The Echo report on the proposed reduction in the new housing figures for Rayleigh is here.
Rayleigh homes quota slashed
By Geoff Percival
THE number of planned new homes in Rayleigh has been dramatically slashed from 1,800 to 740, following a groundswell of opposition.
Tory councillors decided on the move at a private meeting, after receiving hundreds of objections from homeowners concerned the town could not cope with the extra housing.
The news was then revealed publicly to more than 100 local residents at a meeting of Rochford District Council’s west area committee last night.
Committee chairman John Pullen said: “There has been considerable concern in the town about the number of new homes proposed in Rayleigh.
“We have no choice but to seek sites for 3,800 homes in the Rochford district by 2021. This has been enforced on us by the Government.
“However, in view of the latest public concern about officers’ proposals for the number of houses in Rayleigh, we have concluded as the Conservative group that the number should be reduced.”
Under the original plan put forward by the council to satisfy Government housing demands, Rayleigh was to take the bulk of the new homes with 1,800; Rochford and Ashingdon were to take 1,000; and Hockley and Hawkwell 400.
The remaining 600 homes were to be spread across small villages in the district.
Mr Pullen would not reveal how the housing allocation across the district would be changed as a result of their climbdown.
However, it is understood it will mean more homes in smaller settlements such as Hawkwell and Ashingdon and limited developments in places like Canewdon and Paglesham.
This idea to change the allocations was originally put forward by Tory councillor James Cottis, who comes from one of the oldest farming families in the area.
However, because of his family’s land interests, Mr Cottis chose to withdraw from any further discussion on the issue.
Have you seen the Echo Article tonight?
Could a new town be the answer? Hawkwell Parish Council believes it is. It suggests a new town in the west of Rayleigh would be the best policy to pursue.
Former Rayleigh Town Council chairman Tony Humphries said: “I would never agree to 1,800 homes being built in Rayleigh, and I still cannot understand exactly where this idea came from in the first place. Over the years, Rayleigh has taken more than enough of the development in the district. I could never accept 1,800 homes even with a promise of improved infrastructure.”