Rawreth’s Broadside




The Echo reports on it here

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  • 850 extra houses, mainly on greenbelt land? It’s madness. On several levels.

    The Department of Communities & Local Government keep assuring us that the Thames Gateway is definitely going ahead. That means 200,000, yes, two hundred thousand, new dwellings in south Essex and north Kent. Basically devloping these dwelllings, and supposedly the supporting infrastructure too (in terms of hospitals & schools etc). This is all to take place, effectively, between the A127 and the A2.

    If this number of dwellings is already firmly on the drawing board why on earth do we need a further 850 just to the north of the A127?

    To many people, you enter the Southend connurbation as you pass through Rayleigh. To the uninitiated, there is little to distinguish the various towns as you head east of the Rayleigh Weir.

    These latest proposals push Rayleigh closer to Wickford, which itself is spreading in all directions.

    We need our green belts, we need space for farmland, wildlife and people to spread out.

    Once the Thames Gateway completes, Southend may just merge with outer London… What a nightmare!

    I don’t want to sound like a raving NIMBY, but we really do not need or want this proposed development. Collectively we should do all we can to force the powers that be (from central Government down to local levels) to only permit urbanisation and urban intensification through the use of brownfield sites.

  • Karl, absolutely agree with you 100% but how do we get our ‘yes sir’ council to fight for what we want? Admin, any ideas how we can get the Tories to fight for what we believe in!!??

  • Karl many thanks for your comments.

    – Some thoughts in return

    – the overall figure for Rochford District is not bad compared with other parts of the South East. We can’t change that, and in fact young people growing up here need local homes they can afford – new flats in Rayleigh and Hullbridge are on the market for about 200K ! But we need careful managemnt to make certain that figure doesn’t go up. (crudely, we have to allow about 250 houses a year across the district – but if allow 500 in 2010 , we don’t get away with a zero figure for 2011, it’s still 250). If RDC simply says no to more housing, a devloper can simply buy a large site and force a planing appeal and tell the inspector “the council was supposed to allow xxxx hosues but hasn;t done so – so let me build’

    – we really did achieve a victory last year in getting Rayleigh’s share of housing reduced from 1800 to a proposal of less than half that. We have to make certain there’s no major retreat on that. There’s a few councillors out there who’d like to put 4000 in Rawreth.

    – Some of the housing will be on urban sites. And the council is making the right noises about not merging Rayleigh with say, Hullbridge.

    – Trouble is, I don’t think sticking 850 homes in Rawreth IS going to work. I think we’ll get a pig’s ear of a development (the Park School site nearby isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of planning skills – and that site should have been easy, being previously owned by the County Council) And if 850 homes ARE built there, that will mean an extra primary school will have to be built there – at a time when school rolls elsewhere in the district are falling! What are the chances of the County Council deciding one day that one of the schools more in the middle of Rayleigh is surplus to requiremnts, and sell THAT for housing, just like they did Park School?

    – The Primary Care Trust want to build more facilities and move local GPs into those facilities . The District Council are suggesting having them next to the 850. Wiill people want to go to a GP in Rawreth, rather than Rayleigh Town Centre? What happens if land is allocated and the Primary Care Trust pull out – will Tesco move in?

    – if the Council presses ahead with wanting to build there, how will it handle negotiations with the landowner?

    Mike, if we can get the public in the consultation to support smaller, more manageable developments around Rayleigh and Rawreth instead of sticking most of it in one lump…… then that could be a better outcome.

  • Agreed, but we need the Council to understand our needs and act on what we feel is the right future for us and our children. So far that does not seem to be on the Tory agenda. I just wish they would listen to what the residents are telling them and also that some of the conservative councillors stood up for the people they represent instead of being YES men and women!

  • I agree with all of the sentiments here BUT…

    1) I would be amazed if local young people would be able to afford any of the new houses proposed for Rawreth. The only people able to afford to live in new builds are well paid commuters I suggest not locally employed young families…

    2) The road infrastructure simply does not support this proposed increase in housing. One accident on the A13 or A127 and the whole area grounds to a halt for hours…

    3) Rawreth Lane can’t take anymore traffic during peak hours…

    4) The rail network has insufficient capacity and is grossly overpriced…Most modestly paid workers simply can’t afford to commute by rail during peak hours. Certainly for me it’s simply cheaper to drive to work in SW London and that includes having to pay the Congestion Charge! Yes it adds an average of four hours to my working day and No I know it’s not “Green” but sadly I have no other choice.

    5) I am led to believe that there is already outline planning permission to double the size of St Nicholas C of E school on Priory Chase? If this is true and the demand is there (presumably as a result if the proposed 850+ new homes) this will cause further parking/traffic misery for local residents on Priory Chase/Temple Way.

    6) I am in favour of using brown field sites but nobody has addressed where the Rawreth Industrial Estate will be moved to as it seems that this brown field site will be used to accomodate 200 of the proposed 850 new homes. (Or is that 200 plus 850?). Are they planning to move Makro too? (I would be one happy resident if this were true!!)

    7) NIMBY? Maybe – but perhaps if our local Councillors were Tory this wouldn’t be happening in Rawreth as it’s certainly not proposed for the Tory’s back yards!!!

  • TWR, thanks for your comments as always.


    1 Fortunately about 35 percent of new homes will be ‘affordable’ (if things are managed properly).

    2. Agreed.

    3. Agreed. Exchanging the Industrial estate for 200 homes seems raesonable, but that’s about it.

    4. Noted!

    5. The school was specifically designed with the ability to expand further, I don’t think it has permission yet.

    6. A few months ago the discussions were based on 650. Now its 650 + 200. the industrial estate would probably to near the Carpenters Arms. No sign of Makro moving.

    7. Don’t be so sure. There are some Tory councillors elsewhere who aren’t singing from the rooftops over what’s proposed for their patches. The main reason we haven’t got 1800 is that we put up such a fight last year.

    And finally TWR – a while ago you told me how you felt Rayleigh Town Centre was underperforming. I’m going to the Rayleigh Chamber of Trade tomorrow afternoon. Would you like to remind me of exactly what you said so i can pass it on???

  • Chris,

    Sorry I’m a bit pushed for time this afternoon so I’ve resorted to a bit of cut & paste!!…

    I think that the pestrianisation and beautification (more tree planting etc.) of Rayleigh High Street, between Crown Hill and Church Street will vastly improve Rayleigh Town centre – together with the promotion of more cafes/bars/restaurants and investment in quality high street shops – this would re-energise the town and bring in much needed income and employment opportunities.

    I may have only lived here for a few years but I can already see a real decline in the town centre whilst other Essex Town centres seem to be able to thrive. Rayleigh has a large commuting population and is a relatively wealthy area – I am disappointed that this hasn’t been capitalised upon.

    I and many others choose not to socialise in Rayleigh in the evening, as it seems to mainly attract younger or elderly people. If I want to enjoy a pleasant evening out I travel to Leigh, Chelmsford or stay in London after work. I know that this is what a lot of local residents also choose to do.

    If Rayleigh had a real choice of quality bars and restaurants I’d be spending my cash in the High Street instead – as would many others I’m sure.

    I pop into Rayleigh for bits and pieces occasionally of a weekend but I mostly shop in either Blue Water, Chelmsford, London, Lakeside or on line. Again if Rayleigh had more quality high street shops, I and many others, would save petrol (and the planet!) and shop in the High Street.

    Please don’t misunderstand me – I chose to live in Rayleigh and there is a great deal that I do really like about the Town. I just happen to think that more could be done to make the High Street a really attractive and special place to visit in the evening and during the day.

    I would hope that IF the High Street was pedestrianised then the bus stops and taxi ranks would be re-sited appropiately. If the shops continue to close down at the current rate there’ll soon be little reason to visit the High Street anyway…

    CORAL/ASDA et al please note that we the residents of Rayleigh do not need more shops on Rawreth Lane we want the existing units and facilities in Rayleigh High Street enhancing!!!

  • I personally wouldn’t be unhappy if they wanted to move the Rawreth Lane Imperial Park Industrial Units either!! How many new affordable homes could be built there?


  • The School has a footprint – no outline planning permission – to expand to a 210 pupil school – one form per year intake. This does not mean that the size of the school will double.

    The building was designed to take 210 pupils in the hall etc. However, four additional classrooms would be required to meet the 210 figure.

    I would also add that, as Chris and many others are aware, that there HAD to be an educational resource built on this site. It was in the initial planning conditions. We were informed at one of the meetings many years back that with the removal of Park School and the intake of pupils in to Sweyne it meant that Sweyne had to expand and they were given money to do this.

    Had tbe School not been built on the Park School site there would have been a very large sum of money, somewhere in the region of three million if my memory serves me correctly, that Essex would have had to pay back to the Government to cover these costs.

    I also note that there is another Cafe opening up in the High Street – in the old Parker Electrics shop. Shame that we could not have had another retail outlet instead? More shops means more people in the High Street in need of refreshment perhaps? I continue to shop in the High Street – cannot afford the petrol or the time to get to Lakeside or Bluewater more than once in a blue moon.

    There are lots of outlets that I would love to see in the High Street – how about a Body Shop, another shoe retailer, a wet fish shop etc etc It is all dependent upon retailers wanting to come to the area and the planning permission being available for their types of business –

    Also, I, as a resident or Rayleigh, would prefer more shops on the Asda site RATHER THAN a petrol station too. Sadly, I really do not think that we are going to get the choice ultimately. Regarding Imperial Park – this little estate is a Godsend to some of us – many a time my car has broken down and the unit there is first class, speedy and cheap. The food delivery outlets there do a roaring trade as well.

  • My shopping wish list for Rayleigh High Street (not Rawreth Lane!) :-

    A good book shop!

    A sprinkling of high street fashion clothing shops – e.g NEXT, Hobbs, L K Bennett, Monsoon, Accessorise etc…No more charity shops please!

    A sprinkling of high street fashion shoe shops – e.g Dune, Office, Jones the Bootmaker etc…

    A decent “grown up” wine bar/bistro…with no kids or loud music!

    Some decent restaurants – only one worth a visit at the moment is Marcos Bar! A good Italian, a good Thai – no more Chinese restaurants!

    An M&S Food shop!

    A Waitrose!

    All would enhance Rayleigh High street AND compliment local businesses!

    Oh….I know I’m dreaming but just some of these would be Rayleigh nice! 🙂

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