The District Council’s Plans For Hockley



by admin // in Hockley


It’sabout time we mentioned the District Council’s Consultation on it’s plans for revamping Hockley Town Centre..

To quote the council website:

A new square, village green, more leisure, retail, commercial and housing – would you like to see these in the centre of Hockley?

The Council are in the process of producing an Area Action Plan for Hockley. This Area Action Plan will set the planning framework for the central area of Hockley, directing development and guiding public and private investment in the area.

Following initial consultation, including a placecheck event and online consultation, the Council has produced a consultation draft (Issues and Options stage) of the Hockley Area Action Plan for Hockley. This examines the issues and opportunities for Hockley centre, and suggests potential ways to address these. Significant potential to increase the vibrancy and vitality of the centre has been identified and the document sets out various options for achieving this. We now want your views on these.

Your views are needed to help us to assess whether we have fully considered all the issues and opportunities facing the study area and have adequately assessed the potential future options for development of the area.

In order to encourage discussion and consideration of the matters we have presented questions throughout this report. Your responses to these questions and any other submissions will be taken forward to the preparation of the document.

Copies of the Hockley Area Action Plan Issues and Options can be viewed online here, as well as in Hockley library and Rochford Council Offices.

Views can be submitted via our online consultation system please see link below. Those who do not have access to the internet are encouraged to contact Planning Policy on 01702 318191 and we will make alternative arrangements to enable their views to be submitted. Please ensure that any comments you wish to make are received by 5pm on 30th April 2009.

You can download the consulation document here

The council believes the key issues are these:

Uses – Poor range of retail with a need for a wider and
more diverse retail offer
– Employment area occupies a lot of land, has a lot of
exposed ?backs? and is poorly related to the rest of
the town centre and therefore potential exists for the
release of employment uses allowing re-use of the
site to be explored

Form and
– Poor quality, uncoordinated and cluttered public
realm at the Junction of Spa Road and Main /
Southend Road (which is the focus for the town) in
which buildings do little to little to address the
importance of the junction
– At the Spa Road / Main Road / Southend Road
Junction, the building line is weak and the space
lacks a sense of place, character and
– Buildings along Spa Road are a mix of scales and
set back different distances from the road and
therefore do not give Spa Road a sense of
– Some buildings also represent an inefficient use of
the land

Street network /
– The northern end of Spa Road is relatively narrow
(carriageway width of 5 metres in some places)
which is problematic for the Heavy Goods Vehicles
that use the route
– The signalized junction of Mount Crescent / Spa
Road / Greensward Lane is hazardous because of
the downhill slope to the junction and sightlines
– On street parking spaces are well used and when
considering the design of the public realm on street
parking will be critical because it enables small
businesses and retail to capture the passing trade
– The roundabout on Station approach provides a
poor entrance to the station

Pedestrian / cycle network
– There is limited permeability in Hockley because of
the railway line and cul-de-sac which create barriers
to movement
– A number of the pedestrian crossings are poor
– The pedestrian environment at the Spa Road / Main
Road / Southend Road roundabout needs improvement
– Cycle parking is only provided at the station and the
layout of streets in addition to the volume and speed
of traffic acts as a deterrent to cycling

Public Transport
– Bus routes in Hockley are legible in terms of where
they are positioned, however the design of the stops
and the information provided could be improved
– The bus stops on Southend Road opposite the
library are not in use

The council’s vision is for:

?A reinvigorated town centre with an attractive and varied shopping
offer, providing a high quality of life with a strong community focus.
Transformation and improvements in the town centre will ensure that
forward thinking is balanced with traditional values, providing
opportunities for all in a place that is a pleasure to live and work in?.

There are half a dozen options put forward , and there’s too much detail to summarise here. But all of them include some extra town centre housing – for between 114 and 209 new homes.

We’d be interested to hear from our Hockley readers on this one….

About the author, admin

  • Reading the comment:

    “Employment area occupies a lot of land, has a lot of
    exposed ‘backs’ and is poorly related to the rest of
    the town centre and therefore ….”

    makes me think of Webster’s Way in Rayleigh. This is a main thoroughfare through the town centre, but it’s not the prettiest view of the town, with the rear service areas of the High Street businesses.

  • Hockley Residents Association broadly welsomes the general thrust of the proposals but we have reservations:
    – economic viability on an already declining town centre
    – no real plans for dealing with all the extra traffic – just “signalizing” the Spa roundabout.
    We fear that Eldon Way will simply turn into a large housing estate and the town centre into a car park.

    The HRA has arranged a special meeting at 7.30 on 26 February in Kilnfield House (by the station) to discuss the proposals. All welcome.

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