What The Leaders Said….

The minutes of the last full District Council Meeting are now on the council website.

All the four group leaders are quoted on the Allocations Document, which the Tories pushed through on the night:

The Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Cllr C I Black, made reference to the Allocations Document needing to be seen in the context of the Council’s objectives and values, as set out on the second page of the meeting Agenda. The Rochford Core Strategy was the overall key document. The Allocations Document did not adequately address known issues associated with subjects such as flooding in Hullbridge and the Rayleigh Sports and Social Club. Community benefit aspects were relatively light in the context of what had been achieved with previous projects such as Sweyne Park and the Cherry Orchard Jubilee Country Park. As far as Cllr Black was aware, there had been no public meetings on the Allocations Document.
The Leader of the Rochford Residents Group, Cllr J R F Mason, referred to the Council having already given approval to over one thousand houses without an Allocations Document in place. The value of the Document was questionable and it could be argued that it would be appropriate for the Council to hold a face to face public forum to enable residents to have their questions answered, particularly in respect of concerns about flooding and District infrastructure. It would be inappropriate to adopt the Document if residents had material concerns.
The Leader of the Green Group, Cllr M Hoy,
observed that addressing residents’ concerns should be seen as fundamental. Notwithstanding the Inspector’s Report, it was felt that appropriate weighting had not been given to some of the evidence and that the document in its current form did not serve the best interests of the District.
The Leader of the Council, Cllr T G Cutmore, quoted paragraph 7.1 of the officer’s report setting out the risk implications of failure to have an Allocations Document in place, which included the Council being vulnerable to planning applications for development on unsuitable sites and/or of an appropriate form. The intention was for development plans to be spread as evenly as possible throughout the District in a fair and equitable way. Public meetings had been held in many parts of the District.
On a show of hands it was:-

That the Allocations Document, as attached to the officer report, be adopted as a Development Plan Document. (HPT)
Note: Cllrs C I Black, Mrs D Hoy, M Hoy, C J Lumley, Mrs C M Mason and J R F Mason wished to be recorded as having voted against the above decision. Cllr Mrs A V Hale wished to be recorded as having abstained.


  1. Perhaps Cllr Cutmore could enlighten us as to when and where these public meetings were held, how many people attended these meetings and what advertisement had been done prior to the meetings? I won’t hold my breath though!

  2. More than likely these were Council meetings where the public were in attendance, as opposed to public meetings where people were allowed to express an opinion to councillors. RDC don’t seem to do those.

  3. Cllr Cutmore quote above – there is no argument regarding the need for a Core Plan / Allocations Document in order to regulate building -the issue is ” fairly distributed throughout the district” which it is’nt ( 500 Hullbridge / 600 Hall Rd / 800 Rayleigh).
    As for ‘Consultation’ , even the Government Inspector’s report noted the limitations –
    In fact he was moved to say ” too much reliance on the Rochford District Matters publication” , namely limited distribution ( and user unfriendly website links!!!! ).
    And it goes on –
    A few weeks ago the Trinity Ward leaflet said the Council & Developer where going to launch plans at the Mill Hall , but it was’nt publicized until we made it known in the Echo – and it changed to a static un-manned Council ‘ Display’ with Developer leaflets delivered in West Rayleigh. Will the Council ever dare hold a manned Roadshow ???.
    Some weeks ago the Head of Planning & Transportation ( Cllr Hudson ) said the Bullwood Hall prison site development would’nt go ahead until local road issues were resolved – have you seen any such statement re : Hall Rd / Rawreth Lane/ London Rd/Hullbridge Rd ??????? – I don’t think so .
    By the way formal notice of the Allocations Document adoption was tucked away in the free Yellow Advertiser paper this week – I bet everyone saw that ( NOT ) – when do we get a Council Manned public roadshow then ?????.

  4. I’ve just received a survey from 38 Degrees on the subject of why people are no longer interested in politics, why they don’t vote. It occurs to me they need only look at what is happening locally to get their answer, and I think this is a microcosm of the country as a whole. Party line rules, your vote makes little or no difference, say what you like, no-one is listening. MPs viewing the job as a good career move to directorships, consultancies, lecture circuit etc. instead of public service for the sake of public service. I could go on but we all know the problems, what we don’t know is the answers. We could start with the abolition of party politics at local level and take it from there though

  5. Or you could argue the other way Christine and say the problem is that party politics isn’t strong enough at a local level 😉
    Three parties in the council chamber are listening… if we had more helpers, potential candidates and cash to fight seats things would be different.

  6. I take your point admin, but to me one of the problems is that the minute you stick a label on something, Conservative, Lib-Dem, Labour, UKIP etc. etc. then people feel they have to agree with and espouse the whole ethos of the label in order to support even a local candidate. Now I happen to think that Chris does a great job as a local councillor and I would (and have) voted for him even though I would not vote for a Lib-Dem national candidate as I disagree with many of their party line thoughts and policies. A lot of people though would not vote locally any differently to how they vote nationally, which is why I think party politics works against local democracy. Independent means just that, no allegiance to any mind set of policies, no party whip, vote the way you think is right for your constituents and the region you serve as a whole. Loose alliances as opposed to party alliances that are set in stone.

  7. For me it is because of the lack of choice , there is no Left or right anymore – all 3 main parties are assembled in the middle ground ( on the Westminster village green).
    The electorate are presented with shades of the same thing , the potential hung Parliament last time proves it , and any 2 of the 3 would have formed a Coalition in
    order get a hand on the tiller. There are only a handful of conviction politicians left and we’ve just lost the best example in Tony Benn ( now there is someone who did’nt tow the party line).
    And frankly local politics has followed , not only in RDC – read the local Evening Echo every night ( Castle Point / Basildon / Southend et al ) it is rife throughout, decisions being forced through in spite of the electorate.
    Credit where it is due , Chris Black / the Masons / the Greens and recently rebel Tory Councillors are making a stand but it is a ‘stacked deck’ of party political mandate.

    Someone much cleverer than me once said …..absolute power currupts absolutely.

  8. I wouldnt put too much credit the way of the Tory rebels I havent heard them say anything about the Developments,

    The parking charges issues is a petty issue in comparison

  9. Today the final decision has to be made as to whether this district goes forward with asking a legal team to prepare a case for Judicial Review of the Allocations Document based on what Jim Cripp’s wrote above. The Consultation process adopted by RDC was deeply flawed but the Inspector had no wriggle room to stop these Allocations. Rayleigh Action Group appealed for funds and received £805 in two days over the weekend towards this proposal. That is well short of the amount needed. Will Chris Black and all the On Line Focus members be prepared to support such a move? Chris has consistently voted against these plans and will be fighting a rear-guard action once the period for legal challenge is past. We should not roll over and just give up the fight before every chance to stop this is done and dusted. Those responsible should not crack open the champagne too soon!! Why can’t the people of South Essex have a ‘garden City’ on Fossetts Farm, Rochford/Southend with all the necessary infrastructure like that proposed for Ebbsfleet, in Kent. It would negate the need for all the unwelcome assaults currently planned across this area. Benfleet , Wickford, Rayleigh, Hullbridge etc etc. Where are our MP’s on this issue?

  10. Linda,

    I have no wish to discourage anyone from challenging the council on this, if they have the resources!

    But even if the allocations document was cancelled tomorrow, the core strategy is still in place and that stipulates 550 homes north of London Road – which is a pretty specific requirement. Housing has already been approved in places like West Rochford purely on the core strategy, long before the allocations doc.

    Its true that the allocations doc also includes the Rayleigh Sports And Social Club issue and the Traveller Site, which were not so specific in the Core Strategy. Though I expect that these items will have to come back to councillors for a final vote as council policy and then to the development committee for planning permission, ( I am checking on this)

  11. Linda,

    I am not sure what you are asking here ?

    Any challenge via a judicial review of the Development plan would of course cause the council to re-evaluate and if successful they would have to prepare another plan, which would be largely the same as now, they would be more open in the consultation, but then probably come up with a plan similar to now

    This would then be adopted by the massive Tory majority

    Unless you have hidden away evidence of vested interests on the land sales and associated planning process little will change except things may be delayed by six months

    In the intrim Countryside would put in planning applications, if needs be challenge all the way to the Appeal Court and the house would be built

    Now is the time for a serious rearguard action, challenge each part of the planning aplication,

    Challenge RDC and ECC on infrastructure change particularily

    Roads, and not only the immediate effect of each development but the cumulative effect across the whole district for a road system that doesn’t work at the moment

    Public Transport Buses to the town Centre, station as well as linking to Basildon, Southend, Chelmsford and other employment centres, hostpitals etc

    Doctors/Dentists provision of capacity to meeet the new demand

    Schools provision of places in all layers especially nursary

    Flooding certain areas would be subject to flooding so adequate sustainable drainage with a long term maintenace plan

    All these areas will need to be embeedded in the Planning applications

    As Linda says a Fossets farm solution utilising the Airport and Football stadium infrat=structure would be more feasible

    And yes where are the MP’s comments ?

  12. The only way to change any of this is in May if ythe opposition, Lib Dems, Greens and Independants win or at least challenge for Tory held seats,

    a wasted vote is a Tory vote

  13. Unfortunately I think Richard is right. Any legal success wouldonly result in some slight tweaks, more roadshows with no one from the Council in attendance by way of consultation, and a revised plan which is basically this plan. The challenges now have to come via the planning process and weight of public opinion. If 10,000 people say where are the health services, where are the buses, where are the roads to take the traffic, it can’t just be ignored.

    Richard, I have no idea where our MP is. Certainly not responding to these issues, he hasn’t even answered my last letter on the subject, but he is apparently a good MP because he visits schools, businesses etc. He needs to look at the example of the Basildon MP who fought tooth and nail alongside her constituents over Glebelands and won. I’m not holding by breath though.

  14. But he did get 8 photo opportunities in the latest issue of the Party leaflet ( the Rayleigh & Eastwood Times)!!!!! – he is good at smiling though…………

  15. Well, there’s an election next year. Time to remind people that their sitting MP is in favour of travellers sites, did nothing to prevent over development and was completely absent during the flooding. Let’s see how safe that majority is then.

  16. Had to smile – the title of this thread is ‘What the Leaders said’ and our leader has said nothing apart from endorsing the Traveller Site ( 10th September 2013 Hearing) , we have long memories!!!!!!

  17. What price democracy ?…..
    I understand that Linda Kendall’s request for a Judicial Review is being thwarted
    by financial exposure – the judge has ruled that the £5K cap on any costs ( should she lose ) is not applicable, therefore she would be subject to any and all costs.
    Her Barrister is appealing the decision, but don’t hold your breath – the system is closing ranks , she cannot afford the risk involved.

  18. That is so wrong. I don’t necessarily agree that a Judicial Review is the way to go, but such things shouldn’t be denied due to financial implications. Shame on RDC for doing this and not having the guts to let the judicial review go ahead. To me that shows that they feel they are on very shaky ground indeed and have to take a sledgehammer to any and all opposition before the truth is exposed.

  19. Absolutely right Christine – Government driven quotas > compliant party whip Council > Government Inspector > scheme originators acting as the Planning Approval body>
    toothless County Council ( Highways) > a ” DONE DEAL” indeed.

    But take heart , right accross the UK and Europe the plebs are waking up to the fact
    we are not living in a real democracy – my Rayleigh Spring might well be part of a much bigger change of the old order.

  20. “Those who govern, having much business on their hands, do not generally like to take the trouble of considering and carrying into execution new projects. The best public measures are therefore seldom adopted from previous wisdom, but forced by the occasion.”
    B Franklin

  21. GOOD news – yes the appeal court judge over-ruled the previous decision and awarded her the CPO cost cap protection , I don’t know enough detail but a lot
    of the previous points ( Green Belt etc;) made consistently by RAG were aired.
    Still a long way from any tangiable success but the fight is still alive so the DEAL
    Is’nt quite DONE yet.

    PS: Nice one Oz and. …..the times they are a changing ( Bob Dylan ).

  22. On the issue of the Protected Cost Order 8 hour High Court case:-

    1) RDC wanted me to use free ‘read numpty’ legal help to limit my costs and objected to me choosing some of the best in the field. CHEEK OF THEM!

    JUDGE said I could choose the best if I wanted.

    2) RDC claimed all RAG and HRAG figures were wrong and that’s why we got support. WRONG AGAIN.

    JUDGE checked and we were telling the truth FROM RDC DOCUMENTATION. Did I hear someone comment ‘truth hurts’.

    3) RDC then claim this was a personal land issue and I had applied to be part of the Allocation Plan. TOTALLY FALSE and not the case.

    JUDGE READ DETAIL and was told this was not the case and just a ‘RED HERRING’ produced to deflect the issues. note:- RDC has repeatedly tried to discredit RAG and HRAG in the newspapers/ In Touch Tory leaflets and the ‘cherry on the cake’ on the Essex Radio. (I have a copy of the transmission provided by the BBC).

    Lots more but in short they FAILED TO STOP THE ACTUAL CASE BY FINANCIAL MUSCLE. Whatever the outcome financial muscle and ‘influence’ did not help them this time.

    High Court The Strand London next week EVERYONE CAN ATTEND IF THEY HAVE TIME. Come along and show how you feel about this destruction of our area. You don’t have to stay for any amount of time you can come and go from the public court at will.

    High Court
    Tuesday and Wednesday 17th and 18th June both days start at 10.15am
    Case is


    Any support welcome see http://www.rayleighactiongroup.org

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.