Thursday Night’s Meeting – 4 Approvals

District Councillors approved all four planning applications that came to them on Thursday night – after some interesting discussions.

First of all, an application to demolish one house and build three in Hillview Road , Rayleigh. Hillview Road is an unusual road- are there many other unmade roads in Essex so close to a town centre? This application is very similar to something that has already been agreed. Although the Tory ward councillor Mavis Webster had some misgivings, it was passed with no-one voting against.

The next one was at Southend Airport. The airport already have permission to build a new terminal and new railway station – but at the moment they have to be built to start use at the same time. The airport wanted permission to construct and open the station in advance of the terminal. Apparently, the station would open by August 2009 and the terminal by summer 2011 in advance of the Olympics.

Tory Ward councillors Sue Harper and Keith Gordon spoke strongly in support- although Sue was concerned about the site attracting commuter parking. Mavis Webster was concerned about wildlife issues. Ron Oatham said he looked forward to seeing both parts implemented promptly, unlike a site in his own ward…. Anyway, the application was passed.

Next up was an application in Down Hall Road, Rayleigh. Planning permission had previously been granted to extend two bungalows. But instead the applicant had demolished both of them . He had then built new bungalows with the same dimensions as to what had been approved as extensions.

Ward Councillor Lib Dem Chris Lumley said that he had been very concerned by this – neither the ward councillors nor residents had been consulted about the demolition. However he understood that the applicants had demolished the existing walls on the advice of a surveyor, and officers were advising now that the demolition could have been “inferred” from the original application. Chris L. didn’t think the applicants had gained anything from what had happened, and in these special circumstances he supported approval, This was agreed with only 2 votes against.

Finally, an application in Main Road, Hawkwell. This was for a bungalow behind some existing houses. The applicant wanted to build a specially designed bungalow for his family to live in, because he has a quadriplegic son who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The plot was quite big, with a large garden.

The first speaker was Tory Cllr Heather Glynn, who is a Hawkwell Councillor, but not one for this part of Hawkwell. She was clearly thinking about refusal, and was concerned about the loss of view “On a clear day you can see over to Kent”. and problems that might be caused by the fairly narrow access to the site between two existing houses. Heather was clearly aware that this was an emotive issue – she had a bit of a quaver in her voice and spoke with some sensitivity. Although she said implied she was thinking of a refusal, she didn’t move anything.

Tory councillor Michael Starke then spoke against the application, saying that it was backland development. Ron Oatham pointed that the council only had a policy against undesirable backland development, and he didn’t think this was undesirable.

One of the actual ward councillors, Residents Councillor John Mason then spoke in favour of the proposal. He didn’t think there was a problem with the access, and moved approval. There was then a moments silence, as he waited for someone to second him. Chris Black spoke up and seconded John’s proposal. When it went to a vote it was passed comfortably.