Fair Shares For All

Hawkwell Councillor John Mason is unhappy about the Conservative’s suggested housing allocation for Hawkwell:

In the Summer of 2007, after the first public consultation, 32 Conservative Councillors met in private to allocate 2200 new housing units across Rochford District. They came up with 365 for Hawkwell West and just 740 for the whole of Rayleigh.

The Liberal Democrats seem to have gratefully accepted the reduced allocation for Rayleigh and have not raised any objection yet to the allocations across the remainder of the District. Not surprising because any objection to what is going on elsewhere might lead to the Rayleigh allocation increasing !!

But Lib Dem Councillor Chris Black, Leader of the Opposition at RDC, has written ?We support a ?fair shares for all? policy for new housing in Rochford District.?

But how can 365 new houses in Hawkwell West be described as ?Fair Shares for All? ? It is not Fair Shares At All !!

A ?Fair Shares for All? policy would mean just 110 new houses in each of the 23 District Wards
Rayleigh should have 1000 new houses not 740
Hockley should have 330 not 36
So why is one Ward in Hawkwell allocated 365?
This would mean an increase in the number of houses in Hawkwell West by 25%
Lib Dem Councillor Chris Black is the only non Tory on the Local Development Framework Sub Committee which will decide on the allocations.

Tory Keith Hudson is the Chairman of that Sub Committee but Hockley is so far only down to get 36 houses.

If the Lib Dem Leader were to agree to 365 houses in Hawkwell West then his ?Fair Shares for All? policy will be in tatters because it is simply not fair and obviously so. Let?s hope that Chris Black will argue the unfair case for Hawkwell West as vigorously as he has done for Rayleigh !!

The so called ?Fair Shares for All? Policy should NOT to be implemented because it patently will not deliver fair shares for all.

The only proper basis for housing allocations is one based on a spatial allocation that takes into account that the best places for major new developments are where where existing infrastructure exists and can be extended.

Hawkwell West is not one of these places.

When the time comes later this Summer the residents of Hawkwell West must tell the Council this in great numbers. Landowners and their lobbyists already seem to think that there will be 365 new houses in Hawkwell West. They think is is all over but all residents of Hawkwell need to prove them wrong by force of opinion in numbers for what they think is right for our community.

The Hawkwell Action Group, of which I am a Committee Member, will be holding a second public meeting shortly to muster a call to arms. Watch out for the posters in your street soon.

One obvious comment – fair shares for all refers to fair shares for all towns and villages, which are real features on the map. Not for shares on a ward-by-ward basis – that would lead to ridiculous situations in places like Grange Ward, which is already entirely built up. And some wards (such as Hullbridge) have bigger areas, and bigger populations than others (such as Hockley Central).

The serious business of allocating sites will start soon, and when that happens Chris Black will have to follow the Council’s rules of confidentiality and not write anything about it here. But he will do a conscientious job.

  • John Mason surely has a short memory. Rayleigh has taken almost 50% of all new development in the whole district over the last 5 to 10 years, therefore it is time for the other parts of the district to catch up. That is the truth John, so what is your answer to that?

  • Mike, I really don’t know whether that statement is true or not. I don’t have the data, so I will ask the Council if they have the information. Turning to Hawkwell West, where I am one of the two councillors, many, many residents have told me that they do not want housing in Hawkwell West increased by 25%, nor do they feel that its is fair for one distinct area to take over 10% of the new housing allocation for the District. I will do all I can to represent their interests because I am one of their elected representatives and I believe that they are right. The truth is that the local infrastructure in Hawkwell West will not support this scale of additional development. Hawkwell West is not the right place. Having seen this site republish the article from my own site I was hoping that those who participate in this site might agree with this and lend some support. An allocation of Ward by Ward is not right but it shows up real disparities such as in Hawkwell West where it appears to be a “political allocation” which is what I intended to publicise. But nor is by Town or Village. Nor is “time for the other parts of the district to catch up”. I would like to think that the places chosen will have objective planning reasons for the allocation instead. Reasons that I can understand. So why is Hawkwell West chosen for 365 new houses? Any one know? I make no apology for choosing to defend the area that I represent, in the way I choose, on my own web site.

  • No need for an apology for sticking up for your own ward John.

    But if anything, Mike is underestimating the share of development West Rayleigh has borne in the last 20 years.

  • With the number of new developments in Rayleigh in the last 20 years, compared with the number of developments in Hockley & Hawkwell, Maybe 365 houses is too low a figure?

  • There have been many very large developments in the Hockley, Hawkwell and Ashingdon localities. For example Betts Farm, Ashingdon Heights, The Wedgwood Estate and the Golden Cross Road Estate.

    I truly cannot find an objective justification to believe that any more than say, 100/150 new housing units being accommodated in Hawkwell West on a sustainable basis. Where would I put 100/150 ? Not a brown field site but something quite close perhaps. The Magees Mushroom Farm off Rectory Road in the vicinity of Windsor Gardens is a collection of large agricultural sheds where only a very few still sustain any mushroom growing. Most are turned over to light industrial uses. I hear that the owner might be happy to see this turned over to a residential development and I don’t believe that residents nearby would object either. So there could be 100 new houses or even 150 if the maximum density of 50 housing units per hectare is built. But no, Ian 365 is too high for the local infrastructure to maintain yet alone an even higher figure.

    So where do the Rayleigh Councillors think that the allocation of 750 could go or is it too many to be sustained?

  • Mike, As I promised this morning I did ask Shaun Scrutton today for data on housing completions in Rayleigh as compared to the rest of the District. He has supplied me with information for 2001/2006.

    As you can see there was 45% in Rayleigh and 55% elsewhere.

    You might like to see the breakdown in more detail.

    Completions April 2001 – March 2006

    Hockley / Hawkwell 165 (20%)
    Rayleigh / Rawreth 365 (45%)
    Rochford / Ashingdon 236 (29%)
    Others 46 (6%)
    Total for District 812

  • Thanks John. You have to agree for one small town to have a concentration of 45% of all housing during that period is pretty horrendous. We have been built up over the years, even before 2001 just look at the housing estates we already have in Rayleigh! We have already been told that there will be no major infrastructure improvement and we will still have to wait years for satellite clinic/hospital. I am all for fair shares but you must also look retrospectively at what we have taken already. There are plenty of smaller villages that could take small developments. That is the way many councils in England have already gone and they have been very well received. We cannot survive without major infrastructure improvements even now. The council deliberately put back this debate until after the locals because they knew it would be difficult for them when residents asked questions. We need a proper debate about infrastructure before they put numbers in stone. This town will be gridlocked if we get much more development. Maybe the councillors would like to take a walk around Rayleigh and see what is going on.

    John, if you thought I as having a pop at you, then apologies, I know you have to be a good councillor and respect the views of the residents you represent. All I am doing is putting the views of many Rayleigh residents, who like last year, are saying enough is enough. If I was a Tory councillor I would be worried, We in Rayleigh do not need to be mobilised as the council found out last time but if they have to face the same in all parts of the district……. and I wonder if Tony Humphreys is going to save Rayleigh from the developments again? (as his leaflet pointed out!)

  • Mike,

    It is my belief is that WE the residents of the Rochford District should unite under one banner wherever individual residents live and then WE can ensure that these new housing units are built where WE want them and where WE agree that it is appropriate to create new or additional infrastructure to support the developments. That should be the District Council but all I have seen so far from the proposals put forward by the Council and/or the Tory Party is that affected communities are now arguing with each other. The LDF Consultation so far has been devisive and has given rise to no consensus. The residents who formed HAG (The Hawkwell Action Group) resolved very quickly that it will not engage as a Group with fighting for example against Hockley because it has only 30 or Rayleigh where feelings are rightly running very high because of past planning decisions.

    When I responded to Ian’s comment I deliberately decided to take a step in which I stated openly what level of development my community could stand and where.

    If every District Councillor was willing and able to listen, consult and work with his/her community and did the same then we might get somewhere. But we won’t when any political party that has the majority decides that it will meet in private and come up with a political framework for strategic development.

    So if any resident from any area of Rochford District wishes to engage in a positive discussion of facts and real proposals, including those that are no go and ones that should go, then just pop over to http://rochfordessex.com and send me an email from the site. I will be happy to put up a thread so that residents can have their say and I pledge to put the consensus on any views forward in the next formal consultation.

    By the way, here follows the latest position on the way forward.

    The revised version Rochford Core Strategy Preferred Options document, once agreed by Council, will be subject to a six week public consultation. The next stage will be the preparation of a Submission Version of the plan and this also must be subjected to a further six weeks of public consultation before being submitted to the Secretary of State. A public inquiry will follow.

    The detailed site allocations will NOT be included in the Core Strategy; the Core Strategy must give information about the general locations, quantum of housing development, phasing and information about affordable housing provision, etc, but a separate Site Allocation Development Plan Document will be prepared to identify the exact boundaries of the sites to be developed within the general locations identified.

    The timetable for the preparation of all the development plan documents (Local Development Scheme) was revised at the end of last year and submitted to the secretary of state for approval. However, RDC received a letter from the Government Office saying that revised LDSs would not be agreed pending the publication of revised regulations relating to the preparation of development plans. We will continue to work on the preparation of the development plan documents listed in the LDS, but until the new regulations are out, a new timetable cannot be prepared.

  • John, I agree with you entirely that councillors and residents should be working together to get to a suitable compromise for all BUT as you have just said the majority council here in Rochford will never let that happen because they have this mentality (which comes from the Thatcher years) that they are always right and never wrong, so will never listen to what we want or need. I could list hundreds of things that they have got wrong over the years, including making themselves a laughing stock over the Central Ward leaflet.

    The only way they will listen is showing a large presence at Area Committee meetings, as we did in the West Area. I get very frustrated at their behind closed doors way. The open type of local government is certainly not for them. They probably think it shows a weakness rather than being in tune with their residents.

    The Conservatives are on the edge of getting this very, very wrong and if they do god help them at the next election, because the residents wont.

  • Perhaps “Fair shares for all” should look at the population density in each town or village and allocate any new developments to areas with lower population density’s?

  • Cllr John Mason Wrote

    In the Summer of 2007, after the first public consultation, 32 Conservative Councillors met in private to allocate 2200 new housing units across Rochford District. They came up with 365 for Hawkwell West and just 740 for the whole of Rayleigh.

    The Liberal Democrats seem to have gratefully accepted the reduced allocation for Rayleigh and have not raised any objection yet to the allocations across the remainder of the District. Not surprising because any objection to what is going on elsewhere might lead to the Rayleigh allocation increasing !!

    But Lib Dem Councillor Chris Black, Leader of the Opposition at RDC, has written “We support a ‘fair shares for all’ policy for new housing in Rochford District.”

    But how can 365 new houses in Hawkwell West be described as ‘Fair Shares for All’ ? It is not Fair Shares At All !!

    A ‘Fair Shares for All’ policy would mean just 110 new houses in each of the 23 District Wards
    Rayleigh should have 1000 new houses not 740
    Hockley should have 330 not 36
    So why is one Ward in Hawkwell allocated 365?
    This would mean an increase in the number of houses in Hawkwell West by 25%
    Lib Dem Councillor Chris Black is the only non Tory on the Local Development Framework Sub Committee which will decide on the allocations.

    Tory Keith Hudson is the Chairman of that Sub Committee but Hockley is so far only down to get 36 houses.

    If the Lib Dem Leader were to agree to 365 houses in Hawkwell West then his ‘Fair Shares for All’ policy will be in tatters because it is simply not fair and obviously so. Let’s hope that Chris Black will argue the unfair case for Hawkwell West as vigorously as he has done for Rayleigh !!

    The so called ”Fair Shares for All’ Policy should NOT to be implemented because it patently will not deliver fair shares for all.

    The only proper basis for housing allocations is one based on a spatial allocation that takes into account that the best places for major new developments are where where existing infrastructure exists and can be extended.

    Hawkwell West is not one of these places.

    When the time comes later this Summer the residents of Hawkwell West must tell the Council this in great numbers. Landowners and their lobbyists already seem to think that there will be 365 new houses in Hawkwell West. They think is is all over but all residents of Hawkwell need to prove them wrong by force of opinion in numbers for what they think is right for our community.

    The Hawkwell Action Group, of which I am a Committee Member, will be holding a second public meeting shortly to muster a call to arms. Watch out for the posters in your street soon.

    HI JOHN

    THE FIRST PART OF YOUR STATEMENT IS FACTUALLY INCORRECT MY WIFE CLLR MRS CAPON (ASHINGDON & CANEWDON) AND MYSELF CLLR PHIL CAPON (HAWKWELL SOUTH ) DID NOT TAKE ANY PART AS WE COULD NOT ATTEND THE MEETING DUE TO ITS TIMING. THANK YOU JOHN

  • I’m all in favour of ‘fair shares for all’, but could someone explain to me why Rayleigh and in particular Rawreth be inundated by more housing developments?

    When I moved to Rawreth in 1972 it was on the whole fields, fields and more fields as far as you could see. No Downhall, Farm View, Laburnams etc and in particular no Park School now called Coppice Gate. In fact I watched the school being built whilst waiting for the No 22B bus to take me into Rayleigh for my antenatal appointments. With all this development there has been no real improvement in the infrastructure. We still only have one bus every hour, Rawreth Lane is close to becoming grid-locked, there are no facilities to keep the local teenagers occupied in the evenings/weekends.

    Yes I do appreciate that noone likes large developments built on their doorstep, but surely it is not right that one part of Rochford District should bear the brunt of all this development.

    As I said at the begining of this post if someone could explain to me, without resorting to jargon, why this part of RDC should be heavily developed.

  • Christine, The council could build smaller sustainable developments all over Rochford, if they wanted. This would not be such a burden on the infrastructure and would not look out of place if developed correctly, however the council will not do this because the developers, who call the shots, would rather build large scale developments which would maximise their profits. So the residents lose and the developers win yet again.

  • @ Councillor Phil Capon

    Thanks for the update Phil………….as it was a private political group meeting there were no minutes published in public and it was not possible for me to take account of the attendance list when I published my article on http://rochfordessex.com. It would be interesting for the public to hear more about how the allocations were arrived at and whether ward councillors were in support of the allocations made to their respective wards. As you and Councillor Mrs Capon were not present, is it correct to assume that you are, nevertheless, supportive of the plan that was published in the Echo?

  • @ Christine and @ Mike

    As you can see from the above I recommend that Hawkwell West takes a development of 150 houses in a specific location.

    I see that no Rayleigh Councillor of any political party has taken up, so far, my challenge above to come up here with a suggested location in Rayleigh for a similar smaller scale development.

  • John, I watched a television programme regarding the subject of small scale, sustainable building developments last year. It was a very positive programme both with the councils who adopted this initiative and the residents who knew they had to accept a certain amount of housing but still left them with space, not like the developments we continually get in Rayleigh. I am currently researching to get more information on the subject. Now I do not for one minute expect either the Planning department or The Conservatives to even consider this and the developers would not entertain it because of the cost BUT we are the people, the residents who should be considered before the developers and our council should remember this, otherwise as I said they will be the people who leave a legacy of concrete jungles. And one last thing, one of the positives was that large scale infrastructure was not required because of the size of the developments. Some improvements were obviously needed and the developers paid for some of these. We really need our Planning department to think ‘outside the box’ on this issue but then again do we actually have the people who have our best interest at heart?

  • Hi John no it would not be correct my wife has always said in public she could not support the housing in Canewdon as their is no infastructure and every body would have to travel by car. I also have said in public I cannot support it. I hope this puts things straight.