On January 25th the District Council will deal with the application from Southend United Football Club for three training pitches, a ‘flood attenuation’ pond and a car park with 454 parking spaces and 8 lighting columns. This is the part of the new stadium scheme that comes just ‘over the border’ into our district.
The recommendation from our planning officers is to refuse the scheme. To put it simply, they are saying that the site is Green Belt, and the car park and the lighting columns don’t comply with Green Belt policy. The implication is that if the applicant had designed their scheme without so many flats and shops in the Southend part of the site, then they wouldn’t need to go into this bit of land at all.
This is only a recommendation. As councillors we make up our own minds, taking into account the details of the application and the relevant planning policies. Unlike Southend , where only about 8 councillors hear applications, in Rochford all 39 councillors do. This seems a lot fairer, and there is also no party whip on planning. We are also supposed to keep an OPEN MIND on applications until the start of the meeting so councillors should not declare in advance how they will vote.
Somehow, we think the public section of council chamber on January 25th is going to be very crowded.
If you want to download the officers report , go to this page
and click on “Item 4 Report: Schedule of Planning Applications to be considered “.
These are the most special of circumstances, and I very much hope that Councillors decide that so rare and unique an opportunity for the area warrants an exception to the Green Belt policy.