The Capons’ Greatest Moments


Phil and Tracy Capon are husband and wife, and both are currently? Conservative Councillors on Rochford District Council. In fact Phil is the Chair of the Development Committee. Word reached us at the weekend that they had both been deselected by the Conservative Association – so they cannot stand as Conservatives when they both come up for election next May.

This is pretty dramatic by Rochford standards – councillors are very? seldom deselected against their wishes, except on the grounds of old age, which doesn’t apply here. Might it possibly be that they can’t manage to slavishly follow the party line? Here’s a? few things we have written -on onlineFOCUS over the years:


September 12th, 2014 |

An Admirable Attitude

Rochford Life has a short interview with Hawkwell Tory District Councillor Phil Capon. Phil is Chair of the Development Committee ? the one that deals with planning applications. He makes some good points, for example:

I?ve always believed that if you are going to be on the Council you should be open to all views and be open to change. It?s what I don?t like about party politics where it tends to be go with the prevailing view rather than think through alternative possibilities that may be good from other parties.

July 27th, 2014 |

The Ones Who Signed ? And The Ones Who Didn?t

These are the 20 Conservative Councillors who signed the motion to abolish ordinary councillors? rights to call in a decision to full council:

Cllrs T G Cutmore; Mrs C E Roe;
K H Hudson; D Merrick; I H Ward; M R Carter; M J Steptoe; Mrs L A Butcher;
Mrs M H Spencer; Mrs G A Lucas-Gill; Mrs J E McPherson; M Maddocks;
C G Seagers; K J Gordon; S P Smith; Mrs A V Hale; Mrs C A Weston;
R R Dray; Mrs J A Mockford and B T Hazlewood:-

and these 7 are the ones who haven?t signed:

Phil Capon
Tracy Capon
Heather Glynn
John Griffin
Jack Lawmon
Dave Sperring
Barbara Wilkins

June 20th, 2009 |

A Very Important Principle

At the last meeting of the Standards Committee, there was an item on updating the Councillors Code of Conduct On Planning Matters.

You can find the full officers report here. Chris Black noticed that something quite startling was being suggested by officers:

Members should copy and pass on any lobbying material, such as correspondence or leaflets they receive, to the Head of Planning and Transportation.

This would have meant that if anyone wrote to a councillor about any planning issue, the councillor would have been required to pass a copy on to the Head of Planning ? Shaun Scrutton ? or otherwise face disciplinary action!

Chris strongly opposed this. One reason is that it would destroy any privacy between councillors and members of the public. (What would be next? Tapping councillors? phones? ) The other is that it wasn?t practical. On a really contentious planning application, 20 people might write to each councillor. That means that Mr Scrutton would have to receive nearly 800 copies of letters!

Thankfully, other members of the committee supported Chris on this ? in particular, Cllr Phil Capon. And the sentence was changed to something reasonable:

?Members should consider whether it is appropriate to copy and pass on any lobbying material, such as correspondence or leaflets they receive, to the Head of Planning and Transportation?.


October 10th, 2006 |

?Vote for Parent and Child places? ? We?ll throw you out of the Tory Group?

At tonight?s District Council Committee meeting we had the debate on whether to allow some Parent and Child bays in our Council Car Parks.

As we wrote a few days ago, the officers were recommending? doing nothing. Apparently there are some spaces that could be widened into Parent and Child spaces, but it would cost an estimated ?500 per space (!) to adjust them, and then it might be a problem that they might be left empty when they could be occupied by non-parents.

However the item was up for debate by councillors. The committee has 9 Tories (2 of them didn?t turn up), 1 independent (who didn?t turn up) and 1 Lib Dem (Chris Black.) When the chairman of the committee, Tory Phil Capon , began speaking, it looked like we would get some spaces agreed:

?Since becoming a father my eyes have been opened to the many issues and problems that the parents and carers of children face. I can appreciate what my residents have been telling me for some time.

To return to your car and find you are unable to get your child back in his or her car seat due to the thoughtlessness of others is potentially dangerous and annoying.

I don?t advocate the loss of parking bays but merely that end bays should be designated ?parent and child?

We continually hear that we must prevent the High Streets from dying and that ?out of town? shopping centres are luring people away. This is true ? they appreciate the problems and offer suitable parking bays.

We can not only show our commttment to child safety but also that we support local businesses.?

Chris Black felt quite good at this point as he was on balance in favour of the idea and it looked like it was going to happen. BUT THEN ? a sombre Cllr Capon continued to speak:


Sadly members, my dream is not to be. Due to the blinkered views of other members, who I can only assume care nothing for the wellbeing of children and who don?t want local shopping centres to survive, a wonderful chance is being lost.

The ?whip? is on, I cannot vote against it otherwise I lose my right to represent ny residents. Morally , I cannot vote for the recommendation so I will abstain?

The situation became clear. Cllrs Phil and Tracy Capon had raised the item in the private Tory group meeting. They?d lost out in a vote to the Tory ?dinosaurs? . Then the Tory leadership had enforced a whip, so that if Phil Capon voted for Parent and Child parking bays, he?d be thrown out of the Tory group.

After Phil Capon spoke, there was an embarassed silence. Chris jumped in and proposed allowing some Parent and Child parking spaces but didn?t get a seconder. So Tory leader Terry Cutmore proposed having no Parent and Child Bays and Cllr Tony Humphries seconded that.

Chris then scornfully said that in his 20+ years on the council he?d never seen any political party impose a whip on such a small item. He was very disappointed with the Tory group?s behaviour.

The voting was:

No Parent and Child Bays : 5 Cllrs Terry Cutmore, Tony Humphries, John Pullen, Mavis Webster and David Merrick (all Tories)

Abtaining : 2 Cllrs Phil Capon and Colin Hungate (both Tories)

For Parent and Child Bays: 1 Cllr Chris Black (Lib Dem)

A big mistake by the Tory leadership tonight. If they?d let Phil Capon vote with his conscience, the issue would have been over in 5 minutes. But now it won?t be forgotten so quickly, and it shows them in a bad light.

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  • Such a shame that this couple of good people who are obviously well thought of outside the Conservative party should be so unappreciated in it. I have known them for 10 years. My first memory of them is when I was a new Parish Councillor attending a training session and Tracy seeing me as a new face made an effort to come and talk to me. She and Phil have always been friendly towards me whenever we have met every since. Your picture of Phil and Tracy with son Josiah is a good one (he is now eight). I know the Capons to be good loving parents and was very happy to attend Josiah’s first holy communion earlier this year.

  • Another example of the power and control the conservatives have over Rayleigh and beyond. If a councillor dares not to follow the rest of them and do as they are told, they are banished from council and the party. Disgusting. I hope all the conservatives lose their seats. I’ve been to several Rochford District Council meetings over the past year, and most of the conservatives sit in silence. The majority contribute nothing to any of the debates, but dutifully raise their hand when they are told to. At least the Lib Dems, UKIP and the Greens/Rochford group actually stood up and spoke.

  • I suggest that both the Capon Councillors leave and join Toby Mountain as an Independent Tory Group , slowly but surely we can then get our views represented –
    Lib Dem / Independent / Green / UK / Independent Tory’s / UKIP , the seeds of a Rayleigh Spring.

  • When I returned from the Conservative Party Conference on Wednesday evening I was informed about this item.

    I do visit this site from time to time and I frequently do not agree with the views expressed. However, I must say that never before have I read anything here which was as inaccurate and such nonsense as this.

    As you would expect, I shall not be discussing internal Conservative matters here and I shall be adding no more comments on this subject.

    Hilton Brown
    Rayleigh and Wickford Conservative Association

  • Which translated means –

    I am very important .
    Sometimes I even deign to read what the plebs are saying.
    I don’t agree but will not lower myself by explaining why.
    Obviously I am unable to say yet what the party line will be from the Cabinet.

  • Mr Brown’s comments raise two questions. If the article is inaccurate and nonsense then why have neither of the Capons issued any correction to it, and why, instead of harrumphing through his moustache like a disgruntled Brigadier, is he not prepared to state in which ways it is inaccurate nonsense?

  • Can I be the only person ( apart from Hilton ) who is getting a bit fed up with the constant negative RDC “bashing” that seems to fill this web site now. No local council is perfect but, as I have said before on this site, look around. The place is kept clean and tidy, the town always looks nice, no loony lefty spending going on, prudence and sensibility is the name of the game. For example look at this:

    The Lib Dems are currently, under the “leadership” of Euro Claggy completely out of touch with the general public and heading for oblivion,( 6% of the vote according to the latest YouGov poll ) its hardly a position from which to lecture others is it.

  • Well Oz, if you are talking about the items we post on here, in the last 20 items, there have been 2 criticising the district council, and 3 that are negative towards the county council. Not exactly constant RDC bashing. We have also devoted 2 items to new RDC initiatives and one congratulating Rayleigh Town Council ( also Conservative run) for winning an award.

    If you referring to the comments, probably the balance of comments is anti RDC. But should we do anything about that ? We aren’t going to censor comments just to create a balance . (Though we do if they breach the councillors code of conduct).

    We know that a lot of conservative councillors read onlineFOCUS and there is nothing to prevent them coming on here to leave comments.

    Most informed criticisms aimed at RDC revolve around two issues – the way they have handled the core strategy , and the imbalance of power between the cabinet on one side and ordinary members on the other.

    We actually use some restraint on what we put on here. For example, one conservative councillor said something in a meeting recently that wasn’t private and confidential. It would have been a very suitable item to put on here, but might have made it more difficult for the councillor to get something done for residents so we didn’t use it.

    Incidentally, I have just been at a councillors away day today. No nasty looks aimed at me by the Conservatives there. And Jo McPherson (the Tory councillor mentioned in your link) even offered me a lift because she thought I was without transport.

  • So , I assume you are a fan of the “Cabinet ” style council management then Oz , try and bear that in mind next time you are sat in Rawreth Lane gridlock behind years of large/ heavy construction site traffic heading your way with no road upgrading…..

  • I am not a fan of the current system but, as usual, you have failed to properly read my post. Do you agree that generally the district is well run in terms of the day to day management. If not then what would you do differently ?.

  • Day to day management is what we all pay large sums of money ( Council Taxes ) for,
    so clean and tidy is what I expect as standard – not as a bonus .
    What would I do differently – only pay 9 lots of Councillor expenses ( shared by all 39 Councillors ) as we are being short changed on representation – the savings could go on say Pothole repairs or Ditch cleaning etc;.
    And I always read your posts in detail – and I would say that you too are guilty of “constant negative bashing ” , your favourite target being EuroCLeggy……

  • Are the wheels totally coming off Rochford Conservatives wagon? Toby Mountain hopped of with Cllr.Dave Sperring (who later ran and jumped back on)over the parking row. Now two more formerly compliant members seem to be following suit. Cllr Hudson surprisingly renounces the all powerful Planning Portfolio after approximately 7 years at the helm guiding the Local Plan through all the processes. (can’t be sure of number of years). Cllr. Keith Gordon takes it on for a couple of weeks and then resigns. Result is a guy with just a couple of years on the Council, and only a few years in the district, is handed it! Can anyone tell us why all this is happening in such a short space of time. Could it possible be that a few Members of the ruling group are finally seeing the light and realising that the total lack of democracy on RDC is a scandal waiting to be exposed to the whole country? Lets just hope so.

  • Sorry I forgot to mention they lost 4 seats in the May elections and that with a better campaign they would have lost 7. Not one advertising board, to encourage voters to abandon them, was in place throughout Rochford and they still fell short.

  • Oh dear, I just have to respond. mrs Kendall, for your information I regained my seat, even though my opposition was your good friend and a UKIP County Councillor. I put this solely down to our residents looking at each of our track records and judging on who will help, who works hard and who ‘does’ and voted accordingly. Alway quick to condemn but never to praise aren’t you?
    I work hard, I will continue to do so, my remit does not start and end over ‘development issues’ as yours seem to.?

  • On reading all the negative comments regarding R.D.C. It occurrred to me has the Chief Excutive (Mr.Amar Dave ) nothing to add to this very serious debate or is he unable to comment because of his Office.If so what does his office actually do?

  • Amar Dave is the Chief Executive and has ultimate responsibility on how the council acts. However neither he – nor any other officer – decides on council policy, except for delegated matters. Basically councillors decide policy and then officers carry it out.

    Also bear in mind that deselecting councillors is something done by political parties and it would be totally inappropriate for any officer to comment on that.

  • Must congratulate Jo McPherson on her initiative in promoting the “helping hand”sounds a really positive and helpful scheme. Whilst I understand the frustration of the poor planning of the core strategy could let UKIP into a more powerful position,it must be tempered with caution as to what is their broader policy and experience in local government ? Judging by Jo,s defeated UKIP Councillor I would fear for our quality local government . I am totally opposed to the existing Cabinet system ,it has no place in this small local Authority.The scenario of a rainbow mix of various political and residents representatives with no overall control at the next Council elections is something I very much look forward to .

  • @ 15 Linda Kendall – For me, the ‘parking row’ was the straw breaking the camels back. The Conservative leaderships imperious use of a whip to regularly stiffle disagreeing voices from within and my general preference for RDC to have a committe system rather than a (labour initiative) cabinet system were amongst other factors which had been bubbling under the surface for a period of time. Now sitting ‘in opposition’ and able to speak more freely, I am constantly appalled at how its possible to win a debate but then lose the vote in the Council Chamber – a direct consequence of the issues I have identified…

  • Where do we source the attendance records for Councillors as that has been the reason stated for the Capons being deselected ?I have tried various sites but draw a blank .

  • Alistir@22

    The Conservative Administration abolished the annual report of Member Attendances several years ago now and I believe that one of the reasons was that attendance figures could be adversely affected by the usual things in life like illness or accidents running to the incidence of conflicting meetings where Members had other public duties, family commitments and even holidays. I know that the Council does not keep records of attendance any more.

    Here is what the Echo reported in respect of Phil and Tracy Capon;

    Tory duo are deselected

    TWO sitting Tory councillors have been deselected from the Conservative group for next year’s elections.

    Phil Capon was first elected as ward councillor for Hawkwell South in 2000,with Tracy Capon following suit two years later in Ashingdon and Canewdon.

    They were both up for re-election next May, but the Rochford District Conservative group, led by council leader Terry Cutmore, have deselected the couple.Mrs Capon has been chair of the community overview and scrutiny
    committee during her tenure, as well as the leisure, tourism and heritage committee, while she is currently vicechairman
    of the review committee.

    Mr Capon is chairman of the development committee and has acted in either that role, or vice-chairman, since 2009.

    The pair were notified by phone.

    Mrs Capon said: “We were told it was because of our attendance records, but we were both in car accidents in late 2012 and didn’t miss any meetings
    where our residents needed representing.

    “My husband maintained his duties as chair of the development committee and even completed site visits on crutches.

    “We will continue to focus on serving our residents, as we always have, until May 2015.”

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