Council Slowly Develops Its Planning Strategy

The District Council’s planning policy committee last night agreed on the document it will offer to the public for consultation on it’s future core planning strategy up to 2021.

The document begins with an explanation of what the legal basis of the final strategy will be, and then has an explanation of various planning terms. There’s then a “Vision Statement” of what the council wants to achieve in 5 years and 10 years time. (e.g. for 10 years time it has phrases such as “London Southend Airport is Thriving”, “Western Rayleigh has a high quality road network”, “High technology business has flourished“)

Then varioussubjects are considered, and the public are giving various choices. Some of the key issues are

  • Should new houses be allowed only in urban areas – or in rural areas as well?
  • What design standards we should have
  • Should there be a target for creating new jobs in the district?
  • Should the council try to expand Cherry Orchard Country Park?
  • Should the council relax it’s Green Belt policy in any way?
  • Should the council allocate any land for Travellers?
  • What targets should the council have for affordable housing
  • This public consultation will be brief (3 weeks). This allows the response to be reported back to councillors before the end of the year. There should be full details on the council website during this first consultation period.

    The document that is produced from this will then go to to a more thorough consultation in the New Year- 6 weeks long with a roadshow, press releases, web version, hard copies, library copies, etc.

    The debate was fairly short last night . But it’s clear that apart from the Lib Dems, at least quite a few other councillors would prefer to share out development rather than concentrate it in the already over-developed areas such as Rayleigh. Last night Hawkwell councillor John Mason made it clear that he wanted it more fairly shared out.

    The main point of conflict last night was over sports pitches. The District Council currently has a policy of allowing a lower-than-normal provision of sports pitches in Rayleigh and Hockley.
    Chris Black spoke against this and voted against it, but didn’t get support from any Rayleigh or Hockley Conservatives. Hawkwell Tory Phil Capon moved that we keep these low standards, and so it was pushed through.

    District Council Standard – Hectares of sports pitches per 1000 people
    Great Wakering 1.77
    Canewdon 1.68
    Rochford 1.36
    Hullbridge 1.34
    Rayleigh 1.15
    Hockley 0.70

    (By comparison , the National Playing Field Standard is
    1.20 hectares per 1000 people.)

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