New Local Plan: Spatial Options Document 2021

Ended on the 22nd September 2021
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Rochford in 2050

It is a legal requirement for local authorities to identify the strategic priorities for their area in their development plan documents.

We feel it is important to take a longer-term vision-led approach to our new plan, helping to identify along the way how different strategy and policy choices can help us to achieve our vision. This vision is supported by a number of priorities and objectives that translate the vision into the key actions that we want to achieve in relation to different themes.

Previously we consulted on a draft vision as part of our Issues and Options consultation. We feel that this vision remains broadly appropriate for the plan as it is progressing, however we have made a small number of minor changes to our priorities and objectives to reflect feedback and to give appropriate weight to new and different factors that have gained in importance since we started preparing our plan.

This draft vision and objectives relate back to a number of important issues, including the Council's Business Plan 2020-2023, an excerpt of which is included overleaf. This Business Plan includes a number of planning-related priorities, including maintaining, protecting and enhancing green spaces, increasing the standard and availability of affordable housing, achieving and investing in sustainable town centres and high streets.

Figure 13 and the following tables show the Council's vision, strategic priorities and objectives for the plan.


Figure 12: Rochford District Council Business Plan, 2020-23

Draft Vision

At the heart of our new Local Plan needs to be a vision, setting out the place we want Rochford to be in the future time. Whilst the new Local Plan will only set a strategy to 2040, we want to set a longer-term vision to 2050 to provide consistency and ambition in our future policy. We are also considering adopting a range of settlement-based visions to help apply the district-wide vision and objectives into a more localised setting, allowing the different needs and priorities of our different communities to be drawn out. We have prepared draft settlement visions as part of this consultation and have included a question in each of the settlement profiles asking you what you feel needs to be included in the vision for that settlement.

Our Draft Vision for Rochford in 2050

“Rochford District will be a green and pleasant place with a focus on business and high quality homes supported by accessible and responsive services and facilities, creating healthy and sustainable communities.”


Our Society
We have an extensive social, health, physical and green infrastructure network across our district which has been enhanced to support our changing population, and delivers health, well being and quality of life benefits for our residents. We have made efficient and effective use of suitable and available land to deliver new homes and jobs, focussing on delivering previously developed land first as a priority, including making appropriate use of our own public assets. We have ensured the delivery of a wide size and tenure of new homes which meets the needs of residents, and is supported by a range of infrastructure necessary to mitigate potential impacts on communities. We have worked with Essex County Council and other infrastructure and service providers to ensure that appropriate facilities and digital networks are delivered to support strong and sustainable communities, and provide residents and visitors with choice about how they live, work and travel.

Our Economy
We have made the most of our easy access to London, close proximity to neighbouring commercial hubs and the connectivity provided by London Southend Airport to become a key destination to do business. We have also supported the delivery of a leading regional centre in the science, medical and technology sectors at the Airport Business Park. We have worked with Essex County Council and other infrastructure and service providers to deliver meaningful improvements to areas of concern to businesses. We will be recognised as an entrepreneurial and enterprising area, continuing to build on our existing strengths to nurture and support our start-up, small and medium sized businesses and strengthening our rural economy through enabling diversification of activities to provide a viable green tourism offer. We have vibrant and distinctive town and villages centres that continue to meet the shopping and leisure needs of our residents. We have invested in our local education facilities and skills development to enable residents to work locally and reduce the pressure on our transport infrastructure.

Our Environment
We continue to be recognised as a largely rural area, with many accessible and high quality open spaces and significant stretches of coastline providing attractive and accessible leisure opportunities throughout our district along the rivers Crouch and Roach for our residents and visitors to enjoy. We have supported the development of the RSPB’s Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project as the largest and most significant wetland project in Europe. We have protected and, where possible, enhanced our built, historic and natural environment, providing a network of locally, nationally and internationally important assets that are valued. We have retained our open character and extensive Metropolitan Green Belt designation, whilst providing for the needs of future communities, as far as possible. We have ensured that new homes and commercial premises respect local character and distinctiveness, are built to lifetime carbon neutral and high-quality design standards, and incorporate measures to adapt to the impacts of climate change.


Draft Strategic Priorities and Objectives

A total of 23 strategic plan objectives have been identified across five main strategic priorities. These priorities and objectives will help to direct decisions through the plan, by distilling our vision into a range of thematic 'tests'. National policy is clear that strategic priorities should be used to direct the formulation of strategic policies within the plan, with priorities that are non-strategic being reserved for non-strategic policies.

Strategic Priority 1: Meeting the need for homes and jobs in the area

  • Strategic Objective 1: To facilitate the delivery of sufficient, high quality and sustainable homes to meet local community needs, through working with our neighbours in South Essex and prioritising the use of previously developed land first.
  • Strategic Objective 2: To plan for the mix of homes needed to support our current and future residents, in particular viably addressing affordability issues and supporting our ageing population, including the provision of private and social care schemes.
  • Strategic Objective 3: To build on the existing strengths of our local economy, effectively plan to meet changing business needs and strengthen our competitiveness through supporting our new and expanding home grown businesses, facilitating the delivery of more local job opportunities, enabling rural diversification and encouraging inward investment.
  • Strategic Objective 4: To facilitate accelerated growth in our local economy through supporting the delivery of suitably located land which meets businesses needs at each stage of their lifecycle (including delivering grow-on space to enable local businesses to flourish), the continued functioning of London Southend Airport as a thriving regional airport, serving London and the South East, as well as supporting the continued growth and innovation at the Airport Business Park.
  • Strategic Objective 5: To enable the upskilling of our residents to match skills with local job opportunities by supporting the provision of accessible, modern and good quality schools, higher and further education and bespoke training facilities to meet the expectations of employers and our local workforce.
  • Strategic Objective 6: To ensure that all new homes and commercial premises are built to the highest attainable quality, design and sustainability standards with a good level of access to green space and the countryside.

Strategic Priority 2: Making suitable and sufficient provision for retail, leisure and other commercial development

  • Strategic Objective 7: To support the vibrancy, vitality and distinctiveness of our local town centres through planning to meet local niche shopping and leisure needs in Rayleigh, Hockley and Rochford.
  • Strategic Objective 8: To support the continued use and sustainability of our village and neighbourhood centres which serve the local need of current and future residents.

Strategic Priority 3: Making suitable and sufficient provision of infrastructure for transport, telecommunications, waste management, water supply, wastewater, flood risk and coastal change management, and the provision of minerals and energy (including heat)

  • Strategic Objective 9: To ensure that all new homes and commercial premises are supported by appropriate, timely and necessary infrastructure to mitigate potential impact, including those relating to transport, utilities, telecommunications (including broadband), open spaces and greenways, flood risk, education, health and other community facilities.
  • Strategic Objective 10: To work with our neighbouring authorities in South Essex and beyond, and Essex County Council, as the highway authority for our district, to deliver meaningful improvements to the strategic and local highway network.
  • Strategic Objective 11: To facilitate a change in the way residents travel through encouraging walking, cycling and the use of passenger and public transport – and interchanges between them – reducing out-commuting wherever possible, and ensuring that all new homes and commercial premises are in accessible locations offering a choice of ways to travel sustainably both locally and within the wider network.
  • Strategic Objective 12: To plan for effective waste management by encouraging adherence to the waste hierarchy, working with Essex County Council to make best use of mineral deposits resources and mineral and waste facilities, including safeguarding resources and infrastructure, supporting renewable energy generation and energy efficiency as part of all new homes and commercial premises developed, as well as supporting efficient water use.
  • Strategic Objective 13: To plan for effective flood risk and coastal change management across the district and working with Essex County Council as the Lead Local Flood Authority, Anglian Water, and the Environment Agency in the delivery of improved drainage infrastructure and sustainable drainage solutions, including effective use of SuDS

Strategic Priority 4: Making suitable and sufficient provision of health, security, community and cultural infrastructure and other local facilities

  • Strategic Objective 14: To work with Essex County Council and healthcare commissioners and providers to ensure that our district's residents have access to good quality social and health and well-being services.
  • Strategic Objective 15: To protect and enhance leisure, sport, recreation and community facilities and to support the delivery of a multi-functional green infrastructure network across our district and along the coastline, connecting to neighbouring areas in South Essex and beyond, to promote healthy and active lifestyles, and improve physical and mental health and well-being into old age.
  • Strategic Objective 16: To support the development and promotion of our cultural and environmental assets, and diversification of rural activities, to strengthen our district's green tourism offer as a complement to neighbouring areas.
  • Strategic Objective 17: To ensure that all new developments and the public realm are well designed and safe environments by balancing the principles of Essex design guidance with designing out crime and designing in community safety.
  • Strategic Objective 18: To support the timely delivery of suitable primary, secondary, higher and further education facilities, and early years and childcare facilities, working in partnership with Essex County Council and other education providers.
  • Strategic Objective 19: To support the vitality of our rural and village communities by harnessing the complete neighbourhoods model to improve the availability, accessibility and diversity of important local services, working to safeguard existing community assets and promoting strategies that would introduce new facilities and services into these areas


Strategic Priority 5: Making suitable and sufficient provision for climate change mitigation and adaptation, conservation and enhancement of the natural and historic environment, including landscape

  • Strategic Objective 20: To protect, maintain and enhance our district's natural environment, geology and biodiversity, including our open spaces, recreational areas and our extensive coastline, as well as support wildlife, to create habitat networks and reduce fragmentation.
  • Strategic Objective 21: To ensure that our district's Green Belt continues to serve its five purposes, in particular retaining the openness of the area, protecting valued landscapes, such as the Upper Roach Valley and our coastal areas, retaining the physical separation between our towns and villages, as well as those in neighbouring areas of South Essex and beyond.
  • Strategic Objective 22: To preserve and enhance the quality of our district's built and historic environment, including within our 10 Conservation Areas, by promoting high quality design that responds to local character and distinctiveness to create a sense of place.
  • Strategic Objective 23: To mitigate and adapt to the forecasted impacts of climate change, including the water environment, air quality, biodiversity and flooding, support more efficient use of energy and natural resources and facilitate an increase in the use of renewable and low carbon energy facilities.


(129) Q2. Do you agree with our draft vision for Rochford District? Is there anything missing from the vision that you feel needs to be included? [Please state reasoning]
(79) Q3. Do you agree that we should develop a range of separate visions for each of our settlements to help guide decision-making? [Please state reasoning]
(91) Q4. Do you agree with the strategic priorities and objectives we have identified? Is there anything missing from the strategic priorities or objectives that you feel needs to be included? [Please state reasoning]
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