MEMBERS of a sports and social club are hoping Countryside’s proposed new homes won't scupper their club’s hopes of an extended lease on the site where it is based.
Rayleigh Town Sports and Social Club has been in talks with the council about extending the lease on its council-owned site in London Road, which expired in 2019.
Rochford Council originally planned to move the club to a new site and build it new facilities. It has since changed its mind and thinks the club should stay put.
Club vice-chairman Les Fordham said Countryside’s proposals need not threatened the club, provided its site is included in the plans He said: “We need to protect the club. Our only real concern is investment in the club and we urgently need to have our lease renewed.
“We have funding in place, but the council will not renew it on a short-term lease.
“With new houses coming in, the club will be an even more valuable asset. We are fairly confident of renewing.
“In terms of the houses then we as a club are not against them, we don’t think our pitches will be affected by flooding, but we know our members are concerned about their impact.”
The club provides pitches and other facilities for local football and cricket clubs for players aged between five and 60.
It is also home to the Essex Military Support Association, the Southend Borough Combinations Veterans’ League and three charities.
However, Rayleigh resident Linda Kendall, chairman of the Rayleigh Action Group, which is embroiled in a High Court challenge to the the Local Plan’s housing allocations, is suspicious of the timing of the application.
The council recently changed its own procedural rules so only key council decision-makers can get decisions reconsidered the whole council.
She said: “Perhaps this is why the people running the council has changed the rules about calling in executive decisions to full council.
“It will mean any councillors against plans, including this one, will not be able to have a say.”
WHERE THE REST OF THE HOUSING WILL GO IN ROCHFORD DISTRICT
The council has plans to allow a total of 1,010 homes to be built on green belt land in the district between 2015 and 2021, and another 1,000 by 2025.
The council’s Local Plan document frees up land for about 250 homes to be built each year, and also earmarks land for new commercial estates and a new traveller site.
The council is aiming to have a 15-pitch traveller site open, on land near the junction of the A127 and the A1245, by 2018.
Plans to build 175 homes in south Hawkwell are now well under way, with the first two phases of David Wilson Homes’ Clements Gate development there already on sale.
Hullbridge is set to accommodate 500 new homes by 2025, with 250 before 2021 and the same amount in the following four years.
Land off Hall Road, Rochford, has been earmarked to take 600 new homes by 2021, while west Hockley and east Ashingdon are set to take 50 and 100 homes respectively.
Ashingdon is also in line to get 500 new homes to the east of Ashingdon Road between 2021 and 2025. The other green belt land allocated for homes is on each side of the B1017 to the west of Great Wakering, where 250 homes will be built.