Rochford Area Action Plan: Schedule of Modifications

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Proposed Schedule of Modifications to the
Rochford Area Action Plan Submission Document - September 2014

The below proposed minor amendments relate to changes to the Rochford Area Action Plan Submission Document (July 2013).

The page numbers and paragraph numbering below refer to the Rochford Area Action Plan Submission Document (July 2013), and do not take account of the deletion or addition of text.

Main Modifications

Ref Page Policy/Paragraph Main Modification

View Comments (1) (1) MM1

10

Section 2.2; first paragraph

Insert new paragraph below first paragraph:

INSERTED:

Archaeological deposits relating to the development of the medieval and post medieval town are likely to survive in particular around the central Market Square and its axial road system as described above. All new development should incorporate a mitigation strategy for the preservation and/recording of such deposits.

View Comments (3) (3) MM2

23

Section 3.1; second paragraph

Amend second paragraph as follows:

Provision of an attractive town centre for local people and visitors – Rochford has good local retail offer, in line with its position as a small market town. This should be enhanced through the encouragement of more supporting uses, including restaurants, cafés, and bars, and other leisure uses and community facilities, including those for young people. INSERTED:The presence of trees and green open space in and around the town centre also contributes to the quality of the local environment for local people and visitors.

View Comments (3) (3) MM3

23

Section 3.1; sixth paragraph

Insert new paragraph below sixth paragraph:

INSERTED:

Rochford, like many other Towns, will be vulnerable to unavoidable climate change and extreme weather events in the future, such as surface water flooding and exposure to extremely high and cold temperatures. To ensure the sustainability of Rochford's economy, continued preservation of the historic fabric and protection of green-spaces in the long-term development proposals will be required to take account of, and be adaptable to, the expected changes in local climate conditions, throughout the proposed lifetime of the development. All new developments should reduce predicted CO2 emissions using a combination of building performance improvements, small scale on-site renewable energy and/or efficient supply of heat, cooling and power.

View Comments (4) (4) MM4

27

Policy 1

Amend the second part of the policy as follows:

All new development within the Rochford AAP area should contribute towards the delivery of the spatial framework as shown in Figure 6. The key elements of this framework are:

  1. The focus of retail uses in the centre, with the highest concentration of A1 uses in the Market Square areaDELETED: . INSERTED:, with an additional 750 sq.m. of retail (A1) floorspace to be delivered within the AAP area;
  2. The creation of a more vibrant and attractive Market Square, with public realm improvements and the encouragement of additional restaurant and café usesDELETED: . INSERTED:;
  3. The protection of office-based employment uses in the Locks Hill areaDELETED: . INSERTED:;
  4. Opportunities for new mixed-use development as sites become availableDELETED: . (see Policies 6 to 9)INSERTED:;
  5. New and enhanced routes and key junctions within the AAP area and linking the centre with the rail station and the surrounding areaDELETED: . INSERTED:;
  6. New and improved public realm and environmental improvements throughout the centreDELETED: . INSERTED:; and
  7. INSERTED: Any new proposals must also ensure appropriate consideration of above ground heritage assets and below ground archaeological deposits.

View Comments (5) (5) MM5

27

First paragraph after Policy 1

Insert new paragraph below Policy 1:

INSERTED:

Four potential opportunity sites have been identified in Figure 6; the Spar building, the Police Station, the car park adjacent to the Freight House, and North Street (at the junction with Weir Pond Road). These sites offer the potential to contribute to a number of the key objectives of the Plan, including enhancing the historic core and promoting the redevelopment of unused, underused, infill or unattractive sites, particularly for residential and/or retail use. It is beneficial to establish uses that would be suitable for each site to provide certainty, as set out in Policies 6 to 9.

MM6

27

Third paragraph after Policy 1

Amend the paragraph as follows:

The AAP sets out further policies that provide guidance for new high quality development in accordance with this vision and objectives for Rochford and the AAP framework for the town. These policies are based around an understanding of the centre’s character areas and seek to build on Rochford’s existing local character. INSERTED:The AAP also identifies a potential opportunity site which has the capacity to accommodate 750sq.m. of A1 (retail) floorspace along North Street (at the junction with Weir Pond Road).

View Comments (6) (6) MM7

29

Amend the second row of the table as follows:

Environmental improvement / highways scheme Lead partner Other partners Estimated cost Potential funding stream(s) Comments Justification

Market Square public realm enhancements

ECC

Rochford District CouncilDELETED: / developers

DELETED: £500,000 - £750,000

INSERTED:£20,000

DELETED: Pooled financial contributions / ECC budget INSERTED:/ Local Highways Panel

DELETED: Relocation of taxi island and consolidation of taxi stand to one side only. Modest reduction in the number of parking spaces to allow for expanded pedestrian areas. INSERTED:Reverse the entrance and exit. Replace taxi rank inside island with two additional parking spaces. Designate additional disabled parking space and motorcycle parking bay. Review of Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs). Footway repaving and, where appropriate, tree planting. Extend footway material from square across West Street to slow traffic and create informal crossing points.

DELETED: Limited footway space outside shops. Demand for free parking causes conflicts between queuing traffic and buses turning left from South Street. No vehicle circulation possible within parking area. INSERTED:Over supply of taxi parking space.

View Comments (1) (1) MM8

32

Figure 8

Replace the Proposals Map with the attached plan.

View Comments (1) (1) MM9

33

Policy 2

Amend policy as follows:

Within Rochford’s Primary Shopping Frontage, as defined on the Rochford AAP Proposals Map INSERTED:(Figure 8), proposals for A1 retail uses will be acceptable. Proposals for A3 and A4 uses will also be considered acceptable where they would maintain A1 retail uses at 65% of defined primary shopping frontage. New A5 uses are not considered appropriate in the primary shopping frontage. Development for non-A1 uses will be permitted where it would:

  1. Not have a detrimental impact on, or undermine, the vitality and viability of Rochford town centreDELETED: . INSERTED:;
  2. Not create a cluster of DELETED: similar uses within INSERTED:the same use class in a locality that undermines the character of the centreDELETED: . INSERTED:; and
  3. INSERTED:Entail the provision of a non-A1 use which is considered to pDELETED: P ositively contribute to the overall offer and encourage people into the centre.

View Comments (2) (2) MM10

33

Policy 3

Amend policy as follows:

Within Rochford’s Secondary Shopping Frontages, as defined on the Rochford AAP Proposals Map INSERTED:(Figure 8), new development for Class A and D uses and other uses considered appropriate in town centres will be acceptable. Development involving the loss of town centre uses will be permitted where it would:

  1. Not have a detrimental impact on, or undermine, the vitality, viability and retail character of Rochford’s Primary Shopping FrontageDELETED: . INSERTED:;
  2. Not create a cluster of DELETED: similar uses within INSERTED:the same use class in a locality that undermines the character of the centreDELETED: . INSERTED:; and
  3. INSERTED:Entail the provision of a non-A1 use which is considered to pDELETED: P ositively contribute to the overall offer and encourage people into the centre.

View Comments (1) (1) MM11

35

Fifth paragraph

Insert new paragraphs below the fifth paragraph:

INSERTED:

However there are uses of which the provision of additional units in Rochford town centre would not be considered to positively contribute to the overall offer of the centre. Such uses include hot food takeaways (A5 uses), planning applications for which will not generally be supported, particularly within the Primary Shopping Frontage area.

Some land uses associated with town centre locations have the potential to raise amenity issues for nearby residents. Such uses might include, but are not necessarily limited to, those falling in Use Classes A3, A4 and A5 or other, Sui Generis uses such as night clubs. The impact of such non-retail uses on the amenity of those living within or nearby the centre will be an important consideration in determining relevant planning applications, and applicants will be expected to demonstrate how negative impacts arising from such proposals will be mitigated, if applications are to be permitted.

View Comments (2) (2) MM12

39

Policy 5

Amend the second part of the policy as follows:

Principles important in respect of development in all four of the character areas include:

  1. Public realm interventions should where possible be incorporated with proposals for new development, including the replacement of poor quality paving, the removal of street clutter, the improvement of lighting for pedestrian routes, and the planting of appropriate street treesDELETED: . INSERTED:;
  2. Enhanced cycle parking facilities should be provided at suitable locations throughout the centreDELETED: . INSERTED:;
  3. Bus facilities should be upgraded, with improvements including possible route alterations to enhance the pedestrian experience along West Street, better shelters and increased seating provisionDELETED: . INSERTED:;
  4. New and improved pedestrian signage, appropriate for a conservation area, should be introduced for key destinations and attractors, including the rail station, the town centre and Market Square, the Council’s offices, the hospital and the Locks Hill employment siteDELETED: . INSERTED:; and
  5. INSERTED:Any new proposals must also ensure appropriate consideration of above ground heritage assets and below ground archaeological deposits.

View Comments (2) (2) MM13

41

Policy 6

Amend the policy as follows:

Development in the central area will support and strengthen the retail function and character of the area.

The Council will support environmental and traffic management improvements to the Market Square area which respond positively to the area’s heritage assets, give greater priority for pedestrians and help relieve traffic problems in the town centre. The following principles are important:

  1. New development will respond positively to local townscape character and protect and enhance the character of the Rochford conservation area. Key elements include:
    1. Development which provides an active edge of town centre uses around Market Square and along key streets in the areaDELETED: . INSERTED:;
    2. A tight knit and organic urban grain with a varied roof lineDELETED: . INSERTED:;
    3. Buildings typically between two and three storeys in heightDELETED: . INSERTED:; and
    4. West Street presenting the public ‘front’ of buildings with Back Lane providing service access.
  2. In accordance with Policy 2, primary shopping frontages should be in predominately retail uses supported by a limited number of restaurants and cafés and public houses/wine bars (A1, A3 and A4). Secondary shopping frontages should be in a mix of retail and other appropriate town centre usesDELETED: . INSERTED:;
  3. The redevelopment of the two storey building on the eastern side of Market Square INSERTED:(the Spar building) would be supported provided that it is redeveloped in a style and form that contributes positively to the character of the area with A1, 3 or 4 uses addressing Market Square. Upper floors could be occupied by a range of uses including offices and residentialDELETED: . INSERTED:;
  4. Public realm enhancements should be focused on the creation of an improved Market Square and include the rationalisation DELETED: and reduction in the DELETED: number INSERTED:size of DELETED: car parking spaces and the potential relocation of the taxi rank DELETED: to an appropriately central and accessible location. INSERTED:; and
  5. Pedestrian links within the AAP area, including those to Back Lane car park and Roche Close, and across Rochford, including to the rail station and open space on the opposite side of Bradley Way, should be improved.

View Comments (5) (5) MM14

43

5.2 (third and fourth paragraphs and four bullet points)

Replace the paragraphs with the following:

DELETED:

Two options have been investigated during the preparation of this AAP – see Figures 11 and 12 with Figure 10 providing a summary of the existing conditions in the Square. These options present two levels of intervention – one being more modest in scale and one which takes a more comprehensive approach to the delivery of potential improvements to this important space.

Key principles underpinning improvements to Rochford Market Square include the following:

  • Greater priority should be given to pedestrian space. This could be achieved by reducing the number of public parking spaces. There is scope to retain at least 50% of the spaces and transform the space into a high quality square for people. In addition, the removal of public parking spaces will act as a disincentive to visitors to try and park in this most central of locations and will therefore provide some relief to traffic congestion in the area.
  • Consider the benefits of rationalisation of the taxi provision – it is currently on both sides of the 'central island’ and could be rationalised. It may be necessary to allocate spaces in an alternative location, with Back Lane, Baxter Close and Roche Close potentially all providing viable alternatives.
  • The introduction of parking charges in Market Square will bring the space in line with the town-wide parking management regime in Rochford. The availability of free spaces in this location is a significant factor in the Square attracting traffic and this only compounds the traffic and movement problems in the area. However, it is recognised that the business plan for the introduction of charges will need to be tested carefully. There may be the potential to allow free short-stay parking in the Old Ship Lane car park, which currently appears to be underutilised.
  • The space could be managed so as to ensure existing commercial/business serving arrangements are maintained, with nearby loading bays on North Street maintained.
INSERTED:

A number of options have been investigated during the preparation of this AAP, taking into consideration community and business feedback, Essex County Council’s highway advice, funding opportunities and scheme deliverability. Figure 10 provides a summary of the existing conditions in the Square.

The key principles underpinning the improvements to Rochford Market Square include the following:

  • Change the access arrangements into the Market Square so that the entrance and exit are reversed. This may require some additional remedial works, such as yellow box junctions, to facilitate the flow of traffic along West Street and turning into and out of the Square.
  • Rationalise the taxi rank through removing the taxi spaces on the inside of the island. This would enable the creation of two additional public car parking spaces.
  • Retain free car parking in this location and create an additional disabled parking bay.
  • Designate an area for motorcycle parking.
  • Enhance the aesthetics of the Market Square, which may include repaving the pedestrian areas.
  • Retain the bus stop as existing.
  • Review Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs).

An indicative diagram of the modest amendments to the Market Square, which integrates these key planning principles, is set out in Figure 11. Other remedial works to complement these modest improvements, including the use and location of yellow box junctions, will be determined in further detail in conjunction with Essex County Council highways.

View Comments (2) (2) MM15

44

Figure 11

Replace Figure 11 with the appended plan

View Comments (1) (1) MM16

45

Figure 12

Remove figure.

View Comments (3) (3) MM17

47

Policy 7

Amend the second part of the policy as follows:

The Council will support development in the northern/eastern approach area that would protect and enhance its existing character. The following principles are important:

  1. New development will respond positively to local townscape character and protect and enhance the character of the Rochford conservation area. Key elements include:
    1. The mixed housing character of the area, with a predominance of traditional, weather-boarded housing along North Street and Weir Pond Road and more substantial, typically Victorian properties, along the East Street approachDELETED: . INSERTED:;
    2. Building heights being typically two storeys with some higher density modern housing typesDELETED: . INSERTED:; and
    3. A varied building line that adds character and variety to the street but that becomes stronger along the back edge of the pavement as one approaches the town centre.
  2. New development will be acceptable on sites as they become available for development where they would lead to the creation of more residential unitsINSERTED:. DELETED: or community facilities in particular those catering for young people INSERTED:Proposals for the opportunity site along North Street (at the junction with Weir Pond Road) identified in Figure 6 would be supported where a predominance of A1 uses is proposed, and where proposals would deliver, or contribute towards the delivery of, in the region of 750sq.m of retail floorspace at the opportunity site;
  3. Pedestrian links within the AAP area, including those to the central area and Market Square, should be strengthened. If possible, a new pedestrian link from Pollards Close to Roche Close should be createdDELETED: . INSERTED:; and
  4. Improvements at the junction of Weir Pond Road and East Street will be supported.

View Comments (1) (1) MM18

47

Second paragraph

Amend second paragraph below Policy 7 as follows:

The Rochford AAP framework plan (see Figure 6) identifies a potential development opportunity on North Street DELETED: opposite the Rose and Crown pub INSERTED:at the junction with Weir Pond Road. The area includes a poor quality shopping parade with flats above, an adjacent vacant site and further piece of land currently utilised for parking for the pub. Should the site come forward for redevelopment, the Council would give its in-principle support for the redevelopment of the site for a mixed use, housing led development which helps to repair this break in the North Street frontage. Uses should include retail.

View Comments (3) (3) MM19

49

Policy 8

Amend the second part of the policy as follows:

The Council will support development in the southern approach area that would protect and enhance its existing character. The following principles are important:

  1. New development will respond positively to local townscape character and protect and enhance the character of the Rochford conservation area. Key elements include:
    1. The high quality historic townscape along South Street, characterised by brick built two storey buildings with clay tiled roofs with varied building lines and roof forms which adds interest and character to the streetDELETED: . INSERTED:; and
    2. The landscape setting of Bradley Way which benefits from some prominent trees along its route, particularly at its southern end.
  2. New development will be acceptable where it would lead to the creation of more residential units or community facilities, in particular those catering for young people, except at the Locks Hill employment site, where only B1a uses will be acceptable, in accordance with Policy 4DELETED: . INSERTED:;
  3. The Police Station building and site on South Street represents an important opportunity for reuse or conversionINSERTED:, which would be supported if proposals are for C3 or Sui Generis uses providing community facilities, particularly those catering for young people;DELETED: .
  4. Pedestrian links within the AAP area, including those to the central area and Market Square, and across Rochford, including to the open space on the opposite side of Bradley Way, should be strengthenedDELETED: . INSERTED:; and
  5. Improvements at the junction of Bradley Way, South Street and Southend Road will be supported. This location acts as a gateway to the town from the south but currently lacks definition and, combined with a reworking of the junction, there may be an opportunity for a new landmark development to strengthen this gateway.

MM20

49

Second paragraph

Amend second paragraph below Policy 8 as follows:

South Street benefits from many listed buildings and is perhaps the most intact part of the town in terms of the integrity of historic fabric. Red brick buildings of a domestic scale prevail with some notable exceptions in the French Baroque style Police Station built in 1914 and the Masonic Hall, formerly the County Court building at 24 South Street. The DELETED: p INSERTED:Police DELETED: s INSERTED:Station building is not listed but makes an important and positive contribution to the character of the conservation areaINSERTED:, and is included on the Council’s Local List of important local buildings. The building presents an exciting conversion and reuse opportunity. If new uses are to be introduced, protecting the amenities of nearby residents will be a key consideration when assessing the impact and suitability of any proposal. INSERTED:New uses that would be supported by the Council include residential or community uses catering for young people.

View Comments (1) (1) MM21

51

Policy 9

Amend the second part of the policy as follows:

The Council will support development in the western approach area that would protect and enhance its existing character. The following principles are important:

  1. New development will respond positively to local townscape character and protect and enhance the character of the Rochford conservation area. Key elements include:
    1. The small scale of the almshouses along West Street as you enter the town from the westDELETED: . INSERTED:; and
    2. The mixed commercial and residential character of the area where both long and recently established businesses sit comfortably adjacent to residential uses.
  2. New development in this location is considered particularly appropriate given the opportunities for new development taking advantage of the good quality public transport facilitiesDELETED: . INSERTED:;
  3. New development is acceptable where it would lead to the creation of more residential units, job opportunities or community facilities, in particular those catering for young peopleDELETED: . INSERTED:;
  4. Freight House is an attractive commercial building and should be retained. However, there is considered to be an opportunity to intensify the uses on this site, either through a new building or an extension to the existing building. DELETED: Housing and/or employment uses INSERTED:C3, B1 and D2 uses would be appropriate, with a particular opportunity to take advantage of the excellent public transport accessibility and the proximity and relationship to the open space to the eastDELETED: . INSERTED:;
  5. Pedestrian links within the AAP area, including those to the central area and Market Square, and across Rochford, including to the rail station and green open space south-west of Bradley Way, should be strengthenedDELETED: . INSERTED:; and
  6. Improvements at the junctions of Ashingdon Road, Hall Road and West Street, and West Street and Bradley Way will be supported.

View Comments (3) (3) MM22

51

Third paragraph

Amend third paragraph below Policy 9 as follows:

Freight House is an attractive former railway building. Land adjacent to the building INSERTED:is currently used as parking for up to 55 vehicles on approximately 0.2 hectares. It is well located with excellent access to public transport facilities and a short walk to the town centre, has development potential for a mix of uses. INSERTED:Proposals for housing and/or employment uses would generally be supported on all or part of this site. An extension to Freight House itself would help to reinforce its existing commerce/leisure use.

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