LATEST NEWS ON THE PARISH COUNCIL’S ALLOTMENT SITE PROPOSALS
20th November 2017.
The Parish Council wrote to the Planning Officer at Rochford District Council to formally object to the plans being discharged as there were still outstanding issues to be resolved with us. RDC have subsequently requested the developers redraw the plans and resubmit them.
4 Councillors and the Parish Clerk met with the Planning Manager from Persimmon on the 15th November 2017 to conduct a Site Visit at Pond Chase Nursery. This was very informative and productive and the main outcome of the visit was as follows:
There are two parcels of land both of which will be retained by the developers. The Allotment land will be the subject of a lease agreement, with management of the site being the responsibility of the lessee. The area designated Open Space and Outdoor Sport/Youth Facilities will be retained in its natural state and maintained annually by the developers.
After discussion the Developers gave us assurances that the undermentioned points would now be incorporated in the redrawn plans:
- 4 new designated parking spaces for allotment holders will be provided in addition to the two visitor parking spaces already shown on the original plan.
- An acceptable access pathway through the open space to the allotment site will be established.
- As the developers have been informed of the presence of three badger setts, the boundary of the allotment area will be redrawn to provide a corridor around the site for the protection of the badgers.
There is obviously a lot to consider before any Allotments are ready for occupation. To this end, the Parish Council have agreed to establish an Allotments Feasibility Group which will incude 2 Councillors, the Parish Clerk and those with expertise from outside organisations who are able to provide professional advice on the acquisition and suitability of the land for Allotments. They will report back to the Parish Council with their recommendations.
When the developers have resubmitted their application to Rochford District Council our Planning Committee will be notified, as statutory consultees.
Update Sept 2017: Charles Church, the developers have now submitted their discharge proposals to Rochford District Council for the provision of allotments and open spaces at the Folly Grove site. The Parish Council, as a statutory consultee, has responded and requested more detailed information. When the consultation has been completed and agreed with the developers and Rochford District Council, the Parish Council will be in a position to make their formal decision on the management of the site. Full plans and comments are available on the Rochford District Council website.
July 2017 Folly Grove Allotments:
The Parish Council is aware that this new development site in Folly Lane is moving along apace and Rochford District Council will be expecting Persimmon to submit their plans for the agreed Allotment Spaces shortly. The District Council will refer the plans to the Parish Council who will be asked to comment as a statutory consultee. When this stage is completed we will have reached a point to move forward and work with the interested members of the community to consider forming a dedicated group to manage the site. As you will see from the Open Spaces Page on this website the Parish Council are also working on a 5 year plan for the management of Marylands Nature Reserve and are looking at creating a community orchard at the Reserve. We will keep you informed on our website and in our Newsletters as developments unfold.
The Parish Council has a duty in law to consider providing allotments for residents if asked, and in 2013 it received a petition requesting that a site is made available for allotment holders to cultivate. Knowing the property prices in the parish, you will not be surprised to learn that few people are willing to sell their land or offer it on a long lease for use as allotments. Consequently, there is no land available for allotments and no realistic chance of obtaining any in the foreseeable future.
The Council is still looking for land and would be interested in any proposal to establish an allotment sites. If a site is made available, it will have to meet certain conditions and it will have to be designed to avoid the need to fell mature or treasured trees. It will have to accommodate at least twenty-five allotments, two of which will be adapted for disabled use. There will be road access and parking for perhaps five cars and there will also be a need for security fencing that will be proof against two and four legged raiders. When established, the allotment holders could be allowed to have small toolsheds or glasshouses, but no other buildings will be permitted. Bonfires will not be allowed and the tenants will be required to keep their sites neat and tidy. The Council is aware that some people have been talking about major development with shops or a café, this project is simply about providing allotments; nothing more. Although it can be difficult to see the benefits of something new, allotments and housing exist side-by-side in many other communities and there is no reason to think that it would be any different in Hockley should an opportunity arise.
If you have arable land that could be used for allotments and you would be willing to sell or offer on a fifty-year lease, please contact the clerk for an informal discussion. The ideal site would be level, well-drained, have access to a road and be about two acres.