Rochford District Core Strategy Regulation 26 Draft
Section Two - Spatial Vision for the District
2.1 The Council's Community Strategy Plan set out a vision for the future. This Core Strategy takes account of the Community Strategy and proposes a spatial vision for the next 5, 10 and 15 years to 2021. The Council has the following vision for the district:
"The Council's vision is to make Rochford the place of choice in the county to live, work and visit."
2.2 The Council has also adopted the following principal aims:
- Provide quality, cost effective services
- Work towards a safer and more caring community
- Promote a green and sustainable environment
- Encourage a thriving local economy
- Improve the quality of life for people in our District
- Maintain and enhance our local heritage
2.3 The following sets out the spatial vision for the district:
In 5 years… …where will we be?
2.4 The Rochford District is one of the safest places in the country to live and work. A number of agencies and individuals are committed to working together, as partners of the local Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership, to maintain and where possible improve this standard, whilst also working to reduce the fear of crime that exists.
2.5 Residents will be able to enjoy the early development of the Thames Gateway Green Grid. This will lead to improvements in the provision and upgrade of green space, resulting in increased usage of these spaces which in turn results in healthier lifestyles. Enhancement of heritage sites and local facilities will improve opportunities for leisure and free time activities, improving the quality of life for many residents.
2.6 Residents will see new development schemes incorporating a mix of housing and required local facilities being constructed on several large sites around the district. There will have been improvements to roads, public transport and other facilities in the vicinity of these sites. The new homes will offer high quality design, and include rainwater retention measures and renewable energy features. A percentage of the new homes will be delivered as affordable housing. These development sites will be landscaped and connected to the Green Grid and public open space.
2.7 Following its expansion and completion of a new car park entrance at the eastern end of the site, together with improved footpath and cycle links, residents will be able to take full advantage of the resource offered by the Cherry Orchard Jubilee Country Park. The environmentally sympathetic Wallasea Wetlands Project will have improved accessibility and be a popular destination for bird watchers and others, particularly during the winter months.
2.8 New jobs have become available as part of the automotive development on the Rochford Business Park, offering skilled and semi-skilled positions. Allied to this, passenger flights are increasing from London Southend Airport and some new jobs will be available from this early growth. The new terminal and railway station at the airport will be complete and a plan for improving surface access agreed.
2.9 In Rochford the redevelopment of the hospital site has been completed and high class, modern healthcare facilities are available for the treatment of mental health. Elsewhere in the district a new recycling centre complements the existing kerbside scheme available for residents. The primary school in the new Park School buildingis proving popular with parents and has been graded well by Ofsted.
2.10 A new satellite health care facility on a site in Rayleigh will be nearing completion associated with one of the new mixed development sites.
2.11 We will be working with our partners to tackle the problems of traffic congestion, both within the District, and on routes in and out of the District. Improvements in an integrated public transport system, as part of the Thames Gateway regeneration, will also offer residents a real alternative to travelling by car.
In 10 years… …where will we be?
2.12 The regeneration of the Thames Gateway is a national priority for the Government. The Thames Gateway area includes east London, north Kent and south Essex (Southend Borough, Thurrock, Castle Point, Basildon New Town and a very small part of the Rochford District). Government ministers are leading this 25 year project, aiming to build the prosperity of the whole area so that it can compete more effectively in the global market and provide a better quality of life for all its residents.
2.13 The Thames Gateway South Essex Strategic Framework document states "Of particular interest to Rochford is the potential to develop those themes which link to the vision in Southend, in particular developing the area for leisure, recreation and tourism activity. The area has a high socio-economic profile, high value housing and quality environment which balances the communities of south Essex, and provides an attractive inward investment proposition for business, particularly the developing service sector. " It continues by identifying key priorities including the promotion and enhancement of Rochford Town as a centre of "Arts and Crafts", and the development of walking and cycling initiatives. Leisure and tourism are sectors we plan to develop. Informal countryside recreation, in particular such pursuits as birdwatching, are potentially key to increasing visitor numbers.
2.14 Rochford District therefore has the opportunity to position itself to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the regeneration of the Thames Gateway area and ensure that residents benefit from the many future planned initiatives.
2.15 London Southend Airport is thriving. It has retained its high quality maintenance and servicing facilities and developed business and low cost aviation. An extension to the new terminal has been completed and the visitor centre has been opened to cater for the increased passenger levels. More jobs have been created directly as a result of this, and there is an expanding provision of specialist education provision in airport and aircraft related engineering.
2.16 The new healthcare centre in Rayleigh is running well and is more than able to cope with the demands of existing residents and those proposed within its hinterland. This centre is well positioned so that it is accessible and it is being served by modern, clean public transport.
2.17 The Roach Valley has been opened up by the Council with the creation of new footpaths and bridlepaths linking Hockley Woods and the Cherry Orchard Jubilee Country Park together and to the wider countryside.
2.18 Housing sites are being developed in association with public open space, and the deficit of playing pitch provision in parts of the district has been rectified.
2.19 A number of new green tourism projects and initiatives related to the district's historic heritage have begun offering recreational opportunities for the Thames Gateway. Although many visitors only come to the district for the day, there are increasing numbers of hotels and bed and breakfast establishments, many of which enable stays in the countryside.
In 15 years… …where will we be?
2.20 The regeneration of the Thames Gateway South Essex area will provide significant opportunities for the Rochford District. The identification of the District as "the green part of the Gateway", and the development of a Green Grid enables the District to take advantage of the regeneration by building on these strengths.
2.21 Residents will also be able to benefit from a wider range of training, development and employment opportunities throughout the Thames Gateway area. The potential increase of visitors to the District, to enjoy the local heritage or the unspoiled coastal areas will generate further opportunities for the growing tourism sector of the local economy. Small businesses from a range of sectors will find opportunities for development and growth within the thriving local economy.
2.22 Residents of all ages, throughout the District, will have a wider range of choices for their further and higher education, free time and leisure activities, both within the District and from the opportunities and facilities offered in surrounding areas. Healthier lifestyles leading to a fitter and healthier community will reduce the demands on local health services. It is intended to provide high quality integrated health services through a network of health facilities offering treatment, advice, guidance and support.
2.23 At the same time a growing number of the community will be older residents. Services will need to adapt to their changing needs, and there will need to be a variety of housing options, with different levels of care and support. Older residents will be supported to remain independent for as long as possible, with improved accessibility to support services and information.
2.24 It will be important to meet the housing needs of other groups within the community. Housing that is affordable for the children and families of existing residents will be available. Supported housing and a range of accommodation for people with disabilities, including mental health will also need to be developed, so that all the District's residents are able to live as independently as possible.
2.25 Pressure on existing infrastructure in the district has been eased with funding secured from new development and government support. Road improvements around Rochford town centre have protected its historic core. Western Rayleigh has a high quality road network, with easy access to the A127 and A130. At Wallasea, the Essex Marina and Baltic Wharf have benefited from on-line road improvements, which has improved safety. Public transport is well used and has been enhanced by the completion of the South Essex Rapid Transit (SERT), which serves most of the population of the district.
2.26 The Council has reviewed various employment land options and has negotiated with landowners to relocate bad neighbour uses away from residential areas. As part of this process a new state of the art employment park has opened, which is accessible and well located to the South Essex Rapid Transit system.
2.27 High technology business has flourished in a new accessible employment area. Much of this growth has been underpinned by the availability of London Southend Airport and is related to aviation. Despite travel times to and from the airport increasing, the transit times through the airport make it an increasingly attractive departure point for low cost passenger flights.
2.28 Major housing in the district has been completed and these sites assimilate well with their surroundings. They are designed to a high standard and have maturing landscapes. They have become desirable areas in their own right.
2.29 Rochford District remains an attractive, mainly rural historic area, full of character and is popular with residents and visitors.