A Questionable Decision

Well, the Conservatives pushed through their motion last night to remove 26 councillors from the Development Committee:

http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/local_news/southend/13883763._Death_of_democracy__campaigners_dismayed_as_Rochford_councillors_vote_to_stop_all_councillors_voting_on_housing_plans/?ref=erec

 

Whether or not you agree with the actual decision, there is still some dispute over whether the council’s constitution allowed for this motion to be moved last night.

According to part 4 section 16.1 of the constitution, a motion to rescind a decision of the council that has been made in the last 6 months ?has to be signed by 8 members, and this was signed by only 2. The decision to have a committee of 39 was taken at annual council 5 months ago. This may seem pedantic, but we really really don’t want to have a committee that votes on planning applications to possibly have its very validity subject to legal challenge.

The advice from our officers is that the decision is perfectly OK:

The motion on notice relates to a change to a mechanism that the Authority has in place to deliver business (its housekeeping arrangements) rather than a business decision. It is also suggesting an amendment to arrangements in relation to a Council Committee rather than the removal of a Committee.

However Section 16.1 doesn’t mention anything about “business”.

 

  • So will you be taking further advice on this? I’m sure the lib Dems party can offer some legal assistance in making sure that our delightful Tory council are running things by ‘the book’.

  • Wouldn’t it be truly wonderful if this motion was overturned by the lib Dems? One in the eye for the torys and a huge pat on the back from the residents I’m sure.!!

    • Well , if we did get it overturned an identical motion would definitely be valid in a months time, so don’t get too excited! I think the next thing to do is to discuss it further with officers.

  • What I cannot understand is that this ( timescale / 8 signature ) protocol point was put by Cllr Hayter ( UKIP ) , who is a solicitor – who was then given the chance to respond / insist on the pint , but did’nt ?.
    OK they would no doubt go away , get 8 signatures and re- motion this , but a
    big point about how this autocratic leadership works would have been made public ; in fact pursuing and winning this point after the event would be an even bigger inditement , so worthwhile.
    I go to a lot of these meeting and quite regularly strong points are made but left hanging in the air , then evaporate – there seems no will on the part of the ‘opposition’ to press their points.
    There is no doubt in my mind that the whole purpose of this latest move is to
    enable the Hullbridge proposal to be pushed through ( because the objection portfolio put forward against it is very strong ) and let’s not forget the same Core Plan / Allocations Document includes a Traveller Site approval at some point.

    • The Chairman ruled that Members, apart from Councillors Cutmore, Hudson and Hayter, could only speak once and the debate was guillotined by the Chairman, Councillor Glynn. Councillor Mrs Mason interceded with the Chair, before the Chairman ruled, to allow Councillor Hayter, who said he was a solicitor when he made the legal challenge, to specifically answer the Council’s Solicitor’s rejection of Councillor Hayter’s legal challenge. He did not do so. Why? There was then nothing the “opposition” could do with this chance squandered so I resent, Jim Cripps, your general assertion ” there seems no will on the part of the ‘opposition’ to press their points.”

  • The Rochford District Residents and Green Group have asked the CEO to order an investigation into how many of those Councils which have a restricted Planning or Development Committee have then to defer decisions on developments of certain numbers of houses to Full Council. Certainly Basildon’s new arrangements have been reported as having a threshold of just 10 houses. So the claim by the Leader and Deputy Leader of Rochford District Council that Rochford District Council was unique in having all Member decisions might not have been as universal as stated. If there are a significant number of Councils with the “Basildon Arrangement” then we would like to table an Amendment. But would we be able to use the same mechanism as the Conservatives?………..no Rescission…………..no 6 Month Rule…………and no 8 Councillor Motion. Again we have asked the CEO to tell us.

    • From Shaun Scrutton

      I understand that, following a motion of no confidence in the chairman of the [Basildon] Planning Committee, it was agreed to amend their constitution so that planning applications for more than 10 dwelling units would be reported to the Planning Committee for a decision, which is not the case at the moment.

      This clarifies the post above.

    • Good point Bruce – I am watching that with interest , my bet is it will exclude Rayleigh Tories to get them off the hook of public opinion if they vote through
      Hullbridge / Timber Grove / North of London Rd next time and of course the Traveller Site followed by Rayleigh Ind Estate .
      Mind you Cllr Ward will be on it , probably one of their “highly trained experts” voting for the demise of West Rayleigh …….. [EDITED]

      • Seriously though folks –
        Given Countrysides 500+ , Hullbridge 500+ , Rawreth Ind Estate 230 , Timber Grove 91 (0n top of the recently completed Eon Site 150? ) – where is the local employment for all these people ?.
        Most of them I think will either drive to work or commute on the trains and both the roads and railways are already over-subscribed by a long way.
        Extra places at Secondary School will , apparently be achieved via extensions to the existing – encroaching on the playing fields / facilities and thus “bussing” the kids off site for sports facilities ( more traffic !!!! ).
        No mention of any New Hospital for the area , bearing in mind every town in the area is pursuing this Government driven ” Local Plan” nonsense – currently a cumulative total of 70,000 new homes in the next 15 years!!!!!.
        Police Force / Fire Brigade / Social Services all shrinking ( not expanding ) –
        the lunatics have finally taken over the asylum it seems……..

  • Whatever is happening to democracy? Surely, if common sense & fairness prevailed, the WHOLE of the district should be represented in any decision making process that affects the area? Especially in Planning & the Environment!
    I cannot imagine what life is going to be like with another 5/600 properties being built down the London Road. It’s bad enough already! And what about the imbalance of retail units in the High St? However, the Wednesday Market is a plus, (not sure about one on Saturdays). I am sure most of our elected representatives do their best for their constituents, therefore their views should & must be heard!

  • Janet Warner, I understand your concern re Retail outlets in Rayleigh but what you, and many others seem to forget, is this: You cannot force companies and individuals to invest money in businesses that will not make money. High Streets in the ( more prosperous) parts of the U.K. are changing and changing for good. If it was your money would you open a retail business in the High Street ? No, thought not…..

  • Has anyone driven to/from Wickford on the Runwell Rd (A132) now back open after a very novel idea – ie: pre-installing a new/wider road / roundabout and dedicated site entrance PRIOR TO SITE BUILDING WORK COMMENCING!!!!.
    Pretty clever is’nt it , but obviously beyond the Ken of RDC Development Committee members ( or more to the point their master the Chief Planning Officer ). So is it a lack of vision or just plain incompetence because ,you now what, that is exactly the same as the pre-installation of roads/junctions now going in at Chelmsford ( North of Springfield )PRIOR TO SITE BUILDING COMMENCING!!!! .
    So if Basildon Council and Chelmsford Council can do it – why not RDC?.

  • Jim, agreed, this is exactly the sort of thing Gino the Invisible should be campaigning for. After all he’s got a few years yet of doing nothing before the election photo calls. He’s a disgrace.