Ron Writes To The Council About Consultation

Ron has sent the following letter to the District Council:

25th May 2007

Re: Core Strategy Consultation

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

The whole situation reminds us of the comic novel “The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy”:

“But Mr Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months.”

“Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn’t exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them had you? I mean like actually telling anybody or anything.”

“But the plans were on display…. ”

“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them. ”

“That’s the display department.”

“With a torch.”

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  • It really is farcical isn’t it.

    The district council’s website, and in particular the statement of community involvement, states that the council will “encourage the involvement of all communities in planning…seeking to consult a wide range of organisations and people as possible…”

    Given the time and date of the “roadshow” in Rayleigh, I have my doubts as to how this can be achieved and when the time comes to provide “feedback into how people’s views have been taken into account” it should make very interesting reading indeed.

    Eheu, litteras istas reperire non possum

  • Do you get the feeling that the council are beginning to feel that the people of Rayleigh do not want this many new dwellings in their town. Also everyday you can walk around Rayleigh and see new developments being built, mostly a block of flats where one or two houses once stood. I wonder if these new dwellings that are being built are being counted as part of the 1800 that we are supposed to take.

    Anyone on the council, can you please let me know if all these apartments are part of the 1800 new dwellings or not. If they are who is counting and can we, the public see the records and if not, please explain why not. And please explain why Coppice Gate is not part of the 1800.

    I think we need to keep aware if the council are giving us more houses and flats by stealth.

  • Mike:

    Any flats being built from now on count towards the 1800. The planners at Rochford DC are keeping track of the numbers.

    … and always remember that the figure of 1800 for Rayleigh isn’t an official council policy yet – though the council is leaning towards that.

    The official government policy is for 4,600 new homes in the district between 2001 and 2021 (I may have got the dates slightly wrong – it’s been a long day!).

    Of these , 900 are already built, and Coppicegate counts towards that.

    That leaves 3700, of which the council is suggesting 1800 go to Rayleigh.

    Hope that explains things a little…

  • Thanks for that Chris. I did not realise that Coppice Gate went towards the total new dwellings, however it seems a little unfair of the council that Rayleigh should take a further 1800. I assume that the council must keep a record that the public can examine regarding the number of new dwellings that have permission to be built.

  • Well Mike , the position of the Lib Dem Councillors is that development should be shared out fairly – not as in the last few years, when West Rayleigh got the housing and another part of the district got a country park enabled by the loss of Rayleigh sports pitches.

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