Hockley Area Action Plan Options Report

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(10) 1. Introduction

Urban Practitioners was commissioned by Rochford District Council to prepare a spatial options report for the Hockley Area Action Plan (AAP). The options report revisits and updates earlier options developed for the AAP in 2009, in order to address concerns raised during public consultation on those earlier options.

The project team for the development of the updated options includes transport planners,Alan Baxter and Associates, and property and delivery experts, Urban Delivery.

The process for the updated AAP options has not duplicated work undertaken for the original AAP project, with the policy context, baseline analysis and consultation feedback from the original project reviewed as part of the process in developing the updated AAP options.

This report sets out the review of material developed for the Hockley AAP and introduces the updated draft options so that the local community can provide comment on these, help to shape the refined options and inform the development of a preferred spatial option for Hockley centre.

Drivers for a Hockley Area Action Plan

A number of strategic drivers exist for the development of an AAP in Hockley, which can help to shape future development and provide a framework to support the economic health of Hockley’s centre. These drivers include:

  • The absence of a current strategic planning document which focuses specifically on Hockley to preserve its assets, support investment in the centre and provide a coordinated framework for its long term future.
  • Hockley’s size and character, which sits between that of a town and a village, and makes the settlement more sensitive to larger scale development but also more vulnerable to the loss of some town centre uses.
  • The retail hierarchy of the surrounding settlements, with a strong retail pull at Southend, Basildon and Chelmsford and large supermarkets in the immediate surrounding area, drawing retail spend away.
  • The requirement for new homes in the area, with site options for these being on Green Belt land or in existing settlements, and a clear strategy required for assessing the benefits and issues associated with possible locations.
  • The low density nature of Hockley, the resulting development potential here and the risk for new buildings on private land to develop in a piecemeal fashion and without consideration for the overall character of the area if no clear planning framework is in place.
  • Hockley’s rich heritage - the limited physical legacy of this places greater importance on buildings of reasonable character in the centre which are therefore deserving of strategic level protection.

Structure of the document

The report is set out according to the following structure:

  • Chapter two reviews the baseline analysis and policy context for the AAP;
  • Chapter three reviews the consultation feedback from the original AAP process, responses to the initial options, and consultation undertaken for the updated options;
  • Chapter four sets out the overarching approach which has informed the options;
  • Chapter five sets out option 1;
  • Chapter six sets out option 2;
  • Chapter seven sets out option 3;
  • Chapter eight provides detail on the transport options;
  • Chapter nine provides an overview of financial and delivery considerations; and
  • Chapter ten sets out the next steps for the Hockley Area Action Plan.
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