It’s Someone’s Vision




On Tuesday night councillors are being asked to approve the District Council’s “Vision Statement” for the years ahead. It begins by aiming to ?make Rochford District the place of choice in the county to live, work and visit?. The last bit seems over-ambitious – can we really make our district the place to visit ahead of Lakeside, Southend-on-Sea , Walton-on-the-Maze, Braintree Freeport, Audley End, Colchester, Colchester ????)

There are good things in this document. But Jackie Dillnutt was the first of us to spot this, down on the very last page:

By 2017 ….. Secure a range of new mixed housing developing on several large-scale sites linked to local infrastructure upgrades and connected to public open space.

We thought the Conservatives were proposing a range of sites for sharing out the development – not just ‘several large-scale sites’ . Who has come up with this suggestion?

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  • Well it looks like the Tory Council are going to push ‘THEIR VISION’ through with stealth. I would be surprised if many residents in Rayleigh or Rochford district would support that kind of vision. It really depends how they package their idea to make it pallatable to the public. This must now be made an election issue. The big question, do we or do we not want any mass residential building in our district. Shaun Scrutton said it all when he answered my question about residential development. He said to me that the Government have set ‘the minimum number’ of new housing to be built in the district, however the Council can ‘set their own figure over and above the minimum!’ This was obviously a view that our Council would like to BUILD, BUILD and BUILD until Rayleigh has no identity at all.

    Well done Jackie for finding that comment at the bottom of the document.

  • Well, I have just fully read and ‘indigested’ Rochford District Councils “From Vision to Reality” what a great film that would be! don’t get me wrong, if it was achievable I would be the first one to congratulate the council, however it would entail such a sea change in the way the council runs our district, I fear that it will be just that, “A Vision”.

    1) to be an open, accountable, listening, responsive council.

    With comments such as Paul Warren’s,(the CEO of Rochford District Council) ‘People are not interested in how we make decisions only the outcomes’. The council meetings, behind closed doors. Plus one or two facts which I will not print in respect for this website.

    2) in particular we will utilise our position within the Thames Gateway South Essex to promote the district as the “Green Part” of the sub region.
    3) provide a green and sustainable environment.

    The two passages above both contain the word ‘Green’. How on earth, if we have large scale development in our district are we going to keep our green, open spaces? For this, read parks within large scale housing developments, not fields as we have now but parks!

    4) work towards a safer and more caring community.
    5) improve the quality of life for people in our district.

    For the above read, reclaim some of the quality of life that has been systematically taken from us over the past few years.

    This is “The Vision” that we potentially could have if things do not go as smoothly as the Council hopes.

    What is wrong now.

    1) We have a Council who has a complete disregard for what the residents are telling them, unless it is so completely overwhelming, such as the large scale residential housing in Rayleigh (that actually scared the Tories! one up for the counciltax payers!)

    2) We have infrastructure that is creaking at the beams now. Try driving into Southend on a weekend on the A127, that is a nightmare. This will increase substantially with all the new builds. The infrastructure for roads will not come directly from Government.

    3) Doctors and Dentists, the waiting list for appointments now is horrendous. Can you imagine how much worse they will be if the council allow all this development without first making sure that enough, new surgeries are open before development begins. Will we have enough medical facilities to cope with the influx of new residents?

    4) Schools, we have problems now getting our children in to schools. Do we have a guarantee of funding for new schools?

    5) Anti-social behaviour in Rayleigh, for example, is getting worse, maybe not statistically but from my viewpoint,as a resident, it is. This maybe because people can not be bothered to report every time it happens because of the lack of help from the authorities.

    Sorry but I am now running out of space!! More later

  • “The Potential Vision (Part two)

    The strategy does not detail how the Council are going to achieve all these goals, the detail, it is only a ‘vision’.

    For the infrastructure itself, where the Planning department has negotiated specific work to be carried out by the developer. This will not be top quality, you only have to look at some of the newer housing developments to see this.

    ASDA may be first on the list to supply these development with their shopping needs, they have just announced that they are extending their network of supermarkets. With the problems that have been encountered in Rawreth with this chain, it may be replicated all over!!

    We have not been given guarantees that any of the infrastructure will be in place before building commences.

    1. Roads (both local and major)
    2. Health (Doctors, Dentists, Hospitals etc)
    3. Air Pollution (the vision does state the aim but with the amount of development and therefore the amount of extra cars clogging up Rayleigh, I cannot see how the pollution can be lowered. just imagine the amount heavy trucks that will come and go every day.
    4. Railways and buses (Investment will be needed to shift people via the railways, has the council yet been in consultation with ONE Railway? Will there be more buses)
    5. Southend Airport (given the expansion here, the amount of people coming and going will further clog up our roads)
    Law and Order. (with the extra housing and therefore the extra youngsters living in the district will make anti-social behaviour that much worse. The authorities have not yet been able to get to grips with this, lets sort out our own problems before opening Rayleigh up to more problems. Increased Social Services will be needed with these problems. Will we have more Police on the beat? Something needs to be guaranteed here)

    We have not yet been told about the amount of housing that the Council want to impose on us, only several housing deveopments. The details here we need to know before we, the residents, will be able to give a view on their vision. The building of more and more flats are being passed all the time, these should go against the minimum number of new builds that the Government has given us but with the Head of Planning at Rochford DC has already stated that the minimum is not necessarily the figure it may give consent for, it may in fact go above that number. Developers notoriously apply for an amount of dwellings at consent stage but the figure actually built is in excess of this.

    At the end of the day someone has to pay for all of this. We are probably heading into a serious recession, people are losing their jobs and companies are cutting back in all areas, developers will be no different. The people who run these companies are there to make a fat profit and therefore will not pour extra money into something they will not get a return on, paying for infrastructure will not be first on their list for spending large amounts of their cash. In the end we may have to pay for this out of our Council Tax.

    This is only the flipside of the vision, if we do not have water tight guarantees BEFORE we go headlong into all this development. In a recession the necessary funding will be greatly reduced because the cash will not be there. And in any case do we really want Rayleigh to be urbanised any more than it is now. Also please RDC come clean and tell us if you plan to build more than the Governments minimum!

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