Don’t Believe Everything You Read!

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Whilst for many the latest press release from Rochford District Council, on the future of the Mill Hall, would be welcomed, we urge residents to treat it with caution. As we’ve seen before, statements regarding the Conservative’s intentions for the Mill Hall and other assets have come and gone. Until we have a formal decision made through the proper governance process, no one should be lured into this false sense of security.

Whatever the outcome of this latest statement, the Lib Dems will not give up on our public-owned assets and will continue to fight and campaign to have them reopened for the enjoyment of all residents.

Date: Thursday, June 16, 2022

A meeting of the Executive, on Wednesday 13 July, will consider options for the way forward regarding the future of the Mill Hall in Rayleigh.

I know that the Mill Hall is of great importance to our residents, and quite understandably residents have asked me when I will be able to say more regarding the future of the building.

Throughout the process to investigate environmentally and financially sustainable options for the building and the wider site the Council has sought the views of our residents.

Last autumn, as Leader I made a pledge that in considering the future development of the site, I was committed to ensure that the Council considers alternative proposals which did not include residential development.

In March of this year the Cross Party Partnership Panel Members expressed and endorsed a strong view that any scheme put forward in response to the outcome of this Workstream would not include residential or commercial units, and parking capacity would remain as at present.

The meeting of Executive on 13 July, being the first opportunity for a formal Council decision, will debate three options for the site; to continue to develop a business case to consider a new build facility, to keep the Mill Hall mothballed and finally to reopen the Mill Hall, the intention being September 2022.

Having already ruled out any residential development on the site, I have honoured my commitment to listen, pause and carefully consider the many and varied views of our community concerning the future of the building.

I believe reopening the Mill would be the best way forward for us to achieve our shared ambition of a facility that serves all the diverse needs of our local communities, that enhances the public realm in Rayleigh and gives our residents a real voice in an asset that is at the heart of our local life.

I would also welcome further discussion with community groups to explore longer term community partnership options for the building.

Finally, regarding the Freight House in Rochford, to assist the community ahead of the Council taking a formal decision regarding commencement of refurbishment and development works at the site, the Council will seek to reopen the building. Further information will be set out in a report to Members in the Autumn.

As previously stated Executive Members will have the opportunity to consider and debate the options in detail at its meeting in July.

The Council welcomes discussion with residents and community groups interested in booking the Mill Hall.

Statement from The Leader on future of the Mill Hall, Rayleigh and the Freight House, Rochford