Lib Dem Pressure Pays Off?

The Lib Dem Councillors been rather upset over the couple of weeks.

We were upset that the District Council wasn’t doing enough consultation in Rayleigh over the proposed structure plan. This is the plan that could allow another 1800 houses in Rayleigh. But the council’s mobile exhibition was only going to spend 3 hours in the town. At the windmill. On a Sunday afternoon.

Ron wrote to the council on our behalf and didn’t mince his words:

I am writing to you to express my deepest concern and astonishment that the arrangements for the mobile exhibition to visit Rayleigh have been scheduled for a Sunday around lunchtime when the High street and the area around the windmill are likely to be at their quietest.

The reason given by a member of the Planning Department is that this coincides with the windmill being open to the public!

This is undoubtedly nonsense and betrays a total lack of understanding of the importance of obtaining the views of as many Rayleigh residents as possible in what is probably the most important matter for them this decade, namely the proposal that Rayleigh should absorb the majority of projected housing for the district.

To sideline Rayleigh residents in this way is very much open to question and the cynical among us might suggest that they are being deliberately kept in the dark.

I urge you to reconsider and make arrangements for the mobile exhibition to visit at a more appropriate time and place (eg. : Saturday at the Civic Suite or better still ?The Lagoon? in the centre of the High Street).
Yours sincerely

Ron Oatham

Our complaints seem to have had an effect. Because today the council agreed to bring their exhibition back to Rayleigh for a second time – The additional exhibition will be in Rayleigh High Street on Wednesday 20 June between 8am and 2pm.

As the council website says today:

This follows concern that some people in the Rayleigh area would not be able to attend the exhibitions in Rawreth Village Hall car park on Thursday 7 June between 3.30 and 7.30pm, or at Rayleigh Windmill on Sunday 10 June between 12noon and 3pm.

So we’d like to say ‘thank you’ to the council officers for being big enough to change their minds on this issue.

  • Alison: Thanks for your help!

    Jeff: There is one Conservative Councillor who spoke out on this. Trouble is, every time we give him a bit of credit or praise some of the other Tory councillors react badly…

  • It’s great that you keep the pressure on the council in this way.
    Unfortunately, after visiting the roadshow at Rawreth Village Hall today, I think it just means a lot more people will walk away from it none the wiser.
    It would make a big difference if some of the maps and diagrams had some sort of reference points on them. It was all guesswork trying to work out the position of different areas etc. It only takes a few main roads to be drawn in, and it would all be much clearer.

    Still, I suppose the council will turn round in a year or two and say ‘We showed you what was planned – We gave you a chance to voice your opinion.’

  • I came home today to find a letter from Cllr Joan Mockford letting me know the reason for building 1800 houses in Rayleigh was due to the Labour Government and the reason Peter Savill lost his seat by 30 votes was due to the lowest turn-out in the whole district.

    So no blame on the Tory run Council then.

  • Hi Ian, thanks for the late night message!

    The govt has set a housing target for the whole district, thats true. But they certainly havent said “Put half of it in Rayleigh again”. The 1800 figure was prepared by a couple of officers, one of whom has now left the council. This figure then was gratefully seized on by councillors from elsewhere in the district, who voted to support it without any background date whatsoever. Some of these chaps would like to put even more down our way….but why should we have more than Hockley, Hawkwell, Rochford and Ashingdon and Hullbridge combined?

    As for the turn-out – it was higher than last time. We boosted the Lib Dem vote from about 121 to 426.

    We won because the Conservative Party took the seat for granted (like so many others) , and Jackie worked and worked and worked….

  • I’d very much like to see this letter from Cllr Mockford so that I can tackle her on its content. If the rest of Rayleigh’s tories share her views it shows they owe their loyalties more to the party than to their residents (another example of the tory whip at work I suspect!!). Perhaps someone could email me a copy