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 properties are under construction. It is anticipated first occupation will be at the end of 2023. 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.
Highways works on Ashingdon Road are scheduled to commence during the school summer break.
There is a wheel wash facility within the site combined with street cleaning on Ashingdon Road.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Was Japanese Knotweed found on the site?
The following information has been provided by Bloor Homes:
- The initial Japanese Knotweed identification was recorded in 2019 by a fully qualified ecologist from specialists Southern Ecological Solutions Ltd (SES).
- SES was commissioned by Bloor Homes Limited to complete a survey of land east of Ashingdon Road, Rochford to assess a previously identified infestation of Japanese knotweed (JK) and to conduct a survey of the site boundary as a whole for further signs of invasive species presence.
- A follow-up survey was also conducted in October 2019 by another fully qualified member of SES Ltd, who holds a Certified Surveyor of Japanese Knotweed (CSJK) qualification issued by the Property Care Association (PCA).
The surveys, carried out to inform the planning application for development of the site at Ashingdon Road, were used to inform the recommendations for treatment contained within an Ecological Impact Assessment report produced in December 2019. The EIA was shared with Rochford District Council as part of the planning application submission.
- Once Bloor Homes owned the land, The removal and disposal of the Japanese Knotweed was undertaken in accordance with the strict regulations around the removal of an invasive species.
The transport and disposal of the invasive plant material was subcontracted to a licensed waste carrier – Morley Skips, who provided a ‘Duty of Care – Controlled Waste Transfer Note’ for each load. The waste receiver is stated as ENOVERT (Bellhouse Landfill, Heckfordbridge, Colchester, CO3 0NN) and a ticket from the weighbridge was provided for each load.
- We can also confirm the results from the Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) tests show the soils were classified as inert and non-hazardous. It is controlled waste due to the invasive material and has been disposed of in accordance with the strict regulations, as above.
What will happen next?
The show home within the site is being completed and should be ready by the end of September 2023.
Highways works to create the right hand turn junction from Ashingdon Road will commence during the school summer break and further works will be undertaken in the October half term holiday.
For a short period whilst works within the site near the junction are carried out there may be the requirement to temporarily remove the wheel wash trough facility and replace with jet washing of wheels.
How much affordable housing is being built and who will receive these homes?
There will be around 220 affordable homes provided on site. This meets the council's requirement to deliver 35% of the entire housing development as affordable. The council has agreed the types of properties to be provided with Bloor Homes. This is consistent with local housing needs evidence for tenures and sizes, for example.
Bloor Homes will appoint a Housing Association to purchase the affordable properties for rent or sale. The starting point for tenures is that 80% is for affordable rent and 20% for affordable home ownership (like shared ownership products, for example). The council receives 100% of the nominations for the affordable rented properties for people who are on the Council Housing Register. For shared ownership, there would be criteria for individuals to demonstrate, such as personal needs for an affordable home and local connections."
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: email@example.com