Despite the air-conditioning working well, it was stormy in the District Council Chamber tonight!
We had a meeting of the Development Committee tonight. The leader and deputy leader of the council, Terry Cutmore and Keith Hudson were both absent, and they missed quite a bit.
There were two applications that caused the most interest.
The first was for the change of use of a former shellfish packing station in South Fambridge , to be used for the recovery of cars, to be repaired and prepared for exports. If you don’t know South Fambridge, it’s a very quiet, very rural riverside location at the end of a narrow lane:
The actual site is the grey triangle next to the yellow arrow.
Local residents were so concerned about this that probably more than half the population of the village came to the meeting. It was so crowded that one resident even ended up sitting in on one of the Lib Dem spaces on the councillors seats!
Officers were recommending refusal, on the grounds of the effect on the open character of the area and the extra commercial traffic. This was proposed and seconded by ward councillor Tracy Capon and her husband Phil Capon. Chris Black and John Mason added an extra reason – loss of amenity to residents and users of the nearby bridleway.
The application was refused almost unanimously. But two councillors were pretty annoyed at some aspects of how the application was dealt with.
First of all Phil Capon was very critical of how County Highways aren’t concerned about applications like this, saying “It’s about time County Highways got off their backsides and come and look at sites like these- with the amount of council tax people pay it’s time they did more.”
Then John Mason was extremely concerned that a noise analysis report sent in by the applicants wasn’t even mentioned in the officers report on the application. Councillors should be made aware about what evidence had been submitted.
The second item of interest was for a cafe/ restaurant in Great Wakering High Street. Councillor Colin Seagers was outraged – he actually used the word ‘incandescent’ to describe himself. Why? because photos of the High Street he had taken especially for the meeting had been emailed to officers in the officers in the afternoon but weren’t there at the meeting in the evening.
Because of this he actually got the item deferred to the next meeting.