A Bit More On Highways




As we mentioned last night you can download the report here (I mb).

The items likely to be done in the current financial year are shown in appendix A (Between pages 4.2.3 and 4.2.10. ) The items in appendix B are mainly for consideration in the year after that, though there is the opportunity to change things.

One big item for Western Rayleigh/Rawreth are surface repairs to the A1245 between Fairglen and the Carpenters Arm. We’ve been asked about this by residents and it’s good that it’s included.

It’s also worth mentioning the new system of Highways Rangers – this will help us get a lot of little stuff done.

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  • I noticed a couple of items requesting a mini roundabout at the Hambro Road end of Downhall Road, I think anybody who uses Downhall Road would agree the problem is turning right into London Road at the other end of the road.

  • Hi Brian

    As you know I have expressed concern over this issue as well. And I have pursued it with Essex County Council as I know you have done as well. That did not yield much positive input even though I asked appropriate questions under the FOI. As it was evident that the strategy was to play “cat and mouse” I decided to take away the cat !!

    But as a Member of Rochford District Council I felt so strongly about this issue I continued to ask questions of Shaun Scrutton. Indeed Go East advised me that this was the most appropriate route for residents to question.

    Here is information that Shaun sent me. I hope that it helps answer the question you have asked here. The LTP is, I believe, not up for formal revision until 2011 which means that the Rochford Core Strategy will be in place before this is formally revised and any infrastructural changes that we think are neccessary will not have been committed to in my opinion. The only hope we have is a General Election before The Rochford Core Strategy is finally put in place early next year because the Conservative Party has pledged to stop the housing development plans.

    In the meantime we have to do what we can to influence the LTP revision.

    Again here is what RDC says. Essentially, the situation is still that each development will provide its own infrastructure under agreements with developers. It is going to be absolutely vital that individual Ward Members are as proactive as possible in giving input to the design statements for individual developments. I hope that the assurance that I have been given by Shaun is fulfilled by the Council. A decision on sites will, I believe, come forward to Council in July but the detail in terms of Design Statements not till October. My greatest concern is that the Council is intending to give the task of an initial draft of Design Statements to the developers so that they will lead the process and carry most of the cost. In Chelmsford the Council employed consultants to initiate these and this is the better route in my view if residents are not to be railroaded by developers in the first draft.

    If there are any further questions which arise, do ask.

    “It is essential that we link the Core Strategy and other development plan documents, as appropriate, with the Local Transport Plan (as well as other key strategic documents) both in terms of the existing LTP, but also in influencing the contents of future versions of the LTP, particularly given the fact the LTP is to all intents and purposes a bidding document.

    The Area Highways Office deals with day to day highway matters and provides advice on smaller planning applications whereas officers at County Hall provide advice on policy and on major planning applications.

    Therefore, we are discussing the Core Strategy with officers at County Hall and will feed the results of those discussions into the Core Strategy to develop the material included in the appendix to the housing chapter. Bear in mind that the Core Strategy is only intended to set out the broad principles for the development of the district – greater detail will be provided in other development plan document, notably the Allocations Development Plan Document.

    The other issue you ask about is the preparation of design statements. I see this as an integral part of the preparation of the Allocations DPD – public participation on the draft plan is expected in the autumn.”

  • Thanks John,

    Shaun is clearly refering to local infrastructure improvements but what about the wider implications of extra traffic on existing bottlenecks? These continue to be ignored. For ionstance, 1200 houses in West Rochford, will have major impacts on Rochford town centre; Hockley Town Centre and (possibly) Rrayleigh/Rawreth. It seems no one is even looking at this!

  • Sorry John – before you correct me – I missed the impact on Rectory Road, Hawkwell of the list. This could, of course, be the biggest impact of all!

  • It concerns me to note that Shaun says that “the Core Strategy is only intended to set out the broad principles for the development of the district”. I would hope that his qualification of “only” does not relegate the importance of this because the broad principles of infrastructural needs are very, very important. If I have got this very wrong, I think that someone would have told me by now. But I haven’t because in every debate in Full Council all sides have lamented that the infrastructure problems are ones which are outside of RDC control unlikely to be addressed by TPTB.

    We already know that the ECC LTP does not currently have any infrastructural highway improvements in plan for this area and ECC has said that it has no such plans. Unless RDC in its role of the architect of the Core Strategy pushes forward the infrastructural requirements of the sort that you raise then my conclusion is that the developmental framework of sites put forward in the Core Strategy must be considered UNSOUND. It will be the mission of everyone who is concerned about our district to put this forward as a reason why the Core Strategy is UNSOUND to the Inspector at Public Inquiry.

    But it remains possible that RDC will listen right now and require in the Core Strategy that the LPT when revised in 2011 does include the infrastructural improvements that are needed. If this were to happen and it is signed off by a Government Inspector then this could do much to ally these public concerns.

    If this does not happen then I would hope that a Government Inspector to send it back for being UNSOUND.

    Perhaps that’s idea? Seems a bit of a risk to take though when it must surely be much easier to say what is needed to allow the housing development policy that has been forced upon us by the Government and the Council says that it has no choice to deliver because it is a legal requirement. So much better to my mind to see it seen off because without the infrastructure first it can’t be executed.

  • I share John’s concerns that RDC are not looking at the wider implications.

    The Hockley Area Action Plan (HAAP) is a prime example of this. The plan was RDC driven with no external pressures but still omitted any detailed proposals for dealing with the Spa Junction bottleneck (apart from a unsensical suggestion to stop traffic turning right into Woodlands Ave!). Roads were to be considered at a later stage.

    How can a comprehensive plan for a small area like Hockley village centre be considered without any real consideration to roads?

    ECC highways have confirmed they have no plans for any road improvements in the area, so it seems that neither RDC or ECC consider roads a real consideration.

    What sort of car park do we want to live in?

  • John, Chris, SHAUN, We know that leaving the developers to implement its own infrastructure will be a nightmare. Developers are notorious at getting what they want out of a development, as many housing units as possible from the smallest plot of land. Once the housing numbers are agreed for each development and the developer is charged with building the infrastructure, they will do their sums and negotiate a larger number of units on each development. Developers do not give away money to the community, they can be ruthless business men.

    If the Conservative council go ahead with this and the above comes to fruition, when the next local elections come around they can say goodbye to their cosy jobs. We know what will happen and all their promises will be shown up for what they were. When will RDC get real and stop treating the residents with some respect.

    Our Council should be banging the drum for us and getting the residents behind them. Its bewildering watching them stumble from one disaster to another. Maybe its just that they do not want to upset their Tory colleagues who run Essex?

  • I would like to add these comments to those of John and Brian above.
    Following the publication of the Core Strategy Preferred options, the chairman of the Local Development Framework Committee Council Cllr. Keith Hudson stated at a West Area Committee meeting “that he was willing to consider any suggestion that would ease congestion in the district”.
    Through the consultation procedures, I submitted a plan to the LDF, which suggested extending Cherry Orchard Way to the north, to a point near the junction of Ashingdon Road and Lower Road with a link half way along to Rectory Road.
    Briefly I felt this would carry a lot of traffic from the areas and villages north of Hall Road, thus reducing congestion in Hockley, Hawkwell, Ashingdon, Rochford and even as far away as Rayleigh and Rawreth.
    At the last West Area Committee meeting I submitted a written question in advance asking “what the LDF committees’ views were on this suggestion” .
    Shaun Scrutton was nominated to respond to this question and having more than a week to consider an informative reply, his best effort was a very brief statement “that it was not feasible as it had to pass over a railway line”.
    I pointed out that constructing roads over railway lines did not cause problems at Warners Bridge years ago, and more recently at the A1245 and the new A130 section, both of which pass over two railway lines in the Rawreth area.
    At some time in the future a major road that crosses a railway line, will be needed to provide vehicular access and egress as that is the nature of our district.
    The point I am making here is that if RDC and County Council officials are not even prepared to consider future infrastructure needs and make a serious attempt at solving the problems, we will never be rid of the gridlock situation that is fast approaching us in the RDC area.

  • Hi Greenbelt (and Mike,Chris,Brian)

    I wish that I could discover what the “core” and what the “strategy” is in the Rochford Core Strategy. It is not articulated clearly and simply enough for me.

    In addition there are some other major plans going forward on at the same time and, as far as I can see, these look more or less independent.

    The expansion of the Southend Airport in its whole realm of development seems to be key to at least the part of the district where I live.

    Without it much of the Rochford Core Strategy would seem to crumble because these are houses for some of the 7500 new jobs to be created there. This explains the recent thinly veiled panic attack in RDC when it was revealed that Southend Councillors were turning against approval in the face of vocal and demonstrative opposition from some residents.

    Despite what the Council says about the Rochford District being in favour of approval, I have come across many residents who remain very concerned, for example, about the environmental impact, night flights and whether the road infrastructure in Rochford District can bear the extra traffic which is bound to be generated.

    I could be persuaded to be in favour if all of these concerns had been demonstrably dealt with in the plans put forward. But they have not in my view.

    And I doubt if the infrastructural issues will be addressed given that three major plans have been seperated from each other. These are the JAAP, Core Strategy and Hockley AAP. Because of that it is hard to see the overall “core” and the “strategy” because they are never consulted upon together.

    Unless they are brought together and the cumulative issues on infrastructure are assessed then I fear that these major plans will all be approved in isolation.

    On balance I think that the Southend Lib Dem Group have the right idea by vocalising their concerns and withholding support for the JAAP at least until these issues are addressed.

    I think that in the fullness of time that the residents of Rochford District might owe the Lib Dems in Southend one big “thank you” if this action creates firstly some doubt about a main plank of the Rochford Core Strategy which is speculative and secondly because they just might get all the infrastructure issues surrounding the airport at least to be looked into properly.

    Because there is now some political doubt about the airport an alternative deployment of housing should be actively considered in Rochford District.

    Without prior approval of the JAAP I find it hard to conclude that the Rochford Core Strategy is SOUND at the moment and before submission to the Government is made I feel that an alternative is necessary.

    Many of the sites put forward to RDC have some justification if the Southend Airport expansion goes ahead. If it does not then many make much less strategic sense. (Although some still make little sense because of inherent infrastructural problems that cannot be solved by the developer anyway.)

  • John,

    excellent points! I wonder what the Inspector will think about the distinct lack of cross-plan thinking for 3 concurrent plans all affecting the same area? It does give me hope of a successful objection!

    The JAAP is, of course, 2 seperate plans:
    – the airport
    – the business parks
    only linked by location.

    The airport presented in Hockley last week and gave a very assured presentation which suggests the aircraft impact will be minimal (well they would wouldn’t they!). But no consideration at all of traffic going through the District.

    When you combine the airport passengers and workers together with the business parks, plus all the traffic from the extra housing, the potential impact on the B1013 is significant. Perversely, the absence of any consideration of these combined impacts may be our salvation!!

  • Reading the above, which makes very good comments, can, PLEASE, for thos of us who do not understand local authority jargon, explain what TPTB and ECCLTP mean. Otherwise how can anyone without this knowledge know what you are talking about!

  • Fair comment, Rita!

    I didn’t know TPTB but Google tells me its “The Powers That Be” – very technical!

    ECC LTP i can help with, I think, Essex County Council Local Transport Plan.

  • John,
    Thank you for the clear explanation of the current situation. I wish RDC would publish regular statements and keep residents informed of the changing situations.
    Regarding my suggestion to the LDF committee, of course this was made before I had any knowledge of the current airport proposals, including the dual carriageway proposal for Cherry Orchard Way. I was trying to inject some forward thinking to the committee by suggesting that if at a later stage an outer ring road, to the north of the District, was to be constructed a link up of the two roads would be possible. However, as I have stated before, RDC have failed in the past to address any future road infrastructure needs within the district and without a shake up will continue to fail to do so.

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