Development for up to 600 new homes, a primary school and public space. Designed by Barton Willmore.
24 June 2010
Planning reference: 10/00234/OUT - Rochford
We think this could be an appropriate site for residential development; the site is close to Rochford town centre and the train station as well as the local business park and therefore there are good opportunities for residents to go about their daily life using public transport or by bike or on foot. While we recognise that the current planning application is an outline proposal, we think the quality of the application is inadequate for the scale of the development proposed. It is therefore difficult to assess whether 600 dwellings on this site is appropriate and can produce a good quality place to live and work. In light of our concerns that follow, we recommend that with the help of CABE’s guidance Design and Access Statements: how to read, write and use them (2006), the local planning authority requests further information in support of the planning application before the proposal is considered for approval.
The design and access statement does not make a convincing case for development of this scale on this site and it lacks a clear vision which suggests that there are low aspirations for what the site could become. There is little evidence to show that character and townscape have been thought through; the choice of existing areas around Rochford for the character analysis seems arbitrary and it is not evident that this analysis has informed the layout of the proposal. Despite the site being well connected to Rochford town centre, the masterplan focuses heavily on vehicular access and does not exploit the opportunities for walking and cycling. We understand that this is an outline planning application and therefore further detail will be provided at the reserved matters stage; it is important, however, that the skeleton of the masterplan is robust so that a good quality development can be designed on the outline parameters agreed. We are concerned that the parameters as they currently exist could result in an inappropriate, anonymous and isolated settlement that does not respect or enhance the character and historical integrity of Rochford.