A Guest Post On Hockley Town Centre




We’re hoping to have a couple of “Guest Posts” on onlineFOCUS this week.

The first is from Bryan Guyett from Hockley, who is very concerned about the Area Action Plan for Hockley. These are his personal views, and we publish them here to encourage debate, and hopefully to shed some light on the plans for Hockley.

Council secretly decides to redevelop Hockley – two tier, discriminatory consultation process adopted

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request has revealed that RDC have secretly determined to redevelop the centre of Hockley.

The contract for the next stage of the Area Action Plans (AAPs) shows that the council has instructed consultants to produce a plan for Hockley which “will deliver ………………………..:

Redevelopment of Eldon Way / Foundry Industrial Estate for a variety of uses more appropriate for a town centre location, including residential, commercial, employment and leisure.
A public space within a defined centre”.

Furthermore, no mention is made of further public consultation whereas the requirements (in the same contract) for Rochford and Rayleigh AAPS state “Additional community involvement may be required prior to the finalisation of the pre-submission AAP, feeding into the production of this draft. The project timetable should allow for such community involvement”. There is no mention of this for Hockley and the timescale for production is 6 months shorter.

So RDC have created a two-tier system which discriminates heavily against Hockley, where residents have consistently rejected RDC’s proposals. An impartial survey at the start of the AAP, arranged by 3 local organisations and sent to every home in Hockley, produced 972 responses (about a quarter of households) with:

95% against major changes to the high street
87% against redeveloping Eldon Way
only 22% in favour of a town square.

These results have been mirrored in the two previous AAP consultations

On the 29 May, the Portfolio Holder for Planning stated “I cannot pre-determine the content of any plan or plans put forward by the Council?s Consultants for consideration” but that is exactly what the council have done!

What price democracy?

About the author, admin

  • I am surprised that no one has commented further on this interesting article.

    Picking up from an email you sent to me in July 2011 I understood from you that the position on Hockley was as follows on housing numbers.

    “Hockley has two seperate allocations;

    50 houses in Folly Lane and around 200 dwellings in the town centre area. A combined total of about 250.

    No decision has been made on this. 250 extra houses would almost certainly have a detrimental knock-on effect on Hawkwell with extra traffic, demand for services etc., What is bad for Hockley is bad for Hawkwell and vice-versa.”

    I certainly recall that you challenged “Hockley will provide just 50 of the 3800 new homes that are identified in the Core Strategy and those 50 homes are likely to be located solely on pre-built on land.” ?

    Is 250 still the case from your reading of the information you obtained from your FOI request?

    I can’t recall seeing the information you obtained but perhaps any other Member reading this site could tell me if I missed this?

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
    %d bloggers like this: