Wednesday, 11 January 2012
photo of Hall Rd when it was known as "The Avenue"
In an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday, 18th January 2012 Councillors will consider proposals to build 600 houses on land North of Hall Road.
Planning Officers have recommended the proposals which are in outline form only, the specific details will follow.
The pressure is now on to meet a target of 1250 new homes over the next few years following the Council's adoption of its core strategy - its development plan for our area .
Hall Road was identified as an ideal site in the plan because of its proximity to the town centre and its existing facilities - and 600 homes would make a massive dent in its housing commitments.
But 600 homes equals approximately another 2,000 residents - that's a big burden for the roads, schools, health services, etc - quite apart from the fact that we're talking about attractive green belt land which will be lost forever.
The houses will range from large detached properties, which will front Hall Road - presumably to not provide too much of a stark contrast to the existing homes, to one bed flats which will be buried mostly in the middle of the new "estate" along with the 35% affordable home quota. The density of housing varies considerably - as low as 12 homes per hectare, up to 40.
There will be two access points which will involve the construction of at least one new roundabout.
Plenty of open spaces are planned, including a "buffer zone" between the back of existing properties in Oak Road and the new estate. A new primary school will also be built on the site.
But the new open spaces will surely be poor compensation for the "upgrading" works which are suggested for Ironwell Lane, at least the stretch that runs from the new estate to the junction with Ashingdon Road. The Developers are being asked to fund new lighting and the provision of an improved path that is less prone to flooding, particularly in the area close to the railway bridge. Another footpath which runs North to South from Ironwell Lane to Hall Road will also dramatically lose its rural vista.
The Developers have also been asked to fund improvement works at the following road juctions;
Ashingdon Road/Hall Rd/ Bradley Way mini roundabout - improvement at this site is obviously constrained by the railway bridge but Essex Highways believe a minor alteration to this key junction can maintain or improve traffic flow.
Bradley Way/South Street - Southend Road to be widened at this roundabout junction.
Cherry Orchard Way/ Eastwoodbury Lane - both lanes will be right turn approaching Eastwoodbury Lane from Rochford.
Eastwoodbury Lane/Nestuda Way - improvement to roundabout.
Sutton Road/Purdeys Industrial Estate - Bellway have been asked to make a £150k contribution to improvement works at this roundabout junction - which may involve the introduction of traffic signals.
I would reiterate that nothing has been finalised, the Councillors will no doubt exercise their right to speak up at the meeting. This is a public meeting and I anticipate that this will be a full house. I'm sure emotions will run high as this has to be the largest residential housing scheme in the area since the Hospital?
If you want to read the planning document in detail you can link to it by clicking on the title of this post, but be warned it runs to 100 pages.
Footnote: This outline planning application was agreed at the Council meeting by majority. Notably, the ward Councillors for central Rochford, Gill-Lucas, James Cottis, and Keith Gordon joined independents and opposition party Councillors in voting against the application. It has now been referred to the Government to determine whether they want to have an involvement or are happy for the Council to proceed. I also wouldn't be surprised if we haven't had the last from local residents who I understand are exploring legal options to appeal this decision.