The Rochford Supporters Pressure Group has been dealt the final blow for its campaign against SER8 (600 houses plus) as it’s received this correspondence from Essex County Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Kevin Bentley.
Dear Mrs Austin and Mrs English
Thank you for your email and letter concerning the proposed development of land you refer to as SER8.
I am sorry you have not received a response from me regarding your concerns. I am aware we have corresponded in the past and that you have also contacted the Council’s Chief Executive, Gavin Jones, although I am unable to locate any recent correspondence from you. If there are any enquiries that have been sent to me that I have not responded to, please let me know and I will respond to them.
Moving to the concerns you have raised regarding this proposed development, as a statuary consultee Essex County Council (ECC), as Highway Authority, comprehensively assessed all the relevant submitted material supporting the planning application for residential units from Bloor Homes for the development of land south of Oxford Road, east of Ashington Road and north of The Drive and Rochford Garden Way as allocated (SER8) in the Rochford District Council (RDC) Local plan.
Firstly, this is an allocated site and the principle of residential development was approved through the adopted RDC Local Plan and Examination in Public (EIP) around seven years ago. The recommendation to RDC, as the determining Local Planning Authority, confirmed that from a highway and transportation perspective the impact of the proposal is acceptable to the Highway Authority subject to the various mitigation measures and conditions in line with the legal requirements and tests contained within the National Planning Policy Framework and ECC Development Management Policies.
The focus of the development is in line with promoting sustainable measures and the proposed mitigation in partnership with considerable sustainable travel measures will ensure the impact will be reduced to provide for nil detriment or in some cases improvement. Given the sites proximity to local services and the bus network and in order to reduce the number of trips made by car from the development, in line with Sustainable Transport policy, residential travel planning would assist the encouragement of walking, cycling and public transport.
The site layout has been designed with consideration given to the adopted Essex Design Guide standards and guidance in the Manual for Streets, with emphasis on reducing car dominance through the provision of shared surfaces, keeping traffic speeds within the target of 20mph on all internal roads, and prioritising pedestrian and cycle movement. The wider site layout is highly permeable for pedestrians/cyclists and integrates with the existing network of routes, establishing several new connections. This includes a strategic foot/cycle link between Oxford Road and The Drive, facilitating direct access to the King Edmund School and Waterman Primary School, and Rochford town centre as well as further afield to employment areas on Cherry Orchard Way.
I hope my response provides you and local residents with assurance and I would to thank you for writing to me. Please do feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.
Cllr Kevin Bentley
Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Infrastructure
Rochford District Council members have recently been privy to a private and confidential legal briefing about the application and it could mean that this is the end of the road for any challenge to this development.
Residents will do well to follow the progress of the secretive new local plan and attempt to make any intervention well before an application reaches the development committee, as this application proves that it’s ‘Game Over’ once the principle of development is agreed.