LDF Plan Approved by District Council 23-4 [Updated]

The Local Development Framework Document was approved by the District Council, and will now go to a government inspector for a final OK. The voting figures were 23-4. The four against were Chris Black, Jackie Dillnutt, Ron Oatham and John Mason. There seemed to be no abstentions- Twelve counciillors were absent (10 Tories, plus June and Chris Lumley from the Lib Dems). None of the Hullbridge Councillors – Rosemary Brown, Lesley Butcher and Peter Robinson – were present.

Conservative Keith Hudson opened the debate, basically blaming everything on the Labour Government (with a certain amount of justification!). But he said it was an ‘exemplary document’ a ‘perfectly sound, workable plan’ and the ‘best possible solution’. He said to produce a plan like this you have to ’employ the standard of officer that this District is blessed with, the likes of Shaun Scrutton’

Chris Black concentrated on the issues involving the proposals for Rawreth. (and was accused by Tory Leader Terry Cutmore of ‘Nimbyism’ for this).

This is what he said about Rawreth:

This LDF document isn?t all bad ? in particular I welcome the return of the local list, but I am opposed to this being approved tonight. My time for speaking is limited, so I will concentrate on the proposals for Rawreth. I am sure other members will want to speak on other areas.

First of all, The proposals for Rawreth are not compatible with the rest of the document.

On page 11

?Fostering Greater Community Cohesion To make Rochford District a place where residents have a sense of belonging in their communities. To enable residents to have the opportunity to participate in civic life and to reduce all inequalities within our communities.
The sense of community is vital for eliminating social exclusion and encouraging cohesion.?


Building on the outer edge of Rawreth will produce a development where people won?t feel part of any community ? they won?t really belong to Rayleigh, they won?t feel part of Rawreth. I know intelligent residents who?ve lived in West Rayleigh for 5 or 6 years, and have never even been near Rayleigh Mount!.

On page 30 is see that only 0.6 percent of the district housing demand comes from Rawreth.

On page 41 it shows Rawreth very clearly in the 4th tier of settlements , where the council says it doesn?t want any development! If anyone is thinking of saying that the ?land north of London Road? is not in Rawreth , can I remind them the location being agreed tonight extends deep into the heart of Rawreth.

Page 65 of the document list the purposes for having Green Belt.

To check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas; – yeah!
To assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment – yeah
To preserve the setting and special character of historic towns ? yeah. The view of Rayleigh from the west would be lost.

Secondly, as the District Council insists on breaking it?s own principles and building in Rawreth, the Parish Council has coming up with it?s own counter-proposals, that would put some housing in the centre of the parish, to give it a village centre. This is much more sensible if you really want to improve community cohesion instead of filling out phoney New Labour tickboxes. It is also makes sense in transport terms, because railway commuters from here would use Battlesbridge Station instead of putting more pressure on Rayleigh station.

But of course , this document doesn?t support this.

Thirdly, the Infrastructure proposals on page 51 are not satisfactory. They talk about building a new primary school. Why? 770 extra homes won?t require a new school, unless the officers are planning a lot more housing. So this may simply be a way for the County Council to get some money. Or it may be a way of closing an existing school in Rayleigh and flogging the land for housing. If I was a councillor in Central or Trinity Wards I would want to think very carefully about that.

The independent advice I?ve been given is that 770 houses should provide enough funds for a lot of open space AND a swimming pool. Just look at how the Cherry Orchard Country Park was funded from the Park School site ? and the development here would be three times the size! This document ignores the possibilities of this. It also promotes a new road that would strike a dagger into the heart of Rawreth making it vulnerable to yet more housing.

Fourthly, wherever I lived in the district, whichever ward I had the honour of representing, I would look at the total mismanagement of the Park School site and say ?don?t let anyone who planned that near my community?. What was going to be purely education and recreation turned into a mixed development with a range of uses valuable to the local community, with the marketing of the land under the monitoring of the District Council. That of course never happened ?we got a supermarket, and the District Council even this week refuses to provide litter bins!

We got a spinal road that?s really much too narrow, a side road unsuitable for the first recycling vehicles, sports pitches used as a building compound, an officer recommendation to approve flats described by the county advisor as ?dreadful? and an officer recommendation to support 59 gardens below our minimum size. Etc Etc . And this plan would allow the same thing to happen again, only three times bigger!.

Finally, I am against this proposal because it is directly against the green belt principle of safeguarding the countryside from encroachment. Once you breach that line, once you start on those fields, there is no natural stopping point until you get to the A1245 in the heart of Rawreth. I am sure there are some people with their mouths watering at the thought of the profit they would make from it. They should not be allowed to succeed.

Fellow members, there is a lot of good in this document ? but we need to get rid of the bad before we approve it. I ask members across the chamber to do the right thing and send this back to the LDF sub-committee for further consideration.

Out of completeness, we are now able to show Cllr Keith Hudson’s complete speech as well:

Chairman, it has been a long time coming ?
Rochford District Council?s Core Strategy.
It is the overarching document that will determine the shape of things to
come, the shape of the place where we live and work. It is the precursor to
many publications that will be the substance of our local development
framework.

This procedure, this ?Local Development Framework? was instigated by our
present Socialist Government. We were told what we were to do, we were
instructed on what we were to facilitate.
The Conservative administration of Rochford District Council has no choice but
to comply with the law. If we had not grasped this nettle then some grey
suited bureaucrat from Whitehall, who would have no local knowledge
whatsoever, would have taken on the task and we would have to live with
whatever his tender mercies bestowed upon us.

You have heard these words from me before, I do not apologise for repeating
them now, for it is well that we and our Residents never forget which political
party, which out going socialist government, instigated this fiasco.

However, our officers rose to the challenge and I have nothing but praise for
them, they have worked so hard to produce what I believe is an exemplary
document and a perfectly sound workable plan. I have nothing but praise for
them because they have had to put up with me and my demands for so long.
They have produced the best possible solution with the material that they
have had to work with; consider well the deficit of infrastructure and the
delightfully peculiar topography of our District.

At present this Core Strategy is the most potent weapon in our armoury. In it
we have identified the legally, all important, on going, five year supply of
building land, without which we shall be the soft underbelly to many
predators. I have been warning of this for many months and now we see it
evidenced at Hawkwell and Stambridge.
You see, it will either be us, or the Developers or the grey suited bureaucrat
from Whitehall.

Who would you trust to ensure the best possible deal for our residents?
Last week saw the launch of the East of England Plan 2031 consultation.
According to this Socialist Government driven plan, Rochford can look forward
to having to build a minimum of 250 new homes each year, every year, ad
infinitum, hot on the heals of these 2025 developments. Do they not know that
land is a finite commodity; don?t they know that they don?t make it any more?
Essex County Council commissioned Planning Consultants ?Tribal? and ?Tym &
Partners? to carry out a sustainability study as part of their evidence base to
EERA the result of which is unequivocal. They said ?With respect to the RSS
Scenario?, that is the one that we are working on now, ?The sub area would
struggle to deliver this, the problems would therefore only increase for the
NHPAU range?. Risk of flooding, risk of coalescence, heavy peak time
congestion on rail lines, there are no sustainable transport options for any
level of growth, even at RSS. Not my words but a statement direct from the
experts.

A reporter from the ?Echo? phoned me last week to ask my opinion of EERA?s
East of England Plan 2031 and to ask whether it worried me. I told him plainly
?why would I be concerned by the death throws of an unloved, unelected,
obsolete and almost extinct monster?? Before the next general election the
East of England Regional Assembly will have been consigned to the annals of
history along with so many of Labour?s weird and wonderful concepts.
To quote our Member of Parliament Mark Francois ?A Conservative
Government will abolish regional planning, revoke all regional spatial strategies
(including regional building targets) and repeal the National guidance that
relates to regional planning thus returning power to Local Communities?
He was delighted to be able to provide this statement following the publication
of the Conservative Green Paper.

It is clear to me that we do indeed need more homes, more jobs, more
infrastructure, more of everything; I am however not comfortable with the
statistics that we have had thrust upon us. That is my one and only concern.
So how do we comply with this government?s lawful instruction and protect
ourselves from predation and yet still allow sufficient time for our two MPs
Mark Francois and James Duddridge and the next Conservative Government to
fulfil their promises?

Well you employ the standard of officer that this District is blessed with, the
likes of Shaun Scrutton, of Sam Hollingworth and his team, our executive
officers headed by Paul Warren.

That?s what you do, and they come up with a land release scheme that we can
be comfortable with, because it is perfectly viable and makes so much sense
when considered alongside our vision for a significant increase in business
opportunities, and therefore local jobs for our Residents.

You then protect the Council?s and therefore the council tax payer?s interests,
by inserting appropriate caveats and warning signals to those who would
attempt to bring forward locations, other than those identified in the first
tranche as depicted in Policy H2.
Correspondence that you and I have received recently appears to have struck
the first chord of this anticipated tune.
I am further encouraged by, and indeed our core strategy may well have been
structured, with the following sentiments in mind.

This from the Shadow Secretary of State for Communities & local Government,
last month.
?Local Authorities will be able to review their Local Development Frameworks
to undo unwanted planning policies which the Regional Spatial Strategies had
imposed upon them. In practice, such a review would be a partial revision by
councils ? changing elements which are particularly unpopular or undesirable.
The Local Development Framework regime, imposed by the Planning &
Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, has been so time consuming and bureaucratic
that I sense that there is little desire in local government to go back to square
one, and start the whole tortuous process from scratch.?
I for one concur whole heartedly with that!

Chairman I commend this document to you and to the members of this
council, it is well thought through, carefully structured and if implemented will
encourage investment in business and jobs and provide a prosperity that our
Residents are justly entitled to.
Following its adoption and when our electorate returns a Conservative
Government to Power next spring, we shall be able to carry out our own
housing needs study, it is then that we shall be able to adjust the housing
allocations, as I promised so many months ago, to satisfy the needs of our
community ? not a penny more nor a penny less.

and here is John Mason’s:

As most Members will know Barratt’s have submitted a planning application for 330 houses on a site in Rectory Road. This is in excess of the Council?s proposal in the Core Strategy for 175 in South Hawkwell. I wish to make it clear that I will not be referring to the planning application tonight but only how the Core Strategy affects Hawkwell West.

But because Barratt’s have held an exhibition of their proposals for the public many residents have already looked at the draft submission that we are considering tonight. I already have a huge pile of letters at home. Some acknowledge that the Council has recognised some of the issues they raised in previous consultations. Many still do not agree, especially with the Barratt proposal for 330 houses.

Residents have read the draft submission document and have recognised that the Council establishes certain principles but then goes against them by its proposal in Hawkwell West.

Here are the reasons residents say should rule out development in Hawkwell West. I am going to act as their elected representative and put these forward for them.

The draft submission document says that developments will have to conform to the policies within the Core Strategy. If you read Policy H1 on page 35 para 8 this could all directly relate to Hawkwell. It talks about protecting the character of existing settlements. But the proposal does not.

The Core Strategy says that it seeks to take advantage of development opportunities that will provide social, economic and environmental benefits?. None of these benefits are provided in this location.

The Role of the Core Strategy speaks about an objective to ?reduce the requirement to travel?. Development here would increase the requirement to travel, especially by car. Page 27 ?locate development in areas where alternatives to car use are more viable?. That is not Hawkwell.

In Housing on page 23 it states ?There is a limit to how much infilling and intensification existing settlements can sustain without their character being adversely affected?, and on page 24 the sttrategy directing growth away from unsustainable locations. Hawkwell West is not sustainable.

Page 36, ?The Council will direct development to the most sustainable locations on the edge of settlements having regard to: 9 key points, seven of which directly adversely affect Hawkwell West.

Page 50 Character of Place second para, says developments will be expected to make a positive contribution to the character of a place. Not so.

Moving on to Public Transport page 95 it states that planning should be well related to existing public transport (where possible), however, Hawkwell West is poor at the very least.

I am going to vote against tonight, not just because of the reasons put forward by residents referring just to the Core Strategy, but because with regard to the whole strategic plan because I cannot see any evidence to persuade me that the whole quantum of houses proposed can be supported without the infrastructure of the district being looked as a whole instead of being assessed separately in the pockets of development scattered across the area. This is particularly true of the road network that simply cannot cope with the overall proposal.

  • During another part of his speech last night, Chris briefly mentioned other parts of the District including Hockley. I suspect the plans for Hockley are not well understood and would like to briefly explain the position.
    RDC put forward 6 plans, in the Hockley Area Action Plan (HAAP), ranging from large to very large – I estimate they range from around 60% to 95% of the Hockley Village Centre being demolished and rebuilt. Such a large scale redevelopment will totally change the nature and character of Hockley.
    Despite the 95% rejection rate (of those expressing an opinion) of the HAAP, RDC ignored their own consultation and both strengthed and widened their proposals in the Core Strategy.
    Like Rawreth, Hockley feels that RDC’s proposals are simply too big and out of character. Keith Hudson asked last night whether we should trust the council or the inspector. I would suggest no contest!

  • Brian. Thank you for your message. Am well accustomed to Chris Black’s form of nimbyism – viz ‘not in my backyard, but propose it in somebody else’s [usually Hockley’s] backyard’no matter how gross the proposal, as HAAP above.
    His comments had nil to do with planning, nor soundness of Core Strategy. gabrielle yeadell

  • Gabrielle
    I think I should leap to Chris,s defence and also Rawreth,s.I was there last night he put forward our parishes alternative plan where we invited a certain amount of developement in the centre of Rawreth ,there are few Parishes which encouraged developement in their boundaries ,indeed most seemed it would be a good idea to put everything in Rawreth so please do not accuse him of Nimbyism ,look towards your own reactions .He first and foremost represents Downhall and Rawreth Wards against formidable odds
    i.e. The Silent Majority as a lot of the ruling party appear to be conspicuous by sitting on their hands refusing to rock the party boat !

  • I too was present and would defend Chris, who clearly prefaced his remarks that he was only addressing his ward due to time constraints. I agree he uniquely also put forward local alternatives and has publicly done so in the past.
    I think Ms Yeadell’s above comments were somewhat confused and as inappropriate as were Cllr Cutmore’s.

  • Having seen Keith Hudson’s remarks – which were added to this entry a little after I had posted my initial comment – I just wanted to add a note of surprise that national New Labour are being characterised as a Socialist government!!!…His address sounded like one who has lived in a parallel reality for the last 12 years or so!

    The matter of planning housing allocation through Regional Spatial Strategies may, I suppose, be characterised as socialist to the extent that it recognises that housing is a common need and needs some coordinated planning. The debate about RSS can certainly feature as a General Election manifesto item, but serious politicians (at whichever level, local or national) will not resort to lazy labels. The reality is that we face a general shortage of housing already – especially social housing – and may well need to meet the needs of increasing numbers of single-person households in the twenty years ahead of us.

    All of us tend to operate a degree of NIMBYism about this – it is easy to be complacent when you already have a roof over your head, but rather a different experience if you don’t – and a grown-up politics will have to ensure a robust and accountable process for this difficult, contentious (but necessary) planning.

    So, come on, local Councilllors, get into the real world!…

  • Chris, you are last person who should be called a NIMBY, more so should the councillor for Hockley. I make no apology for outing someone who is protecting his own patch.

  • Brian, the Council seem to be running headlong into headlights. If there is contradicting advice coming out of RDC then what is right and what is wrong? We give these people the responsibility of looking after our wellbeing. We pay both the members of the cabinet and the senior council employees a whole lot of money to do the job they should be doing. If they do not do that job to the standard we believe is equivelent to the salary they receive, then they should not continue in that job, just like you and I that work in the private or public sector.

    I do not think that RDC are giving me value for the money I have to pay them. Did RDC come to the rate payers to agree their huge pay rises, NO THEY DID NOT. But we still have to pay the cabinet their wages. This is not democratic and I would challenge any of the Tories to justify how they earn this money paid by you and I.

    Well RDC can you justify your wages?

    Just a question for Hilton. Did your Councillor actually apologise for the remark that our candidate lives outside the bounderies of Rayleigh and as I know you read this, please reply.

  • In the past we have received misleading guidance from RDC. It may be happening again.
    RDC told us that, as this is the final stage, residents can only object on grounds of the legality or soundness of the process.
    At the Central Area Committee tonight, Cllr Hudson contradicted this and encouraged people to object on any justified grounds.
    We have asked RDC for clarification but would be interested if anyone else has had the same guidance?

  • Admin, do we know it was a mistake, Hilton only thought it was a mistake. And if the statement got published surely the best thing would be to apologise in the right way.
    this type of ‘mistake’ could take votes away!

  • I have just read Councillor Hudson’s speech on the LDF, all I can say, and with great respect, it would not have been out of place in a Shaksperion drama. It is everybody’s fault but his own. He praises the head of the planning department without mentioning the atrocities that we have had to put up with in Rayleigh. What I have still not heard from the good Councillor is how he got away with only 50 houses being built in Hockley?

    Good speech Councillor, but it does not wash!

  • Mike, Sorry you have got it plain wrong!

    Hockley is getting 50 houses in Folly Lane which most people would regard as a traffic hazard waiting to happen.

    We are also having our village centre largely demolished with another 200 dwellings planned to go there. I would argue the impact will be greater than Rawreth!

    What everyone is missing is that Ashingdon is not getting any houses. Why could that be?

  • Mike

    The statement was mentioned only on the Lib Dem web site and was contradicted there and then, quite correctly. So there is no reason to think it could have swayed any voters.

  • That’s outrageous in my view, no Hullbridge counsellors were there!

    I’ve emailed them all tonight to say ‘Could you please tell me why none of the Hullbridge counsellors were at the meeting this week? Surely this must be one of the most important issues that could affect our lovely village over the next decade. How can you miss an opportunity to ensure our interests are represented? Surely between you at least one person could have attended?’.

    Any other suggestions for how I can hold them to account for their actions (or lack of)? Thanks

  • BigBry

    As a Hullbridge Parish Councillor I would now be suprised if one of our District Councillors turned up to anything involving Hullbridge.

    One of them has never attended a Parish Council meeting and as they live in Rochford I doubt if many people in Hullbridge has ever met them.

    Another is ill and the third, although liviving in Hullbridge, took 4 years before we got them to a meeting and they have not been back.

    Our Councillors appear to have little interest on what happens in Hullbridge and more on what line they should be following in the Tory party.

  • I’ve had long e’mails discussions with RDC on how objections to the Core Strategy should best be made. The council will be putting details and a QUESTIONNAIRE on their web-site when the 6 week consultation period opens on Monday 21 Sept.
    In truth, I still feel that different people have different interpretations of what is allowed but probably the best guidance is from an officer as follows:
    “Consultees will now be asked if they think the document is sound and whether they think the document is legally compliant.
    If consultees believe the document is not sound they will be asked whether they believe this is the case because it is not justified, because it is not effective, or because it is not consistent with national policy. Consultees will be expected to provide further details as to why they believe the document is sound / unsound or legally compliant / non-compliant, and will be asked whether they raised these issues at an earlier consultation stage. If consultees state the document is unsound or not legally compliant they will also be asked what changes they consider should be made to the document to make it sound or legally compliant. Finally, consultees will be asked whether they wish to speak at the examination.”
    It seems objections can be made outside these guidelines and will be passed on to the inspector but have a greater risk of not being upheld.
    I can only suggest people carefully read the guidance when it is published next week and use the questionnaire. This is in line with separate guidance provided by The Planning Inspectorate.

  • BigBry, Give this as much publicity as possible, write a letter to the Echo, Tory website etc. and tell everyone you see in Hullbridge so all the residents are aware. You are right, it is outrageous. If there is not sound reasons why they could not be there, they should resign and let residents who care takeover!

  • (I’ve Dropped the BigBry tag). I admit I don’t really understand local politics. Are district councillors answerable to anyone (please don’t say the voters!)? What I mean is someone who would reprimand or praise an individual for the work they do?

  • BigBry

    I’m not sure if it’s right to disclose illness on websites like this for all to see. But if you want to come to the Parish Council meeting on Monday you would find out.

    If anyone does want to come it is at The Centre in Windermere Road and Starts at 7.30pm.

    Although we do not get Councillors attending I believe our MP Mr Francois will be joining us on Monday evening.

  • Brian, Apologies and thanks for putting me right. I would not be surprised if the Council did not have their preferred developers already lined up in the wings. I would still like to know, though, what kind of ‘pay-off’ the town or village gets from the developers and what money, if any, goes to RDC for the cabinet to decide its ‘worthy causes’ If anyone could enlighten me I would be very grateful.

  • No problem Mike. In response to your question, it difficult to see a material “pay-off” in the case of Hockley. According to RDC, the Action Plan will protect us from having a giant supermarket imposed on us against our will.

    It seems, however, that by enabling all the numerous existing owners/lessees to be evicted, considerably easing the current complicated multi-ownership position, its making it easier for any developer to come along and impose its wishes. Not sure I call that a “pay-off”! But may be I am missing something?

  • Brian, I agree this Council is so secretive that it is impossible to believe anything they tell us. 250 houses in Hockley is ridiculous, as is the amount RDC have got earmarked for us. I did ask the question, at one of the West Area Committee meetings about 12 to 18 months ago, of just what the percentage of development had been in Rayleigh as against the total of the RDC area and the percentage was huge but it is still going on and soon we will not have any greenbelt land.

    The state of the roads and pavements in the Little Wheatley and Bardfield Way area is horrendous and the ‘Bird Estate’ is even worse, bearing in mind the age of the estate. This shows a scant respect by the developers in building a decent infrastructure. RDC what are you doing about this?

  • Regarding people not being at meetings – Ideally , every councillor should go to every meeting where they would have a vote. But sometimes – particularly for health, work or family reasons – or clashes with other council business – that’s not possible. In that case it’s normal to ask a fellow councillor to keep amn eye on things for you

    In the case of the Full Council meeting, it was basicslly a rubber stamping exercise. There were only 8 occasions when councillors spoke in the debate – the order being Hudson, Cutmore, Mason, Black, Cutmore, Oatham, Black, Hudson. None of the 22 members actually spoke on the debate! Some members of the members who were absent may have felt on this occasion that they could spend their evening better dealing with residents issues, for example. There was a meeting the night before of the Review Committee, chaired by June Lumley, where I believe only 4 members (out of about 9) turned up. That’s really worse, because the members of that committee are supposed to be very active, and there is no ‘whip’, they are supposed to attend and supposed to be active.

    The overall attendance records for each district councillor for 2008-2009 can be found at

    http://cmis.rochford.gov.uk/CMISWebPublic/Binary.ashx?Document=16516

  • PLEASE REMIND ME KEITH – Where do you live? How many new houses are planned for your “back yard”? NIMBYISM is an extremely dangerous argument to make when the decisions that you are making will not remotely affect you…

    “However, our officers rose to the challenge and I have nothing but praise for
    them, they have worked so hard to produce what I believe is an exemplary
    document and a perfectly sound workable plan” – PRAISE?

    “Well you employ the standard of officer that this District is blessed with, the
    likes of Shaun Scrutton, of Sam Hollingworth and his team, our executive
    officers headed by Paul Warren” – BLESSED?

    ……. Have you actually seen the horrific mess …….. of the Priory Chase/Temple Way neighbourhood?

    Keith, you are …… assuming that the Tories will form the next Government? Sadly you may well be correct, however how can you justify relying on a Conservative Government overturning your decision?
    People have very short memories Keith, how many manifesto pledges are usually honoured post election success? Your strategy to rely on this planned aberration being overturned is extremely short sighted. Find some back bone Man and fight against this all the way ……

    Perhaps more tellingly you seem to have completely ignored suitable brown-fields sites ….. . By failing to do this you have completely lost any “green” credentials that you claim to have and you have very little credibility left. Shame on You.

    Yours, Exceptionally angry in Temple Way.

    [EDITED by Admin]

  • This is what happens when the people in power, whether they be an MP, like Mark Francois or a Councillor, for example, Rochford District Council, stop engaging with the public they are ‘supposed’ to represent. The party is all important and the people then become superflous to the ends of the party! The MP or the Councillor is not allowed to think for him / herself only the aims of the party are paramount. If that is not the case, why do we have a ‘cabinet system’ that is undemocratic, why do we have meetings that do not allow ‘JUNIOR’ Councillors who ‘may’ have an opposing view of ‘SENIOR’ Councillors to air their views and concerns. It is because the Council do not want debate, they want their plans to be rubber stamped. This why people are now getting annoyed and angry with the current council. We should not be subjected to what is a brainwashing system. They are still patting themselves on the back BUT doing nothing about the problems of ASDA, plus all other problems that occur in Rawreth. Nothing about the problems that occur at Rayleigh train station or the problems that occur around the Grange Community Centre or the open drug deals that go on in the Rayleigh pubs or the problems with the Websters way car park or the anti-social behaviour in Bardfield Way! I could go on and on but this council has lost respect from the majority of the people represented in RDC and in particular Rayleigh and Rawreth. They are only in power by the grace of the residents that have voted Tory all their lives.

    We are now in a recession and they will be looking behind their backs until the next election, an election which I am looking forward to.

    The suggestion I made earlier, is there any takers that are willing to forgo their big pay rises of last year. If there is, please post on this website, I doubt there will be any takers?

  • Chris, you are right and apologies to Mark. It was not my intention to put Mark up as an example of how MP’s have got the Maggie syndrome, there are plenty of other local MP’s to use as examples! When we were fighting the Council last time, on the same subject, he was very helpful. Maybe as our MP he will be as eager to help find solutions with some of our other issues?

  • “these exemplary planners” I hope these are not the same ones that built a car park at the side of my garden now I am living in a goldfish bowl and they couldn’t give a stuff! I don’t hold out much hope for Rayleigh or the surrounding areas…

  • Although not a district councillor I do attend the central area committee meetings to represent Hullbridge parish.

    Cllr Butcher does often attend central area committees but gave her apologies on this occasion. One of the others is ill as already explained the reasons for the non attendance of the third councillor I do not know.

    I would like to confirm that Mark Francois did attend our parish meeting on Monday. My experience of him (I am a Labour activist/parish councillor) is that where local matters are concerned he puts his party politics aside and helps me when I need him to.