News & Information
Mainly local news and information:
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Local Comments and Info from Vice Chair Alan James
It's good to see a number of Hockley buildings have recently been renovated. It's taken a while but how nice the old bakery is now looking, it's a pity the Ironing Parla next door doesn’t look as smart. The old Spa Pump House is also looking good, joining other buildings renovated in recent times such as Stibbards, Costa, Potters, Seemore Glass and Wells Legal. Unfortunately there are still a number of buildings not looking their best such as the Spa pub and Shuhag Tandoori but these are tough times for some businesses.
There are people that don’t like UPC windows especially in older buildings or they may not be allowed as the building is listed. Often the alternative is pealing paint work and in my opinion, with windows, distressed is not a good look.
I hope something will soon be done with the recently sold Walters & Stanton to improve the look of that building located in a very prominent part of our village and now surrounded by a temporary fence. I am not against the upper floors being turned into flats but I am not happy with the proposed loss of a shop and particularly the addition of a forth floor setting a precedent for the height of future developments in Hockley.
I hope to see more buildings being improved in future, as I'm sure we all want our village to look its best to draw in those all important visitors and shoppers.
Hockley & Hawkwell Update
How sad to see the Bull was badly damaged by fire, they had just got it looking great. At least no one was hurt and it didn’t spread to Hockley Woods. I am sure everyone will join me in hoping it will rise again from the ashes.
A decision on what will happen with the public toilets in Hockley has been postponed for a year. The proposal was to rebuild them similar to the ones that are nearing completion in Rayleigh. There is no news on Church Road speeding restrictions and the provision of allotments for Hockley.
Fortunately in Hockley there are not many empty shops or empty business units in Eldon Way. The old Barclays Bank building is at last being used again and looking quite smart now that Wells Legal has moved in. I welcome that the Rochford District Residents group are encouraging 'Courtesy Seating' for Hockley shops. Walters & Stanton has been sold and planning has gone in again to Rochford District Council to now covert the whole building into 11 flats by adding a forth level. This would mean the loss of a shop and it would also be the first building in Hockley to be that high. The worry is that this would set a precedent for the height of future developments.
There are a number of proposed developments to replace one or two homes with around ten. We will continue to oppose these developments that fall outside the current district plan and that would increase the pressure on our roads and services.
The developer in Hall Road had reinstalled the milestone behind their fence on the council verge. After a request from the HRA, I am please to see this fence has now been removed.
WAG (Westerings Action Group) are still perusing additional parking restrictions from Essex County Council. Some residents parking signs have already been installed in the Kilnwood Avenue area.
The next Hockley Residents Association meeting will be on Tuesday 11 September 2018 and AGRO (Action Groups Resisting Overdevelopment) meeting will be on Thursday 13 September 2018. Both meetings will be at 7.30 pm in Greensward Academy. Our meetings are held in Room GG27 in the Creative Arts Block next to the main car park. All are welcome to attend our Monthly Meetings to discuss current issues effecting Hockley.
Hear we go again, as soon as we have some sun we get a water shortage. As long as I can remember it's the same each year and every year they come up with solutions that never go anywhere. We cannot keep increasing our local population without using more water and other services like sewers, roads, gas, electric, schools and the NHS. We cannot keep increasing housing on the cheap without these vital services or we will all end up suffering.
Normally new homes sell quite quickly, so why have the two new detached houses that replaced the Shadhana Indian Restaurant at 200 Main Road Hawkwell been up for sale for more that 6 months? Could it be over-development with small overlooked gardens? Could it be being located close to the main road on a sharp bend where car headlights would stream through your windows? Could it be the driveway layout and lack of garages? Could it be the shed like plastic cladding that is probably going out of fashion like stone cladding did? Maybe they have been built to a substandard build quality? Or maybe its something else? I'm sure of one thing, if the price was right, someone would buy them!
Hockley Parish Council's Planning Meeting
Please find below an extract from the Hockley Parish Council's draft minutes from their planning meeting on the 18 June 2018, where 20 plus residents attended to object to the replace the pair of semi detached bungalows on the corner of Southend Road and Great Eastern Road Hockley, with 10 two bedroom flats. This is just the first stage, as this plan will now need the approval of Rochford District Council (RDC) before these flats can be built.
I believe if this development is allowed to go ahead we could see this replicated all over the district, replacing perfectly good bungalows that are in high demand with increasingly over developed sites. This will increase the traffic on our already over crowded roads and put a strain on all of our over stretched infrastructure. I believe RDC should now have a policy of protecting bungalows from these types of developments before its too late and they disappear from our district.
18/00448/FUL Grange Road Developments, Site of 22 And 24 Southend Road Hockley Essex. Demolish Existing Dwellings and Construct 10 no. 2 bed Flats with Associated Works Comments: Hockley Parish Council agrees with comments from local residents and objects to the application for the following reasons:
* Replacement of 2 semi-detached bungalows with a 3 storey block of 10 flats is considered over development.
* The building is big, high and close to neighbouring boundaries. The windows and balconies overlook neighbouring properties causing privacy issues. The size of the building creates a lighting obstruction to neighbouring properties. The development is out of character to the rest of the properties on the road.
* Traffic access is on a busy road next to a bus stop and opposite a junction with Gladstone Road, leading to potential accidents. The plan does not include access and turning for emergency vehicles.
* The parking area for x10 resident spaces and x2 visitor places is too tight and close to the building.
* It is not practical for construction vehicles to park in the road due to heavy traffic at the junction.
* There must be a condition that construction work must not take place at weekends or bank holidays. 7:30pm Public members left the meeting.
Temporary one-way system for Spa Road Hockley
I am informed by Hockley Parish Council that the temporary one-way system for Spa Road Hockley is for water mains renewal and not gas pipe installation. The work should start on 23rd July and last for 36 days. If anyone knows anything about a gas pipe replacement in Spa Road Hockley that was rumoured to last up to 18 months, please let me know. More info on the water pipe work can be found below and at: https://roadworks.org?tm=104367698
ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984 - SECTION 14(1)
Temporary Traffic Regulation Order of Spa Road, Hockley (Temporary Prohibition of entry, temporary introduction of one way and temporary introduction of no left hand turn and no right hand turn.
Please click on the following link https://roadworks.org?tm=104367698 to find details of the intended closure of above order, due to commence on 23rd July 2018 for 36 days. The closure is required for the safety of the public and workforce while Essex and Suffolk Water undertakes water mains renewal.
Regards, Essex Streetworks Team
10 Flats Replacing 2 Semi Detached Bungalows - Planning Application 18/00448/FUL
This planning application will now be discussed at a Hockley Parish Council meeting at 7pm this Monday 18 June 2018 at the Old Fire Station, Hockley. Please attend to add weight to our objections.
The meeting agenda can be found at:
The proposal is to demolish a pair of semi detached bungalows at 22 and 24 Southend Road, Hockley and replace them with 10 two bed flats. If this development is allowed to go ahead we could see this replicated all over the district.
There are a number of issues with location including the entrance where the buses stop and the proposed temporary (up to 18 months) one-way system for the new gas main in Spa Road.
I know people need homes but I don’t believe this is the way to do it by adding more and more homes to existing areas without any improvements to infrastructure including our roads.
If you would like object to this planning application click on the RDC website below and type in this case sensitive reference number 18/00448/FUL
Thanks, Alan James – Hockley & Hawkwell Residents Associations
Planning Application 18/00448/FUL
RDC have now received a planning application to demolish a pair of semi detached bungalows at 22 and 24 Southend Road, Hockley and replace them with 10 two bed flats. If this development is allowed to go ahead we could see this replicated all over the district.
A similar development was carried out at 1 Plumberow Avenue where a detached bungalow was replace with 7 flats. I believe we should be protecting bungalows not replacing them with over development. None of these development are part of the local plan and just increase traffic congestion and pollution without any improvement to our infrastructure.
If you would like object to this planning application click on the RDC website below and type in this case sensitive reference number 18/00448/FUL
Thanks, Alan James - Hawkwell Residents Association
Outline Planning Application 18/00307/OUT
An outline planning application (18/00307/OUT) has gone in to demolish a bungalow at 72 Main Road, Hawkwell (not Hockley) and land rear of 70 Main Road and land rear of Rawal Pindi Nursery. The proposed outline application is for the demolition of single dwelling and outbuildings and the development of the site for residential purposes showing 9 detached houses. In my opinion this development is not just a minor replacement of 1 home with 2 or 3 and should be subject to the the local plan that allowed 176 new homes to be built at Clements Gate.
Since the last local plan, that takes us up to 2025, RDC have approved 9 homes replacing 1 on back fill land at 177 Main Road creating Milestone Close and 36 homes replacing factories (Autoplas) at 90 Main Road creating Highwell Gardens. These 45 homes and other smaller developments together with the 176 at Clements gate have been added to our area with the only road improvement being an additional lane on the Rectory Road / Main Road / Hall Road roundabout.
Now in the next wave of RDC local plan that takes it from 2025 to 2037 Rochford could build up to an additional 7,500 homes across our district. RDC have indicated that they will include additional infrastructure this time but they have a very poor record on this so far, as the current increase in housing has produced practically none at all. I realise the reason for this is that additional housing comes from RDC and the infrastructure from Essex County Council (ECC) who provide the funds but so far this has not happened, as there hasn’t been any.
This location is not the worse place to build but what is the point in having a local plan if it is allowed to be ignored with a building free for all. If like me you believe enough is enough and no further building should take place in our area without the necessary road improvements to overloaded road junctions that create tailbacks particularly in Hockley, please object to this outline planning application 18/00307/OUT (case sensitive) by clicking on the RDC website at:
Thanks, Alan James - Hawkwell Residents Association
Cherry Orchard Park
Since the roundabout was added for the new business estate in Cherry Orchard Way, I have had reports of cars doing U turns to enter Cherry Orchard Park car park due to the new central reservation. This has been caused because you now need to drive about half a mile to the next roundabout and back to the existing park entrance. I have asked Essex County Council Highways to install no U turn signs but so far they have done nothing. The best result would be for Rochford District Council (RDC) to complete the access from the new roundabout to the car park. The existing car park often get full and now needs to be enlarged and while they are doing this they need to fill in the huge pot holes that are getting ever deeper. RDC will probably say there no money in the pot but I believe money can be found from other sources for these types of projects if they make the effort to look.
The Way Forward For Housing?
As with previous Rochford District Council's (RDC) housing and redevelopment plans I find the majority of residents would, understandably, like things to stay as they are but unfortunately this would appear not be an option. We therefore need to find a solution that causes the least change and disruption to what has already been made considerably worse by the current developments that have only just been started. The current building programme that runs until 2025 is already causing serious traffic jams on the existing roads with the resulting air pollution. It has been stated that drivers in our area spend 30 hours per year in rush hour jams, the highest in our region, the second highest being Chelmsford at 23 hours per year.
I believe building more homes on green belt land that joins existing villages and towns in Rochford District is not the way forward. The existing infrastructure has taken on too much already and not just roads but services like electrics, gas, water, sewers, schools, GP surgeries, dentists and the hospital. RDC have indicated that they will include additional infrastructure this time but they have a very poor record on this so far, as the current increase in housing has produced practically none at all. I realise the reason for this is that additional housing comes from RDC and the infrastructure from Essex County Council (ECC) who provide the funds but so far this has not happened, as there hasn’t been any.
We do need additional homes for our children to buy but unfortunately most are unaffordable and many end up being used to relocate people from London councils to relatively cheaper homes in our area. We also need retirement home developments in our area that would free up existing larger homes. I notice the proposed retirement village for the brick field site in Cherry Orchard Way seems to have gone cold but I’m not sure I would want to live that close to the airport.
The Hockley Residents Association sub-committee 'Action Groups Resisting Over-development' AGRO meet every month to discuss and tackle the Rochford District Council (RDC) new plans to build up to an additional 7,500 homes across our district. Please attend if you feel you can make a positive contribution. Meetings are held at 7.30pm at Greensward Academy room GG27 in the Creative Arts Block next to the main car park. Please see our website ( hawkwell.org ) 'Events' page for the latest meeting dates.
Update on some local issues
Hockley Residents Association (HRA) sub-committee Action Groups Resisting Over-development (AGRO) are running separate meetings to tackle the RDC 7,500 additional homes plan. So far we have had positive meetings with our MP Mark François and Rochford District Council and additional meetings are planned. We asked for an extension to the consultation but it was too late and we now await the results. The Green Party have been monitoring local air pollution levels on our main roads and should soon be producing a report.
The Church Road Group (CRG) are still pushing for something to be done to slow up through traffic. Hockley Parish Council are keen to provide allotments at the north end of the Folly Grove development off Folly Lane. Westerings Action Group (WAG) are now pursuing additional parking restrictions for the Westerings School area.
The two pine trees in front of the sorting office were removed because their roots were pushing up the paving. I believe this could have been sorted out by raising the paving but it's too late now. I was informed by Hockley Parish Council that Essex County Council will tarmac this area. This has now been done, which is not the best solution in my opinion, as it doesn’t look like the water permeable type.
Hockley RA meetings are held in Room GG27 in the Creative Arts Block next to the main car park. They start at 7.30pm usually on the second Tuesday of the month, unless it's half term. Dates can be found on the Events Calendar page of our website. All are welcome to attend our monthly meetings to discuss current issues effecting Hockley. We cannot guarantee we will resolve your issues but we may be able to point you in the right direction towards resolution. Please note AGRO meeting are normally on the following Thursdays at the same time and venue.
7,500 New Homes Consultation
I had some spare time and thought I would have a go at doing the Rochford District Council online consultation. I thought it was bad the last time they did one but it has got much worse. Apart from registering, which I had already done, it just goes on and on. In fact I really can't see many residents doing it. I just hope they use the other methods of objecting, by email or post, as I will be doing.
Four public drop-in events took place in January and February to explain Rochford District Council (RDC) propose to squeeze the additional traffic from 7,500 additional homes on to our already overloaded and air polluted roads. The event in Hockey was pathetic, just two maps showing the areas put up for development. Is this the best RDC can do? I believe the existing infrastructure has taken on too much already and not just roads but services like electrics, gas, water, sewers and the health system, including the hospital, GP surgeries and dentists. RDC have indicated that they will include additional infrastructure this time but they have a very poor record on this so far, as the last increase in housing produced practically none at all. The reason for this is that additional housing comes from RDC and the infrastructure from Essex County Council (ECC) who provide the funds or not if they don’t have them.
I saw an interesting and relevant program on BBC2 called ''The New-builds Are Coming''. It is available on BBC iPlayer if you missed it. They also stated on BBC local TV program 'Inside Out' that Southend drivers spend 30 hours per year in rush hour jams, the highest in our region. The second highest is Chelmsford at 23 hours per year.
We do need additional homes for our children to buy but unfortunately most are too expensive and many end up being used to relocate people from London councils to relatively cheaper homes in our area. We live on a peninsular surrounded on three side by water, if we really have to have an additional 7,500 new houses in our district I believe a new Garden Village located in the east and served by a new road from the north and west connecting to an existing trunk road would be the best solution. It is doubtful this will happen as it would be expensive requiring totally new roads and services involving ECC. Much cheaper to clog up all the existing roads and services and make our lives a misery.
To stop this happening you need to object to this consultation in any of the following ways: Online: www.rochford.gov.uk/iao Email: email@example.com Post: Planning Policy, Council Offices, South Street, Rochford, SS4 1BW Fax: 01702 318181. Probably the easiest way to object is online and Hockley Residents Association (HRA) sub-committee Action Groups Resisting Over-development (AGRO) have useful information on their websites ( agrorochford.wordpress.com ) to help you do this. There is not much time left, as the consultation closes at 5pm on 7 March 2018. If you don’t want our local road system to come to a complete standstill, please object asap.
AGRO have now had positive meetings with our MP Mark François and RDC but it's too early to say this will make any difference. AGRO have also requested to extend RDCs consultation date for an additional month but as so far this has not been granted.
7,500 New Rochford Homes Drop-in Events
Four public drop-in events are taking place this week so we can find out how Rochford District Council (RDC) propose to squeeze the additional traffic from 7,500 additional homes on to our already overloaded and air polluted roads. I believe the existing infrastructure has taken on too much already and not just roads but services like electrics, gas, water, sewers and the health system, including the hospital, GP surgeries and dentists. RDC have indicated that they will include additional infrastructure this time but they have a very poor record on this so far, as the last increase in housing produced practically none at all. The reason for this is that additional housing comes from RDC and the infrastructure from Essex County Council (ECC) who provide the funds or not in this case.
We do need additional homes for our children to buy but unfortunately most are too expensive and many end up being used to relocate people from London councils to relatively cheaper homes in our area. We live on a peninsular surrounded on three side by water, if we really have to have an additional 7,500 new houses in our district I believe a new Garden Village located in the east and served by a new road from the north and west would be the best solution. I doubt this would happen as it would be expensive requiring totally new roads and services involving ECC. Much cheaper to clog up all the existing roads and services and make our lives a misery.
The four public drop-in events are taking place at:
Rayleigh WI Hall, Bellingham Lane, SS6 7ED: 3pm to 9pm on Monday 15 January 2018.
Hockley Old Fire Station, Southend Road, SS5 4QH: 3pm to 9pm on Tuesday 16 January 2018.
Rochford Parish Rooms, West Street, SS4 1AS: 3pm to 9pm on Tuesday 6 February 2018.
Rayleigh WI Hall, Bellingham Lane, SS6 7ED: 3pm to 9pm on Monday 19 February 2018.
Please express your concerns at these events and then you can then object in any of the following ways:
Post: Planning Policy, Council Offices, South Street, Rochford, SS4 1BW
Fax: 01702 318181
Probably the easiest way to object is online and Hockley Residents Association (HRA) sub-committee Action Groups Resisting Over-development (AGRO) are planning to produce some information to help you do this.
Action Groups Resisting Over-development
The Hockley Residents Association have decided to form a sub-committee to tackle the Rochford District Council (RDC) have plans to build an additional 7,500 homes across our district. There was a good turn out at the first meeting on the 19 December 2017. After introductions and chat about the concerns it was decided the chair will be Jim Hall, the Vice Chair will be Jim Cripps and the sub-committee will not just address this issue for Hockley but the whole of Rochford District. It was decided the sub-committee will be called 'Action Groups Resisting Over-development' AGRO. Decisions were also made on other measures to be taken by the group.
The next meeting will be on the 11 January 2018 at 7.30pm at Greensward Academy room GG27 in the Creative Arts Block next to the main car park. Please attend if you feel you can make a positive contribution but not if you just want to have a moan.
As I have said before, to build all these homes without better roads and local facilities, including the NHS, will be disastrous. The situation is already bad, as our roads are getting more and more congested, to add an additional 7,500 without sufficient infrastructure is just crazy.
There are just two months left to express your opinion to RDC on this issue as the 'New Local Plan Issues and Options Document (and draft Sustainability Appraisal)' closes at 5pm on 7 March 2018. You can respond online, by email, by post or by fax. Surveys and consultations generally get a poor response with numbers as low as 0.02%, but if you decide not to respond, I believe RDC will view this as that you are in agreement with them on this issue.
Rochford District Local Plan
Rochford District Council (RDC) have plans in the pipeline to build an additional 7,500 homes across our district. Large areas of green belt land have been submitted by land owners to build these homes on, as of course they can make far more money by selling it for housing. Some of you may believe building all these homes is a good idea, that we need additional affordable homes for our residents and their children in the future.
Whatever your views on this, to build all these homes without better roads and local facilities, including the NHS, will be disastrous. You may have already noticed that our roads are getting more and more congested and that’s without the 600 new homes that they are now building in Rochford Town being fully occupied. Sewers are being overloaded and we are experiencing power cuts on a regular basis particularly in Hawkwell.
A consultation on this subject is due to start in December and at this point I don’t know what form this will take. I will say that, from past experience, surveys and consultations have had a poor response with numbers as low as 0.02% of our residents taking part. I am not blaming anyone as I also find them a pain to do.
Living not far away, I often pop into the Library for something or just to have a look round. I recently borrowed a couple of books and was surprised that I had not used this service for more that 4 years requiring me to renew my membership. This got me thinking that many people like me may be using the library but going unrecorded by the library system. We certainly do not want to loose this service, so I would encourage our residents to use their membership now and then to get recorded on the library system. As they say “use it or loose it” and we don’t want that to happen.
Tuesday 9.00 - 5.30
Thursday 9.00 - 5.30
Friday 9.00 - 5.30
Saturday 9.00 - 5.30
Southend Road, Hockley, SS5 4PZ Fax: 01702 207254 Email: Hockley.Library@essex.gov.uk
Renewals and Library Enquiries: 03456 037628
Allotments For Hockley
If you are interested in having an allotment, they are on the way in Hockley. They should be located at the back of the Folly Grove development Folly Lane in Hockley, subject to financial support and planning approval. Search for the "Hockley Allotment Society" Facebook page for the latest info.
Single Occupier Discount
Did you know that if you are the only person aged 18 or over living in your property that you may be entitled to a 25% reduction in your Council Tax? Maybe you are a young person just starting a life away from parents or maybe an older person that has sadly lost a partner. No matter what your situation, if you are living alone you should be able to claim. In certain circumstances you may also be entitled to claim when more that one person lives in your property. For more information visit the Rochford District website for details a: www.rochford.gov.uk/discounts-0 .
Have you experienced power cuts recently? We are often getting them in Hawkwell and have just had three in two days. This is the second day I have had to shave in the dark and my power shower not working. I am fed-up resetting clocks, timers, alarms, the sky box and getting the computer to work again. If I had an electric car, that they say we will all be driving in the future, I would also be hanging around waiting for it to charge up. I believe this will only get worse without the necessary infrastructure required for the more that 200 additional homes built and being built in our area. What’s next? reduced water and gas pressure, overflowing sewers and drains and of course traffic jams getting even worse than they already are now.
Arriva seem to be allowing the number 8 bus route that runs through Hawkwell to gradually deteriorate with the new time table published on the 23 July 2017. This is the service that serves Clements Hall Leisure Centre and now 176 homes at Clements Gate and 36 homes at Highwell Gardens plus other smaller new developments. Weekdays there is only one service in the morning and one in the evening that goes through to Rayleigh and only one service at lunch time that comes back from Rayleigh, meaning a change to the number 7 bus at Hockley for all other journey times. The number 8 also stops in early evening leaving the only way to get to and from an evening secession at Clements Hall is by private car or a taxi. There are rumours that some number 8 services could be rerouted through Hall Road to pick up the new Cherry Orchard Way Saxon Business Park and the new 600 home development in Rochford. This could only be bad news for Hawkwell, leaving Rectory Road including Clements Gate, St Mary's Church and Clements Hall with a very limited service or even worse, none at all.
Westerings School Expansion
It was reported on the local news that Essex County Council have received the highest number of complaints in our region of 210. That seems to be a bit low to me and I a sure we could boost it up a bit by complaining about the Westerings school expansion and the situation we have with our local roads caused by the school. I have already complained and it's quite strait forward to do. My objections were:
''In the last two weeks of June ECC ran a consultation on their proposal to enlargement of Westerings School, doubling it from 210 to 420 pupils. My objections is that I have lived near the school for 27 years and have noticed a continuous increase in a serious issue at drop-off and pick-up times. Parking over driveways and pavements in many local roads, speeding to and from the school and traffic jams at the two access points to the B1013. Without providing sufficient solutions to these issues, I have objected online to any increase in the size of the school. Unfortunately this seems to have been ignored by ECC by the current silence from you in defending this situation or coming up with solutions.''