Why is the site being developed?
The site is being developed following approval of planning application 20/00363/OUT via an appeal decided in March 2022. The land, referenced SER8, was allocated for residential development in the adopted Rochford District Local Development Framework Allocations Document 2014. This means that all the relevant scrutiny has been carried out to ascertain suitability of the site for residential development with appropriate open space amongst other provisions.
What does the development involve?
The development involves the demolition of two dwellings on Ashingdon Road (Nos. 148 and 150); the removal of a highway tree; formation of an access off Ashingdon Road and a secondary access off Rochford Garden Way/Percy Cottis Road; and the construction of 662 residential dwellings. The access, appearance, scale, landscaping and layout were considered at the outline stage for Phase 1 of the scheme. So far, only the access and layout have been considered for Phases 2 and 3, the appearance, landscaping and scale for these phases will be matters reserved for future applications.
What was the planning process for this development?
The council, as the local planning authority, refused the application at its Development Committee on 24 June 2021 due to concerns about to the impact of additional traffic on the highway network. The applicant (Bloor Homes) appealed this decision. The Planning Inspectorate held a 6-day public inquiry in January/February 2022. In March 2022 appeal was allowed/approved subject to 45 planning conditions.
How is the site being developed?
Of the 45 planning conditions imposed on the approved scheme, some required further details to be submitted to the local planning authority for discharge before development started. Bloor Homes has submitted details for the pre-commencement conditions, and these are either formerly discharged or nearing formal discharge.
The development has now formerly commenced with the demolition of the two bungalows.
The planning conditions that restrict vehicle movements come into force.
When will development start?
The development has commenced and works to create the access road into the site are underway. Bloor Homes will need to keep to the terms of the Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) approved on application 22/00547/DOC. This sets out construction traffic access routes, details of complainant procedures, health and safety measures within the site, wheel washing and dust management, amongst other things.
Whilst the access road into the site is being constructed there has been a number of HGV movements at this point as vehicles reverse into the site to deposit materials for the road way. This work is progressing and once complete the mud on the road will be more easily managed. Whilst these works have been occurring there has been a jet washing facility on the site which is used when appropriate, combined with street cleaning on the Ashingdon Road. The required wheel washing facility on the site will be in place once the access road has been top dressed with tarmac and the compounds areas have been created.
How will Bloor Homes ensure local people are not impacted by construction works as the development progresses?
As with any construction project, unfortunately, there is likely to be a period of disruption for residents. However, Bloor Homes and their contractors will be working to a detailed Construction and Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) during the construction phase.
The approved CEMP sets out measures that will be taken to mitigate the impacts of development, such as limited hours of construction, dust management and wheel washing, controlled delivery times and also provides contact details for points of contact.
Hours of working
Contractors have been briefed and should not be operating any machinery before 7.30am. If this happens report to the Bloor Homes comms team email@example.com and this will be addressed.
Why is the construction access now from Ashingdon Road and Rochford Garden Way?
Despite an indication on the planning application that construction access would be via Doggetts Chase, the Construction Traffic Management Plan prepared by TPS for the haulage routes and construction access points were approved as from Ashingdon Road and Rochford Garden Way.
What will happen next?
Minor highway works to Rochford Garden Way are complete.
The formation of the temporary car park will provide parking for some identified residents living in Rochford Garden Way. In addition site compounds will also be set up within the site in accordance with the details approved in the Construction Environment Management Plan.
Works to create the temporary site access from Ashingdon Road are underway.
Works to the main junction on Ashingdon Road are set to start around April/early May 2023.
Cadent will be working in the Ashingdon Road in the new year to divert the gas main. During this time there may be restricted access into the site and other options for access may need to be explored.
Removal of the Highway tree outside Holt Farm School
Part of the planning consent for the development involves the removal of a large Oak tree outside Holt Farm School. Bloor Homes has paid compensation of £67,560 for the loss of the tree and a further payment of over £74,000 to enable additional tree planting around the development, with wider opportunities for improvement to existing planting in the area.
The developer (Bloor Homes) need no further approvals from Rochford District Council to remove the tree. The tree is scheduled to be felled on the 13th February 2023.
Bloor Homes is speaking to the two nearby schools about projects to use the remains of the Oak tree and a local artist is helping.
How will the new road layout affect the crossing at the junction by the school?
As part of the approved scheme the width of the existing footway/cycleway will be 3.6 metres wide over a length of about 78 metres, to allow for the provision of a right-turn lane into the site.
Of this 78 metre stretch, at its narrowest point, a section of footway/cycleway, would be reduced to c.3.25 metres for a stretch of c.15 metres. At this reduced width, the footway/cycleway exceeds the minimum technical standard for shared footways/cycleways, of 3.0 metres.
A number of safety improvements will be incorporated into the junction layout and design. These include an upgraded Toucan crossing, including a 2 metre wide refuge island to prevent overtaking in the vicinity of the schools and assist in reducing vehicle speeds and renewal of the anti-skid surfacing on the vehicle approaches to the Toucan crossing.
There will be an additional 20 meters of pedestrian guard railing, with improved visibility characteristics; upgrading of all existing guard railing to the same visibility standard; and the provision of additional road signs to alert drivers to the potential for school-children to be crossing in the area.
Why is the new access junction located where it is and does the tree need to be removed?
The right-turn lane provision is part of the approved scheme, which ensures no delay to traffic already on Ashingdon Road and was confirmed as necessary by Essex Highways in pre-application discussions. An alternative signal-controlled junction design was previously considered during the pre-application process; however, this was not favoured by Essex Highways given that signals would cause delay to through traffic on Ashingdon Road, would require additional carriageway widening, still requiring the Oak tree to be removed.
Keeping you up to date
Bloor Homes have created a website with up to date FAQs. Please visit https://www.bloorhomes-rochford.co.uk/
Bloor Homes is producing a regular newsletter. The newsletter can be accessed via the above website.
Any enquiries you may have relating to the development email Bloor, the developers directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org