An Interesting Meeting….




So, we had the first proper meeting of the “Local Development Framework Sub-Committee” tonight.

The meeting was held in committee room 4 – and nearly 30 members of the public came along (mostly from Rawreth). The room was packed – if any more people had come the meeting would have had to move downstairs to the council chamber.

County Councillor Stephen Castle came along to observe – the only County Councillor to do so. Most of the Rawreth Parish councillors came too. There was no sign of the press….

The gist of the meeting was this :

– the government is insisting that the district council allows 4600 new homes to be built in our district up to the year 2025.
– 1100 of these will be on sites where there has been some kind of previous development – ‘brownfield sites’
-2500 must be built on the Green Belt up to the year 2021
– another 1000 must be built on Green Belt between 2021-2025.

The proposed figures for builiding in the Green Belt up to 2025 are:

“Rayleigh – North of London Road” – 650
Rayleigh – South West – 100
West Rochford – 550
West Hockley – 50
South Hawkwell – 330
North East Ashingdon – 120
South East Ashingdon – 500
South West Hullbridge – 540
South West Great Wakering -360
North West Great Wakering – 150
South Canewdon – 150

You might think it strange that a lot of Rawreth residents came along when their own parish wasn’t mentioned in the report. However the proposals have Rawreth receiving more housing than any other parish – because “Rayleigh – North of London Road” is indeed in Rawreth. Moreover, there’s an extra 200 intended for Rawreth by building on the Rawreth Industrial Estate – so the total figure for Rawreth is 850.

The Chairman of the committee , Hockley Conservative Keith Hudson, is trying hard to get all-party agreement on these figures – in the same that there was all-party agreement on the new recycling scheme.

However Chris Black voted against these figures tonight – saying that it wasn’t possible to come to a decision without seeing what infrastructure would be provided. The only way he would consider voting for these figures would be if a list of new infrastructure was welded onto the housing figures. The only justification for building some houses on the farmland north of London Road and south of Rawreth Lane would be if the remaining green belt there was protected forever by becoming a country park or something similar..

When it came to a vote the figures were accepted by 5 votes to 1. The next step is the next committee meeting , probably on October 14th, where we may see a list of infrastructure improvements.

We would be grateful for comments and suggestions, especially from those who came along tonight.

About the author, admin

  • To Chris Black.
    Well done Chris for insisting that the question of infrastructure is made a priority, as without carefully calculated schemes we in Rawreth will again bear the burden of further over crowded roads.
    The 200 new homes on Rawreth Industrial Estate worries me as again access and egress will presumably be from Rawreth Lane. Then, as the industrial estate is adjacent the proposed ‘Rayleigh – North of London Road site’, it could mean that an extension of the road would obviate the need of access from London Road?
    It appeared from what you said last night, that the Industrial Estate proposal was included at a late stage. Did the LDF Sub-Committee have in mind that this would be an easier/ready made access to overcome any problems foreseen in entering the estate from London Road?

  • I’ll try to explain –

    Councillor Keith Gordon said that the committee had been working on these figures for about a year. Well, that’s not quite true – the Conservative group came up with some figures about a year ago ,which included 560 for “SW Rayleigh” and 180 for “NW Rayleigh” , plus allocations for Hawkwell, Hullbridge etc. It seems pretty evident that all of the Conservative councillors knew where the exact locations were – but the Lib Dem councillors weren’t informed until the summer.

    At the start of the summer the 180 for NW Rayleigh was the Rawreth Industrial estate. Their proposal for 540 for SW Rayleigh >was south of the railway line. What’s happened since the summer is that the County County has ruled out the SW site, so that the land north of London Road suddenly came into things. What’s more that 180 at the Industrial Estate has turned into 200, but they are no longer using it as the ‘180 for NW Rayleigh” site – which means there’s overall more housing than I was expecting.

    I expect that if the Rawreth Industrial estate is converted into a housing site, there will be a road through linking it to London Road- so traffic from all 850 homes could use either London Road or Rawreth Lane.

    By the way, I still think it is very misleading to not mention the parish of Rawreth at all in the agenda, when it is the parish that would have the most of the proposed housing.

  • Is it possible to get the RDC to start recording all meeting and post them on the web site, so that way they can show they are being open and also let people see what is going on at those meeting if they can not attend them or get in to them?

  • Thanks for this report, Chris.

    This is what I have been imagining might have been the intention for some while now.

    You are right to press for information on infrastructure provision planning – if I can lend any strength to this, do please ask. (You may now that, along with some other hats, I am a Co-opted Member of Essex County Council, so this occasionally helps to get answers to questions or to push things along a little!)

    You will, presumably, know already that the expansion of housing was somewhat anticipated in the relocation of St Nicholas CE Primary School from Church Road to Priory Chase? We have a current school roll of 102 children, with present capacity for 120, but with already-consented permissions (and designated land-footprint) for a possible future expansion to 210 capacity (ie. single-form entry). Whilst this may be good news for local school places, on the positive side, we would need to recognise, though, that everyone insisting on taking their cars down Priory Chase when they could walk or bike to school over such short distances is likely to be an unwelcome side-effect.

    Thanks again for keeping us all in the loop and for your hard work as Councillor.

    Paul (Rector of Rawreth)

  • It appears that among the necessary infrastructure there is a need for another primary school .
    Whilst in the meeting last night an implied threat from a councillor that if these proposals were not agreed by all present then a proposal for 4600 houses could be put forward on all the land up to the A1245 . Chris proposed a countrypark to safeguard the land from further expansion westwards but I feel that this land which is highly productive should remain agriculture as the era of cheap food from abroad is now over and there is no such thing as a food mountain in Europe to fall back on . If there is a necessity for a further country park in Raylegh then land to the south adjacent to the woodlands trust may be more appropiate failing that there is much under-utilised land there which may make a better site for developement .This could reactivate the Rayleigh Parkway Scheme again .

  • Thanks for the explanation Chris. I would make one comment in reply and that is if the industrial estate is given access to both Rawreth Lane and London Road, this will create a ‘Rat run’ which could cause future problems. This needs careful thought before it is proposed!

  • Thank You as always for the update!
    Don’t know what we’d do without you!
    Paul’s Information was also very interesting…

    Are you able to help with Several Questions please?:-

    What are the plans for St Nicholas Primary School doubling in capacity?
    Priory Chase is not adequately designed for such a huge increase in school run traffic and parking.
    What impact would a larger school building have on neighbouring properties?

    Are the 180 (now 200!) Houses proposed for Rawreth Industrial Estate the only houses planned for “brown fields” sites in Rawreth?
    If not how many of the Council’s 1100 (brown field) homes are planned for Rawreth?
    200 houses on the Industrial Estate site sounds too ambitious.
    I do hope that the planning permissions are more rigourously examined and challenged by RDC and the mistakes that were made with Coppice Gate (Wimpey) are not repeated again.
    Where is Rawreth Industrial Estate been moved to?

    What is the Governments definition of a “home”?
    Are we really talking about affordable housing for local young people or are we more likely to get large houses on the luxury end of the market?

    Can you please clarify where Rayleigh – South West is?

    Thanks again for keeping us in the picture!

  • Rawreth industrial site where is it to go ? that is a good question . One which has not been addressed. Is it a coincidence that an area of land to the west of the new A130 adjacent to Shotgate borders was put forward for industrial use when a call for sites for the core strategy was made ? I do not think so.The question now is if the 200 houses are not counted as part of quota for west “rayleigh” i.e. Rawreth ,then how can further greenbelt be eroded to replace it ? I do not think it should be a windfall site but rather count towards our quota thereby reducing the equivalent greenbelt take for housing . As it stands Rawreth will be losing land for building for 850 housing units not 650 as stated.

  • About to rush out to say my morning prayers and thence onto a busy day of work in my ‘non-parish’ work – which includes consultation in another part of south Essex which could lead to a major community centre being built, so yet more planners and schemes!!! – so will address questions about St Nick’s school as best I can when I get back to my computer this evening.

    I am intrigued by Alistir’s comment about school provision – what exactly was said at the meeting? For the number of additional homes proposed, St Nick’s would mostly likely have sufficient capacity at its expanded size. Pressures on secondary provision will be more critical though, I would have thought. Seems to me that Sweyne Park and Beauchamps Schools are both far too large already without further expansion. So, a new secondary school?!?!…

    More tonight…

  • I guess that the Rawreth Industrial Est. will require a full environmental survey before any dwellings can be considered. The reason being that over the years certain areas of the site have been occupied by vehicle breakers or similar trades using chemical processes. Surely the land from such operations must be severely contaminated.
    In addition, if the site for the junior football pitches requires a geological survey presumably this will apply to the Ind. Est. as both are in close proximity of each other.
    Have these problems yet to be considered?

  • This is not very good news for other parts of the district – in particular Canewdon, which is threatened with a 25% increase in housing but 2025. Does this include proposed developments in Stambridge?

    Someone needs to think about the implications of this sort of increase. For example, I understand that Canewdon Primary School is pretty well full. 150 new houses will provide some new children – too many for the current size of the school, but not enough to create whole new classes. A headache for those who run the school.

    Is someone going to arrange new bus services (current ones are appalling) in view of the need to ‘reduce carbon emissions’? It seems to me that building houses in Canewdon is a surefire way to increase car use.

  • Right, I shall try to address some of the initial questions about St Nicholas School, as prompted by TWR, and as best I know. Cllr Alistir Matthews may be better able to answer/correct some of this!…

    Whilst I have moved to Rawreth AFTER the process of deliberation that led to the move of the parish school to its new building and site at the back of the Coppice Gate development, I believe that there is outline permission for the present footprint to be expanded to allow the school to become a single-form entry primary school (ie capacity 7 classes x 30 students = 210 students). This would provide a considerable expansion on present (at present we can take 120 students into 4 mixed-age classes; current school roll is at 102 students).

    How quickly such an expansion might be achieved I simply do not know. I spoke with the Headteacher about this, briefly, this morning – after the rather fun Harvest Thanksgiving festival! – and she worries that any such additional build would take quite a long time, cause considerable interference with ongoing school life and would probably not be able to get going until house-building has at least started. (Even worse would be the response only AFTER folk actually live in new houses and the ‘actual’ demand is there. The likely solution then is the horrid prospect of years of BOTH new building AND years of portacabins in the playground (AND no way to play footy, therefore!)…IN SHORT, A NIGHTMARE.)

    My hope would be that if the mood-music from the District is substantive enough about what is proposed – including a decent anticipation of the mix of housing, ie. homes for families, how big, etc? – then it ought not to be beyond the wit of County LEA (Education Authority) and District to anticipate this infrastructure development and capacity-build. Or am I being far too high in my expectations of Local Authorities?!?…..

    (…answers on a postcard, please!)

    With regard to school journeys and congestion on Priory Chase, I think I would want simply to reiterate what I have mooted before. That yes, IF folk cannot give up their addiction to /reliance on their cars for such short journeys as the school run, then it will get VERY CONGESTED. In my view, a little more coordinated help and encouragement to leave the car behind is order of the day – both now and in the future!

    I feel sure that the school Governors – I am one of them (Vice-Chair in fact) – will want to be talking about this in the near future.

    I shall keep you all posted!

    (Hope this helps for now!)

  • Thanks for your reply Paul.

    I guess that local residents – especially next door neighbours like me – will have to wait to see the planning application for any expansion of St Nicholas Primary before making a judgement.

    I too hope that parents will stop using their cars for such short school runs…no wonder there is a child obesity problem in GB!! Parents inconsiderate parking and speeding along Priory Chase is already an issue.

  • Greenbelt – in respobe to comment 7 :

    Are the 180 (now 200!) Houses proposed for Rawreth Industrial Estate the only houses planned for “brown fields” sites in Rawreth? I believe this is the only large site. But smaller ones might ‘become apparent later, I don’t know.

    I do hope that the planning permissions are more rigourously examined and challenged by RDC and the mistakes that were made with Coppice Gate (Wimpey) are not repeated again. Sorry, I see few signs that the council has learned from its mistakes at the Park School site, excpet possibly that things have maybe gone better with recent devlopments in Rochford Town Centre. The Park School site was an easy one – the land was owned by another council for heaven’s sake. This time the council is dealing with a site in Rawreth that is 5 times larger and probably in private ownership (plus all the other sites coming up elsewhere in the district).

    Where is Rawreth Industrial Estate been moved to? Nothing definite yet, probably by the A1245 (old London Road)

    What is the Governments definition of a “home”? Not sure precisely. Obviously houses and flats, maybe caravans.

    Are we really talking about affordable housing for local young people or are we more likely to get large houses on the luxury end of the market? A percentage will be affordbale housing, the rest will be up to the developer.

    Can you please clarify where Rayleigh – South West is? South of the railway line – basically, the Great Wheatleys area.

  • As Clerk to the School Governors at St Nicholas, I have noted Paul’s comments and will ensure that matters above are considered for inclusion on the Agenda for our next meeting this term.

    I am also one of the Walking Bus Co-ordinators and feel deeply saddened that support for this initiative from parents at the school has waned recently. I would also add that many parents have to use their cars for, what appear to be, short school runs as they have to go immediately onto work in other parts of the county after dropping off their children. School gates do not open until 9.40 a.m. and so some have no option but to drive. However, I do not defend the few who persistenly choose to park inconsiderately.

    I agree that a walk, even a short one from the Sports Centre or Asda (who both have offered to support the Walking Bus) can only be beneficial to the health of our children and we sincerely hope to re-start the Walking Bus shortly – but we will have to reply on parental support and that is not always forthcoming.

  • As a local resident whilst these issues are being raised I feel it right that i point out that vehciles (usually a 4×4) are mounting the roundabout at the end of Priory Chase when on the school run.
    This might be worth bringing up when at the next meeting. It is totally inappropriate and as well as safety issues, what sort of example does it set to our children?

  • It’s very interesting that Keith Hudson, the Councillor for Hockley has only been given a development of 50 houses! That is the smallest development in the district and should help to keep him popular.

  • MIKE, my thoughts exactly! I hate to use the words corrupt or malpractise but I certainly smell a rat – again!!

    DAVID, I have witnessed vehicles abusing the mini roundabout at the end of Priory Chase too but perhaps more seriously is the constant insistance of vehicles failing to give way – or even slow down a little! – at the mini roundabout at the junction of Priory Chase, Rayleigh Leisure Centre and Temple Way. I’ve also seen vehicles ignoring the roundabout completely and effectively going around it in the wrong direction!

    This situation is not helped by cars parking around the roundabout and on the adjacent junctions – local residents are also at fault here not just school run/leisure centre users. This practise is dangerous and hinders visability. The sooner the roads are marked out correctly and are adopted by the Council the better!!

    ADMIN, as a matter of interest, as the roads here have not been adopted and the road markings are not legally recognised, what would the legal position be if there was a traffic accident on Priory Chase or Temple Way as a result of inconsiderate parking or failure to use the highway code when using the road/roundabouts?

    CCR, is it worth the school gates opening earlier than 08:40? Is there a case for an “early birds” or “breakfast” club to make the school run easier for working parents and so easing traffic congestion?

  • All comments noted and will be mentioned to the Headteacher at our next Agenda setting meeting.

    I would add that, since I worte the above post, I have been actively monitoring the parking situation. There is a 15 – 20 minute maximum time span in the morning when a large number cars are parked outside the school and the same applies in the afternoon.

    The majority of cars park along the road and only two – albeit the same two – have parked on the roundabout. This driver has been spoken to in the past by the Headteacher and I will request that she does so again.

    Any obstruction of the mini roundabout is regularly caused by the same resident parking right on the roundabout and causing cars to have to swerve onto the other side of the road to get round her car. In fact, for the past two days the same car and a further white van have caused this obstruction. I certainly agree that if the road markings were in place and the road adopted then this situation may ease – assuming the person is aware of the rules of the road concerning parking at a junction!!

    Sports Centre staff and early morning visitors are also leaving a lot to be desired in their interpretation of “roundabout rules”!

    Unfortunately, at present the School does not operate a Breakfast Club and if it were to do so it may just mean that the fifteen minutes of congestion in the mornings moves ahead a little.

    I should also add that on two mornings this week at approximately 8.55 a.m. refuse vehicles – (one full sized and one smaller one) has managed to negotiate the roundabout without any problems or obstruction at all – even with the school run parking.

    There has already been an accident necessitating ambulance treatment, outside the school. Thankfully the child was not too badly hurt. I would add that this accident was not as a result of any congestion or obstruction. I believe that if there was an accident of the sort Admin mentions – then ownership of the road would be called into question. Is the road still regarded as a Private Road?

  • Mike, we can’t tell exactly how much Hockley will get because only the greenbelt figures have been published – there may be some ‘brownfield’ sites in Hockley. But yes, Hockley comes out of it very lightly – so far- in terms of Green Belt.

  • TWR – I belive the Highway Code applies if you are on a public highway – it doesn’t have to be an adopted highway. However I guess that the absence of road signs or road markings might be seen as a mitigating circumstance in a court case. (but remember I’m not a lawyer or a traffic policeman!)

  • Thought I would through my tuppence into the arena regarding the roads on Priory Chase/Temple Way.

    At the moment, the roads are private. in effect you can park anywhere you like and you are not breaking the law and that includes the roundabout.

    The white van that CCR mentions belongs to a resident of Priory Chase. Sure they occassionally park slightly over and onto the roundabout, but this is due to residents from further down Priory Chase (who have double yellow lines outside their homes) parking their cars along the stretch of road from the roundabout upto the school, thus hindering the parking of cars for residents who live along that stretch.

    There is a big problem with cars going the wrong way round the roundabout, these are cars coming from the direction of the school, as well as, and on the most part, from the Leisure Centre who are too lazy to drive properly round the roundabout – this is ultimately an accident waiting to happen, and I have nearly been hit twice because of it – what would happen if it did? Nothing, it is not a public road, insurance companies wouldn’t pay out.

    As I’ve previously blogged, I spoke with Highways concerning Priory Chase some time ago, and as it stood at that time (about 3 or 4 months ago), there was no immediate plan for the adoption of Priory Chase or Temple Way. It was also pointed out to me, that they were not happy with the double yellows being painted by ASDA contractors who laid the road, as it had not been determined if Priory Chase would have double yellows, and if it did, for how far up the road, and they agreed with me that as double yellows could push parking onto Rawreth Lane, this was indeed not a good idea.

  • Just an observation – the residents that live up near the school, for the most part from the mini roundabout with houses that face onto Priory Chase, all have off street parking behind their properties. It appears that some of them choose not to use it. Very similar situation to that that we have in Downhall Park Way.

    Totally agree with you over Sports Centre cars – I have almost been hit twice by a member of their staff pulling straight out onto the roundabout without looking. Sadly, some people have no regard for other road users at all wherever they drive!!

    I will speak with Dan Carling or one of his team from Essex Highways very soon. I know the elder children at the school assisted them recently in carrying out a traffic survey on Priory Chase/Rawreth Lane and the results were quite worrying.

  • CCR,
    Of the houses nearer to the School that you comment on only one of the households parks a car on the road. All the other residents use off road parking when possible.
    The cars seen on the road at this location are usually grown up kids parking their cars up to use the skateboard park. They quite often park up, take a bmx out of their boots and head off to the skateboard park. This is a daily occurrence!

    I think the roundabout is used incorrectly partly due to laziness but sometimes because cars, as mentioned, partly obstruct the roundabout which encourages drivers from the sports centre to use it incorrectly.
    The additional problem this causes is that the bus that terminates at Asda now no longer turns around at this junction but drives down to the school roundabout and turns around here!!!!!!!!!

  • Corey

    I was interested to read about Priory Chase not being adopted, last we heard Laburnum Way (now over 10yrs old just up the road ) hadn’t been adopted either.

    I was suprised that you felt that you wouldn’t be covered on your insurance if an accident took place, this surely can’t be correct can it?

    Would be interested to hear if anyone knows about the car insurance point or the Laburnum Way point regarding adoption of the road.

  • Living on the roundabout I have witnessed 70% of all cars coming from the roundabout go round the roundabout the wrong way. 30% are law abiding citizens.

    CCR have you any comment on the insurance/legal issue on a private road?

  • Admin. Not sure where to put this but has there been any further developments on the Grange Community Centre issue. Sometime ago there was the prospect of the rents being hiked up to a position where the people who run it, for the community, would not be able to afford the rent that was suggested. This in turn led to suspicions that the Council wanted the land for development! Any further news?

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