Rawreth’s Riposte

This is Rawreth Parish Council’s response to the latest housing proposals from the District Council.

EXTRA MEETING OF RAWRETH PARISH COUNCIL Wednesday 5th August 2009, 7.30pm Rawreth Village Hall, the purpose of the meeting to discuss The Local Development Framework and the proposals for new houses in the Parish

The Local Development Framework Sub Committee met on the 1st of July to discuss the final draft of the Core Strategy, the meeting took place on the same evening as the Parish Council?s monthly meeting, however Cllr Lyn Hopkins went along as our representative and listened to all that was said. In short the final draft was agreed by the Sub Committee and will now go to a full Council of RDC on the 9th of September 2009. The final draft shows that across the District Rawreth still has the highest number of proposed dwellings, and although the proposed number for the land north of London Road has been reduced by 100, the total number planned still stands at 550. In addition 220 are still planned for the area which is currently the Rawreth Industrial Estate, this figure having risen by 20 since the last draft document.

Rawreth Parish Council still stands by the original representations it made, these include:

1. We believe that Rawreth should be included in Tier 4 ? all other settlements, where additional development is considered unsustainable. Rawreth presently has 373 dwellings and to put in developments of 1050 houses which equates to a 228% increase is totally unjustifiable, unsustainable and would completely destroy the character of Rawreth.

2. The huge development of 650 houses ?North of London Road? Rawreth is totally unacceptable. This land is good quality agricultural land which is protected by the Green Belt ?GB1 – fulfils all purposes under PPG2 and should be retained as such. Once used for development this land can never be returned to agricultural use, and if you continue to erode into our Green Belt and farmland it will be lost forever.

3. This particular area is part of the ?Gateway to Rochford ? and is the ?strategic buffer? between Rayleigh and Wickford. Reference is made in the document to ?avoiding coalescence? of villages/towns – a development of this size immediately erodes this buffer, starts coalescence and destroys the rural character of Rawreth.

4. The document clearly states that ?Brownfield? sites would be considered before Green Belt land is used. This is not the case with the land ??North of London Road? and there are several sites within the area in the ?Call for Sites? document that should be looked at first, these sites as we understand have not even been visited by the Local Development Framework Sub Committee and do not form part of the preferred options. These sites need to be visited, considered and the views of all the residents considered before any development areas become ?site specific?. A complete consideration has to be given to all the sites put forward in the ?call for sites? and not just those that appear an easy option for development.

5. The roads and infrastructure in the Rawreth area are completely full to capacity. The A127, A1245, A129 London Road, Rawreth Lane and Watery Lane just cannot take any more traffic and this proposed development will increase traffic to a completely unsustainable level. On three occasions in the last month alone, incidents within and on the outskirts of this area have brought traffic to a standstill for hours along London Road, Rawreth Lane, Watery Lane/Beeches Road and the Hullbridge Road. It took some residents 1 ? hours to proceed along Rawreth Lane and into Hullbridge ? a distance of 1 ? miles. The proposed development at the western edge of Hullbridge, which is, in fact, largely in Rawreth would also greatly increase the traffic problems in the area. We understand there would be a proposal to ?widen/straighten? Watery Lane/Beeches Road, with a roundabout at the junction with the Hullbridge Road. This is an extremely dangerous junction even at the present time and would become increasingly so. There is also the question of where the traffic would go when it reaches Battlesbridge at the Western end, it cannot possibly cross the Bridge as this is ?restricted? and in a Conservation Area, therefore, it would have to turn left and proceed to the A1245 ? a very dangerous junction.

6. The Services in the area would be unable to cope with this increase in housing ? drains and sewers are already working to capacity. Recent heavy rain resulted in flooding in Watery Lane and the Rawreth Brook system has been very close to flooding twice already this year. During a meeting between the Parish Council and the Environment Agency we were advised that this situation will worsen with increased housing.

7. We believe that the appropriate amount of additional housing should be built on smaller existing sites thus enhancing the lives and environment of existing residents. We believe RDC should consider the use of smaller sites that have been put forward, particularly in the Rawreth area and that the large development proposed ?North of London Road? should be refused. We are at present in the process of developing our Community Garden in the centre of Rawreth Village with the help of a Community Initiatives Fund and believe that a reasonably sized development of houses in that area could be of benefit to our village. It may be that any development of this nature could include a village shop which would be of enormous value to local residents.

Large numbers of housing in one area, as stated in the infrastructure requirements, will necessitate a new primary school. County figures suggest that there will be surplus places in Rayleigh schools even with new housing. Obviously these will be in the wrong parts of the town so increasing the risk that an existing school could close .It makes sense to spread the development in smaller sites around the town, avoiding closure and preventing unnecessary provision of a new school.

8. Relocation of Rawreth Industrial site to a vague area south of the London Road near Carpenters Arms would take further green belt, admittedly of moderate attraction, from the Parish. It is therefore suggested that an area bounded by the A127, A130, A1245 and the railway to the north gives the chance to provide high quality well designed industrial site with potential to use alternative forms of transport in the future.

9. Further use could be made of the land opposite Michelin farm. This land has been despoiled in recent years and landowners could and should be made to forfeit the full value of their land by way of compulsory purchase powers for use as a travellers site to provide some of the required pitches necessary for the Rochford District and to remove the illegal site on the A1245 at Bedloes Corner.

At the meeting of Rochford District Council on the 9th of September members will vote on whether or not to accept the document as it stands, if this is the case, and it is very likely it will be, the draft document will then be open to public consultation, the difference with the consultation this time is that the responses and representations made from the public go directly to a planning inspectorate.

Ordinarily Rawreth Parish Council does not meet during the month of August, this being the summer recess, however given the contents of the draft Core Strategy and given the major effect this will have on the Parish it has been decided to call an extra meeting of the Parish Council on Wednesday the 5th of August 2009. The meeting will take place at 7.30pm in the Village Hall, Church Road Rawreth. The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss the housing proposals made by Rochford District Council, and discuss how you the residents can still have your say, and how you go about making a personal representation.

Please try your hardest to come along to the meeting, and please spread the word, the impact of the proposed housing will affect a wider area, not just Rawreth and we therefore welcome anyone from outside the Parish to the meeting.

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  • Stand by for further long term tail-backs in Rawreth Lane! I read in the Echo this week that there is a plan to widen the A127 at Progress Road (presumably to move the bottleneck onto the next set of traffic lights). The article warned that we should expect big disruption during the work, and from experience, when the A127 is jammed people tend to use Rawreth Lane as an alternative.

    I’m not sure what the timing for this work is, but hopefully they will coordinate it with the gas work to minimise delays.

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