Another Letter From Coral – Now No Flats Included !




We’ve received another letter from Coral which they have asked us to publish here . We are happy to do this, but always remember that we have to stay impartial on applications in advance of the meeting!

I am pleased to confirm that Project Coral have resubmitted their planning application for the mixed-use building at the corner of Priory Chase and Rawreth Lane, Rayleigh.

This is a resubmission of our previous application which we withdrew in August prior to it being heard at the Development Control Committee. We decided to withdraw after discussions with Officers and after attending the public meeting at St Nicholas?s Church on 19th August, which was helpfully arranged by the local Ward Councillors and approximately 25 people attended. At the meeting many issues were raised and discussed and we indicated we would consider the position and potentially revise the application to address these comments.

This revised application provides a direct response to all issues that were raised during the consideration of the first application and crucially resolves each of the four reasons for refusal. Significantly the scheme has been redesigned with the residential element being deleted to provide a scheme of a more modest scale. It had been put to Officers and the public at previous meetings that the revisions may involve the reduction of the residential element from 19 flats to 16 to reduce the perceived scale of the proposal and also to meet the County parking standards. However, we have reconsidered our position and consider the scheme minus the residential element to be ultimately more viable, especially considering the current financial climate.

By removing the residential element we directly address three of the four potential reasons for refusal, namely, there is now no requirement for garden or amenity space, car parking for residents or affordable housing.

The fourth reason recommended by Officers was a concern with the range of potential uses. Our revised submission now proposes a part one part two storey building with six ground floor commercial units, one of which also provides first floor space. This is one unit less than the scheme Asda obtained permission for. As with our initial application, the commercial units have been deliberately designed in a flexible format and ultimately it is our intention to have a fully occupied scheme, as it is within no one?s interest to have vacant units within the neighbourhood centre. We have always envisaged that the units would contain a range of appropriate neighbourhood centre uses such as a hairdressers, dry cleaners, caf?, florist, newsagents etc. It is also anticipated that a D1 community use, such as a dentist may also be a likely occupant, depending on local requirements when the units go to the market. The scheme now includes a large unit which offers ground and first floor accommodation which could potentially be used for a community/business use.

During our initial application we were made aware of local concerns that the scheme could give rise to a number of anti-social uses opening next to nearby residential properties. We are sympathetic to these concerns and have considered how we can best alleviate matters. To this end we are willing to accept that A4 drinking establishments will not be pursued or accommodated within the scheme, a significant move on our part. The revised scheme still holds the potential for A3 or A5 cafes or restaurants, however extensive discussions with Officers has led to agreement on the wording of the following condition.

?No more than two of the permitted units shall fall within Use Class A3 and/or A5 as set out in the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended), at any one time, without the prior written approval of the Local Planning Authority.

Reason: To maintain the diversity of uses within the centre valuable to the local community which is otherwise poorly served by shops and other facilities?.

This condition allows only two units to be occupied by A3 and A5 uses at any one time, with the remaining four units, or indeed all six units, being available for A1(shops), A2 (financial and professional services), D1 (non-residential institutions) and B1 (business) uses. We believe these positive discussions have now resulted in a condition which provides us with our desired flexibility, whilst providing Officers and local residents with the comfort that no more than two units will be occupied by a caf?, restaurant or takeaway.

The agreement of this condition with Officers addresses the final outstanding reason for refusal relating to the previous application.

In respect of the design, the scheme is now more modest in scale, however, the two storey height has been retained as a feature at the corner to reflect past designs for the site. Attached is a colour perspective and we would hope residents will support the changes we have made.

Whilst the scheme no longer proposes a residential element, another issue raised at the public meeting was car parking. The 23 parking spaces previously to be allocated for the residential element have been retained to serve the future commercial and community uses. This is in addition to the wider neighbourhood centre car park. The scheme in its reduced format will therefore result in less car movements than the previous proposal and provide 23 additional spaces above what it is required. We hope this will address any local concerns that the proposal will lead to local car parking and highway capacity problems.

Through the significant revisions to the proposal and the agreement of an appropriately worded condition to regulate the uses, we have made considerable efforts to address all matters, to the extent of addressing all four reasons for refusal recommended by Officers in their August 2008 report to Committee. We hope that we have been able to demonstrate how seriously Project coral, as an operator and applicant, takes its responsibility to listen to local views. We have attended a public meeting and where practicable incorporated concerns within this revised proposals and now hope we can gain local support for our application.

Once again, should have anyone have any questions regarding our revised application our consultants Planning Potential can be contacted on 020 7357 8000.

Kind Regards

Nic Morgan, Project Coral (Rayleigh) Ltd

About the author, admin

  • Admin, how easy would it be for a licenced Restaurant / Cafe to get permission to become a Bar or pub, as it would already have a drinking licence? Given the Councils record on retrospective application approvals, would this be permissable? I assume that the original usage not having an A4 unit would not stop an application at some future date? I can see the pro side of having a flexible format for usage, especially for the developers and lease holders but there is also a negative side for the residents as the lease holder could apply for a variation of usage at any time in the future.

  • I’m sorry to burst your bubble Paul but CORAL have only addressed the four reasons recommended for refusal by the planning Officers. These issues were only some of the issues raised by local residents.

    My main issue (as a local resident) was with the units being used for Hot Food Take-Aways – these were NOT issues raised by local Officers, and local concerns have once more been ignored.
    In fact a third of the proposed 6 units will now inevitably be used as Hot Food Take-Aways – opening late into the evening and attracting the associated nuisance and anti-social behaviour. Especially with the increased number of youths hanging around the area – which will increase again with the proposed football pitches.
    This isn’t rocket science – just take a look at similar “community” shops adjacent to supermarkets. They all have at least one take-away!
    Hot Food Take-Aways would also have very little impact on ASDA’s profits – in fact would probably boost footfall – so these types of businesses will be positively encouraged by ASDA – and by default CORAL as they are “in bed” with ASDA.

    As a local community I don’t accept that we are “poorly served” by shops or “other” facilities:-
    There is no viable reason for a Newsagents shop – we have ASDA (sadly!) and two other newsagents at the end of Rawreth Lane, less than a mile away.

    There is no viable reason for a hairdressers – there is a hairdressers, a barbers and a beauticians shops at the end of Rawreth Lane, less than a mile away.

    There is no viable reason for a cafe – there is a licensed cafe inside Rayleigh Leisure Centre – also on Priory Chase, which is woefully underused.

    There is no viable reason for a florist – we have ASDA and a local florist recently closed down through lack of interest!

    CORAL have conceded in their letter that a drinking establishment was previously being considered – despite their initial denials – they herald this in their letter as a “significant move on their part”. But as Mike has pointed out IF a restaurant were to use one of the two available units, it would inevitably be licensed. And knowing our local Tory Planning Authority they would almost certainly give their written consent to a change of business use in the future – as it doesn’t impact on their own constituents – and the Lib Dem (our Councillors) voice is invariably ignored and not heard!

    CORAL also stated on more than one occasion that without the residential element of the scheme the development would not be viable – an apparent change of heart here!
    However these plans still fail to address the real fact that local residents currently use this piece of land as much needed overspill carparking! Where will local residents park when this land is no longer available?

    The types of shops mentioned above will also inevitably add to parking chaos on Priory Chase and probably Rawreth Lane as people abandon their cars to run in to the newsagents, take-away etc…rather than going to the effort of parking in the ASDA car park.

  • Oops forgot to mention that there is also no viable reason for Hot Food Take-aways either as we already have two at the end of Rawreth Lane – less than a mile away. And more than enough offering free local delivery!

    It’s getting late. End of Rant…


  • Admin
    ” In respect of the design, the scheme is now more modest in scale, however, the two storey height has been retained as a feature at the corner to reflect past designs for the site. Attached is a colour perspective and we would hope residents will support the changes we have made. ”

    Was there an attached plan? Can it be posted on this site somehow?

  • We could spend all day saying that we don’t want this or that on our doorsteps, but the crux of the matter is, this isn’t a decision we can make, nor to a great extent be involved in.

    Although we have the right to oppose this development, how frequently do the council actually listen to us?

    If the plan is refused what will happen? An appeal to those in central government, with amended plans (just like ASDA did) that gets approved (let’s face it, those in central government care even less about us then our elected officials do!)and we have something 10 times worse.

    Coral have listened to what was said at the meeting – someone who lived in the flats commented that the value of her property could be affected if flats go in here – she now doesn’t have to worry. Although I don’t really want a take away on my doorstep, I have to say I find the argument that two fast food takeaways are at the end of Rawreth Lane – both are Asian in nature – I quite like the idea of an alternative.

    This site will be developed (we need to move past this), should we not be learning from our mistake with ASDA (how many times did RDC refuse it?) and let this one pass with the ammendments proposed.

  • Well said Corey.

    Also I really do not think it is up to Asda to provide free parking for residents of the flats indefinately.

    When you purchase a property and you do not pay for a parking space with the purchase then it is up to you, the resident, to find a safe and legal parking space for your car.

    If you rent a property you usually have to pay more for a flat with a parking space too.

  • I quite like the sound of the plan as it now stands. I am not quite so confident as TWR that the uses will be as narrow as (s)he supposes – I would have thought that there was plenty of market for florists/beauticians/hairdressers/pharmacists, myself….

    I guess that others have been asked, recently, when shopping at ASDA, to submit postcode details if happy to do so? This is clearly the company trying to map its customer-base in geographic reach terms. This is info which might be useful to know. Certainly, plenty of folk who live at the Shot end of Rawreth and in Battlesbridge – not to mention Hullbridge and elsewhere – may well be becoming ASDA users and thus a ‘ready-made market’ for these additional units’ services/products, and may transfer their locations for hairdressers, et al, from where they presently go (in Shotgate, Wickford, etc.)

    I recognise that this all looks very different from the perspective of those of you who live right ‘on the doorstep’ of all this, in Priory Chase and Temple Way. I hope I am understanding of your particular concerns. My own personal experience has consistently been of enjoying living close by such facilities – I lived next door an Indian restaurant and takeaway in east London for five years, with drycleaners, chemist, 2 banks, pub, card shop, cafe, and a bakers all within 50 metres’ walk, and enjoyed it very much!; before that, I lived opposite a pub for five years and thoroughly loved that, too; most places I have lived have had these facilities on the doorstep, and it has been a consistently good thing, a great help and very sociable; indeed, my only experience of threatening, anti-social behaviour has been when I lived on a new-build estate of flats without any such things close by!

    My experience may not be typical, but it helps to give me my general sense about this, I guess!…

  • RDC demonstrated their ability to waste tax payers money again today…. I received my notification letter today advising me that the above plan had been submitted. But I didn’t receive it once or twice, nor even three times… but the same letter was sent to me four times.

  • We also got multiple copies of the planning application.

    Out of interest then Corey, if this plan is to go ahead whether we like it or not, what can we do to get some of the double yellows along Priory Chase removed? I wouldn’t have thought it needs to be double yellow down the entire road and clearly there are some of us that now need to consider alternative parking arrangements!

  • From what I understand Sarah, this is not a decision that we can influence. That is down to Highways at County level. However, what I can say is that at the moment, the double yellows are not enforcable and therefore are legally entitled to park there. ASDA were wrong to paint them on the road, and only did so to enable their lorries to park up without blocking the flow of traffic whilst waiting to enter the service yard.

  • I believe that county highways have to carry out a legal consultation process to introduce legal lines – including an ad in the back of one of the local papers.

  • Paul, I too have recently lived in busy urban areas (Wapping & Whitechapel) for several years with lots of restaurants and take-aways etc, etc, right on my doorstep. I’ve also lived in (above) a pub. However one crucial difference – I chose to live there!

    I chose to live here in Coppice Gate for its semi-rural quiet aspect, to get away from it all, and now that semi-rural peaceful location has already been undermined and is under threat once again!

    I wonder if the other residents in Rawreth village would be as supportive if this was proposed for their back yard?

    I’m all for competitive business, not for the narrowing of choice, however Rayleigh and it’s neighbours have far too many empty or abandoned shop units already – including on Rawreth Lane itself!! – and I believe that the regeneration of these shops should be the absolute priority. Rayleigh High Street is steadily dying before our eyes.

    Incidently the ASDA postcode trawl is a national initiative which ASDA regularly uses to assess the demographic of it’s customers – normally to assess where to put their next supermarket… I hope that wherever the spotlight falls the local residents oppinions are actually heard by the planners – whether for or against.

    Sarah, I make a point of parking on the double yellow lines on the rare occasion I pop into Asda, or to use the cash point on my way home from work. I suggest that the residents in the flats and houses facing ASDA do likewisw instead of bending to ASDA’a will. There is nothing ASDA can do about it!

    PS I only received one letter from RDC.

  • The way things are going with ASDA they may not be around much longer! A work colleague of mine recently went to ASDA and got so much abuse from the yobs hanging around there that when he responded one of them followed him into the store and carried on giving him abuse. When he was keying in his pin number he was surrounded by these yobs trying to see his pin. When he asked where the security was, he was told, ASDA do not employ security so the store staff have take this role on also. Needless to say he and his family have gone back to Sainsbury’s, where it is safe. Nice to see ASDA take the safety of their customers seriously?

  • Thanks for clarifying that Corey. I live in the flats right near the junction. Obviously I don’t want to park in the lanes for the junc itself so where would be viable for me to park, do you think? I’m also a nightmare at reading local rags and the like, would there be any other kind of mail out if the lines were to be legalised informing the residents of this?

    Chris, it looks like my mailbox has been missed, no Focus for me!

  • Mike, I was just reading about your work colleague’s experience and it apalls me that this is going on.

    Things like this really need to be reported to the police. My partner and I have been in contact recently with a Neighbourhood Specialist Officer in Rayleigh – PC Wyn Sharp. He’s been trying very hard to make sure that police patrol the area near Asdas as much as possible with the limited resources available in this area and he is very keen to hear from local residents if they witness anything occurring in the area, particularly with the youths hanging around the front of the store.

    I have emailed him and he has informed me to pass on his contact details – Chris, Admin or anyone else, am I allowed to do that here?

  • On Saturday my husband found a bottle security clasp in Sweyne Park – close by was an empty vodka bottle so someone ‘lifted’ it and managed to escape through the security barriers in Asda probably, because the alarms go off at any time, even if you have only purchased a lottery ticket and no member of staff challenges you. The person who took the bottle is obviously aware this takes place.

  • Just a reminder that letters regarding Project Coral’s latest application need to be submitted to RDC by 22nd October (Tuesday)…

    These proposed “Neighbourhood” shops are (still) NOT wanted by in the “Neighbourhood” and they are also NOT needed. In addition I very much doubt if they are commercially viable…

    There are an alarmingly increasing number of empty retail and office units locally in Rayleigh and the sustainable use of these should take the immediate priority of the local Council.
    Why build new units that are likely to be left empty and vandalised?

    ASDA already has planning permission for 7 retail units? – Ask yourself why ASDA have not built these units? Why, because they realise the extent of public adversity to ANY FURTHER RETAIL DEVELOPMENT on this site.
    They’ve already proved to be bad “neighbours” and I assume wouldn’t want to be directly associated with any more problems, put simply they want to distance themselves from this development.

    In addition ASDA will not welcome any direct competition and the only businesses that completely fits this narrow criterior are Hot Food Takeaways, Cafes, Turf Accountants etc…
    The small semi-rural “neighbourhood” simply does not need ANY of these facilities because either they are already amply catered for in the immediate area of Rawreth Lane or are simply just undesirable.

    They are not desirable because of the threat of increased anti-social behaviour, increase in noise, nasty cooking smells, increase in litter, increase in vermin, increased traffic, inconsiderate parking & the related de-valuation of local residents property.

    Local residents already suffer from youths congregating and causing trouble in and around the ASDA site, the Leisure Centre and Sweyne Park… Incidents of intimidation, vandalism and increased litter are already well documented. The newly planned football pitches will only exacerbate these increasing problems!

    This site is currently used for existing residents overspill parking due to the inadequacy of previous planning consents by this Council.
    The addition of these units will not only take this much needed facility away from local residents but the nature and position of these units will attract yet more inconsiderate parking on Priory Chase and Rawreth Lane not only from residents and visitors but also people pulling up on Priory Chase and Rawreth Lane and running in to collect take-a-way food etc…

    Priory Chase and Temple Way are “unadopted roads” and the existing double yellow lines (painted by ASDA) are not lawfully enforceable. Thats why buses and HGV’s park along Priory Chase unhindered – which is what ASDA wanted of course! Parking at the junction of Priory Chase and Temple Way is also already an issue because people do not apply common sense or the law (which doesn’t apply here anyway!) when parking on junctions. These roads needed to be adopted by the Highways authority and lawfully marked, and signed, BEFORE THIS COUNCIL MAKES ANY MORE IRRESPONSIBLE PLANNING APPROVALS. There has also been doubt raised as to the validty of motorists insurance if an accident were to occur because of poor parking on what is still a private road.

    There are already too many “destinations” in this very small residential road and this proposal is frankly a gross overdevelopment of this area.

    Project Coral are already on record as stating that without the flats this development is NOT VIABLE…I can only agree that with or without the flats this development is neither viable or desirable.


  • Chris,

    I’ve sent you a reminder of what I was saying about pedestrianisation etc… but I think the old spam filter’s been a bit over zealous again!

    Good Luck with your meeting tomorrow…

  • Thanks TWR for the reminder. Life has got in the way recently and I’d forgotten about getting my letter in. I shall crack on now and get it in the post asap!

  • CCR

    The Project Coral (Rayleigh) Ltd application can be viewed on line at RDC’s website ( under “View Planning Applications” – Application number 08/00789/FUL. You can make your comments about the application from this web page.

    Otherwise I think you can write to Mike Stranks, Planning Officer, Council offices, South Street, Rochford, SS4 1BW.

    Or e-mail

    Or fax Mike Stranks 01702 545737

  • Another important meeting for anyone interested… RDC Development Control Committee Meeting to discuss and make a decision on the Project Coral (Rayleigh) Ltd application to build 6 commercial units on the ASDA Priory Chase site…

    19:30 hrs on Thursday 20th November at the Council Chamber, Civic Suite, 2 Hockley Road, Rayleigh.

    Apparently members of the public can speak at this meeting “under special circumstances”

  • One person from the public can speak against the application, one in favour.

    If you want to be a speaker , phone the district council at least a few days in advance to ask….

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}