onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003

 

Archive for Conservatives

Good Week, Bad Week….

So….

It’s been a good week for the Conservatives in Rochford gaining an extra councillor, and the national Tory website Conservativehome reports on it here. There’s a mixed response in the comments.

It’s been a bad week for UKIP in Essex , on the same day that Nigel Farage visited the county, they lost one of their council seats in Harlow to Labour. And a UKIP councillor in Thurrock has been suspended from the party following drink driving. Why oh why do councillors say to the police “Do you know who I am? I am a prominent councillor, I know the police commissioner.”

It’s been a good week for the main opposition group on Rochford District Council. The 5 residents Councillors and 2 Greens all spoke at Full Council on the budget, there was actually a bit of a debate for once. We’ll write more about the Budget meeting when the minutes are published and we can link to them..

Goodbye June

blue rosette

We heard from our Lib Dem colleague June Lumley today that she is going to seek re-election to the District Council this year – but this time as a Conservative.

June has been both a District and Town councillor in Grange Ward for a long time, with a good reputation that has helped her survive repeated Conservative challenges. June has indeed been a dignified and serene chairman of the District Council this year.

If June had stood as an independent, that would not have been a surprise – June has been an independent on the Town Council for a long time. But standing for the Tories isn’t going to be easy- the Conservatives are pretty unpopular in West Rayleigh right now! Her switch is bound to be seen as an endorsement of the Tory District Core Strategy which may lead to all the proposed development North of London Road.

If she wins it will be interesting to see how she manages moving from the Lib Dems, where she has not been whipped, into a tightly-whipped Conservative Group.

For the local Lib Dems , this gives us the chance for more some vigorous campaigning and recruiting in Grange Ward. In a period of 10 years, we found 7 good candidates in Downhall and Rawreth to stand for us around Rayleigh. No new candidates came from Grange Ward.

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.

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.

and

I’ve found over the years that sometimes there are councillors who think they are big but the truth is we’re no different to anyone else. The only difference is we’ll give up time to do it. Some people do it for personal gain; I do it for the residents’ gain, because that what we’re here for. My view is that you do what is best for the District, whatever political colour you may be.

Yes, Minister….

Congratulations to Rochford and Southend East MP James Duddridge on becoming a minister in the Foreign Office, with responsibility for Africa.

He replaces James Simmonds, who has resigned, telling the Telegraph :

…. he was quitting as a Foreign Office minister and was standing down as an MP because he was unwilling to carry on staying in hotels while his family were hundreds of miles away in Lincolnshire…

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

Liberal Democrats ‘Call-In’ Lord Hanningfield Decision

lord-hanningfield

Breaking news from the County Council – Liberal Democrats at County Hall have ‘called in’ the decision by Essex County Council Tories not to pursue Lord Hanningfield in the Civil Courts. Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Cllr. Mike Mackrory said:

“I called in this decision because I believe we owe it to the council taxpayers of Essex to scrutinise this decision. There is an overwhelming public interest here for justice to be seen to be done; the £51,000 originally claimed back is a token amount out of the total £288,000 claimed by him whilst Leader of the Council. Why should he get away with this when people who are in arrears with their council tax or people who have committed fraud against the council are relentlessly pursued through the courts? Why is there one rule for Lord Hanningfield and another for ordinary people?”

And Then There Were Two

blue rosette

Rayleigh Councillor Dave Sperring has now quit the Conservative Group to become an Independent Conservative.

It’s fair to say that he still regards himself as a Tory, he has simply had enough of the way the Tory group is run on the District Council. So now there are two Independent Conservatives on the District Council Dave Sperring and Toby Mountain – – and we wait to see if they form a council group.

Toby Mountain Resigns Conservative Whip

blue rosette

We heard last night that Toby Mountain, one of the Conservative councillors for Sweyne Park Ward in Rayleigh , has resigned from the Conservative Party Whip under the current leadership of Cllr Terry Cutmore.

It’s been clear for some time that various Conservative councillors in Rayleigh have been unhappy about various issues, and about the lack of discussion on some important topics. Toby was willing to speak up at last Full Council and say he couldn’t support the budget if it meant increasing car parking charges AND abolishing free Saturday afternoon parking.

Toby’s decision means he now becomes an Independent councillor, and the make-up of the council becomes:

Conservatives 30
Lib Dems 4
Greens 2
Rochford District Residents 2
Independent 1

It will be interesting to hear what Toby has to say in the council chamber on each issue.

An Interesting Night At Full Council – And June Lumley Is Vice-Chairman!

We had Full Council last night, a fairly straightforward half-hour of deciding who does what for the next year.

First of all Cllr Joan Mockford stepped down as chairman of the council. She has commendably  raised over £11000 for her chosen charities during her year. Joan had prepared some cheques –  £8000 to Southend Hospital (towards cancer research), £1500 to the Mushroom Theatre Company, £1500 for the local talking newspaper for the blind, and £770 to Holy Trinity Church.

Secondly, Cllr Barbara Wilkins, who has been vice-chairman, was elected Chairman. There was some interesting moments during her first moments in the Chairman’s Chair, as she is a petite lady and  needs a cushion! However Barbara is a very popular choice as chairman and we very much wish her well for her year in office. Her chosen charities were , she said, ” small local ones where a small amount of money makes a difference.” They are the local Multiple Sclerosis  society, the South Essex Youth Orchestra and the Ryan Tolley Leukaemia Trust Fund.

And then we elected the new-chairman, who normally becomes chairman one year later. This decision lies completely in the control of the Conservative Group, who vote on this in one of their private group meetings beforehand.  Rather unusually , and to their credit, the Conservatives proposed a Liberal Democrat – June Lumley. Naturally we are delighted by this, and see it as deserved recognition of June’s work on the District Council, the Town Council and especially with local voluntary groups. Responding to the nomination, Chris Black said: ‘The words’ grace’ and intelligence’ come to mind. The nomination was made with grace and intelligence, and I’m sure June will show her usual grace and intelligence in her new civic duties”

June Lumley

 

The New Men At The Top

Although the Conservatives took a battering last Thursday, they are still in control of Essex County Council. They have just chosen a new leader and deputy leader, to replace their previous leader who stepped down.

The new leader is David Finch, who was previously deputy leader and represents Hedingham. Rather confusingly, according to the County Council, his home address is Blacksmiths Cottage
Borley, Nr Sudbury , Suffolk. But it seems that the village of Borley is indeed just inside the boundaries of Essex.

The new deputy leader is Kevin Bentley, who represents Stanway and Pyefleet and lives on Mersea Island.

Misleading And A Bit Arrogant

We are a bit amused by the Conservative leaflet for Rayleigh South, which shows a picture of their candidate with the caption “John is a Familiar Figure”. Because he lives in Chelmsford , so he is hardly a familiar figure here. Totally misleading.

And actually, it’s a bit arrogant as well.
Even people who have lived here for 50 years wouldn’t be so boastful as to claim to be a ‘Familiar figure”!
Who writes their election leaflets?

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Daily Reporting by Chris Black

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Latest Comments

  • Chris Black: Oz, I didn’t have strong feelings on this one. The ‘cafeR 17; would just be a converted...
  • Linda Kendall: Brian @ 18. I have just quickly scanned the document you quote and although my view is many companies...
  • Linda Kendall: Re. 17 above. What I failed to point out was that the ‘NEW̵ 7; site for the Rawreth...
  • Jim Cripps: I’ve been quietly sitting in and listening to Council debates on a regular basis for about 18...
  • The Mighty Oz: Chris, can you tell us why you voted against the cafe in Hockley Woods ?
  • A.Matthews: Ian back to he subject.The loss of more industrial units emphasises what I said in 13 above.Yes this is a...
  • Jim Cripps: Is there an election coming up then?…..
  • Jim Cripps: Core Strategy – excellent value at £2.1 million then , bloody outrageous , a Public Enquiry indeed...
  • Ian Jordan: This is about Main Road Hawkwell, not land North of London Road, I can’t see much greenfield on...
  • Brian Guyett: The latest document to be added to the Evidence Base is The Employment Land Study Report 2014...
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  • admin: Brian @ 8 – you can comment in the election period about a planning application in the same way as at...
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  • John Mason: Bruce @ 4 I understand that the Hullbridge Residents Association has asked Mark Francois MP to speak as a...
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  • Linda Kendall: The proposed Heavy Industrial Site that is planned for land at the junction of the A1245 (old A130)...
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500 HOUSES BETWEEN LONDON ROAD AND RAWRETH LANE

There's lots of information on the District Council website about the planning application "North of London Road ". To see it , just click here.

The Core Strategy

This is the official master document for planning policy in our district! To download it, click here click here. (2.5mb)

Planning Applications…

If you want information on a particular planning application, you can find it on the District Council website here.

If you want to know what new planning applications have been submitted this week, click here.

Reporting A Problem

If you want to report a problem, you can email Lib Dems councillors by clicking here.
There's also an independent website called FixMyStreet. It's very good for reporting minor street problems like holes in the road, grafitti or failed streetlights. You can find FixMyStreet here.

Food Hygiene Ratings

To find the food hygiene rating for eating places and other businesses in our district , click here.

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“Rayleigh was the birthplace of Britain’s first surviving quintuplets, but that’s just one of its many claims to fame”

When the Olympic Torch came to Rayleigh, Chris Black wrote about the town in the Guardian - read it here

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