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Plans for the future of Hockley revealed
AMBITIOUS plans have been revealed for a new supermarket, 100 new homes, shops and leisure facilities in Hockley.
Rochford District Council has been working on the Hockley Area Action Plan which will be the blueprint for developers wanting to build in the centre of the village.
Residents say they want extra parking, low-cost housing and a solution for traffic problems at the Spa Road junction while at the same time keeping the character of Hockley village intact.
The final document has now been released and includes a new medium-size supermarket of up to 3,000 square metres as well as 100 new homes, shops, leisure facilities, offices and car parking could be built in Eldon Way.
Residents’ suggestions for widening the Spa Road mini roundabout junction to two lanes, which would cost up to £300,000, could also be on the cards with cash from a developer.
A new rail station car park would also be built and some or all of the existing car park north of the rail line will be redeveloped for housing.
Elliott Barnes, from Hockley Health Club based on the Eldon Way Estate, said he was in support of the plans.
He said: “It depends whether we get moved or not, if they are looking to redevelop the area and give us a new unit that would be fantastic but I think they are going to leave us as we are and redevelop the central area.
“If they put a big supermarket here that will knock local business but it should help to draw people in.”
However, Hockley Residents’ Association and Rochford Residents’ Association are objecting to the document, saying it is going against what people want and will turn Hockley from a village into a town.
Brian Guyett, chairman of Hockley Residents’ Association, raised fears about how the development could change the character of the village.
He said: “It is really going to change, they are turning Hockley from a village into a town.
“None of it makes sense and they are not explaining any of it. We seem to be going in the opposite direction.”
Residents can have their say until January 25 before it goes to a Government planning inspector to be approved or rejected.
The full document is on Rochford District Council’s website www.rochford.gov.uk. Hard copies of the documents are at the council offices and in Hockley library and for more information, call 01702 318191.
A LEADING councillor has warned objecting to a village’s development could leave it open to flats or a huge supermarket.
Keith Hudson, councillor responsible for planning, said not having a stringent blueprint in place was not an option.
He said: “I would not support the withdrawal of the Hockley Area Action Plan as to do so would enable, and may well encourage, a planning application to materialise for a hypermarket of most inappropriate proportions.
“It is more appropriate for Hockley to have an overall, workable, deliverable scheme of a size suitable for its location and that will enhance the shopping and leisure offer for the benefit of the residents.”
Mr Hudson said everyone’s views would be taken into consideration.
He added: “The consultants have put forward a plan they deem workable, sound and appropriate for Hockley. It will be the planning inspector, in consultation with those that object or support it, that determines it.
“What needs to be there is boutique shops, a supermarket and leisure facilities. That is what you expect to see in the centre of a village.”