public toilets, with the exception of those at Hockley Woods,
are disposed of either by closure and sale, or through transfer of the
asset upon a long-term lease to the relevant Town/Parish Council. The
disposal of these assets to be completed by April 2018.
(2) That authority be delegated to the Assistant Director, Environmental
Services, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Environment and
 the Portfolio Holder for Enterprise, to oversee the closure and sale of
public toilets, as above (1), subject to appropriate public consultation.
(3) That authority be delegated to the Assistant Director, Environmental
Services, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Environment and
the Portfolio Holder for Enterprise, to negotiate suitable lease
arrangements with the relevant Town/Parish Councils.
(4) That should the negotiations in (3) above have been successful, the
Investment Board be asked to present a business case in line with the
budgetary principles set out in the appended Options Document for the
installation of replacement public toilets.

A Couple Of Close Votes

At the Development Committee tonight, both applications were passed 7-5.

The Folly Lane, Hockley , application was particularly contentious, as the Core Strategy indicated 50 dwellings for the site but 75 were proposed. Approval was moved by Heather Glynn, seconded ny Terry Cutmore and passed 7-5. The 5 who voted against were Christine Mason, John Mason, Chris Black , John Hayter and Mike Carter.

The London Hill, Rayleigh, application for three 5-bedroomed houses prompted a finely-balanced debate. It just about met with our policies, although the council’s conservation adviser recommended refusal on grounds of bulk and scale, and it was borderline on the car parking policy. Chris Black moved refusal on grounds of bulk, the motion was seconded by Heather Glynn but failed 7-5. Christine Mason, John Mason and Johhn Hayter also voted for refusal

Bullwood Hall

The new drastically-reduced-in-size Development Committee meets tomorrow evening at 7:30 . You can find the details here.

The main application is in Bullwood Hall Lane, Hockley. It is an outline application for the demolition of the prison complex building, conversion of Bullwood Hall to residential use and residential development , to provide up to 60 dwellings. 35% are to be affordable housing.

There is a long officers report with plenty of objections from local residents. The scheme is recommended for approval – one of the conditions is that there is 35% affordable housing.


70 Hockley Homes, An Ashingdon Dementia Unit, 9 Rayleigh Flats And Some External Stairs

You can download this week’s list of new planning applications here.

Here are details of four of them:

70 new homes  in Folly Lane, Hockley:


Parish: Hockley Parish Council

Ward: Hockley West

Responsibility:Committee/Weekly List

Officer: Mrs Claire Buckley

Proposal: Erection of 70 Dwellings, Together With Improvements to Existing

Access, Pedestrian Access, Car Parking, Landscaping, Open

Space, and Related Works

Location: Pond Chase Nursery Folly Lane Hockley

Applicant: Charles Church

15-bedroom dementia unit in Ashingdon:


Parish: Ashingdon Parish Council

Ward: Ashingdon And Canewdon


Committee /Weekly List

Officer: Mr Mike Stranks

Proposal: Demolish Existing Outbuildings And Construct Single Storey

Extension To Create 15 Bedroom Dementia Unit

Location: Ashingdon Hall Church Road Ashingdon

Applicant: Mavis Wood Ltd

(there is also an application for listed building consent)

9 flats in Castle Road, Rayleigh:



Parish:Rayleigh Town Council


Responsibility:Committee/Weekly List

Officer: Ms Katie Rodgers

Proposal:Change of Use From Gymnasium/Beauty Salonn to 6 No 1- bed

and 1No. 2-bed Self-contained Flats to Ground and First Floors

and add Additional Floor With 2 No 1-bed Flats

Location: 5A Castle Road Rayleigh

Applicant: Land Investments Rayleigh Ltd

An amendment to add external stairs to an application by the big pond in Down Hall Road, Rayleigh ,

passed on appeal in 2007:


Parish: Rayleigh Town Council



Officer: Miss Elizabeth Thorogood

Proposal: Non-material Amendment Comprising Provision of External Stairs

to Approved Development of 7no Flats as Approved on 12th

October 2007 Under Application 07/00121/FUL

Location: 89 Down Hall Road Rayleigh

Applicant : IArch Consulting

Big Day In Hockley Woods Tomorrow!

From the District Council website:

Wild Woods Day

Wild Woods Day
Sponsored by Fusion Lifestyle
Saturday 30 May 2015
11am – 4pm
Hockley Woods

Plans are in full swing for our 12th annual Wild Woods Day on Saturday 30 May at Hockley Woods.

This year’s event is set to be the biggest yet with a host of new activities, experiences and entertainment in the planning. Visitors will have the chance to explore different zones including a Create & Play Zone, Green Zone, Active Zone and Wild Zone.

The activities on offer this year include:

Axe throwing
Climbing wallAxe throwing
Rope bridge building
Wild foods & foraging
Rare owls
‘Make and Take’ arts & crafts
Smoothie bike
Face painting
Under 5’s play area
And much more!

Entry is free to this family-friendly event which has a focus on ‘green’ themes including recycling, sustainability and protecting the local environment. An expanded pop-up market place will showcase local produce and upcycled and recycled products.

A dedicated food and picnic area will offer a hog roast, gourmet burgers and flatbreads, fresh Italian coffee and lots more.


Selected activities require a £2 ‘Wild Stamp’ which you can purchase on the day. Only one stamp is required per person and this is valid for a range of activities that can be accessed more than once throughout the event.

Tell Me More , Tell Me More!

hockley woods cinema


Having a few open air cinema evenings in our district sounds quite an exciting idea – at least in principle. Under its “Commercialisation” heading the District Council is allowing Essex Outdoor Cinema to hold events in Sweyne Park and Hockley Woods this year:

June 6th – Hockley Woods – Shakespeare in Love
June 7th Hockley Woods – Film TBC
August 15th – Sweyne Park, Rayleigh – Grease

The Sweyne Park event wasn’t discussed with the ward councillors nor with the Friends of Sweyne Park. We have asked for information about numbers of tickets (these are ticket-only events) and other issues like car parking, toilets, noise levels and specific location in the park. When we have the answers we’ll do an update. (We have also asked RDC to contact the Friends Group over this.)

We’ve received the following information today from RDC:

Essex Outdoor Cinema (EOC) is the organisation producing the event. They will supply all infrastructure including stewards, security, fencing, First Aid, litter picking, toilets, and temporary exit lighting. The event is produced at no cost to the Council except some Officer time to assist with joint promotion and providing advice around health and safety and event management. Risk Assessments and Event Management plans have been received from EOC and will be presented at a Safety Advisory Group.

Working with Essex Outdoor Cinema on the promotion of the event is important as the arrangement is that Box Office income is shared equally between the organisation and the Council.
This event has come about through an initiative at the Council for employees to come up with ideas that might generate income and further corporate priorities – in this case increasing use of open spaces through public events….

…. A Temporary Event Notice (TEN) for Sweyne Park would allow a maximum of 499 audience members. The same numbers would be permitted under a TEN at Hockley Woods, but in conjunction with EOC, RDC officers have agreed that 300 should be the maximum given that the event ‘arena’ (the clearing) and parking is reduced in size compared to Sweyne Park.


Sweyne Park Location: Area near the lake. The mobile cinema screen will back on to the lake with audience on the hill. The screen will be roped or fenced off.

Parking: Rayleigh Leisure Centre

Weather: The events will go ahead in all conditions except where high winds might be a safety risk (e.g. cinema screen falling)

Gates open 7pm

Showing 8.45pm to 10.45pm

Site completely clear by 11.30pm

Noise : “Average outdoor screenings produce around 75dbs of sound. We have designed the sound equipment so that a) it doesn’t need to run at excessive volumes – the quality is such that we can achieve great sound without turning it up to levels that would disturb local Residents and b) it is angled to minimize the sound dispersion – the way the speakers
are set up contains the sound without much spread. Sound levels can be monitored throughout the event and we are able adjust the mix as the film plays to ensure we get the balance right.”

Any Thoughts?

The Picnic District 2 – Hockley Woods

Hockley Woods are surely our district’s greatest natural treasure – the biggest remnant of the ancient woods that once covered Essex. There’s more information on the Council website here. And if you are seriously interested in the woods, you can buy Oliver Rackham’s Book “The Ancient Woodlands of England:The Woods Of South East Essex” from the Council.

There are some picnic benches near the entrance, next to the play space. It takes about an hour to walk round. The light can be rather special – sunlight dappled by the trees. Most of the time all you will hear is birdsong. But you’ll probably see small children in Wellies doggedly exploring the woods with their parents and also encounter happy dogs wagging their tails and getting muddy. First-time visitors may be startled by the coppicing – but a notice explains that this is a traditional part of the management of the woods.

There wasn’t much litter to be seen, largely because some regular visitors pick it up and remove it. But the question of litter in woods is something we are going to write about soon…






An Uneasy Committee Meeting!

Last week’s Development Committee wasn’t as dramatic as the meeting last month, where the “North of London Road” application was refused. In fact at one stage it was very dull. But there were a lot of twists and turns, and a bit of bad feeling. Cllr Toby Mountain writes a report on it here.

In brief:
Tesco Car Parking application – approved
Tiny cafe in Hockley Woods – refused (even though it was an application by the council!)
Conversion of an outbuilding in Rayleigh Town Centre into a house – approved
Retrospective application to remove mechanical wheel cleansing equipment from the big site in Hawkwell – refused.

4 Planning Applications

The agenda is out for next Thursday’s Development Control meeting.

You can find it here.

There are four applications shown, all 4 are recommended for approval.

1. For five extra parking spaces outside Tesco in London Road, Rayleigh
2. An application from the District Council itself for a very small cafe facility at Hockley Woods.
3. Conversion of an outbuilding at 4 Rayleigh High Street into a one-bedroomed dwelling.
4. Amending the planning condition regarding mechanical wheel-cleaning of lorries at the large David Wilson Homes housing development in Hawkwell.

A Stinker Of An Error



From the District Council website:

Important Information for Hockley residents

The latest edition of the Hockley Parish Newsletter contains an error relating to the disposal of dog waste. Dog waste can ONLY be disposed of in dog/litter bins or the purple lidded non-recyclables bin; Not the green compostables bin


Lost Walks Of Rochford

Paglesham -lookingouttoWallaseaIsland


From the District Council website


Help us rediscover lost walks and hidden heritage in rural and coastal Rochford District.

Join us on foot or online and help reveal the stories of Rochford’s changing landscape through a series of public walks.

Walk 1: Barling – Wakering
Wednesday 9 July 2014
10am to 2pm
Meet at All Saints Church, Church Road, Barling
Ends at St Nicholas Church, 2 New Road, Great Wakering

Walk 2: Hullbridge – Hockley – Hullbridge
Wednesday 9 July 2014
4pm to 8pm
Walk starts and ends at the Anchor Riverside Pub, Ferry Road, Hullbridge
Free Public Car Park next to the Anchor Inn

Walk 3: Ashingdon – South Fambridge – Canewdon
Thursday 10 July 2014
10am to 2pm
Meet by Ashingdon Primary Academy, Fambridge Road, Ashingdon
Ends at St Nicholas Church, High Street, Canewdon

Walk 4: Canewdon – Wallasea Island – Paglesham East End
Thursday 10 July 2014
4pm to 8pm
Starts at St Nicholas Church, High Street, Canewdon
Ends at The Plough and Sail Public House, East End, Paglesham

Please further information please phone 01702 318171or email

Share your stories and photos of rural and coastal Rochford on the Facebook page in related links

Follow the walks on Twitter @RochfordWalks

Lost Walks of Rochford is led by artists Ali Pretty and Richard White, working with Rochford District Council Arts Development. Ali and Richard regularly collaborate on creative walking projects described as ‘feet on the ground and digitally connected’. Their walks through Rochford District will be documented and archived using social media, mapping and tracking technology.