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Rochford News Matters
Coombes Farm Development

Information at the Exhibition (Nov 9th 2011)
Local Protest  Group: Residents against Coombes Expansion
Leader: James Bowker  
Contact:  e-mail   
For last year’s reporting go to blog on
For current and ongoing ‘Coombes Farm 2’ reporting, check out

Web-site now operational showing development:

Developer: Cogent Land LLP (formerly Colonnade Land LLP, according to new web-site above & CL’s website being under construction suggests a very new organisation coming into being, or simply having a change of name)
Using (according to Planner – see below)  Stratland Management,  
Planning Consultants (P): Iceni Projects: representative  Nick Cooper
Architect (A):  Scott Brownrigg: representative -  Luan Deda

(We assume unless told otherwise, the web-site addresses above will show the firms involved if you are interested. They may not take you to the part that is actually dealing with this development.)

Outside the exhibition, the local protest group were handing out flyers which at this stage simply say, “Just Say No!  The Residents, the Councillors, the local MP’s, the Government and the Courts: they all said NO! No building allowed on Coombes Farm Land!”

Entering the hall we encountered and talked briefly with the two representatives of the Planning Consultants and the new Architects, as follows: (as with all Rochford Life Interviews we recorded it and reproduce it verbatim).

RL: There appear different names from last year? Are the developers the same?
P: It’s the same company, Stratland Management, the same management company, and the same developer. The planning consultancy, Iceni is the one that’s always been involved, but it’s a new architect, Scott Brownigg   
RL: What’s different from last year?
P: Well the development is fewer homes. It was 326 last time and now approximately 260 (possibly 280)
A: Yes, it’s lower density, fitting more to the context of the scale, maintaining the public footpath. The access has changed from the previous application. We are now using Mill Lane as an existing infra-structure as against new infra-structure on the land. We are maintaining the character of Rochford, and we have introduced very important sustainable elements in the master plan.   We are using Swales Sustainable Development urban Danish system (look this up on Google for extensive explanatory articles all about rainwater) which will make the development a leading sustainable development.
RL: Everyone keeps on using this word ‘sustainable’. Can you explain it?
A: People who live on that site will pay less for electricity bills, will have less carbon emissions for the environment, therefore making it sustainable, so it’s got economic benefits for the people who live there and for the city, environmental benefits with less pollution and will encourage more pedestrians.
RL: The pollution question is an interesting one, isn’t it, because at the moment it’s just a field with no pollution, but you’re going to put on there, the equivalent of probably somewhere between 350 and 400 cars, which means every time a car starts up you are increasing local pollution.
P: That’s a comparison with another development of the same size.
A: The thing is that we’ve had a more wider scale study of what size is sustainable for Rochford to come forward for development. The Council has a list of sites to develop in the future to achieve their housing targets and based on this study there are certain sites that are more sustainable than the others. Picking up the location of this site, it is just six minutes walk to the market place which makes it by far the most sustainable site in Rochford just because it is close and creates more opportunity to encourage people to walk or cycle as opposed to using a car, as you might find with a site near Ashingdon say.   Taking that 70% of new housing in Rochford will unfortunately take place on Green land, this site is one of those that has got more sustainable elements to it.
RL: You got a strong public backlash a year ago, and I’m intrigued to see what the big differences are, for instance are you still using Rocheway as an access?
A: No, that is a difference. It is an access but it is controlled vehicles so cars will not go through. Rocheway will be access for pedestrians and cyclists only. Car access will be via Mill Lane and Stambridge Road. Rocheway will be for emergency vehicles only and buses could get through with a controlled access.  
RL: So how do you counter the comment that you’ll probably have 350 to 400 cars on that site putting pressure on the already overloaded infrastructure of the centre of Rochford?
P: I think it comes back to what we’ve said about Rocheway being pedestrian access to the town centre. A lot of people will commute via the train station.
RL: What about people working in Southend?
P: You can get a train from Rochford.
RL: OK, thank you.  

Obviously this was only a short preliminary interview with two of the representatives there but even within that various things seemed to become clear:
1. Yes, Rocheway should not suffer from even more traffic and become a greater hazard than it is now. However talk of a bus access via Rocheway seems somewhat bizarre and the new scheme does speak of a bus stop, presumably in the estate.
2. The developers seem to put all their emphasis on the ‘sustainability’ issue which only benefits the new occupiers and does nothing for the existing community.
3. Concerns about increased vehicular traffic are shrugged of by the assumption that most people will either walk into Rochford or to the station with little or no impact on the infrastructure.
4. There is reference within the design in respect of the flight path to and from Southend airport indicated on one of the boards (see below) but part of the estate is still well and truly under it and residents will know that unquestionably, aircraft coming over this field frequently fly much further  over what is the main estate than the purple shaded area suggests. The reality is far from the theory.
5. The primary issue referred to in the appeal refusal letter last year - about detrimental use of Green Belt land - is unchanged. The reduction in numbers of housing by roughly 12% is presumably somehow supposed to address that.
6. A bigger issue that is completely sidestepped by this development is the possible maintenance/development of the whole of the River Roach area. The potential of that would be severely curtailed by this development. We would suggest that the entire area we considered for possible improvement.  

The issues raised in the Appeal letter of refusal last year
appear not to be addressed. We have, on the next page produced an abstract of that letter which is found online. CLICK HERE

Although we took pictures of the various display boards it appeared clear that much was not being revealed and the newly launched web-site confirms plans are still in their relatively early stages.
An unreal flight path?