Tory District Councillor James Cottis is only about 24 years old. and his father owns a lot of land around the district. James has now done the sensible thing and decided to declare a ‘prejudicial interest ‘ regarding future housing development. He won’t take part in any discussions or continue to vote on these issues.
He wrote to his leader, Terry Cutmore as follows:
Dear Cllr Cutmore
I write to confirm that given my family’s extensive land holdings within the district , I intend to take no part in decisions concerning the allocation of land for development within the Council’s Local Development Framework. I therefore declare a personal and prejudicial interest in this regard.
This is due to the fact that my family own land in Rayleigh where the controversy of potentially building 1800 new homes has become a major talking point for this district.
After consulting with officers at Rochford , I came to the decision myself. This was after there had been phone calls to the Head of Planning from ‘members of the public’ explaining that my family has land not only in Rayleigh, but the rest of the district . I find this rather bizarre as not only did the Head of Planning know this fact, but I had already declared this interest in the register of Members Interests.
I believe that what I have done is right and correct
Cllr James Cottis
We are quoting this letter with James’ permission, and James suggested that we might like to add a few comments. Well, just remember James, that you should probably also keep out of Tory group meetings when land allocations and housing figures are being discussed!
Perhaps due to the weight of public opinion, a more appropriate response would be for James to resign his position on the council as someone with and un bias standing would be able to contribute to the debate, rather than be either having to abstain or face the potential backlash of being open to the charge of voting for personal gain. With the huge impact that this topic has on the future of our district, abstention is a wasted vote. Do the right thing James.
Adrian I believe James was voted of the Distrct Council anyway and is now a Parish Councillor for Rochford only .Of course he still may have the ear of several influential Councillors in the Conservative ruling junta . But in his defence I am sure he is an honourable man ,it is everyone’s right to put forward land for development ,but it is the Councils purpose to find the right solution responsibly .That is our contention that this may not be the right solution .