Wednesday Night’s Meeting

There were about 70 present – 50 sitting in the ‘public’ seats and about 20 committee members and officers at the front.

The whole of the meeting was devoted to the local development framework – because the chairman seemingly forgot to deal with the other items that should have been discussed ….

Keith Hudson, the lead councillor on the issue, kicked off the debate with a speech very similar to the one made at the central area committee – pointing out that the council had been ‘instructed by this present socialist government’. He added that independent studies had shown that we do indeed need extra housing , though ‘after 2025 they can consider Rochford full up’.

He also stated that “we release Green Belt very sparingly after allocating every scrap of brownfield site ” That claim was questioned later on in the meeting.

Cllr Hudson got applause from the Conservative district and town councillors in the meeting – which set a precedent for the public to clap other speakers later on.

Next speaker was Alistir Matthews, Chairman of Rawreth Parish Council. He began by saying “It’s with much amazement I see that it has taken a year for the district council to admit that West Rayleigh is actually Rawreth” He added that the parish council weren’t nimbys – they weren’t against develoment in the parish if it was in the right place.

Shaun Scrutton, head of planning, responded that he would welcome hearing about aternative proposals.

Rochford Resident Tony Buckle then made a pretty searing attack on the District Council. He’d searched through 124 pages of documents without finding a mention of Rawreth. “That’s no accident it’s a ploy!” He thanked Cllr Hudson for “the party political broadcast against the socialist government” Tony got the loudest applause of the night.

There were various other speakers from Rawreth and Hullbridge, who said various things:

“Congestion along Rawreth lane is pretty bad all day”

“I’m sure it’s not related, but it’s a sad fact that the family who own the farmland are represented on the council”

“We have no confidence in any of you”

“Will the Tory whip be withdrawn to allow a free vote?”

“The information provided is all too hazy”

In response Cllr Hudson said the question of the whip was ‘not for discussion tonight” – it was a matter for the leader of the council, Terry Cutmore. He also that the current proposals were to do with general locations, it wasn’t ‘site specific’ yet. This was queried by Chris Black, who said that “North Of London Road” was pretty site specific, and that in response to an earlier point by Alistir Matthews , Mr Scrutton had known whta grade of agricultural land the site was!

Behind the scenes though, there are signs that at least some Conservative councillors are sympathetic to Rawreth’s situation.

  • Because of illness I was not able to be present at the meeting BUT I am disgusted at the way the Council have discarded how the residents feel. To say that their hands are tied is to disregard how their consumers feel. They are in their positions by the votes of the populice. We can and will DITCH the Conservatives who do/did not stand up for their residents. All we ask is that they stand up for what WE believe in. They will not even do that for us. I cannot even put in writing the disdain I feel for Hudson, Cutmore etc. etc. They do not care what we want, only what will keep them in well paid “jobs”. We can still stop this overdevelopment of Rawreth/Rayleigh, although without the help of the council. It will take maybe pushing our views while DEMOTING what Rochford DC are actually are doing for us. RDC have to remember that that elections are coming up soon!

  • If there are Tory councillors who are concerned that they are not allowed to to represent what their constituents want, please, please, please get in touch with me. It may be the last chance you get to stay in your privaliged position.

  • Sid Cumberland Says:

    November 28th, 2008 at 09:11

    I was astonished to hear Cllr Hudson say that he’d support an outer bypass road (Southend-A130). That is what he said, isn’t it? So much for his commitment to the green belt.

    If that is the case then why would Councillor Hudson, as he stated at the Meeting in Hawkwell, be against the Colonnade Development because why otherwise would you need an outer bypass road (Southend-A130)?

    See [url=http://www.girltalk.pcs-net.com/rol/are-there-going-to-be-major-housing/]Single Development 5,000/10,000 houses in Rochford District?[/url]

    And why has the possibility of an outer bypass road (Southend-A130) not even been evaluated in the Rochford District Core Strategy?

    I don’t agree with Councillor Hudson that an outer bypass road (Southend-A130) is desirable and I DO NOT support it.

    But Southend Borough Council does not even seem to need an outer bypass road (Southend-A130) to faciltate a single development in the East of Rochford District and Southend Borough. Which would mean that there is no need for this “scattered” RDC preferred development plan which will NOT be supported by the absolutely necessary level of infrastructure required.

    Why can’t the alternative even be discussed? Many Conservative Councillors on RDC have said to me that if you do not want development in Hawkwell West then you MUST come up with an alternative. Well there is one. I don’t know if it is preferable or not because the Conservative Administration has not even put it into the Rochford Core Strategy with data for evaluation by the public !!

    Without discussion of these issues then the Rochford District Core Strategy – Preferred Options is fatally flawed and is likely to be rejected by Go-East as being UNSOUND. That is the official way a Core Strategy is rejected. LET IT BE SO so that the public can be offered alternatives to decide upon.

  • Sid Cumberland Says:

    November 28th, 2008 at 09:11
    I was astonished to hear Cllr Hudson say that he’d support an outer bypass road (Southend-A130). That is what he said, isn’t it? So much for his commitment to the green belt.

    If that is the case then why would Councillor Hudson, as he stated at the Meeting in Hawkwell, be against the Colonnade Development because why would you need an outer bypass road (Southend-A130)?

  • John – Cllr Hudson didn’t refer to the Colonnade project by name – though he did refer to ‘three or four rogue applications’ waiting in the wings. But his whole presentation was quite incoherent. He blamed ‘the socialist government’ for the requirement to build these houses – but then said that they were needed for our children. He said we could only object on planning grounds – but then dismissed all objections as they ‘haven’t yet decided on sites’. He said his committee had decided to spread the houses around – but gave no reason for this decision. He assured us there would be no houses without infrastructure – but didn’t seem to know where the infrastructure would come from, given the disparate nature of the proposed allocations. I almost laughed when he referred to Watery Lane as part of the infrastructure – but this is too serious for laughter. He also insisted that after this round of building, RDC would say ‘Sorry, no more, we’re full.’ He didn’t explain (a) why we can’t do that now, or (b) where our children’s children are going to live if we call a complete halt to building houses. As I said, rather incoherent …

  • I came away from the meeting feeling that Cllr. Hudson was out of his depth not knowing which way to turn for the best. He stated that he could only do so much and sounded like a man out of his depth and unable to cope with the criticism and pressure being placed on him by the small, but strong, community of Rawreth.
    I was appalled when he stated that he was unaware of the Rawreth Parish Councils letter of objection. Passing the buck to Shaun Scruttons department, he indicated that he was unable to process the vast sums of correspondence and forwarded them on seemingly without reading them.
    If official correspondence from one of RDC’s own Parish Councils is totally ignored and unacknowledged, how can we be sure that individual protestations are taken notice of?
    Cllr. Hudson gives the impression that he has spent a year of his council service working on the Core Strategy Proposals and cannot face being defeated by the fact that residents’ views differ greatly from his. My advice to Cllr Hudson would be ‘If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen’.
    Regarding the rest of the councillors present at the meeting, if it was not for the supportive voices of Chris Black, Ron Oatham and Alistir Mathews the rest need not have been present. Sitting silently as they did all evening without comment (with the exception of Cllr, Mockford who I think woke up suddenly and felt she should say something), it was as if they had all been instructed not to make comment or, perhaps they were in shock at the strong representation from the floor.
    I just hope that although not saying anything they were listening carefully to what was being said and went away with plenty to consider. Fairer ways to distribute future housing within the RDC area and the road traffic infrastructure would be a good starting point.

  • There are some common themes are emerging:
    – lack of trust in RDC process
    – lack of appropriate infrastructure (existing and proposed)
    – the current plan is uncosted and unsustainable
    – concern at what will happen in the future. Where will future allocations go?
    – belief that we need to find an alternative. We have to face the fact its a question of where not if.
    – the option of a single site has not been considered. Why not?

    Looking at the RDC consultation web-site, the number of objections is very low and RDC seem to have reduced CllR Mason’s 17 pages to a few lines. We just HAVE to encourage people to submit their objections (and preferably direct on-line).

    RDC asked for alternatives and a possible solution has emerged. Can everyone please get as many submissions as possible to RDC?

    …………and has anyone noticed the absence of comment by the parish councils (with the honourable exception of Rawreth)?

  • It just seems to me that Rochford DC are paying lipservice to the the National Government. Our council have no backbone to what we, as a village or town want. RDC do not represent us, they represent what the national government tell them, although they are not a Labour authority! They do not acknowledge that we do not want mass development. Rawreth, for example, is an issue. The amount of development here is a horrendous example of over development.

    WHY DOES OUR AUTHORITY NOT PROTECT OUR GREEN BELT AND THE NATURE THAT RELIES ON IT. RDC Do not work for us. THEY WORK FOR THEMSELVES.

    We need to look at what our authority does for us! nothing. We put these people into a very privileged position. Are we sure this is the position we want these people to be in?