Last Night’s Meeting – Air Cadets, Flats , and Inmates

The District Council dealt with four planning applications at last night’s meeting:


The Air Cadet Headquarters in Connaught Road, Rayleigh. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.
This was an application to extend their building.

Officers were recommending refusal purely on Green Belt Grounds. They didn’t think there were exceptional circumstances here that would override Green Belt policy.

However councillors spoke very strongly in favour of the scheme. Ward member David Merrick made what was probably the most important speech of his political career so far. He remarked that the cadets currently had 40 members, with a waiting list of 30. This extension would give enough space to allow a total of 80 young people to be cadets.

Chris Lumley, Chris Black and Ron Oatham all spoke strongly in support as well. Chris Lumley said that he was amazed that officers couldn’t see special circumstances here. The scheme was passed – unanimously.

Weir Gardens, Rayleigh – demolish two properties and build 14 flats. REFUSED UNANIMOUSLY Officers were recommending approval here. However ward members Peter Webster and Simon Smith proposed refusal basically because of ‘overdevelopment’ and the bulk of the building compared with the modest chalets and bungalows around it. This was supported from all sides of the chamber and Cllr Webster actually thanked colleagues ‘of both parties – and of none’ – for this. The scheme was refused unanimously – but it may well go to appeal….

Bullwood Hall Prison , Hockley. Major roof extensions. PASSED BY LARGE MAJORITY This was an application to put new pitched roofs onto the prison, for better maintainance and security purposes. This is in the Green Belt, and some members didn’t think there were special circumstances here to override Green Belt policy , however it was passed by a large majority.

36 Hullbridge Road Rayleigh: Covert existing chalet into 4 flats and add two flats and a maisonette in the garden. TIED 10-10. PASSED ON CHAIRMANS CASTING VOTE. This chalet is the one with the ‘drooping eye’ window that faces you as you come along Rawreth Lane.

The scheme originallly had an exit for cars directly onto to Hullbridge Road- this was opposed by County Highways and the Rochford officers. However the proposed exit had now been shifted onto Mortimer Road and officers now supported the scheme.

Chris Black pointed out that the scheme had some similarities to the one in Weir Gardens that had been refused and was unhappy with the bulk appearance of the building. Ron Oatham moved refusal on the grounds of overdevelopment and unneighbourly appearance. Chris Black seconded refusal and it went to a very tight vote – Ron’s refusal was lost 11-10.

Someone then moved approval and that was tied 10-10. Chairman Simon Smith then voted in favour of the approval, saying that officers had recommended approval and that there had been a full debate. (Those same circumstances applied to the scheme in Weir Gardens where he supported refusal!)

One resident left the meeting very disappointed at what had happened.

  • re: 36 Hullbridge Rd, is there anything that can be done to stop the Rawreth Lane area becoming overun with flats. It seems to me that Mr Scruttons dept ( aka Flats R Us ) will allow any developer to do what ever they please. Some members of RDC are no better, it seems that only you guys ( Chris / Ron ) are on our side.

  • Six flats and a maisonette on the site of one family home! Have they included off-street parking for at least 14 cars in the plans for the development? Otherwise the parking restrictions at the Hambro Parade shops will be put to the test.

  • There will be 11 parking spaces, which meets the council standard….

    Chris Black actually mentioned the Hambro Parade parking when he spoke at the meeting. You are right ST1, it’s a concern…..

  • Do the people making these decisions actually visit the sites? This development should not have been permitted at this location. This is an increasingly busy road junction and any disruption in this area has a major effect on traffic movement. It would seem that the housing target will be met by going upwards not outwards.

  • Hi Bruce, there was no site visit for this application, and clearly some councillors knew the location better than others.

    County Highways had no doubts about the application once all the access was from Mortimer Road – that made it very difficult to refuse on traffic grounds.

  • Perhaps site visits should be made compulsory when considering these applications, and made at times when traffic movement is busy.

    The original proposal to exit the site in Hullbridge Road was ridiculous, it would exit directly onto a busy mini-roundabout. But even with the change to a Mortimer Road exit, this property is a corner plot, and is therefore close to the junction with the main road, which is again close to the mini-roundabout.

    But the other side of the traffic question is the parking, as I mentioned in my previous post. These flats will not be cheap, and people who can afford to buy them could quite likely have more than 1 car per household. Also, if they have visitors, or if they think their allocated space is too far from their front door, they may well decide to park in the road. You’ve only got to look at the newer developments all along Rawreth Lane to see that parking provision on new properties is not good enough.

  • Hi Chris and all, a belated happy New Year.

    I read from the minutes of the West Area Committee meeting on 28th November a question regarding the building of 500 houses behind the Grange Community Centre. The answer from the Planning department was to completely disregard the actual question and answer in general terms. My assumption is that this land has been put forward as a possible site for 500 of the 740 proposed homes to be built in Rayleigh, what an outrageous proposal!! I remember a conversation I had with you and Jackie back in the early part of last year regarding this land and if memory serves me right, this land or at least a major part of it, belongs to Powergen, or E-ON as they are now. If this is correct and big business is involved, this might already be agreed in principle. I think we need more information and some facts as to if this site has actually been proposed. This area has taken enough development over the years.

    I remember at one of the West Area Committee meetings back in the Summer of last year asking a question to the Planning Department Head if he could give figures of the actual dwellings, completed, started or proposals passed, for the Rayleigh area. The answer was, no they couldn’t, but they would be available in December 2007 but would only give details upto March 2007. I believe this is still unacceptable in an age where we should, and mostly can, expect current, meaningful data. I have not seen any figures published upto now, January 2008. Can anyone from the Council who reads this website tell me when they will be available or maybe I have missed them?

    Good to see the increased usage of the website, it is an excellent way to debate issues and let the ‘powers that be’ understand how residents feel. Long may it continue

  • Thanks Chris, As the West Area Committee meeting is this week maybe the planning department can come up with some figures for us and some substantial answers to questions that have been asked. I am still not convinced that the Grange Community Centre is not under threat and if the planning department did sanction this area for development, the Tory Councillors might as well look for other wards to contest because they would certainly not get voted back. Something to think about Tory Councillors!!