Marathon Meeting !

A good-natured meeting of the Development Committee finished at 10:40 pm today. The chamber was overflowing with members of the public attending:

Here’s a very brief summary:
1. Two bungalows in Trenders Avenue, Rawreth – PASSED. Approval moved by Chris Black, seconded by Heather Glynn. Voting was tied at 9-9. it was then passed on Phil Capon’s chairman’s casting vote.

2. Microbrewery in Great Wakering – PASSED. Ward councillors Colin Seagers and Barbara Wilkins attempted refusal, but didn’t get enough support.

3. Takeaway in Spa Road, Hockley – REFUSED. Refusal was moved by Keith Hudson and seconded by Malcolm Maddocks.

4 and 5 – repairs and extension to 41 South Street Rochford. PASSED without debate.

6. Expansion of View Nursery Rawreth – PASSED. Approval was moved by Keith Gordon and seconded by Heather Glynn. Reasons stated were improved highways safety and protection of employment. Supported by Chris Black.

7. Traveller Site on the A1245, Rawreth – REFUSED. Lyn Hopkins and Alistir Matthews spoke on behalf of Rawreth residents at the start of the debate, Refusal was moved by Chris Black and seconded by Jackie Dillnutt, on grounds of a) impact on the openness of Green Belt b) highways safety c) lack of nearby amenities. Supported by numerous councillors including Joan Mockford and Keith Hudson.

8. 22 houses near Rectory Road, Hawkwell. – DEFERRED. Ward councillors Heather Glynn and Phil Capon wanted approval, but lost the vote. Councillors were concerned by issues such as sub-standard garden sizes but there didn’t seem to be a consensus for a refusal. Chris Black then moved deferral to see if removing 1 or 2 of the proposed houses would leave enough room to solve the issues. This was seconded by Heather Glynn.

9. 2 bungalows near Preston Gardens, Rayleigh – REFUSED Chris Black added two more reasons and got refusal – seconded by Jackie Dillnutt.

  • Well my words are truly eaten!!! apart from one unnecessary unpleasant outburst the debate on the travellers site was conducted in a reasoned manner .The rest of the meeting also seemed more relaxed and dare i say it democratic .It was good to see our councillors taking decisions with our residents in mind .Good news about the microbrewery !!

  • As I understand Keith Hudsons comment on the core Strategy ,RDC are looking to provide a transient camp to allow travellers to travel freely whereas this site appeared to be for family members only ,and was really a caravan site as opposed to a travellers site .The council would appear to want control over the site .They would presumably purchase it and provide the facilities as for example Basildon have a site on Burnt Mills .I believe this to be the right way forward ,as long as the site (s)are in the appropriate places .This could put the kibbush on this particular site as the families will now start appeal procedings which will take several years ,by that time the new site(s) will have had to have been approved .

  • Well, Paul, in relation to this particular site RDC had previously refused permission for six pitches some years ago on the grounds of effect on the openness of the Green Belt, highways safety and unsustainable location (i.e. far from any local amenities). This was firmly upheld by an inspector and the secretary of state.)

    Thanks to the vagaries of the enforcement process, the caravans are still there and RDC recently received this planning application for twelve pitches (ie 24 caravans).

    RDC now supports having some traveller pitches provided in the district – the exact number and timescale depends on the precise outcome of the core strategy. However 12 pitches would be very close to fulfilling Rochford’s requirements. And this site was included as a possible location in the allocations consultation document. (though if I remember correctly it was subject to ‘negotiation of suitable access’.

    As a consequence RDC planners supported approval of the application – and County Highways withdrew their objection on the basis that there hadn’t been any serious accidents so far.

    Members felt that all three previous reasons for refusal were still valid. It’s also worth remembering that RDC and ECC have opposed Rawreth Parish Council’s suggestion of new housing north of the traffic lights here on the grounds of highways safety and local of local amenities – a lack of consistency!.

    I think in the Rawreth Parish Council proposal there would be enough room and money to create safe access. Here nothing was being proposed to improve safety at all – not even a warning road sign. Things seemed to be being rushed through.

    The issue of traveller sites isn’t going to go away. But I don’t think one largish privately owned site- anywhere – is the answer.

  • As I have said elsewhere the council propose a council controlled site to satisfy transit use ,which allows use by all travellers not just one or two families .

  • RDC’s obligation in terms of the regional assesment is about 20 pitches by 2021. We have allocated a few already.

    Th council’s site allocations consultation last year included various options for providing the remainder, including this site.

    Though the options on the traveller sites weren’t discussed by members before the document went out, and over year a later members are still waiting to receive a report on the results of the consultation – not just traveller sites, but housing and commercial sites. Thee were about 2000 responses from the public.

    When RDC ignores such responses, I don’t know how they ever expect anyone to respond to their consultations ever again.