1,800 Homes Decision In Secret?

The Echo journalist Geoff Percival has an important article here. It’s alarming – but some people were predicting this:

3,800 new homes: Secret vote worry

TORY councillors could privately make decisions about where 3,800 new homes will go in Rochford district over the next 15 years.

Controversy surrounds the 1,800-plus homes proposed for Rayleigh, where there is a strong feeling the infrastructure is already at bursting point.

Some disillusioned Rayleigh Tories suspect the majority of councillors from Rochford and the surrounding area could impose the new homes on the town at the group meeting on September 3.

It is understood there are proposals to impose a whip on members who disagree with policy approved at the meeting when it comes to the full council.

Keith Hudson, council deputy leader, said: “All members of the group will be invited to the meeting where everyone will be able to have a full and frank discussion.

“The Conservative party is the administration on Rochford District Council and I think it is only right we should have a consensus among our members before we go back into the public domain.

“Every group member will be aware of the feelings which have been put forward by the public during the consultation period.

“If group members cannot agree on the allocation of homes, then we will have to consider what we do from then on, but I am sure common sense will prevail.”

The authority has to find space for the new homes in its new Strategic Framework required by the Government.

However, one Rayleigh Tory, who asked not to be named, said: “It seems clear there is a determination to push through the extra 1,800 houses, the bulk of the whole allocation, into Rayleigh no matter what. Some people seem to be prepared to accept 1,800 extra houses in Rayleigh provided the infrastructure is put in place.

“But the town is bursting at the seams already and we have been taking more than our fair share of development in the district for the past 30 years.”

So if the Tory group are meeting on 3nd September, they have to face the public the next night at Downhall School at the West Area Committee…..!

It’s possible that the Tory leadership might allow a small reduction in the figures for Rayleigh – say 200 or 300 – to avoid totally humiliating loyal Rayleigh Conservatives. But most people will say that’s not enough…..it’s time for Rayleigh Tories to decide which bit of their title is more important – the “Rayleigh” bit or the “Tory” bit.

  • Well the Tory Councillors have a choice, either listen to what the people of Rayleigh and also the County Council are telling them and vote against the Tory whip or vote with their ‘superiors’ and run the very great risk of losing their ward at the next round of elections.

    There is a very real groundswell of feeling building up in Rayleigh at the moment and there can only be one outcome for our local Tory councillors if we have to take 1,800 more houses. The senior Councillors appear to have their heads very firmly in the ground and like a young child are stamping their feet. The administration are letting us down and we will show our mood at the ballot box.

    Rayleigh Councillors you have a choice, please dont mess it up.

  • Ron, Jackie, Chris, I, like you received the Agenda for the next West Area Committee meeting on the 4th September. The point that stuck out like a sore thumb to me was the answer to my question put at the last meeting. My actual question was “do we have confirmed funding for the infrastructure required if Rayleigh has to take another 1,800 houses” The statement in the Agenda (from Shaun Scrutton, Head of Planning and Transportation, Rochford District) “Infrastructure aspects relating to any potential housing in Rayleigh will be part of the consultation on the Local Development Framework core strategy, the timing of which is yet to be confirmed. The Area Committee will be included in the consultation”
    This is not the answer to the question I put forward. The only conclusion I can come to is that we do not have confiemed funding, with all that entails. But even more to concern ourselves with is that ROCHFORD DISTRICT COUNCIL will not take responsibility for the OUTCOMES of these questions (please take note Mr Warren). My question was very simple, do we or do we not have funding for major development in Rayleigh. I may not agree with the management information or lack of management information available to the planning department but surely it is for the Councillors to ensure that all essential data is available. I now have absolutely no faith in the Conservative Administration of our district, further more all the people in the town that I speak to have exactly the same feelings that I have. I have a list as long as my arm of questions that my, colleagues, friends and neighbours would like answered by the District Counci

    It may be a long meeting on the 4th.

    Your comments would be appreciated

  • Hi Chris, I am going to make a few comments which you may or may not wish to be printed. I will leave it up to you. They are my comments only.

    The way the West Area Meeting was handled tonight would not have been out of place in a Carry On film but more importantly it threw up the how badly it was run. There was some very important issues to discuss and the people who attended, mostly from Rawreth, were looking for Councillors to listen and understand their concerns. It appeared that some of the Councillors who for some time have had things their own way have suddenly had to be accountable and do not like the new scenario.

    In essence, we are all striving for the same things in life but go about it in different ways. People who put themselves in positions of power over other peoples lives, are in a very priveleged position, and sometimes will find themselves in difficult situations. In terms of tonights meeting the residents who were concerned wanted these people to listen and to at least take their concerns on board. This never came through from the Committee at all and when they were told they could not ask further questions were ,gobsmacked’ for want of a better word. This is why 95% left before the end. The little cameo at the end when someone? lost it was pure theatre (talk about District versus local council).
    The upshot of the whole evening is that the Tory Councillors cannot react positively to something a little out of the ‘norm’ when it comes to protocol during formal meetings. Had someone got a TV programme to get home to?