County Councillor Attacks Housing Proposal In Rochford




From tonight’s Echo.

PLANS to build 300 new homes on green belt land in Rochford would lead to traffic chaos, a leading county councillor has claimed.

Developer the Colonnade Group wants to build the homes on land at Coombes Farm, between Stambridge Road, Rocheway, Mornington Avenue and Mill Lane ? without building a new access road to the site.

The proposal is being considered by Rochford District Council as part of consultations on the local development framework.

The framework document will set out the district?s future planning policy ? including the need to find sites for more than 2,000 new homes by 2021.

The developer is planning public exhibitions at Rochford and Stambridge next month to explain the proposals in detail.

They have already been criticised by Tory county councillor Tracey Chapman, who has responsibility at County Hall for the environment.

She lives in South Street, Rochford, one of the roads which would be forced to take extra traffic.

She said: ?I have an awful lot of worries about these proposals.

?It would be madness to put more traffic through Rochford town centre. Things are already difficult enough with the current road system in the area.

?I will also want to know exactly what sort of proposals are involved for flood defence work, as part of the site is in the flood plain for the River Roach.

?The last estimate I know of for flood defences was ?4million to protect development in the area.?

It would also mean expanding Stambridge Primary School, she added.

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  • And what about 330 between the bottlenecks of the Railway Bridge and Nursery Corner in Hawkwell, leading then onto the B1013 which is ay 72% capacity already with the traffic from the Airport to be added to that? Well that at least has got residents from Rochford to be aware of what has been going on in the consultations for many months without comment. I do wish that Tracey lived in Hawkwell !!

  • Tracey also seems to have missed the 1200 houses planned for West Rochford by Brays Lane. Where is that traffic going to go? ECC have just confirmed that they do NOT have any plans for major road improvements in the District.

  • The matter of highway infrastructure concerns me too. Because I can get no information on this from RDC, even as a Member (but I am only an independent member of course), I have had to resort to serving a Notice of Request under the Freedom of Information Act on Essex County Council.

    The first deadline of 20 days passed and I have been advised that ECC needs more time !!

    Here is the pertinent extract from the letter.

    “We would like to inform you that although we endeavoured to respond within 20 working days, we are gathering the information that you requested, and as it is quite complex it is taking a little longer than anticipated. We will however aim to return a full response to you by Thursday 30th April 2009 or let you know why we are unable to provide a full response.

    As the documentation is quite large would you please let me know how you would prefer to receive this information via email, on CD or as a hard copy?”

    For the information of those who have an interest in the request I made under the FOI, here it is as follows.

    My request is that under the Freedom of Information Act, Essex County Council supply me with a copy of every request to Essex County Council for highway information or traffic assessment related to the RDC Core Strategy, the JAAP relating to Southend Airport and the Hockley AAP and the information and response given by Essex County Council. I am sorry to do this but information that the public have a right to have in their possession in order to be able to respond to public consultations having had all the available information is obviously being withheld.

    It would appear that the approach to traffic assessments related to the RDC Core Strategy is to only focus on individual sites and Essex County Council will only publish the traffic assessment when a specific planning application has been submitted as a statutory consultee.

    This means that there is no current strategic approach to housing development being adopted by RDC; that is the cumulative effect of all the sites is not being assessed and that information being made available to the public.

    If Essex County Council has already undertaken a strategic traffic assessment of the whole of the RDC Core Strategy – Preferred Options then under the Freedom of Information Act, I am requesting all of that information please.

    If Essex County Council has not undertaken a strategic traffic assessment of the whole of the RDC Core Strategy – Preferred Options then I would ask when your authority is going to do so and when this information will be made available to the public.

    If Essex County Council is not going to carry out a such a strategic assessment and review then please explain why in detail so that I can discuss this further with my MP and the Secretary of State for Transport.

  • Is there a belief that Essex County Council are either incompetent with their road planning strategy, or that there is a plan and it is being witheld from the public for the time being?

    With the housing development plans, and the plans for the Airport, I can’t believe that anyone at the council can believe the infrastructure can cope with the added pressure when in the current circumstances we are near capacity (if not at it) already.

    What makes me wonder are things like the new A130, which has been built to motorway standards, with hard shoulders and restrictions on cyclists and carriages, which, along with repeated talk of another Thames crossing, suggests to me that they know that major road building is required and they are doing it piece-meal to avoid public resistance to unpopular development. It is quite easy to see the A130 extended south to a potential crossing at Canvey, and north to meet the A120, creating a new outer London Orbital.

    I also look at Southend Airport on Google Earth, and it is clear that the site is land-locked by residential developments to the south and served by the inadequate A127, but to the north there is plenty of room to put in a new by-pass that follows the Crouch (north and/or south of the river) and joins the oversized A130 junction at the old Turnpike.

    The airport development appears to have some enthusiastic supporters locally, but I can’t see how it can have any credible support at a county or country level without better access. Only a fool would support a major airport development sited in the middle of a peninsula, landlocked by housing and rivers, and served only by over-crowded roads and rail. And we shouldn’t forget that to use the over-crowded roads you need to negotiate the busiest road in Europe, the M25, or if you favour the rail option you have to travel into London first.

    If you lived anywhere other than south Essex, would you really want to use Southend Airport?

  • ST1 I can’t agree enough with your points raised it really isn’t rocket science is it!

    A) I think Essex County Council are clearly incompetent as our small corner of Essex isn’t the only poorly planned district – howver if prizes were being handed out I think it’d stand a good chance of winning top prize.

    B) I too can’t imagine how any sane person can support the expansion of Southend Airport (sorry!) as I share your views on the infrastructure. Who outside of Southend & Rochford would actually use the airport? As you rightly state the transport hub for our little corner of Essex is London & the M25. Surely City Airport, Stansted Airport and the Channel Tunnel are all prefered options? Having no emotional attachment to the area (which I think possibly cloud perspective sometimes) I think the airport is prime Brown belt land and could be built upon? – IF and ONLY IF of course the road infrastructure could be vastly improved with a link road(s) north & west AND the proposed train station is still built. Sadly this is unlikely to happen as there appears to be zero appetite for investment in road or rail infrastructure.

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