Spatial Options Virtual Webinar: Question Responses

Rochford District Council (the Council) has recently published the next stage of its new Local Plan, the Spatial Options document, for public consultation.

As part of this consultation, the Council held a virtual webinar on the evening of Wednesday 25 September. A link to a form which interested parties could use to request answers to particular questions was circulated in advance.

The webinar can be watched back on Youtube

This webpage provides a written response to each of the questions submitted through this form, including those that were not answered verbally during the webinar. Please note, the questions given responses below are the exact questions received through this form. Responses to some of the more general frequently asked questions asked during the consultation have been published separately on the Council’s website on our Spacial Options FAQ page

 

Question 1: In Great Wakering we have had to accept a massive increase in new houses and with indiscernible contribution to local services which have just had to cope. We hear a lot about house building but very little about infrastructure such as schools, doctors, nurseries and most important for the eastern end of RDC - roads. Why are these things so low on the list of priorities when they are the things that local residents care about?

Where large new housing developments have taken place, these will have been required to make financial contributions towards local infrastructure. These contributions are set out in legal documents called a “Section 106 agreement”. A development would have to be very large (at least 1,000 houses) to deliver brand new facilities such as new schools or doctors’ surgeries, and therefore these contributions will generally be given to existing facilities to help them increase their capacity. It can therefore be challenging to observe changes to local infrastructure, particularly where that infrastructure already had some capacity issues.

Through the new Local Plan, the Council will be preparing a study called the Infrastructure Delivery Plan which will consider the current capacity of local infrastructure in different parts of the District and how that infrastructure capacity could be improved to support new development. As set out in the consultation document, it may also be possible to follow a strategy that delivers brand new facilities, such as new schools, however a brand new facility would typically require a significant amount of development in one location. For example, a new primary school would likely require around 1,500 new houses.

 

Question 2: Traffic into and out of Rochford can be very busy with lengthy queues at peak times, like others I would like to see infrastructure before houses so as to avoid the grid lock that already exists through Rayleigh and Hockley.

I have already raised my concerns with my local councillor about the crossing points on cherry orchard way for pedestrians and the overgrown poorly maintained cycle paths, that currently lead me to cycle on the road. All of these issues should be sorted before any new houses are approved.

There also needs to be a balance between the green spaces and land for homes, please do not build on all available fields around Rochford, this will spoil the feel of this semi rural location.

Work on a transport assessment is currently underway and will consider how different options would impact on traffic flows along key routes and at key junctions. A key part of any transport assessment would also be identifying any improvements that need to be delivered to support population growth. There is no pre-judgement around the outcomes of this transport assessment and the impact of different strategies on traffic flows will be a key consideration in the Council selecting the right strategy for the new Local Plan.

Concerns about maintenance standards on public cycleways will be passed to Essex County Council as the local highway authority.

National and Council policy is clear that brownfield and vacant sites will need to be developed prior to any greenfield sites.

 

Question 3: Has the Council already carried out a local needs survey to establish requirements for housing in the next plan period? and if so at what stage will sites suitable for further housing be identified.

Councils are expected to plan to meet the needs of their local area through their Local Plans. The starting point for knowing how many homes to plan for is a Government methodology. This methodology suggests that around 360 homes need to be built in Rochford each year if needs are to be met. A previous assessment from before this methodology was introduced produced a broadly similar figure at 330-360 homes a year.

The current consultation sets out options for how these needs could be met but at this stage no specific locations or sites have been selected. Future stages of consultation will provide more detail on the Council’s preferred solution as this emerges.

 

Question 4: What was the level of interest in the self build interest form? Is this forming part of the spatial planning?

The self-build register is a register where individuals can record their interest in building their own home in the District. The register was first introduced in 2016 and currently has 83 individuals registered to it. At this stage, no specific sites have been identified for self-build projects however options are set out in the ‘Housing for All’ chapter of the consultation document, including to identify specific sites for self-build housing or to require a percentage of homes on all development sites to be for self-build opportunities.

 

Question 5: Why has the Council not done a transport assessment BEFORE asking the public to comment on the proposed sites for future development? How can the residents of Rochford District be expected to give a worth while response without knowing what road improvements are being considered to go along with the proposed citing of the additional housing?

Work on a transport assessment is currently underway and will consider how different options would impact on the flow of traffic on key roads and at key junctions. A key part of any transport assessment would also be identifying any improvements that need to be made to the transport network to support population growth.

However, where development is expected to fund or deliver improvements to the road network, there is a need to have a general understanding of where that development could go. For example, road improvements in Rayleigh could not be delivered if the funding was to come from developments in Great Wakering. The transport assessment will be a public document and residents will have an opportunity at future stages of the Local Plan to consider how it affects choices about the options available on future developments.

 

Question 6: Are you going ahead with the old plan of a new road from the A130 through to Shoebury? With the amount of new housing in the area and lack of new roads to take the increase in vehicles, this old plan would relieve the chaos in the villages.

A transport assessment is currently underway. Opportunities for road improvements such as new routes will be considered where justified, however consideration of specific routes will need to give appropriate weight to the likelihood of funding and the wider environmental impact of new transport routes.

 

Question 7: Will Rochford council strive to protect green belt and agricultural land in light of the ongoing global crisis of global warming and climate change?

National and Council policy is clear that brownfield and vacant sites will need to be developed prior to any greenfield sites being selected

In line with national policy, Green Belt land would only be considered for development in exceptional circumstances. The value of agricultural land will also be given weight in selecting the right strategy and sites for the new Local Plan. Agricultural land quality is one criteria, for example, used in the Council’s published Site Appraisal Paper.

 

Question 8: Will Rochford council protect the heritage and rural village feel of Great Wakering and the villages or will it allow it to become an extension of Shoeburyness?

The need to protect the character and avoid coalescence (merging) of nearby settlements will be a key consideration in developing the right strategy for the new Local Plan. At this stage no decisions have been made about this strategy, however the advantages and disadvantages of potential strategies is set out in the consultation document.

 

Question 9: Will land in Fambridge such as Ellesmere Road be included as most plots are infill ??

At this stage no decisions have been made about which, if any, sites should be allocated or developed as part of the new Local Plan.

Interested parties can advise of any land they feel should be developed or protected through the consultation

 

Question 10: RDC share a Peninsular with two other Authorities ( SBC & CPC ), all 3 are generating a NEW Local Plan, the cumulative impact on the Peninsular is a circa 30% increase in population (and demand).

Regardless of location ( Brown Field / Green Field ), ( to the East, West or Central ), there is only one shared Trunk Road, one shared NHS Hospital and already widespread decline in all Public Services.

This Spatial Options Study does not address the key, Peninsular limited, existing Infrastructure shortfalls that preclude 30% Growth.

My question is - can the single Trunk Road and NHS Hospital cope with a 30% increase in loading, bearing in mind both were defined as ‘at or near capacity in 2011’ ( prior to the existing Local Plans ) ?.

Work on a transport assessment is currently underway and will consider how different options would impact on traffic flows along key routes and at key junctions. A key part of any transport assessment will also be identifying any improvements that need to be delivered to support population growth. There is no pre-judgement around the outcomes of this transport assessment and the impact of different strategies on traffic flows will be a key consideration in selecting the right strategy for the new Local Plan.

The Council works closely with the NHS and developments are required to make financial contributions to the NHS to allow facilities to be expanded. Where the NHS advises that capacity cannot be expanded, the Council may have to consider alternative strategies.

 

Question 11: Why is road Infrastructure NOT at the top of the list to be tackled 1st ? More houses means the road delays and problems will be even greater,it has been going on for far too long it comes up every time there is a consultation. Is NO one listening or they just passing the problem on.

The ability for transport infrastructure, including roads, to support population growth will be a key consideration in any future decisions about the new Local Plan’s strategy. A Transport Assessment is planned to consider the impact of potential new development on traffic flows on key roads and junctions, and to identify the mitigation needed to support population growth.

The Council will continue to work with Essex County Council to consider opportunities to address long-standing congestion issues on the road infrastructure. However development may be an effective way of funding improvements to the road network and therefore there is a need to consider the issues together in the preparation of the new Local Plan.

 

Question 12: Instead of building on Green Belt, why not join Southend and Castle Point in building along A127 where more commercial sites are being built, Infrastructure is far better than in Hockley.

No decisions have been made on how development should be distributed as part of the new Local Plan. Interested parties are able to suggest particular strategies that they feel would be appropriate by responding to the Spatial Options consultation.

 

Question 13: Will the boundaries of the Roach Valley be taken into consideration?

The boundaries of the Upper Roach Valley Special Landscape Area are an identified constraint that will be taken into consideration when decisions are made on development. There is a Landscape Character Study published on the consultation website that provides more information on the Upper Roach Valley Special Landscape Area.

 

Question 14: Why is it not clear what your doing the plan doesn’t show details very clear I live on a very busy ashingdon road and would like more details and when are they going to stop the cycles coming along my side of the path that not a cycle Lane it is dangers I nearly got knock over by an e scooter outside my bungalow as the is not built for cycles

The Spatial Options document sets out a range of options on how the Council could address a number of issues as part of its new Local Plan. No decisions have been made on which options should be selected at this stage.

Opportunities to improve the cycle network in the District can be raised through the consultation. Concerns over illegal use of existing cycleways should, however, be raised with Essex County Council or Essex Police if a common occurrence.

 

Question 15: What steps are the council planning to address housing in this district for the hidden homeless - those "sofa surfing" and adults forced to live with parents as they have low wages and the price to rent/buy is too high?
2) What provisions do the council have to accommodate the disabled members of our society? Access to some areas are restrictive for wheelchair users (woodland walks, pavements and roads). Vehicles (cars, lorries, vans) use the pavements as parking and cyclists use them as their very own "road" as they feel the actual roads are too dangerous for them, making it hazardous for those with visual impairment/severe visual impairment, wheelchairs, etc.
3) Will the council insist on a better road network before considering mass house building? Our roads get gridlocked due to only minor incidents, causing havoc and pollution!

Around a third of homes (35%) built on larger sites are made available for affordable tenures. The Council has nomination rights on all of these properties and a local eligibility test is in place.

A new type of affordable housing has also recently been introduced called ‘First Homes’ which will be made available to local first-time buyers at a reduced rate. Future developments built in Rochford District will include this type of housing.

In relation to accessibility standards, the Council can create policies in its new Local Plan that require all homes and other developments to be built to suitable standards of accessibility. Whilst it is trickier to “retro fit” existing facilities, it may be possible for the new Local Plan to help fund accessibility improvements in certain locations. Currently 3% of homes on larger sites are required to be built to full wheelchair accessibility standard. This level could be reviewed and increased as part of the new Local Plan.

In relation to transport conditions, the Council is in the process of preparing a transport assessment that will consider the impact of potential strategies on traffic flows along key routes and at key junctions. The assessment will also consider opportunities to mitigate the impact of population growth such as new routes or junction improvements. Where these improvements are needed to support population growth, developments will be required to fund and deliver these at the earliest opportunity.

 

Question 16: Could you address how our 2 hospitals, Southend and Basildon are supposed to deal with such an inflated population?

The Council works with the NHS to consider local capacity issues and housing developments are required to make financial contributions to the NHS to fund capacity improvements where required. Where the NHS raise challenges or opportunities surrounding healthcare provision, the Council will be able to take this on board in decisions around the strategy of its new Local Plan.

 

Question 17: How many applicants are currently on RDC housing waiting list and what percentage of the proposed additional houses will be social or affordable housing?

There are currently around 980 individuals on the Council’s housing register

The Council’s current policies requires around a third (35%) of new homes on larger sites to be affordable homes. The current split of those affordable homes is around 80% affordable rent and 20% shared ownership

This policy could be reviewed and requirements increased as part of the new Local Plan process. More information is set out in the ‘Housing for All’ section of the consultation paper.

 

Question 18: How can the council justify the amount of roadworks on vital roads in Rayleigh happening simultaneously? 5 minute journeys are becoming in excess of 30 minutes, as a minimum. Can the council seriously defend the approvals that were made for the road works conducted concurrently in the last few weeks, or in future recognise that these NEED to be staggered in order to manage traffic and CO2 emissions? Thank you.

Granting permission for roadworks does not fall under Rochford District Council but the issue has been noted and brought to Essex County Council’s attention

 

Question 19: As local residents cognisant of the nationwide housing shortage, I’m sure that most of us understand the need for progress and associated housing development, but the range of plans under consideration seem to pay no mind to existing local infrastructure issues, which will only be exacerbated by this further development. With previous substantial developments having already taken place, most residents feel that the associated needs for infrastructure investment have simply not been met; a short journey around the area confirms this, as does an attempt to book a doctor’s appointment or find a local school for new pupils. From the recent public consultation session that took place, such as it was, answers provided to questions posed of the attending local planning officers seemed to confirm that associated infrastructure needs for new development were evaluated almost on a standalone basis; in other words, in absence of consideration of the fact that schools, roads, surgeries etc are ALREADY at capacity, and indeed the road network is not even being sufficiently maintained with the existing traffic levels, which will clearly increase as development increases.

Does the council agree that local infrastructure is already insufficient and what plans do you have to address these critical issues, both existing and to come, in light of these proposed developments?

Furthermore, if we as residents are expected to trust RDC when we are told that infrastructure issues will be addressed, why not confirm that by building the required infrastructure first, and once sites for development have been agreed?

This particular part of Essex has a unique geography, standing effectively as a peninsular between the Crouch to the north and the Thames to the south and as such faces significant challenges in having a properly functioning main road network; we are all familiar with the usual congestion issues on the 3 main roads in and out of the area. I recognise that roads and highways are the responsibility of Essex Highways, but this important fact must be a factor for RDC in these development considerations. What thought is being given to this as RDC consider volume and location of proposed developments?

When new housing developments take place, these will be required to make financial contributions towards local infrastructure. These contributions are set out in legal documents called a “Section 106 agreement”. A development would have to be very large (at least 1,000 houses) to deliver brand new facilities such as schools or doctors’ surgeries, and therefore these contributions will generally be made to existing facilities to help them increase their capacity. It can therefore be challenging changes to local infrastructure, particularly where that infrastructure already had some capacity issues.

Through the new Local Plan, the Council will be preparing a study called the Infrastructure Delivery Plan which will consider what the current capacity of local infrastructure is in different parts of the District and how that infrastructure capacity could be improved to support new development. As set out in the consultation document, it may also be possible to follow a different strategy to make sure we can deliver brand new facilities, such as new schools, however typically a brand new facility would require a significant amount of development in one location. For example, a new primary school would likely require around 1,500 new houses.

The challenges of our peninsula geography and transport network are acknowledged in the consultation document. Through our planned transport assessment we will need to consider how potential population growth will impact traffic flows on key routes and at key junctions and how any impacts can be mitigated through new routes or improvements.

 

Question 20: Will the field at the back of Hockley Community Centre owned by RDC be allowed to be used as a road for access to enable development on the field belonging to Betts Farm once it’s lease to the community centre ends?

This is not an option being considered as part of the new Local Plan.

 

Question 21: Will you be preventing the use of already-dwindling green spaces in the district for building ?

Green spaces in the sense of parks or open spaces are not currently being considered for development as part of the new Local Plan. In relation to green spaces in a wider sense, Government and Council policy is to make best use of brownfield and vacant sites prior to considering any greenfield sites for development.

 

Question 22: Some of the proposed sites are situated in Rayleigh’s only Conservation Area, one site is on an Ancient Monument, named in the Little Domesday.
My question is if you go ahead with these plans how do you propose to prevent property owners living within the Conservation Area in the future doing ‘their own thing’ too or will the Council be setting a different standard for Rayleigh residents?

The consultation document includes all of the sites that landowners have asked us to consider (referred to as “promoted sites”). At this stage the Council has not sought to select or remove sites from this list, therefore there are sites that are unlikely to be realistic options for development. In this context, the impact that a potential development would have on heritage will be a consideration in selecting which, if any, sites should be developed as part of the new Local Plan.

 

Question 23: 1. Where is the demand for all these new houses? Site on Hockley Road just past Fitz School has taken so many years to fully sell. Why, if the catchment position is so perfect? We should push back to the Government to address any housing need by speeding up the house buy/sell process so that chains are quick and reliable to complete. I bet more would move and new houses would not sell!
2. Traffic flow - more cars in a market town that does not flow well enough already. How can you support that alone with ~500+ more cars. Traffic lights, mini roundabouts and too many crossings around Rayleigh already! Tickling with junctions like Rawreth Lane will not make a difference!
3. Back roads are becoming more ruthless cut-throughs to avoid the nightmare town center. Road surfaces are full of breaks and pot holes. Just look at Nelson Road.
4. Pedestrian only central high street for Rayleigh. Scrap the one-way system. Central high street and Websters Way to be traffic free.
5. Drainage - water drainage in parts of Rayleigh is getting worse. The old drain systems cannot cope and sporadic hard downpours we see these days will create more local floods. Residents don't want it! Nelson Rd has been flooded twice in recent years.
6. Waste recycling centre. Rayleigh's one is a joke! We must not put up with the small site in the middle of a housing area. Use a new brown field site for a better one outside of town.
7. Explain how oversubscribed Doctors and schools will cope?
8. Fact check - how many new houses have been built in Rayleigh in past 10 yrs but no change to services or infrastructure - just had to cope! Hockley Rd, London Rd (Elec Board site), Makro site. Rayleigh has done its fare share so dig heels in and go else where!

Rochford District has a housing need that is mostly created from local population growth. Like many areas, we are seeing increasing numbers of younger people forced to live at home far longer than they would like to because of a lack of affordable housing locally. Similarly, we are seeing increasing numbers of concealed households, such as homes being lived in by more people than they were designed for. A proportion of the homes built in Rochford will cater for those currently living elsewhere but this is a natural process, with many people currently living in Rochford likely to move to other areas in their lifetimes.

The time it takes for housing sites to be constructed is beyond the control of the Council, but it is reasonably rare for homes to be built and not sold quickly.

The Council is preparing a transport assessment to inform the new Local Plan. This transport assessment will consider the impact that development in different areas would have on traffic flows on key routes and at key junctions. It will also identify the measures needed to resolve any capacity issues caused by population growth.

Through the new Local Plan, the Council will also be preparing a study called the Infrastructure Delivery Plan which will consider what the current capacity of local infrastructure is in different parts of the District and how that infrastructure capacity, (including that of sewers, schools and doctors’ surgeries) could be improved to support new development. As set out in the consultation document, it may also be possible to follow a different strategy to make sure we can deliver brand new facilities, such as new schools, however typically a brand new facility would require a significant amount of development in one location. For example, a new primary school would likely require around 1,500 new houses.

Ideas for how a local area could be improved, such as pedestrianising certain areas or planning for new recycling centres, can be put forward through the consultation.

 

Question 24: Traffic congestion is already a significant issue along the length of L Wakering Road and will be compounded further by the existing large residential development on L Wakering Rd (Abbey Meadow). Barling Road is even less suitable for increased traffic. With no means or space to ease traffic flow and the inevitable increased risk of road traffic accidents, how could any of this be managed?

Work on a transport assessment is currently underway and will consider how different options would impact on traffic flows along key routes and at key junctions. A key part of any transport assessment would also be identifying any improvements that need to be delivered to support population growth. There is no pre-judgement around the outcomes of this transport assessment and the impact of different strategies on traffic flows will be a key consideration in selecting the right strategy for the new Local Plan.

 

Question 25: Could you tell me whats in your thoughts for the maybe proposed planning for kindly woods area
Also at the bottom of Western that ajoins Great Wheathleys
The infrastructure of Rayleigh surely cannot take anymore when will enough be enough
Please could you let me know your response

Kingley Wood is not being considered for re-development and is recognised in the consultation document for its recreational and wildlife value.

As part of the consultation document, all of the sites that landowners have asked the Council to consider (referred to as “promoted sites”) have been shown with an opportunity for interested parties to comment on these. This includes a number of sites in Rayleigh. No decisions have been made on whether any of these sites should be developed.

 

Question 26: Many of the proposed site options in Hockley would not require the developer to provide new schools, GPs etc. due to their individual size, however, collectively they would.
How are you going to ensure appropriate infrastructure for the additional housing?

No decisions have been made on how development should be distributed as part of the new Local Plan, therefore there is no pre-judgement about whether any of the proposed site options in Hockley should ever be developed. It is recognised in the consultation document that one of the disadvantages of developing smaller sites is the potential lack of funding towards new infrastructure.

Developments can, however, make financial contributions towards new infrastructure that can be pooled together, to ensure any cumulative requirements are realised. Whilst this may be riskier than a single development funding infrastructure, it has worked successfully in some places and remains an options.

 

Question 27: Regarding COL38, who has decided that this is a former park? It was sold in 2000 to Ashington Parish council to remain as a park for 100 years.

The Council is obliged to consider all of its landownership in putting together its new Local Plan. There are no current plans, however, to develop this land.

 

Question 28: As part of RDC Local Plan Spatial Options you have included the Mill Hall and Civic Suite both located in the conservation area and which you yourselves have assessed the following locations as:-
1.Mill Hall as being Moderate Adverse.... The development of this site will cause less than substantial harm to a heritage asset and this harm is considerable. Likely no options for mitigation. Proposals causing this level of harm to the significance of a heritage asset should be avoided.
2. Civic Suite Site as being Major Adverse....The development of this site will cause substantial harm to a heritage asset. Likely no options for mitigation. Proposals causing this level of harm to the significance of a heritage asset should avoided.
Why then have you included these sites in the Local Plan Spatial Options when they are both heritage sites in our conservation area and building on these sites will cause great harm?

At this stage the consultation document presents all of the sites that may be available for re-development over the next 20 years. However, no sites have been selected or sifted from this list. The assessment referenced forms an initial assessment of one criteria that needs to be considered when assessing a development proposal. A more robust assessment of all sites is required to justify which sites are then taken forward as part of the new Local Plan.

 

Question 29: Thank you for sharing the draft document. My question is in relation to the Strategy Options for housing delivery. The plans provided in the document which show the various different options are not at all clear and it is extremely difficult to understand what is actually being proposed, but from the district wide plan shown above 'Strategy Option 1' it would appear to designate a significant amount of land, largely within Southend-on-Sea's boundary as Potential Regional Parkland.

This approach would appear at odds with that being promoted by SoS in the latest draft of their document and shows that the development of this land will be essential if it is able to get anywhere near meeting its OAN.

Furthermore, SoS latest version of their draft plan shows that Rochford would need to accommodate some of its housing requirement in order to help them meet its OAN.

Can officers comment on the above and specifically to what extent they are engaging with SoS Council to ensure sound Local Plan's can come forward for both authorities that fully address their housing requirements.

If the Council is not taking account of the above, what approach is it taking to ensuring it is able to demonstrate to an Inspector it has fulfilled its obligations under the Duty to Co-operate.

Finally, what engagement has the Council had with the owners of the suggested 'Regional Parkland' as to whether this is a realistic option that would be deliverable.

Thank you for allowing us an opportunity to put this question to you and we look forward to its response.

The potential regional parkland is a concept identified in a technical study called the South Essex Green and Blue Infrastructure Study. The Study identifies large areas of land where there are opportunities to improve public access to green areas or create new green areas, to take advantage of particular opportunities in those areas and to compensate for poor provision of green spaces in these areas. The boundary of the potential regional parkland shown on maps in both the South Essex Green and Blue Infrastructure Study and the consultation document are not exact and are not intended to imply that all that land should be turned into a conventional park. Where land has been put forward by landowners to be considered as part of the new Local Plan, this could include being developed as regional parkland, housing or both. Rochford District Council does not have jurisdiction over the use of land in other authority areas.

Under the legal Duty to Cooperate, the Council is working with Southend-on-Sea Borough Council through both authorities’ Local Plan processes to ensure that both strategies are complementary as far as possible. At this stage it is not known whether any of Southend-on-Sea’s potentially unmet need for housing could be accommodated in Rochford District, however options for addressing housing need more generally are set out in the consultation document.

 

Question 30: Why have promoted sites been put in blue, when a lot of them are bordering Ancient Woodland and local wildlife sites and appear to be in the green belt boundary? Concerns these sites will not be protected.
What does other open space mean?
We endorse the potential regional park locations as identified on spacial options map, but query why these are not proposals just potential? Moreover, some of these same sites are coming as promoted sites for blue, which is oppositional to the potential of regional park; very confusing for local residents.

All Councils are required to consider how their identified needs for housing can be met when preparing their Local Plans. As many councils do, Rochford District Council has asked landowners and developers to put forward areas of land that they feel should be considered for development as part of this process. This is called the “Call for Sites”

At this stage, the Council has not sifted any of the sites that were put forward through the Call for Sites. However when making decisions about which, if any, of the sites should be developed, proximity to protected habitats and woodland will be key considerations. The Council is obliged to consider the sites put forward on their merits and cannot refuse to consider sites in the Green Belt or near to Ancient Woodland or Local Wildlife Sites.

The label ‘Other Open Space’ on some maps refers to public green spaces, such as parks and allotments, that are recommended for protection in the new Local Plan but which do not meet the particular criteria to be protected as Local Green Spaces. More information on the criteria for ‘Local Green Spaces’ is set out in the Open Spaces and Recreation section of the consultation document.

The potential regional parkland is a concept identified in a technical study called the South Essex Green and Blue Infrastructure Study. The Study identifies large areas of land where there are opportunities to improve public access to green areas or create new green areas, to take advantage of particular opportunities in those areas and to compensate for poor provision of green spaces in these areas. The boundary of the potential regional parkland shown on maps in both the South Essex Green and Blue Infrastructure Study and the consultation document are not exact and are not intended to imply that all that land should be turned into a conventional park. Where land has been put forward by landowners to be considered as part of the new Local Plan, this could include being developed as regional parkland, housing or both

 

Question 31: Can you confirm (yes or no) that allotment sites in Rochford have not - or will not - be included for development bearing in mind this article:

“Allotment land could provide a solution to England’s housing crisis”

Allotment sites have not been put forward to be considered for development as part of the Council’s new Local Plan.

 

Question 32: I like to know about schools my grandchild has been refused all local schools because they are full so having to travel to barlin so where are the new family’s going to go to school

Essex County Council are the authority responsible for schools in Rochford District. Queries around school places can be passed on to them for a response.

In the context of development, housing developments are required to make financial contributions to Essex County Council to create capacity for population growth. A planning application has recently been approved to create a new classroom at Barling Magna Academy in particular. Where sufficient new housing is planned in one location, it may be possible to create a brand new school. Essex County Council’s standards suggest around 1,500 homes are needed for a new primary school and over 4,000 homes for a new secondary school.

 

Question 33: What serious consideration has been given to the impact of a potential 6,000 new properties being built which lead onto the already congested B1013 and Ashingdon Road (new properties built in my area have a minimum of 2 cars per household if not more)?

Work on a transport assessment is currently underway and will consider how different options would impact on traffic flows along key routes and at key junctions. A key part of any transport assessment would also be identifying any improvements that need to be delivered to support population growth. There is no pre-judgement around the outcomes of this transport assessment and the impact of different strategies on traffic flows will be a key consideration in selecting the right strategy of the new Local Plan.

 

Question 34: Can we have an assurance that Southend Council (sic) will not countenance the use of essential green spaces such as allotments for the purpose of housing development?

National and Council policy is that brownfield, contaminated and vacant land will be considered before any Green Belt or agricultural land is considered for development. Green spaces such as parks or allotments are not being considered for development as part of the new Local plan.

 

Question 35: Can the Council confirm that where Green Belt Agricultural land is considered for development that it will not be in areas that will impact on the Boroughs important Listed Buildings.

National and Council policy is that brownfield, contaminated and vacant land will be considered before any Green Belt or agricultural land is considered for development. The impact of any proposed development on heritage assets, such as listed buildings, will be a key consideration in line with national policy.

 

Question 36: Where development in Greenbelt is considered in areas outside the Village envelope would the Council consider keeping the new development within keeping of the existing location. ie , rather than a huge estate, developments should be in small pockets on the existing roads avoiding disrupting the setting of existing properties.

At this stage, the Spatial Options consultation document sets out options for how growth (including new housing) could be distributed across the District. A strategy of building smaller sites on the edge of settlements could be put forward as a preferred option through that consultation.

 

Question 37: Where farmland owners are promoting large areas of land, those owners should also offer the existing farm houses and brown field areas. These areas should be developed first to limit the impact on other property owners. Some land owners have multiple of brown field areas which due to modern farming techniques are little used.

National and Council policy is that brownfield, contaminated and vacant land will be considered before any Green Belt or agricultural land is considered for development.

 

Question 38: How will you improve the current over subscribed infrastructure?
How will you provide the excess, dental, health, school, road deterioration, pavement deterioration, replacement of green zone, traffic problems in the area?
What is your plan to prevent further flooding now that natural drainage is being removed, we have suffered from several burst watermains that have lasted for months before being resolved.

Through the new Local Plan, the Council will be preparing a study called the Infrastructure Delivery Plan which will consider what the current capacity of local infrastructure is in different parts of the District and how that infrastructure capacity could be improved to support new development. As set out in the consultation document, it may also be possible to follow a different strategy to make sure we can deliver brand new facilities, such as new schools, however typically a brand new facility would require a significant amount of development in one location. For example, a new primary school would likely require around 1,500 new houses.

As set out in the Spatial Options consultation document, the risk of flooding from different sources will need to be addressed in a number of ways. Firstly, new development will need to be located in areas of lower risk of flooding. Secondly, flood risk mitigation such as sustainable drainage systems will need to be included as part of developments to reduce the risk of flooding. The Council works closely with the Environment Agency and Essex County Council who have responsibility for flood management within Rochford District. Issues around the maintenance of water supply networks are not within the scope of this consultation and should be raised with local water supply companies Essex and Suffolk Water or Anglian Water.