These are some first thoughts on the District Council’s latest version of their ‘Local Development Framework’ .
This is the council’s document that deals with future housing and commercial sites in the next 10-20 years.
There’s a lot to read – over 170 pages- so we are only looking at the first 50 or so pages tonight. And please forgive us if we get some things wrong, or miss some things out. Any input from onlinefocus readers could be really useful!
Here we go:
Page 5 :
One of the council’s priorities is ‘fostering greater community cohesion’:
The Core Strategy seeks to ensure that sense of community and identity is retained in existing residential areas, and that new residential developments are such that they will foster a sense of community
But the proposals to double Rawreth’s population are going to destroy community cohesion…..
Page 6: Another priority is to strengthen the voluntary sector:
To support and encourage the development of a vibrant Third Sector
This could be very good…. but would require a definite change in attitude from the council. The fiasco last year – when local youth football clubs were invited to apply to run the sports pitches in Priory Chase, but then the council changed their mind – doesn’t set a good example.
Page 24 – there’s a table here that shows that the council’s housing waiting in list in May 2009 showed that only 0.6 percent of people on that list were from Rawreth. At the other extreme, 44 percent were from Rayleigh.
Skipping ahead to page 35 it’s stated that four industrial estates will be used for housing – Rawreth Industrial Estate, Eldon Way/ Foundry Industrial Estate (Hockley) , Stambridge Mills and Star Lane Industrial Estate (Great Wakering). New industrial sites will be found to replace these. The report doesn’t make clear how many homes each of the these industrial sites can take.
Backtracking to pages 32-33,, the report explains that the council needs to find Greenbelt land for:
751 homes between 2006-2015
994 homes between 2015-2021
1000 homes between 2021-2025
– total, 2745 extra homes on Greenbelt land.
Note that Greenbelt doesn’t have to be a green field. it could mean an old industrial or storage site somewhere inside the greenbelt.
Also note that the document states that in the ‘4th tier’ of settlements (everything outside Rayleigh, Rochford, Ashingdon, Hockley, Hawkwell, Hullbridge, Great Wakering and Canewdon) ‘additional development is unsustainable’.
Page 37 and Page 38
Here’s the important stuff, the proposed housing figures (going roughly west to east across the district):
So it looks as though Hawkwell gets a significant reduction from 365 to 175.
But Rawreth only gets a reduction from 650 to 550 near London Road. And there’s still housing on the Rawreth Industrial Estate to consider, plus the land in “SW Hullbridge” which is actually partly in Rawreth.
Pages 43-44 This section shows what kind of infrastructure the District Council will be looking for to go with each new devlopment. They begin with “Land North of London Road Rayleigh” and have the following list:
? New primary school
? Public transport improvements, including link
between Rawreth Lane and London Road
? London Road junction improvements
? Link to Green Grid Greenway No. 13
? Public park land to provide buffer between built
environment and agricultural land to the west
? Youth and community facilities
? Play space
? Sustainable drainage systems
This list is pretty disappointing. A new primary school is not likely going to be filled by the children from 750 new homes and may never get built. Public Park Land sounds good, but won’t stop ‘agricultural land to the west’ being picked out for development in the next local plan. When you think of how the massive Cherry Orchard Country Park was obtained by sacrificing some of the fields at Park School, this list of benefits looks very thin – unless ‘youth and community facilities means a swimming pool’!
As for the sustainable drainage systems, this isn’t some special recognition for Rawreth’s problems, the same phrase is used for 11 other sites.
Page 53 at least has some encouraging news , with the idea of having a ‘local list’ of buildings to be protected from development.