New Application Incoming….

Countryside have submitted a new planning application for North of London Road, it is now being validated by council officers before it goes out to public consultation. District Councillors, such as Ron Oatham and Chris Black , will have to study it very carefully. As always, district councillors cannot come to a decision before the night of the meeting. HOWEVER WE WILL BE GLAD TO HEAR YOUR VIEWS ONCE YOU HAVE SEEN THE NEW APPLICATION.

From Countryside’s website, dated last Friday:

Countryside has submitted a new planning application for the development of land west of Rayleigh (known as site allocation SER1) to address the reasons Rochford District Council?s planning committee cited for refusal of the outline planning application in February. These reasons were flood risk, education capacity, transport and highways, and sport pitch provision.

The application is accompanied by additional/updated supporting information, namely:

An Open Space and Playing Field Assessment addressing playing field provision;
A Flood Risk Addendum responding to specific matters raised regarding the previously submitted Flood Risk Assessment;
An updated Transport Assessment, which explains in more detail how the proposed development will contribute to transport mitigation at the Rawreth Lane/Hullbridge Road roundabout
A note on education, to demonstrate that there would be no capacity constraints to provide additional secondary school places

There are no changes to the original planning application.

An appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against the refusal of our original outline planning application was submitted in March. By submitting the revised application whilst the appeal is being considered, Countryside intends to continue dialogue with the Council on this important development site for the District.

The new planning application has been submitted to Rochford District Council and is currently awaiting validation.

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An overview of the supporting information that has been submitted with the revised application:

Open space

In total, over 20 ha of publically accessible open space is planned as part of the development. Our plans provide all of the open space elements required by Policy SER1 and will be secured through a Section 106 legal agreement.

Whilst policy SER1 does not specify a requirement for playing fields, our proposal nevertheless includes just over 1.6 ha for new playing pitches.

Flood Risk

An addendum to the Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) provides clarifications to the original FRA with regards to reasons cited for refusal of the original application. It also explains that risk of downstream flooding (at Church Road) will be reduced as a result of the proposed development; clarifies that there will be no culvert removal; and sets out a strategy for the future management and maintenance of the on-site drainage system.

Traffic & Transport

An updated Transport Assessment (TA) sets out the mitigation package that has been agreed between Countryside and Essex County Council (ECC, the highways authority) and that will be secured through a S106 legal agreement:

Signalising and associated works of Down Hall Road / London Road Junction
Improved road markings and associated works at the London Hill / Station Hill priority junction
Signal upgrade at Victoria Avenue / London junction
Improvement of the public footpath up to St Nicholas Primary School and the creation of a new extension to this existing footpath into the site
A contribution of ?250,000 towards highways improvements at the Rawreth Lane/Hullbridge Road Roundabout Junction
The provision of a bus service linking the proposed development with Rayleigh Railway Station and the town centre
The provision of a Residential Travel Plan.

It also clarifies that ECC has stated that the balance of the funding for the junction improvement scheme can be secured from other developments, and from alternative Local Highways Panel funding, and that the implementation of improvements over time using pooled contributions is a tested means of delivering Infrastructure within Essex. Therefore, the need for development to be constrained pending the junction improvements being completed is not deemed necessary.

Education

Essex County Council, as the local education authority, has stated that a financial contribution for secondary school places will fully mitigate the impact of the proposed development. ECC confirms that there is sufficient physical space at both The FitzWimarc and The Sweyne Park schools to enable expansion of existing facilities to accommodate additional pupils places arising from the proposed development.

  • Too many houses, no road infrastructure in place, fed up with rayleigh gridlocked daily, don’t want these homes, hands off our greenbelt and farmland.

  • It is no good sorting our one end of Downhall Road and not the Hambro Hill end. Also, major works need to be carried out at Rawreth Lane/Hullbridge Road junction. Too many houses loss of green belt

  • Wish they would just accept we don’t want their development and go away, not going to happen though. On the issue is infrastructure in the wider sense, we have to consider the needs of the existing population. Essex NHS is now overseen by the health regulator, Colchester and Basildon hospitals have been in and out if special measures for some years now and Southend is under scrutiny because of a massive deficit giving concerns that services will suffer. There is also the threat is some cancer services moving to Colchester, a very long drive away if you are ill and needing regular treatment. Southend and Basildon also declared black alerts several times last winter when conditions were not that bad to lead to lots of falls overwhelming A&E. The local NHS facilities are clearly struggling to cope with the existing population. An influx due to multiple developments can only make this worse for everyone and all Councild need to consider this before allowing more large scale development

  • Our roads cannot cope at the moment, how can adding more houses justify an improvement. Also this will destroy the Character of Rayleigh

  • As predicted previously , a reworking of the same proposal ( but after General & Local Elections) – the “done deal” quoted by the then portfolio holder some 2 years ago and the summary makes it clear they have no intention of providing Highway / Traffic upgrading prior
    to 5-10 years of site construction. Instead they will wait until 50th and 150th house occupation before they dabble with the roads ie:-
    when site traffic is at it’s peak they will then reduce Rawreth lane and London Road to single lane/temporary traffic light flow. The ‘other’
    site contributions ( £ ) to road works are again just a statement – there is no firm commitment from any named 3rd party , there are many other outstanding issues , but let’s save them for the objections into the re-submission once rubber stamped by RDC officers.

  • whilst a change of planning is going in to RDC it has already been noted that ECC do not have the funds and the time during the developments to do the necessary work to roads etc. We already know that our schools are at breaking point even if you take the view of school leaving age and new pupils arriving from primary school we now have pupils leaving after sixth form which does not leave much room for places at schools. With the effect of building more properties there will be more concrete driveways and solid surfaces for water to run off and not being absorbed into the ground as it already is so will this be a much more flooded area which would then have an increase into the already critical areas.

  • Furthermore from past expenditure on roundabouts and other road furniture £250,000 will be a drop in the ocean and is properly likely to be 4 or 5 times that amount and as we are going to spend £3 million on Rayleigh town centre on going back to the previous setup where as we know now that the best that could be made of the town for everyone is what we have at this moment, so I worry this amount the developer is saying will be enough with other packages?

  • Perhaps RDC planning officers and the Inspector should go look at the amount of infrastructure (and therefore money spent) being provided by this Developer at other sites – especially Runwell, and then ask themselves why Rawreth and Rayleigh are worth so much less then these areas. Perhaps their Councils are a bit more savvy in sorting out a deal and just demand more than RDC.

  • The trick is for a pro building RDC Cabinet and Developers to consider only one site in isolation to get it approved ; the reality is that
    even RDC’s own Core Plan includes the 500 at Hullbridge and at least another 230 ( Rawreth Ind Estate ) which, if considered would influence the findings – for example :-
    Their own limited assessment says both Secondary Schools would be impacted by the Countryside 500 , but it is double that as the
    Hullbridge 500 impact would be Bussed in/out ( more traffic) too , then the 230 would generate half as much again – so the impact on
    Swyene / Fitzwimark will be 2.5 times what they are claiming by considering only one site ( in their own RDC plan ).

    Likewise the 5-10 years of construction traffic has’nt been considered, as all 3 developments would , for example, be simultaneously
    using Rawreth Lane / Hullbridge Road – which is why they only consider one at a time to minimise the findings and get ECC Highways
    approvals , because they (like the NHS ) are in crisis and have no funding for ‘minor roads’.

    As for flooding , they have used out of date ( 2007 ) data for the key feature – the Brook , both Consultee’s have recommended design criteria which conflicts with each other and there is no appointed SAB ( SUDS Approval Body) in place ,and
    no Flood Risk Assessment for the downstream ( Tide Locked ) area carried out.

    But of course it will get through next time , to avoid the expensive Appeal process and thus save face before next years Council elections.

  • Spot on Jim .Why are “improvements” ,albeit minor, being proposed in the east of Rawreth Lane and London Road ? Are all residents going to Rayleigh Station I think not .Witness the morning rush towards the A1245 and the A130 .There are no provisions in any of the developements to improve the junction apart from some minor tweaks with the lights .As Christine mentions Runwell witness the substantial road improvements and the large attenuation reservoir being built alongside the brook .This is a similar size site to Eastern Rawreth but obviously Chelmsford City are more demanding than RDC or RDC have a lack of experience in dealing with Countryside .Neither access or drainage are taken seriously and have to be addressed no good letting ECC of the hook they are responsible for both . Schooling is another serious issue again ECC ,s remit . They crow about money being saved but do not invest where it is urgently needed.far too long the south of the county has suffered neglect from Chelmsford , for goodness sake can our County Councillors sort out the inequalities and undue influence of the old guard from the north .

  • Alistir. It isn’t just dinosaurs in Chelmsford and the North of the County you should direct your comments towards. Unfortunately our own County Councillor Malcolm Maddocks didn’t even know the details of the site in question at the Development Committee meeting on the 29th January. (It has evidently been on the planning table for eight years). We have him on video stating ‘he hadn’t had time to read the papers and he queried ‘how much industrial area’ would be left when the site was complete’. It is virgin greenbelt farmland! Still he understood enough by the end of the meeting to vote for the development along with 10 of his Tory friends from the east of the district thus staying on side with the ‘key stakeholders’ backed by RDC Planners.

  • I think I made my point fairly targeted towards our own Councillors to get off their backsides and become pro active. You are off course right Linda ,we do not get our fair share of the limited pot.They need to not just represent us in Chelmsford but to lobby actively in Whitehall and dare I say it Brussels! There is some European money for developements infrastructure especially with the strategic Thameside developements .

  • I am upstream , so the big issue for me is the negative impact of 5-10 years of Construction Traffic ( and beyond) , but that is no where near as life changing as being downstream and getting flooding if they don’t get the design right ( see my post above ) – consider this:-

    The clear statement in their proposal is that they will be moving people in ( quote – 50th & 150th occupations ) probably 2-5 years into
    an ongoing phased development ( 5 – 10 year timescale ? ) – are they going to pre-install a complete site SUDS system before any occupations ( it does’nt say )?. A SUDS system is a holistic concept , gathering and storing water for controlled released , how does that
    work effectively when only portions of the site ( and system ) are in place? – I cannot see a strategy in the Countryside proposal.

    Remember what happened on the Eon site ( astride the same Brook ) , it flooded part way through the construction , so is it RDC
    or Countryside that are liable ? – it needs to be established before construction starts , or are they jointly and severally liable by Insurance law – any Insurance experts on here please?.

  • Jim as far as I understand ECC are the Suds authority therefore have responsibility to agree the system .Not sure though they have full qualifying yet to carry out their duties therefore we may be in a situation that we are a rudderless ship .!!

  • The Officers Report included the ECC input , it confirms that they are yet to achieve accreditation as the SAB ( SUD’s Approval Body ) and
    that their own design criteria is different to the primary Consultee ( EA ) recommendations – a recipe for a conflict in the system design.
    Truth is that Councils do not want the responsibility for approvals as that makes them liable ( it was illustrated at the time of the Somerset Levels fiasco – all parties , very publicly pointed at all the other agencies / each other ) it got the Minister sacked too.
    Let’s not forget the Eon site incidents , a modern design ,immediately adjacent to the Countryside site , straddling the same Brook – and
    it flooded during construction , why would we have confidence in a design on a site 4/5 times the size of the Eon site ?.

  • It is all very well for you who have been actively involved in assessing these development plans, but the glaringly obvious thing I see is that despite local residents crying out that they have not been consulted on this, RDC are still just marching ahead without any meaningful information being given to residents and certainly no efforts to have an open forum which this whole matter needs.
    I am also thoroughly disgusted with locals who say they object to these plans but make no real effort to do anything about it. eg. national and local elections.

  • Gordon, I agree with what you’ve said except that it isn’t as “all very well” for us as you might think – we are still grappling with all the documents.

    And yes, the outcome of the local elections was disappointing. Anyone who wants to help us get a better outcome next year, please contact us”!