Core Strategy Submission Document

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View Comments (4) (4) 1. Introduction

The Role of the Core Strategy

1.1 Rochford's Core Strategy is the main, overarching document of the Rochford District Local Development Framework - a collection of documents that will determine how the District develops in the future. It sets out the overall strategy for the District until 2025.

View Comments (1) (1) 1.2 The Core Strategy explains how the Council will deliver the spatial aspects of the vision set out in the Sustainable Community Strategy and the Council's Corporate Plan, as well as how regional and national policies, including those contained within the East of England Plan, will be applied locally.

1.3 The Core Strategy is also intrinsically linked with the Council's Corporate Plan and vision.

View Comments (1) (1) 1.4 The Core Strategy does not allocate land, or specify the boundaries of development sites, nor does it development management policies. These issues will be addressed through other Development Plan Documents (DPDs) which must conform to the policies in the Core Strategy. Full details can be found in the Council's Local Development Scheme (LDS).

1.5 The Core Strategy approach must be sound and as such it is necessary for the policies to be underpinned by a comprehensive evidence base and subject to an external sustainability appraisal - a process whereby the economic, environmental and social consequences of policies are assessed. It is also important that the Core Strategy reflects the views of local communities and the Council have carefully considered the results of previous consultation exercises in drawing up this document.

View Comments (1) (1) 1.6 The Core Strategy comprises:

  1. Spatial Characteristics, Issues and Opportunities - A summary of the physical and social characteristics of the District of relevance to its future planning, alongside the main challenges and opportunities.

  2. Vision - The Council's vision for the development of the District.

  3. Strategies, Activities and Actions - What the Council propose to do to address any identified problems, challenges and opportunities that will deliver the Council's vision.

    The strategies, activities and actions are broken down into the following sub-sections:

    • Housing
    • Character of Place
    • Green Belt
    • Upper Roach Valley and Wallasea Island
    • Environmental Issues
    • Community Infrastructure, Leisure and Tourism
    • Transport
    • Economic Development
    • Retail and Town Centres
  4. Implementation, Delivery and Monitoring - How the Council will implement the strategies, activities and actions, mitigate risks to these and measure success.

  5. Key Diagram - Visual representation of the Council's core policies. The Key Diagram is not a Proposals Map and does not allocate land. Where policies relate to a specific element of the Key Diagram, this is indicated by the following symbol: key diagram

Developing the Core Strategy

View Comments (3) (3) 1.7 The Core Strategy has been prepared in a number of stages, each one subject to appraisal and public participation. Each stage was developed having regard to the results of community involvement and sustainability appraisal of the previous stage, as well as to new evidence and changes to national or regional policy.

1.8 In September 2006 the Council published its Core Strategy Issues and Options document. This was followed by the publication of the Core Strategy Preferred Options in May 2007. Following the results of consultation on the Preferred Options document, the Council resolved to prepare a revised Core Strategy Preferred Options. The Core Strategy Revised Preferred Options was published in October 2008. The Core Strategy Submission Document provides the final opportunity for consultation and appraisal prior to public examination in 2010.

Sustainability Appraisal

1.9 As the Core Strategy has developed, each stage has been subject to sustainability appraisal (an appraisal of the economic, social and environmental effects of the plan/options) to help inform the decision making process.

1.10 The results of the Sustainability Appraisals, including non-technical summaries, for each stage of the Core Strategy are available as separate documents.

Community Involvement

1.11 Community involvement is an essential part of the plan-making process. There has been ongoing community involvement in the preparation of Rochford's Core Strategy and in particular at three key stages: Core Strategy Issues and Options; Core Strategy Preferred Options; and Core Strategy Revised Preferred Options.

1.12 Consultation on the Core Strategy has been carried out in accordance with the Council's adopted Statement of Community Involvement.

1.13 In addition to community involvement on proposed policies within the Core Strategy, consultation has also been undertaken in relation to aspects of the evidence base, particularly in respect of the deliverability and viability of residential development locations.

1.14 Details of community involvement exercises in respect of the preparation of the Core Strategy, and the results, are available as separate documents.

Sustainable Community Strategy and other key documents

1.15 A number of other strategies and plans have had to be taken into consideration in the development of Rochford's Core Strategy. Such documents, together with an explanation as to how they have influenced the Core Strategy and/or how the Core Strategy will aid the delivery of their objectives are listed below.

Sustainable Community Strategy

1.16 The Sustainable Community Strategy is the long-term vision for the District and sets out the priorities for improvement intended to deliver the vision. It is developed by the Local Strategic Partnership - a partnership of local public, private and voluntary sector organisations who play a key part in the provision of services within the District.

1.17 The Sustainable Community Strategy informs the Core Strategy and acts as an umbrella for all other strategies devised for the area.

1.18 The Sustainable Community Strategy and Rochford's Core Strategy are closely linked sharing the same objectives and evidence base.

View Comments (1) (1) 1.19 The Sustainable Community Strategy identifies seven key priorities:

  • Supporting the Ageing Population
  • Fostering Greater Community Cohesion
  • Strengthening the Third Sector (voluntary sector)
  • Increasing Accessibility to Services
  • Keeping Rochford Safe
  • Encouraging Economic Development: Skills, Employment and Enterprise
  • Promoting a Greener District

View Comments (1) (1) 1.20 The Core Strategy has a role to play in delivering all of these as set out in the table below.

Sustainable Community Strategy Priority Objective Role of Core Strategy in achieving objective Key Section/Policies of Core Strategy

Supporting the Ageing Population

To support the needs of the ageing population through enabling them to live independently in their own homes for longer and providing accessible services available by a range of transport methods

It is important to ensure that as people get older, and life expectancies increase, they can live independently for longer, for example through good housing design that meets the Lifetime Homes Standard.

The Core Strategy also seeks to ensure that high quality services are available in locations accessible to all members of the community by a range of transport methods, particularly through policies in Community Infrastructure, Leisure and Tourism, Retail and Town Centres and Transport chapters.
  • Lifetime Homes/Policy H6
  • Healthcare/Policy CLT4
  • Community Facilities/Policy CLT6
  • Leisure Facilities/Policy CLT9
  • Public Transport/Policy T3
  • Travel Plans/Policy T5
  • Cycling and Walking/Policy T6
  • Retail
  • Retail in town centres/Policy RTC1
  • Sequential approach to retail development/Policy RTC2
  • Village and Neighbourhood Shops/Policy RTC3

Fostering Greater Community Cohesion

To make Rochford District a place where residents have a sense of belonging in their communities. Toenable residents to have the opportunity to participate in civic life and to reduce all inequalities within our communities.

The sense of community is vital for eliminating social exclusion and encouraging cohesion. The Core Strategy seeks to ensure that sense of community and identity is retained in existing residential areas, and that new residential developments are such that they will foster a sense of community. The Core Strategy also seeks to ensure that the needs of all the community are met, including through providing additional social infrastructure to meet the needs of future and existing communities. The Core Strategy seeks to ensure equal opportunities within new developments through providing a mix of housing that meet a variety of needs.
  • Affordable Housing/Policy H4
  • Dwelling Types/Policy H5
  • Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation/ Policy H7
  • Design/Policy CP1
  • The Community Infrastructure, Leisure and Tourism chapter seeks to ensure that the needs of local communities, both now and in the future, are met through the adequate provision of a range of social infrastructure such as community, leisure and youth facilities in accessible locations

Strengthening the Third Sector (voluntary sector)

To support and encourage the development of a vibrant Third Sector (voluntary organisations).

The Core Strategy provides a positive planning framework which encourages a diverse range of services to the community including the provision of community facilities, youth facilities and the accommodation of community uses within the regeneration of the District's town centres. It also seeks to encourage the development and enhancement of the voluntary sector.

A recurring theme through the Core Strategy is the need to ensure the District's sense of community and identity is maintained and enhanced. This is expressed through policies on a variety of themes, including residential development, character of place and social infrastructure.

  • Community Facilities
  • Employment Growth/Policy ED1

Increasing Accessibility to Services

To reduce inequalities in service provision and add extra value through a holistic approach to ensure that rural communities and those at particular disadvantage have access to all services.

The Core Strategy seeks to maximise the accessibility of services through a range of actions including: the balanced delivery of housing both in areas where existing services are available and accessible, and to areas where additional housing will ensure local services will be viable and will help increase accessibility to services; the regeneration of the District's town centres to ensure a range of facilities that meet local demand; the provision of additional community, leisure, retail and employment uses within accessible locations; and improving transport links between rural settlements in the east of the District and the west of the District, where services and facilities are concentrated.
  • The strategy for housing provision is set out in the Housing chapter
  • Extensions to residential envelopes and phasing/Policies H2 and H3
  • Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation/Policy H7
  • The Retail and Town Centres chapter seeks to ensure local commercial centres provide for the needs of local communities and benefit from regeneration (through the preparation of Area Action Plans), where appropriate
  • The Community Infrastructure, Leisure and Tourism chapter seeks to ensure that local communities, have a sufficient range of social infrastructure in accessible locations
  • The Transport chapter seeks to improve community access to local services through encouraging a range of sustainable transport methods and improving east to west connections

Keeping Rochford Safe

To ensure that our communities feel safe and that their fear of crime decreases.

Planning has a role to play in the reduction of crime and the reduction of the fear of crime. The Core Strategy has identified specific local opportunities for regeneration which will seek to design out crime and reduce anti-social behaviour.
  • The need to create safe and inclusive communities with the extension of residential envelopes is considered in the Housing chapter
  • Regeneration of the District's commercial centres of Rayleigh, Hockley and Rochford through the preparation of Area Action Plans presents an opportunity to design out crime and address issues of anti-social behaviour
  • The provision of youth facilities (Youth Facilities/Policy CLT8) to provide appropriate and inclusive facilities in accessible locations

Encouraging Economic Development: Skills, Employment and Enterprise

To encourage a thriving and enterprising local economy that has high levels of skills, sustainable businesses and increased employment opportunities.

The Core Strategy directs additional employment to appropriate, sustainable locations that will meet the needs of businesses and employees. The Core Strategy seeks to enable the delivery of the spatial aspects of the Council's Economic Development Strategy. It does this through a range of policies, including supporting the implementation of a number of schemes that will provide enhanced employment opportunities, the creation of an environment which will allow new businesses to grow, and providing training opportunities for local residents. It also sets a planning policy framework which is supportive of small and medium sized businesses The Core Strategy sets the overarching policy for London Southend Airport, which seeks to realise its economic potential, whilst having regard to local amenity and environmental issues. The Core Strategy seeks to enable rural diversification and support rural enterprise, whilst having regard to the need to protect the character and openness of the Green Belt.
  • The Economic Development chapter seeks to encourage employment growth within the District, realise the potential of London Southend Airport and environs through the production of a Joint Area Action Plan and strategically relocate employment land in the District, where appropriate
  • Rural Diversification and Recreational Uses/Policy GB2
  • The Retail chapter seeks to retain and enhance the District's local commercial centres, in particular supporting the regeneration of Rayleigh, Hockley and Rochford centres

Promoting a Greener District

To address the causes of climate change at a local level for the benefit of those that live, work in and visit the District

This issue is one which runs as a theme through the whole of the Core Strategy. In particular, policies on future housing (including location and Code for Sustainable Homes requirement), transport (reducing the requirement to travel), and environmental issues seeks to minimise the local contribution towards climate change.
  • Extensions to residential envelopes and phasing/Policy H2
  • Extension to residential envelopes post-2021/Policy H3
  • Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation/Policy H7
  • The Environment chapter seeks to protect and enhance the biodiversity and natural environment of the District by protecting sites of local, national and international importance. The chapter also seeks to promote sustainable construction techniques and the use of renewable energy sources, where appropriate
  • Public Transport/Policy T3
  • South Essex Rapid Transit (SERT)/Policy T4
  • Travel Plans/Policy T5
  • Cycling and Walking/Policy T6
  • Greenways/Policy T7
  • Parking Standards/Policy T8

Local Area Agreements (LAA2) - The Essex Local Area Agreement2008-2011

1.21 The Local Area Agreement forms a partnership between Rochford District Council, Essex County Council and other councils in the locality (excluding Southend and Thurrock). It identifies 10 key priorities for the District and surrounding areas which need addressing in order to achieve the Essex Strategy's vision, which is simply "To support Essex people to liberate their potential to enjoy the best quality of life in Britain".

1.22 The priorities identified in LAA2 and how the Core Strategy will contribute towards their achievement is set out below. It must be stressed, however, that as with the priorities of the Sustainable Community Strategy these priorities cannot be delivered through the planning system alone. Achievement of these objectives requires the combined operations of different departments and organisations.

View Comments (2) (2) 1.23 The following outlines the role the Core Strategy will play in delivering each of the LAA2 priorities.

LAA2 Priority Role of Core Strategy in achieving priority Key Section/Policies of Core Strategy
Priority 1: Fewer children and young people missing education or not in education, employment or training. The Council will ensure that the educational needs of the District are met through the provision of educational facilities in accessible locations. Our approach to ensuring employment provision is identified in the Economic Development chapter of the Core Strategy.
  • Education/Policy CLT2 and Policy CLT3
  • The Economic Development chapter seeks to encourage employment growth, employment sites in accessible locations and training opportunities to meet the needs of the local population
Priority 2: More people supported to live independently in their own homes with better support for carers. The Core Strategy requires new development to meet the Lifetime Homes Standard, to enable people to stay independent in their homes for longer. The Council also recognise the importance of ensuring the adequate provision of affordable homes within the District to meet the needs of the population.
  • Lifetime Homes/Policy H6
  • Affordable Housing/ Policy H4
  • Healthcare/Policy CLT4
  • Community Facilities/Policy CLT6
Priority 3: Better public health and longer lives. The Core Strategy contains policies to ensure that future residential development does not negatively impact upon healthcare provision for future and existing communities, and that healthcare facilities are implemented in a timely manner and in accessible locations, where required. The Council are working with the South East Essex Primary Care Trust and other partners, to ensure that adequate facilities are provided to meet the changing population and their needs.
  • Healthcare/Policy CLT4
Priority 4: Children and young people realise their potential in education. The Core Strategy contains policies to ensure that educational facilities meet the needs of current and future communities, and that such facilities are accessible to the District's population.
  • Education/Policy CLT2 and Policy CLT3
Priority 5: Essex roads are safer, less congested and everyone has access to essential services. The Core Strategy sets out highway infrastructure improvements which will be made a priority within the District. However, it also contains policies which seek to reduce the populations' reliance on the private car through development in sustainable locations accessible by alternative transport methods, and the delivery of infrastructure which enables alternatives such as walking and cycling.
  • The Transport chapter seeks to improve the highway network through the District, where appropriate, particularly east to west connections. It also seeks to encourage alternative modes of transport and decrease reliance on the private car through, for example, travel plans
Priority 6: More participation in sports, culture and volunteering for the benefit of the whole community. The Core Strategy contains a number of policies which ensure a range of new leisure development is implemented in accessible locations, and that existing leisure facilities, both informal and formal, are retained. The Core Strategy also recognises the need for additional community facilitates to accompany new development.
  • Open Space/Policy CLT5
  • Community Facilities/Policy CLT6
  • Leisure Facilities/Policy CLT9
  • Playing Pitches/Policy CLT10
  • Employment Growth/Policy ED1
Priority 7: Essex is a safe place to live. New development will be implemented having regard to the need to design out crime. Proposed Town Centre Area Actions Plans for Rochford, Hockley and Rayleigh in the Core Strategy will tackle the issue of safety and crime, for example anti-social behaviour, to ensure a safer environment for residents.
  • The need to create safe and inclusive communities with the extension of residential envelopes is considered in the Housing chapter
  • Regeneration of the District's commercial centres of Rayleigh, Hockley and Rochford through Area Action Plans presents an opportunity to design out crime and address issues of anti-social behaviour
  • The provision of youth facilities (Youth Facilities/Policy CLT8) to provide appropriate and inclusive facilities in accessible locations
Priority 8: Essex has a strong and competitive economy.

The Core Strategy contains a raft of policies which will aid the delivery of the Council's Economic Development Strategy, enable the development of key employment generators, and deliver additional employment uses within sustainable locations.

  • The Economic Development chapter seeks to encourage employment growth within the District, realise the potential of London Southend Airport and environs through the production of a Joint Area Action Plan and strategically relocate employment land in the District, where appropriate
  • Rural Diversification and Recreational Uses/Policy GB2
  • The Retail chapter seeks to retain and enhance the District's local commercial centres, in particular supporting the regeneration of Rayleigh, Hockley and Rochford centres
Priority 9: A smaller carbon footprint with less waste. The Core Strategy outlines how new development will be required to be more energy efficient and sustainable. The Core Strategy also promotes the development of small and large scale renewable energy schemes.
  • The efficient use of land for housing/Policy H1
  • Extensions to residential envelopes and phasing/ Policy H2
  • Extension to residential envelopes post-2021/Policy H3
  • Large Scale Renewable Energy Projects/Policy ENV6
  • Small Scale Renewable Energy Projects/Policy ENV7
  • Code for Sustainable Homes/Policy ENV8
  • BREEAM/Policy ENV9
  • Public Transport/Policy T3
  • South Essex Rapid Transit (SERT)/Policy T4
  • Travel Plans/Policy T5
  • Cycling and Walking/Policy T6
  • Greenways/Policy T7
Priority 10: A well managed environment. The Core Strategy supports the preservation of the District's valuable natural and historic environment, for example through the protection of Local Wildlife Sites and reintroduction of the Council's Local List.
  • The Environment chapter seeks to protect and enhance the biodiversity and natural environment of the District by protecting sites of local, national and international importance. The chapter also seeks to protect historical and archaeological sites
  • Local List/Policy CP3

View Comments (1) (1) 1.24 The Core Strategy will have to be reviewed in the event of a new Local Area Agreement, post-2011, setting different priorities.

East of England Plan

View Comments (5) (5) 1.25 The East of England Plan outlines planning policy for the whole region and our Local Development Framework is required to conform to it. The East of England Plan contains an array of policies which are applicable to the whole of the region and which the District must consider. In addition, the plan also contains detailed requirements for individual districts and boroughs. Those which are particularly relevant to Rochford are as follows:

  • Provision of 4,600 additional dwellings between 2001 and 2021.

  • Creation of no less than 3,000 additional jobs.

  • Provision of an additional 15 authorised pitches for Gypsy and Traveller caravans by 2011, to achieve a total of 18 pitches.

  • London Southend Airport as a driver for economic development.

Additional Relevant Strategies

1.26 The Council have a number of other strategies currently in place whose spatial elements are expressed within this Core Strategy. However, it recognised that the Local Planning Authority cannot deliver the Council's objectives alone and must work in partnership with other organisations. Their strategies also influence this document (and, once finalised, vice versa).

1.27 The strategies at regional, sub-regional, county, district and sub-district levels include the following:

Regional Strategies

  • East of England Plan (2008)
  • Framework for Regional Employment and Skills Action (FRESA)
  • A Better Life (New Cultural Strategy)
  • Regional Economic Strategy 2008-2031
  • Regional Environment Strategy (2003)
  • Regional Health Strategy 2005-2010
  • Regional Housing Strategy 2005-2010
  • Regional Social Strategy (2007)

Sub-Regional Strategies

Thames Gateway South Essex Partnership:

  • Delivering the Future (2003)
  • Green Grid Strategy (2005)
  • Thames Gateway South Essex Sub Regional Housing Strategy 2008-11

County Strategies

Essex County Council:

  • Adult Health & Community Well-being Accommodation Strategy
  • The Children and Young People's Plan
  • Disabled Accommodation Strategy
  • Essex and Southend Waste Local Plan (2001)
  • Essex Biodiversity Action Plan
  • The Essex Design Guide (2005)
  • Essex Sports Facilities Strategy 2007-2020
  • Essex Strategy 2008-2018
  • Local Area Agreement 2 2008-2011
  • Local Transport Plan 2006-2011
  • Mental Health Accommodation Strategy
  • School Organisation Plan 2008-2013
  • Essex Supporting People 5 Year Strategy 2005-2010
  • The Urban Place Supplement
  • Childcare Sufficiency Assessment

District Strategies

Hockley Parish Plan Group:

  • Hockley Parish Plan

Rawreth Parish Council:

  • Rawreth Parish Plan

Rochford Parish Council:

  • 2004 Vision Statement

Sub-District Strategies

1.28 Government planning policy, in the form of Planning Policy Guidance Notes (PPGs), Planning Policy Statements (PPSs) and circulars also guide the content of the Core Strategy.

Evidence Base

View Comments (3) (3) 1.29 In terms of the evidence base the Council have drawn upon in drafting this document, in addition to the aforementioned strategies and plans, the following have played an important role in informing the Core Strategy:

  • Annual Monitoring Reports report on a range of indicators on an annual basis since 2004.

  • Call for Sites was carried out in early 2007 and resulted in the submission of a number of sites from developers, land-owners and agents for consideration by the Council.

  • Community Involvement carried out on the Issues and Options version of the Core Strategy in 2006, the first version of the Core Strategy Preferred Options in 2007 and the revised version of the Core Strategy Preferred Options in 2008. As well as reports on the results of the consultation of the general public and specific stakeholders, this includes reports on the results of workshops at King Edmund School, Fitzwimarc School and Greensward Academy undertaken to ascertain the views of young people in the District.

  • Conservation Area Appraisals and Management Plans (2007) assess the characteristics of the District's Conservation Areas, as well as proposing action to ensure their value is retained or enhanced.

  • Employment Land Study (2008) examines the supply and demand for various forms of employment land and compares this to the current and projected future economic profile of the District in order to determine the spatial requirements for future employment.

  • Essex Landscape Character Assessment (2003) outlines the extent of the three broad landscape character types within the District, and includes an assessment of their sensitivity to different forms of development.

  • Essex Thames Gateway Water Cycle Study - Scoping Study (2009) a sub-regional review of the existing condition of both the natural water environment and the water infrastructure which serves the population of the South Essex

  • Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (2008) details a wealth of data around health and well-being issues in Essex.

  • Local Wildlife Site Review (2007) is an assessment of existing and potential local wildlife sites to determine their importance as natural habitats.

  • Looking Back and Moving Forward - Assessing the Housing Needs of Gypsies and Travellers in Essex (2006) provides an assessment of the projected future accommodation needs for Gypsies and Travellers up until 2016.

  • Open Space Study (2009) examines the current provision and quality of a variety of open spaces throughout the District.

  • Retail and Leisure Study (2008) examines the shopping and leisure use habits of the District's residents, and the spatial implications of these for the future development of the area.

  • Rochford District Historic Environment Characterisation Project (2006) provides a wealth of evidence on the importance of the historic environment within the District and facilitates the integration of management and conservation principles within the planning process.

  • Rochford Futures Report profiles the social, economic and environmental characteristics of Rochford District at a District and Ward level.

  • Strategic Environmental Assessment Baseline Information Profile 2008-2009 presents a plethora of secondary data about the social, physical, environmental and demographic characteristics of the District.

  • Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment determines the availability, suitability and achievability of housing development sites within the District.

  • Strategic Housing Market Assessment provides data on housing supply and demand at the sub-regional level.

  • Sustainability Appraisals and Strategic Environmental Assessments were carried out on previous documents, assessing the social, economic and environmental impacts of proposed policies. The results of these have been incorporated into this document. Appraisals of this document have also been undertaken.

  • Thames Gateway South Essex Strategic Flood Risk Assessment determined the areas at risk of flooding across the sub-region, and calculated the probability of their flooding, enabling land across the sub-region to be categorised as Flood Zone 1, 2, 3 depending on the risk.

  • Gateway South Essex Strategic Flood Risk Assessment Review - Scoping Report (2009) provides a review of the Thames Gateway South Essex Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) which was published in 2006.

  • Urban Capacity Study (2007) examines the capacity to accommodate development within the District on existing appropriate sites. This study has been superseded by the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment.

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