Work On The Rochford 600 About To Start

From the Echo tonight:

WORK is finally set to start on a mini-town of 600 new homes and a new primary school in Rochford.

Building work on the new homes planned for fields off Hall Road, Rochford, will begin later this month, years after the initial planning application was put in to Rochford District Council.

The council confirmed the work would begin by January 17 at the latest.

Full report here.

We wrote about the application here back in January 2012.

Teenager Charged

From the Echo tonight:

A TEENAGER will appear in court charged with criminal damage in relation to the Rochford Christmas tree being cut down just before the switch on of the Christmas lights.

The 15-year-old boy from Rochford was arrested on Tuesday (December 1) following the felling of the tree in Rochford Market Square over the weekend.

Nearby residents heard a commotion at 3am on Sunday and looked out to see teenagers with a bow saw chopping the tree about 4ft up from its base before running off.

Full report here.

The Best And the Worst Of Rochford

As reported on the BBC today:

Residents of Rochford in Essex came to the rescue of the organisers of the town’s festive lights switch-on when the Christmas tree was felled overnight by vandals.

District Council chairman Heather Glynn said she was proud of the way the town’s community spirit shone through.

The festive light celebration organiser Pete Tobit said: “It was great that so many people pitched up to help us restore the tree and for them to show such a strong community spirit.”

A Good Night For Labour In Rochford

Labour won the Rochford Ward by-election last night – by just 4 votes!

Matthew Softly Labour             332
Michael Lucas-Gill  Cons.         328
Nicholas Cooper UKIP              250
Dan Irlam  Lib Dem                114
Labour Majority                     4

Labour GAIN from Conservative. The turnout was only 17.95%.

The share of the vote , compared with the last election last May, was as follows:

Labour 32.4%. Up by 3.2% on May
Conservative 32.0%. Down by 8.2%
UKIP 24.4%. Down by 6.2%
Lib Dem 11.1% Up by 11.1%

So congratulations to Mr Softly. This now means there are 2 Labour Councillors on RDC – they can now form their own group. Rochford has always bean the strongest ward for them in the district, represented in the past by such great figures as Maureen Vince and Charlie Stephenson. Also our commiserations to Mr Lucas-Gill, coming second by such a narrow margin in such very difficult circumstances.

As for us – we started this election campaign in Rochford with an eighteen year old inexperienced candidate, with no history of standing in the ward since about 2003 (we got 7% then). We finished it with a much more experienced, enthusiastic candidate who is getting very well known, attracting helpers and with a position just 218 votes behind the winner. There is much to look forward to at future elections around Rochford, as part of our campaigning to try to help in the local area.

To win in local elections you really need a big team of leafletters. If you can help Dan for future leaflet deliveries please let us know!

Election Day Tomorrow !

So the council by-election in Rochford Ward takes place tomorrow

Having a Lib Dem candidate standing here has been a pleasant surprise for some people – they”ve like the way we have concentrated on local issues and carried out our local survey. We think that’s what council work should be about, and we want the council to be open and more democratic – not just ruled by a cabinet.

We’re sorry if we didn’t call on everyone – it’s a big ward to canvass! But we made a big effort.

If you are a voter in the ward …. please vote for Dan Irlam.

Good Luck Dan !

We are are very pleased to see Daniel Irlam standing for the Lib Dems in the forthcoming District Council Election in Rochford Ward. Dan lives in the ward, works in the ward and certainly cares about the ward. He is a dedicated young campaigner and would make a fine councillor.

And when we say young, we certainly mean young. Dan is eighteen years old and if elected would be the youngest person ever elected to our District Council – we’ve had a few people in their early twenties but never in their late teens. In fact at the moment we only seem to have one councillor under thirty, not many under fifty.

Rochford has another two councillors already serving (one Independent Tory and one Labour) so electing a young Lib Dem would give a a good balance to the town’s representation.

The election has been called to fill the vacancy after the very sad and untimely death of previous councillor Gill Lucas-Gill. Whoever is elected would only serve for about six months until the main council elections next May.

Dalys Road Application On This Week’s Weekly List

Planning applications in Rochford are dealt at Rochford in 3 different ways.

Some applications are so small that the decisions are delegated to council officers. A typical example would be an extension to a house. A rarer example would be for a bigger application in the Green Belt – if it is against the councils green belt policy, officers have delegated powers of refusal without it touching councillors.

Really big applications go directly to the Development Committee for decision-making by councillors.

In the middle are applications on the “weekly yellow list”. Every week the District Council website has a new “yellow list” of planning applications that have been examined by council planning officers. Councillors get a full report – plus a recommendation from officers on whether to allow or refuse. This recommendation comes into effect unless any councillor calls it in to the development committee by the following Wednesday.

Usually applications are called in if a councillor is unhappy with the recommendation – they may want to turn an approval into a refusal, or a refusal into an approval. Sometimes, though, an application is recommended for refusal for one reason, and a councillor calls it in to add further reasons.

Anyway, you can find the latest weekly list here

One of this week’s applications is in Dalys Road , Rochford – to demolish a bungalow and replace it with 5 flats in a two-storey building with rooms in the roof space – so effectively three storeys.

Officers are recommending refusal for a hefty set of reasons:

    The area of floorspace is too small.
    The building is too high.
    The parking area would have a detrimental effect on neighbours, due to additional noise, light and fumes.
    Insufficient information about wildlife – particularly badgers

An Extra Meeting Of The Development Committee!

There’s an extra meeting of the Development Committee next Tuesday. It concerns the big housing application passed a couple of years back off Hall Road, Rochford. In particular it concerns the amount of affordable rented housing to be provided.

The original plan was for 97 affordable homes in the first phase – about 77 rented and 20 shared ownership. But the Chelmer Housing Partnership can no longer afford to do this, because of a change in central government policy:

hall road

So the developer wants to change the a planning condition to allow 67 rented and 30 shared ownership. You can download the full report here.

On the positive side, its good that the council is bringing this application for a change in conditions to the full committee. (Is that down to the chair, Cllr Seagers?) . On the negative side, the government don’t seem to be doing housing associations any favours at the moment.

As it happens Tim Farron has a very sensible article this week in the New Statesman about defending social housing from the Conservatives’ policies:

… selling off housing association homes does nothing to address the national emergency in housing. The huge shortage of affordable homes in the UK causes millions of people to suffer on a daily basis, with 1.6 million people on social housing waiting lists, unable to get on with their lives. The government’s plans still mean giving huge cash handouts to a tiny minority, while making things worse for many others.

A House Worth Visiting…

From the District Council website:

Rochford District Council are opening the Old House to the public this Halloween for a special day and evening of ‘spooktacular’ tours.

Built in 1270, the Old House has many a ghostly tale attached to it – so for one night only the council’s Communications team will be inviting the public to hear these stories and learn about the history of this beautiful building.

The tours will run from 12 noon to 1pm and 5pm to 6pm on 31 October.

Tickets are available by contacting Vanessa Conroy on 01702 318014 or by email on and are priced at £5 for adults and £2 for children and include refreshments.

Important information:

The tours will involve walking and climbing stairs some of which are very uneven so we advise that they may not be suitable for visitors with vision problems or mobility issues.
We advise that the tours are suitable for children 5 years old and over, and it’s at the parent’s discretion to allow them to attend.
Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Please feel free to bring your own torch! Lights will be off in the building to keep the tours spooky.

Tickets are sold on a first come first served basis and must be booked in advance. We expect this event to be very popular so may add an extra tour if required, so keep an eye on our website.

For more information please contact Communications on 01702 318014 or email using this form

find out more about the Old House on the Rochford Life Website. you can book visit on other Wednesdays, see here.