Frances Cottee Petition Reaches 1500

One of the District Council rules is that if someone submits a petition with 1500 names and addresses concerning a council issue, that issue will be debated at Full Council. It’s never happened before , but it will now, because we understand there are now 1500 names (1474 online, plus more on paper). The wording of the petition is pretty straightforward:

Petition Overview:

The Council should refuse to place homeless persons in Frances Cottee Lodge and the Clarence Road flats in Rayleigh.

This concerns the plan to use Frances Cottee Lodge to provide temporary accommodation for the homeless, and the plan to lift the restriction which currently limits the residency to those aged over 55 in the accompanying Clarence Road flats.

Local residents feel that such a hostel would be inappropriately placed in this location. Sanctuary Housing’s plans to push these changes through are being carried out with no regard for the community or the current residents of Frances Cottee Lodge and Clarence Road Flats.

The Council should refuse to use this accommodation for emergency housing and should find alternative accommodation either from property in its portfolio, or buy new property on the open market. 

Let’s see what happens next…

  • Personally I don’t blame them for objecting, wherever “young” homeless people are put together then as sure as day follows night drugs, drunkenness and anti social behaviour starts and blights the area, not to mention ( gasp ) the property prices…although quite where the petitioners think funds will come from for a new property is beyond me.

    Thank goodness there are no suitable places anywhere near Oz Towers….NIMBY’s rule !

  • This is not for homeless young people but family groups who for whatever reason are temporarily homeless. Could be flooding, self employed person having illness or injury and not earning. Perhaps Rochford should send it’s homeless to Southend where they can find a grubby bedsit in the Westcliff area. One comment was that refugees might be offered places at Francis Cottee Lodge but wouldn’t we be sending our own people out for others to deal with. House prices might be affected but more by the negative propaganda being spread. We all have a responsibility to look after those in difficulty not push the problem onto others. And it is more expensive to do so Perhaps a council tax increase to cover this or buying houses for them would be a good idea. There will be a Council meeting about this and I hope there is an advocate there for those who are in difficulty.

  • So Bruce, in the current climate of cutbacks you would support a council tax increase to buy houses so that homeless people can live in them….well good luck with that one. You are a nice guy with the best intentions but honestly, you are completely out of touch with reality.

  • Bruce,
    Before you start thinking about raising the council tax, what do you think about the £500m aid we give to India and Pakistan? Siince they both seem to be able to afford space programs do you think this is good use of our money when we have people who are “in difficulty” ourselves in this country?

    • I am old enough to remember the post war austerity of the 50’s , by the 60’s we had recovered enough to commence Government overseas aid which
      was further subsidised via various Charities ( and events like Band Aid etc;).
      Since then a series of ,now yearly, major charity events raising in the order of
      £50 + millions -which is on top of the £12.7 billion ( and rising )/year in overseas aid by the Government.
      So for some six decades now we have been contributing to a problem that
      never goes away – which is now being seriously questioned in terms of this
      is actually an industry paying senior people outrageous salaries/expenses.
      Meanwhile back at the ranch it is cut,cut,cut ( again ) , what happened to charity begins at home ?.

  • Oz please note that as a well read gentleman the idea of buying houses is not mine and my comment was a subtle dig at those who have. So the person in this context who is out of touch with reality is…….

  • Oz see and read the petition carefully. Apology will be accepted and like you I agree value for money is important. It costs more to find accommodation in other areas and buying homes on the open market is ludicrous.

  • James there are many arguments for and against foreign aid. Can agree on the point you make and consider South Sudan where rival groups find it more important to buy weapons rather than food. But as rich nations can we really sit back while children live in poverty and are dieing of starvation. Shame on all who sit back and let this happen.
    Especially those in the nation’s concerned.

  • James,
    That is a very good point, in 2015 this country gave away 12.2 BILLION pounds to overseas countries. So, when you see cutbacks all around, our old people without care, less police etc just think what a difference that money could make here. There is an old saying, charity begins at home and we need to start that right now. But Bruce, if you disagree with that, and you still support your council tax increases then I look forward to those proposals forming part of the Lib Dem manifesto at the next local elections.

  • Bruce, this is a direct copy from your post where you seem to advocate buying houses for homeless people. Sorry, but I don’t know what you are talking about but happy to apologise if I’ve missed the point completely.

    Perhaps a council tax increase to cover this or buying houses for them would be a good idea. There will be a Council meeting about this and I hope there is an advocate there for those who are in difficulty.

  • Research the saying, ‘Charity begins at home’ and discover the original meaning: practise love and compassion at home, don’t just parade it around elsewhere. The meaning has been corrupted to imply that charity should begin and end at home.

    Surely we have enough love and compassion to be indiscriminate in our care of others. Reduction in foreign aid budgets is short-sighted and produces isolationist regimes; extreme hardship leads to radicalisation of people with no hope; generosity and compassion breeds tolerance, friendship, respect and is contagious.

    There are enough resources in the world; we just have to learn how to manage them more effectively.

    • Idealistic but unrealistic – for 6 decades we have contributed billions , it has not eradicated isolationism, radicalisation nor extreme hardship , in fact the
      corrupt nature of aid distribution has done just the opposite.
      I can tell you first hand ( I have worked in such places ) that corruption is an
      endemic way of life there , only a fraction of the aid gets to where it is really needed.
      On the news tonight , 20 million people at risk accross central Africa alone –
      as it has been despite decades of aid……unfortunately.

  • We should get the option to decide if, as taxpayers, we want our money to be given away overseas or spent at home. I can guess the answer to that one….and for all the people that want to give away their money then go ahead….it could go towards a new spacesuit.

    • A few thoughts of my own:
      + Other people would say we should also have the option to decide whether our money should be spent overseas on … fighting wars. But we don’t decide taxes that way.
      + Some of the overseas aid budget saves lives.
      + Though I’m sure you could find me examples of spending that I wouldn’t agree with.
      + I’ve read that 90% of centrally managed contracts go to UK suppliers… so our economy benefits a lot. That’s pretty significant.
      + I do “get” the concern that some people have about the overseas aid budget .. but if you think that 0.7% of GNP would solve our problems at home, I think you are wrong. It’s a bit like that Brexit van last year saying we could save £350 million a week by leaving the EU. That claim seems to have been quietly dropped now…. I wouldn’t like to see, for example, starving children in Africa affected by the war with Boko Haram become an implausible replacement scapegoat for government cutbacks here.

  • Admin, we could spend the next year doing this one to death but one general point. To quote percentages is meaningless unless you know the numbers involved. Sure, 0.7% does not sound very much until you realise it equates to over 12 billion pounds.

    Let’s all call it a draw and get back to the important local stuff…

  • Oz the idea go buying houses is not mine it is actually in the petition.
    It is a silly idea. Imagine the headline Lambeth buys house for homeless family of 4. Is that what the petition is suggesting Rochford District Council should be doing. I think it does. You should know from old to read between the lines.

    • Bruce, it is not such a stupid idea for the council to fund schemes directly. Your headline example is what is happening

      imagine the headlines building previously owned by RDC is occupied by tenants from Haringey council

      Or Councils from outside of Rochford snap up new affordable housing whilst council fails to act”

  • Seems Chris and Bruce you’re not thinking outside the box, RDC has zero debt, so could borrow funds for specific projects at very favourable rates, and due to the high costs of B&b accommodation this could be self funded saving money.

    New developments in our district like Hall Road have had their “affordable” housing snapped up by Chelmsford/Chelmer Housing Assoc. and of course an ex RDC building Acacia House now has tenants from Haringay Council, seems there are opportunities but our council is missing them

    Chris. Will know about the empty offices in South St “project Wyvern” i don’t because it’s exempt, why can’t they be used??

    I had hoped for a more open and liberal thought process from you rather than the reiteration of the Tory line

  • HI Richard, I won’t be reiterating any party line, Tory , Lib Dem or whatever – and my thought processes are normally liberal. 🙂
    There are so many issues here:
    1) What is the best way for Rochford to find homes for our homeless? If buying homes is the answer, the public should be able to see costings.
    2) Sheltered housing schemes were rightly seen as a housing solution for the elderly when they were being built. How many elderly people today want to go onto them? Frances Cottee Lodge is for the over 55s – I’m in that age group but wouldn’t want to move in. I suspect that in the next 30 years the percentage of elderly wanting to move into them will continue to fall , but as the actual number of elderly people continues to increase, I expect there will still be a certain demand for these places. 40 years from now, the current 20 somethings who can’t get on the housing ladder and may never do so, may welcome them.
    3) Is Frances Cottee Lodge a suitable location?
    4) Are the tenants who have been living there being treated fairly? There have been claims and counter claims in the past few months
    5) Is Sanctuary’s track record good enough at the moment to inspire confidence?

  • Thank you Chris a fair response, one thing you overlook about sheltered housing is that it is very popular, ask McCarthy Stone etc there are plans for a new village at Rochford and the redevelopment of Rocheway School. And o course Timbergrove in rayleigh

    The fact that you don’t fancy FCL, this maybe due to the deteriation allowed by Sanctuary over the years

    I think within the social housing space we should top notch sheltered housing supplied by a partner housing association effectively managed by an impartial council