Another matter approved at the last Full District Council was the Rayleigh Area Action Plan. This now goes out to final public consultation but only on “soundness” and “legal compliance”.
This is another plan that has been prepared over several years. At the last round of discussions, the idea of a multi-storey car park on Websters Way car park was thrown out (and most people were happy about that).
So the plan isn’t likely to cause as much controversy as its counterpart in Hockley.
You can download it and the meeting report and the draft plan from this page. ( You need to then click on “Item 14 Appendix 1”).
But here are the essentials (you can click on the images to enlarge them)
Primary and Secondary Shopping Areas
The plan defines a “primary shopping area” in the High Street from the junction with Crown Hill until just past the junction with Bellingham Lane. The rest of the town centre is defined as “secondary shopping area”. It also identifies two parts of the actual highway in the High Street as being suitable for “an improved public realm” (that’s the areas in green stripes).
Policies for these Shopping Areas
It also has policies for the primary and secondary shopping areas. The aim is basically to keep the “primary shopping area” as a strong retail area, with leisure, cultural and community uses allowed elsewhere in the town centre. There are also detailed policies in the document for 5 different parts of the town centre.
Making It More Attractive For Pedestrians
And what about those “improved public realm” areas? – The idea is to make the areas more attractive to shoppers. Here’s how the High Street would look, facing north near the Library.
But these schemes are expensive. So maybe they won’t ever happen….
These would be expensive, and the funding would have to come from developers or Essex County Council. Just look at the costs ! The District Council certainly can’t afford to do any of them. At the council meeting Chris Black was one of the few councillors to speak, saying he could think of better ways of spending , say , half a million pounds, and in any case would prefer any funding to come from the European Union rather than the County Council. We also have to consider any impact this would have on road congestion.