Don’t Be Surprised That The Public Are Surprised !




Chris Black writes:

In many parts of Rayleigh there is a sudden realisation about the proposed developments to the west of the town. People are upset that they didn’t know about it.

Why didn’t they know about it ?

1 – The process has been dragging on for seven years – and the big decisions were mostly taken about three years ago. A lot of people have moved here since then.

2- It’s a difficult topic for the press to cover thoroughly. The core strategy has thousands of pages of documents, as new reporters take over at a paper they have a tricky job of learning about all this stuff and then writing articles without any mistakes.

3 – The District Council hasn’t exactly made a huge effort to publicise things. Some roadshows every few years, something in “Rochford Matters” once in while…. and trying to find this stuff on their website isn’t easy unless you already know what to look for.

4.- Some councillors have tried to keep their residents advised , maybe some others haven’t !

5 – Sometimes people just don’t read about it , whatever you do. In Downhall and Rawreth , for example we’ve written about the proposed 550 houses fairly often – most homes have had three leaflets just this year from us that mention it (and Ron Oatham pays the 50p postage to mail them to the remotest homes in our ward). And yet we know some people here who genuinely haven’t heard about it – maybe they have a ‘no leaflets’ sign on their letterbox, or someone in their home chucks our leaflets straight in the bin? The most general reaction we’ve got from our residents is “Oh, it’s still going on then is it”.

Ultimately the District Council should have done better.

About the author, admin

  • Resurrected thread on the subject of communication :-
    I’m hearing that the Councillors for Trinity Ward have put out a leaflet regarding a
    Meeting at the Mill Hall ( 6th March ) – have’nt actually seen it as yet so I will not
    comment at the moment ……..has anyone got a copy please ?.

  • Re; #152 above – a bit more info:-

    Despite there being no final Inspector’s report as yet, the
    Council are starting the charm
    offensive on the DONE DEAL housing
    North of London Rd.
    They are hiring the Mill Hall (03/03>)in order that the public can view the plans before they are finalized.
    Strange they have launched this in Trinity ward, presumably tactical!!!.
    So, West Rayleigh and Rawreth people keep watching this thread – we need a mass turnout to leave them in no doubt about our views on Traffic/Flood Plain/Infrastructure-
    they have’nt mentioned the Traveller Site funny enough, again presumably tactical.
    KEEP your diary free early March.

  • WAKE UP CALL for West Rayleigh and Rawreth –
    I now have a copy of the Conservative leaflet called ” intouch” which has not ( as usual) been widely distributed and certainly not to the residents most impacted- YOU.

    Apparently RDC and their ‘Developer’ chums are launching their proposal for the
    mass building ( 600 > 800 ) on the flood plain land between London Rd & Rawreth Lane – at the Mill Hall Rayleigh on 3rd March.

    RDC’s own rules require that the findings of any such ‘Consultation’ be included in the subsequent formal Planning Application documents , it is therefore essential for all of us to attend and make our feelings known. No doubt you will have you own questions
    But as a minimum we must get concrete answers on the following points:-

    1. What upgrading of both Rawreth Lane and London Rd is planned for PRIOR to the
    5 years of heavy construction traffic to / from the site ( bear in mind 500 also being built in Hullbridge via the same routes)?.
    2. Given the current and recent past headlines on flooding ( inc Rayleigh ) why are
    they building on land classified as Flood Plain ? ( Rayleigh Brook bisects the site -EA
    Flood risk maps show it dark blue).
    3. Given mass building in Rayleigh / Hullbridge / Hall Rd / Blinking Owl area etc; what
    measures of coordination will be in place to avoid overwhelming the local infrastructures ?.

    We all need to attend , please spread the word to friends, neighbours & family, your
    last chance to have a meaningful say …..JIM.

  • Point 2 above is becoming even more relevant , I understand that on the night of
    16-17th Jan the road manholes in Canterbury Close were overflowing with water
    the heavy rain. They can’t keep saying it is a rare event – surely the current news
    Says don’t build anywhere near flood plain , does’nt it ?.

  • TODAY – BBC. Look East item on Rawreth flooding, ie:- suffering from upstream
    Developments pushing more water and faster down to them from Rayleigh, Benfleet and Bowers Gifford Brooks. Bridge on the bend in Church Rd was flooded AGAIN.

  • As a follow up to Jim Cripps’ comment on 10th Feb.about the manholes in Canterbury Close (SS6 9PS) overflowing after heavy overnight rain on 16/17th January at 1 p.m. this afternoon (Friday 14th February) the drains in the road are starting to fill up again and backfilling into the individual drains from the houses. This is despite recent efforts by Anglia Water to clear the drains. Examination of the “drains map” provided by Anglia Water reveals what appears to be a design fault in the drainage system in that locality. A pipe that is supposed to allow water to flow down it towards the outlet into Rawreth Brook actually slopes upwards towards a bigger pipe coming from the opposite direction! It is hardly surprising, therefore that the drains overflow in Canterbury Close. I shall be monitoring the situation because my daughter lives in Ccanterbury Close and is one of several families flooded out of their homes last August and have yet to return.

  • I hear that the Inspector’s rubber stamp of the DONE DEAL is about to happen and not one response on here to my Mill Hall 3rd March heads up – I guess they will do
    as they like again then……..

  • John Smith – thanks very much for your comment. I am trying to get the watercourse between Hedgehope Avenue and Down Hall Close completed culverted – there is a still an open stretch there and the grille downstream of that can get blocked by debris. Once that work is done it will very probably be taken over by Anglian Water. Once that is done it will make flooding downstream in Down Hall Road, Deepdene and Canterbury Close less likely, though obviously fixing basic design faults like the one you mention is also essential!

  • Jim, I have put 3rd March in my diary.

    I find myself confused (not unusual these days). On one hand, in their Rayleigh Town Centre Action Plan document RDC say that Rayleigh is the premier shopping town in the area and they want to maintain it as such, encourage diverse retail, leisure etc. etc. but on the other hand they encourage building to the extent that existing roads will be gridlocked and people will end up avoiding the town because of the traffic. Then there is the abolition of free parking on Saturdays (still to be finally decided) that doesn’t fit in with encouraging use of Rayleigh. Neither does the traveller site, people will avoid a town centre that is extensively used by travellers, that happened and is still happening to Wickford.

    Our neighbours and us often used to go into Rayleigh of an evening for a meal, but since Lynx and Bar Blanco we don’t. It just doesn’t feel safe, is that the sort of leisure they want to encourage.

    There have been beggars in the High St a few times lately, why aren’t they being moved on. First time in 25 years I’ve seen that in Rayleigh.

    It seems as though RDC have left hand/right hand and they don’t talk to each other. They can’t maintain the character of Rayleigh if they build all over the place, so what do they want. Urban sprawl or a historic market town that is a nice place to live and shop. A semi rural aspect for the outskirts, or development as far as you can see. Seems to me the ruling majority speak with forked tongue a lot of the time. Tell the people what they want to hear until you are ready to put the real plans forward then refuse to listen to anyone.

  • Seems they are thinking twice about 3rd March now ( because the word is out) they appear to be doing a softer launch via plans in the Civic Offices coincident with the full council vote on Tuesday 25th- I believe a lot of people are planning to attend……..
    Watch this space.

  • Christine & others – it seems RDC are adopting their usual low profile in public consultation ,although not publicised the outline plans for 600-800 houses
    will be displayed in the Mill Hall ( 3rd>7th March).
    As far as I know there will be not be any person to talk to – just a chance to see vague overview plans,
    hopefully it will give a Council website address we can bombard with objections?.

  • PLEASE READ this one –
    Although not widely published, RDC have hired the Mill Hall ( Rayleigh ) from the
    3rd > 7th March in order to display outline plans for the mass housing between
    London Rd and Rawreth Lane. We would urge all residents to take the time to look see what they are outlining, as the next 5 years will be impacted by Construction works and by 600>800 new homes thereafter.
    Please also note that, in direct response to this, the RAG group have hired the Mill Hall ( Sunday 9th March – 4:30 pm ) in order explain the ramifications and methods
    of formally objecting to both the Consultation & Planning Application phases – your last chance to mitigate the impact.
    During the week 3rd > 7th RAG will be distributing leaflets to homes in order to raise awareness , we have most areas covered but need some volunteers for the Downhall Park Estate – please contact me direct on 07989 079174 if you can help.
    Thanks – JIM.

  • Am I right that RDC are consulting with residents at mill hall Monday 3rd to Friday 7th march, 9am – 5pm?

    I would think that discriminates against those residents who work, or are there also some evening slots at an alternative location??

    If the plans have already been approved, what scope is there to change them?

  • You are correct that the plans will be displayed during the working week, wether any Planning or Developer representatives will be there to “consult” with is unclear……….
    and no the plans are not approved, the Rayleigh Action Group meet at the Mill Hall
    On Sunday 9th March will explain how to lodge objections – please attend.

  • Deanne @168 , there are really 3 stages to all this.

    STAGE 1 : The Core Strategy. In this, RDC decided overall housing figures for the district, and allocations for general locations. This was the most important part of the process, starting in 2007 and finishing about a couple of years ago. In the area west of Rayleigh the general allocation was actually pretty specific. Instead of being 550 “West of Rayleigh” it was 550 “North of London Road”
    STAGE 2 : The allocations document, which was finally approved earlier this week. That identified the specific sites for housing, employment land and the traveller site.

    I don’t think what the council are doing now is a consultation, just an exercise to explain to the public what the results of stage 2 are. I don’t know if planners will be onsite to explain anything.It would be a lot easier for many people if these plans were just put online!

    STAGE 3: Actual planning applications. Hawkwell and Rochford went through this stage before stage 2 was completed – plans have been approved and houses built. I’m expecting an application to be made fairly soon and I hope to have more news on Monday about how the applicants intend to consult residents. This is going to be important.

  • CHRIS – with respect , the RDC philosophy document categorically states that the results of public consultation have to be included in the subsequent Planning Application . It is therefore critical that public feeling against all this is LOUDLY recorded during consultation such that it is a negative when included in the Planning Application , so that basic aspects have to be addressed by the Planners ie:-
    Even the Planning Inspector acknowledged ( quote ) –
    ” The point made, that adequate infrastructure should be either in place, or put in
    place before development is committed, is a reasonable one”.
    It has to be a given, before 5 years of Construction traffic slaughters the area.

  • PLANS….. don’t get excited, they are there but appear to be nothing new (think some of the wording has been tweaked a bit ). In fact they seem out of date – the North of London Rd site is shown as stopping at the Pylon lines ,the Inspector granted more space to the West?.
    It is worth going if only to fill in the forms there with your views…..

  • Jim @ 172

    Jim, I am rather concerned to hear that the plan “on show” is considered “out of date”.

    Could it be that this represents an updated plan and the situation has changed?

    I really think hat Chris and his team should take a look a this.

  • Jim, as always grateful that people are looking at these things.

    I’m looking at the exhibition map entitled “allocations plan : a closer look at West Rayleigh” and comparing it with figure 6 on page 38 of the adopted allocations document. I think the two areas marked in purple are the same, and in the northern two-thirds of the site extend a little further west than the original figure 6 in the initial allocations document prior to the inquiry. So unless I’ve missed something (which is totally possible so please correct me )I think the latest map is correct.

    By the way, I’m unhappy at the way maps like this are labelled as West Rayleigh, as if Rawreth doesn’t exist.

  • Admin @ 176 –

    The Countryside Plot plan is different to RDC one at Mill Hall which shows RTSSC and Lower Barn Farm absorbed into the scheme……something is out of date!!!!.

  • Also can’t see a School , Youth & Community Facility on the Countryside Plan either ( (as Stated on The RDC Plan ) let alone a Doctors / Shops etc;.
    Left Hand Right hand springs to mind.

  • Have your say people – ” CONSULTATION road shows “….

    Rawreth Village Hall 19/03 4:30 – 8:30pm

    St Nich School Priory Chase 22/03 10:00am – 5:00 pm

    This is your chance – what about Rawreth Lane / London Rd subject to 5 years of Construction Traffic
    Etc; etc;

  • Big thanks to the 400>500 people who gave up their sunny afternoon to attend the Mill Hall today – it was covered by both BBC Look East and the Evening Echo.

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