There hasn't been too much Planning activity in recent weeks due to the forthcoming local elections. In this lead up period controversial decisons and announcements are avoided. The core strategy is currently with the Planning Inspector for final sign off, and we won't formally know until May whether this is legally compliant and therefore finalised. Privately, I'm sure certain Council officials will have a good idea before then, however. If signed off, you can expect the planning application for 600 houses between Hall Road and Ironwell Lane to quickly go before Planning Committee, as the core strategy does support development in this location. The prospect of this development appalls me, I know of no one locally who is in favour of attractive green belt land being sacrificed for an ugly housing estate, the result of which will add to our already congested roads and generally urbanise what is currently an attractive semi rural area. With three District Councillors currently standing for re-election, I hope Residents are making their feelings known to them, and asking them what their voting intentions are likely to be when the proposals are voted on. Like Coombes Farm, which isn't quite "saved" yet, Hall Rd is an example of a development which would cause permanent harm to the character of Rochford. You only need to look at Rayleigh, and compare the town now to how it was thirty years ago to see how bleak the future for Rochford could be. This area is at full capacity, so the Council and the Government should reject this application, and look to other parts of the county and country, where development is sparse, to spread the load. The intention of the new Localism Bill is to allow local decision making. This Bill is currently passing through Parliament and is likely to law by the end of the year. Then, hopefully, the Council can no longer use the excuse that they have centralised housing targets forced on them.
There are indications that these austere times are affecting Rochford. I noticed "Simply Shoes" has closed on the square. I hope the shop doesn't remain vacant for too long and, please, not another charity shop.
Looks like there are no longer four Indian Resturants in Rochford as the Royal Tandoori, West St, looked very empty and dark as I walked past last night.
Still no buyer for the King's Head it seems, though a new caretaker Manager has the pub open full time again. Shame about the broken windows though.