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.