When James met Hazel.




James Cottis and Hazel Blears

Rochford Tory Councillor James Cottis met recently with Government Minister Hazel Blears. She is the Secretary of State For Communities and Local Government, which means she is in charge of local government, housing and planning issues.

We show this picture (from Facebook) , with James permission. What they were discussing we don’t know!

There are also pictures of him meeting other ‘movers and shakers” to do with the Thames Gateway.

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  • Not sure where to put this comment but here seems an appropriate place. Shirley, my partner, and I have been to the wedding of two very dear friends, Southend Conservative Councillor Andrew Moring and Louise Milne. We both wish Andrew and Louise all the luck in the world in their marriage. Andrew and I have different views on local politics but that does not come between the four of us being friends and respecting our differing views. This is the way we will eventually work for the good of the community. Both Shirley and I wish Louise and Andew I all the happiness in the world in their marriage.

  • Louis DR – yes, that’s our understanding as well – that the Cottis family own the land. James has declared an interest at the District Council, and keeps away from any District Council meetings where the big development / housing issues are discussed.

    James’ visit to the Thames Gateway Forum is mentioned in the Echo today:

    A GOVERNMENT minister has promised to take a closer look at the state of south Essex roads after concerns were raised with him by a councillor.

    Paul Clark MP, a junior transport minister, told Rochford district councillor James Cottis he would visit the county to examine its roads following a chance meeting at the Thames Gateway Forum in East London.

    Mr Cottis described Mr Clark’s reaction as startled when he was told it would take about £1billion to tackle congestion and resurfacing problems.

    He said: “I invited him to say what he was going to do about the roads in south Essex.

    “He said he would be happy to come and take a look.

    “If we can get a Government minister down to look at the roads, then hopefully we can get something done about the situation.

    “Mind you, he was certainly a bit startled when I told him how much it might cost.”

  • Is this the same billion pounds that has been quoted before?


    Brian Guyett Says: https://www.onlinefocus.org/?p=1383#comments

    November 13th, 2008

    – Cllr Hudson said [at the Central Area Committee in Hawkwell] a “billion pounds” is needed to put right our poor infrastructure.

    It will be absolutely fascinating to hear what this Minister has to say about that……..but I can’t see him agreeing somehow with Keith and James. But I do hope that Keith and James have done their homework and can prove the figure that they are quoting. If not then Rochford District will have lost valuable credibility in this vital fight. Rochford District MUST win this argument or we will have many more houses forced upon the district in the same way as the current policy of “scattered development” as in the Rochford Core Strategy to 2025.

    I think that James reads this site and I hope he will be able to publish here a successful outcome to his campaign that he is fighting on behalf of all of us.

  • Keith Hudson says “£1 billion” to bring our infrastructure up to standard. Not sure how much James Cottis is talking about. Even less sure what RDC mean when they say they will use “standard charges” to pay for improvements.

    But the government have laid out some indicative figures at:
    where they provide the following table:

    Table 4.1 Indicative Levels of Standard Charge (or in-lieu payments)
    Type of Charge Cost per dwelling £
    Education 2,000 – 3,000
    Primary Healthcare 1,000 – 3,000
    Sport and Open Space 1,000 – 3,000
    Public Transport 2,000 – 7,000
    Affordable Housing (no subsidy at 33% target) 30,000 – 50,000

    Note it does not include roads but still provides a range of £36K to £66K per dwelling. If I have got my zero’s right that’s a total charge across 3,500 homes of £126M – £231M but still excluding anything for roads.

    In this economic climate, I am sure developers will have no problems in paying such levels of charges!

    Does anyone think this approach will work?

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