onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003

 

Archive for Conservatives

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?

A Question For Mr Hilton Brown, Conservative Agent

Good morning Hilton,

We know you sometimes read onlinefocus and have left comments here in the past. However we have seen the leaflet from your candidate in Rayleigh South , John Flack, and it doesn’t give his home address!?

The last address we can find for him on  the web in this news article here  where his address was Stebbing, near Braintree.

Where is his home now?

Best Wishes

Chris Black

Peter Webster Resigns

There has been another resignation by a Conservative District councillor – this time it is by Peter Webster, who was elected for Whitehouse Ward in Rayleigh. Peter is a former Conservative leader of the Council. Many of us will miss the fierce political debates we’ve had with him. Though the Lib Dems have had many political disagreements with Peter, he has always been good natured towards us personally.

Peter is unable to carry on for personal reasons, and we send Peter and his wife Councillor Mavis Webster our best wishes.

“Anyone who votes to put them back into office next May is mad.”

Simon Heffer has written about Essex County Council  today in The Daily Mail:

Tory-controlled Essex County Council decided this week not to sue their disgraced former leader Lord Hanningfield for the £287,000 of ratepayers’ money he spent flying around the world with cronies and dining in style.

This is a rash move. In four and a half months, the council is up for re-election.

I am appalled that Essex Tories have such a cavalier view of financial accountability. Anyone who votes to put them back into office next May is mad.

Did they take this view about Hanningfield because some of them, too, have things on their conscience?

 

Hat-tip: Nick Barlow

 

 

 

 

More News About Lord Hanningfield……

The BBC reports that the former Tory leader of Essex County spent £286,000 on his council card over 5 years . He was forced to pay back over £30,000:

In publishing logs of his credit card spending, the council confirmed Lord Hanningfield had been able to sign off his own spending.The peer’s card use from 2005 to 2010 lists thousands of transactions, including spending on flights, train journeys, meals and hotel stays which amount to £286,000 in total.

 

Lord Hanningfield’s spend on the credit card included

  • £ 9,396 on flights to the US for himself and a council officer and £4,614 on flights to Shanghai.
  • £3,840 for five people to stay at the four-star Norfolk Royale, Bournemouth (length of stay not specified).
  • £2.89 at a noodle bar in Mumbai.
  • £61.95 on “books for travel”.
  • £217.54 Dinner for two in Brussels
  • £230 on a day at Goodwood racecourse.
  • £1,180 accommodation for three people at Chewton Glen Hotel and Spa in Hampshire (length of stay not specified)
  • £467 Dinner for Lord Hanningfield and two other lords at Gordon Ramsey restaurant in London
  • £18.99 charger for his phone
  • £2,000 on food, travel and accommodation, Labour Party conference
  • £540.25 Dinner at 15 in Cornwall (Jamie Oliver restaurant)
  • £518.25 The following night, dinner at Seafood restaurant, Padstow (Rick Stein’s restaurant)
  • £736 Christmas lunch in Chelmsford for council officers
  • £8,051 Flights to CGLF conference for Lord Hanningfield and officer (destination unspecified)
  • £23.27 for lunch at Thelma and Louise café in Sydney
  • £538.78 House of Lords dinner for borough mayor, LH and two others
  • £3.06 drinks claim while on US trip
  • £120 Accommodation for chauffeur, King’s Lynn, Norfolk
  • £372.40 on Limousine hire
  • £905.60 Dinner at Lib Dem Conference
  • £107 on drinks for four in Hot Springs, USA
  • £544 drinks bill for one month in House of Lords
  • £5,274.51 on accommodation in India


And what about other Conservative County Councillors?

An internal audit report published on Thursday by the county council reveals wider concerns about the use of corporate credit cards dating back to 2003.

At one stage there were 12 cards held by senior figures at the Conservative-run council.
The 2008 report said: “Whilst no misuse of council resources has been evidenced, the lack of supporting documentation and detail of card expenditure means that it cannot be said that there is no inappropriate card expenditure.
“There has been much use of corporate cards exceeding the authority’s guidelines for use and travel and subsistence policy.”
The report said in a sample of 31 authorised credit card transaction logs covering a three month period, 25 (80%) included expenditure which was either not in accordance with the council’s guidelines or supported by invoices or receipts.

Conservative Motion On The Post Office

Three Conservatives have put forward a motion for tomorrow night’s meeting of Full Council; it’s from Terry Cutmore, Keith Hudson and Heather Glynn:

‘This Council calls on the Royal Mail to reconsider very carefully the proposals to relocate the delivery offices currently available in Canewdon, Great Wakering and Rochford town.
Whilst noting the need for efficiency, the Council is concerned for the service level available for elderly and disabled residents as well as residents without transport in respect of the collection of non-delivered items and business collections of mail.
We trust that the Royal Mail will make their concluding decisions taking these matters fully into account.’

Post Election Blues

The “Rochford Life” online magazine has a new interview with Rochford Councillor Gill Lucas-Gill in the aftermath of the local elections. Understandably she’s disappointed with the turnout:

RL: So what do you feel about the elections?
Jill: Well I think the big disappointment of the elections was the turnout; it was awful.

RL: Do you think it is more to do with national politics than it is local politics and that people are basically just tired out with politics, especially in the present economic climate?
Jill: I think people probably are and I appreciate that, unless you are in it like we are, it doesn’t have the effect upon you that perhaps it should do, but I just think that it would be good if everybody came out and voted, but 22.2% is appalling. It’s never high in any election but this was terrible.

You can read the full article here.

Could You Feed Yourself On £1 A Day For Five Days?

We’ve recently added links to three Southend blogs in our right sidebar. Rather neatly , there’s one Lib Dem, one Conservative and one Labour. Though we haven’t done this out of any deliberate political balance – they are all worth a look in their own right.

Neil Monnery is a Liberal Democrat in Southend who writes in a thoughtful but frank manner.

Anna Waite is a well-known Conservative and former Borough Councillor who actually lives in Barling.

Ms Jack Monroe is a Labour blogger in Southend who writes in a pretty lively manner. Some of her recent posts are particularly interesting; she is attempting this years Living Below The Line Challenge. As she explains:

I’m a day late with this one, but I thought I’d join in with this years Live Below The Line challenge, whereby participants are challenged to live on £1 a day for food.

Having done this already when I left the Fire Service, I figure that I’m a bit more prepared than most people for how to actually prepare 3 meals a day for less than a pound. So I’ve got 4 days left, £4 to spend, and 12 meals to keep myself going on. I’ll blog my progress here…

One of her meals was carrot, cumin and kidney bean soup for 14p…

Choose the layout you want to see

April 2014
M T W T F S S
« Mar    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  

Who We Are

We are Liberal Democrat councillors and campaigners in Rochford District.
We want to improve local decision-making and we see onlineFOCUS as a good way of keep residents informed and involved.
Please click here to email us .

viewfrommount

Comments Policy

We welcome your comments, they are very important to us. However please note:
* We may not necessarily agree with the comments made by our readers
* We ask everyone to treat people with respect when making a comment. No personal abuse please.



Daily Reporting by Chris Black

With support from:
Ron Oatham Ron Oatham Bruce Smart Bruce Smart Chris Stanley Chris Stanley

Latest Comments

  • Corey Vost: It is becoming increasingly obvious that ECC Highways have precious little intention of adopting this...
  • Christine Paine: Thanks Chris. I think noise depends to a great extent on wind direction. At least, with quite a few...
  • Tom Smith: Thanks
  • Chris Black: Christine – I spoke to the licensing people yesterday. They visited the site the day before with...
  • Chris Black: Hi Tom – its a good question, things have gone quiet on that. I will try to find out.
  • Tom Smith: Hi, Is the Waste recycling centre still being moved from Castle Road to this area? There seem to be no...
  • Brian Guyett: A welcome, overdue initiative but I agree with John Mason – we need to consider the whole...
  • Jim Cripps: PS: And can you explain how a party political leaflet “in touch” has the authority to cancel...
  • A.mattbhews: Please note this is not a flood prevention solution but is the replacement of a foul sewer . Despite...
  • Jim Cripps: Well done Chris/ John and sorely needed as they have already cancelled two promises ( RTSSC & new...
  • Jim Cripps: Two quotes for you :- Cllr K Hudson via Evening Echo ( Fri 11th April ) – “The process we...
  • Jim Cripps: That is exactly why it is later ( negative election impact ) , however all the voters need to do is ask...
  • Jim Cripps: Greenbelt – it is’nt the same show ( the Battlesbridge one is in June ), the one last weekend...
  • John Mason: As far as I can see “by 9 April” quoted in your Article allowed “the 5 day rule”...
  • Greenbelt: The ‘RaveR 17; type event last year which caused many complaints on this site was clearly audible...
  • Christine Paine: We could hear it over the television. I’ve got nothing against the showground as such,...
  • admin: I would think you can hear it over half of Rayleigh, with the windows closed….
  • admin: Not sure…
  • John Mason: So what happens next please?
  • Jim Cripps: I think you will find that ECC will be running this site ( not RDC ) so who knows, this might be a Fee...
  • admin: David – I would expect them to pay. I know some travellers elsewhere do.
  • David. B: Will any of the travellers who will be living on the new proposed sight be paying Council tax? i.e. just...
  • Jim Cripps: Christine - 1. I did’nt have any part in the legal challenge, it is a private action. 2. I have no...
  • Christine Paine: A Judicial Review is all well and good Jim, but what happens if the court come down against RDC....

Recent Posts


Lib Dem logo
Legal Statement for the purposes of complying with electoral law: This website is published and promoted by by Bruce Smart at 12 Ferndale Road, Rayleigh, on behalf of Liberal Democrat Candidates all at 12 Ferndale Road, Rayleigh The technology and hosting used for this website is provided by 1&1 Internet Limited, The Nova Building, Herschel Street Slough SL1 1XS

Technical Help : Graham Osborn

Posts with Most Comments

Categories

Categories

Asda or Makro Council Budget Crime & Policing District Core Strategy District Wide Elections Essex & East Future Housing Green Belt Highways & Parking History and Culture Hockley Hullbridge Leisure and Sport Liberal Democrats Local Democracy Local Facilities National Politics No Category Planning Applications Rawreth Rayleigh Rochford Web Stuff

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.

The Roads That Need Repairing


The County Council admitted in July that over 200 roads in our district need repairing! They say they will fix them by May 2013. Click here to see the list.

Essex Political Blogs

History

Lib Dem Websites

Local Council Websites

Local Info

Non-Political Stuff

Other Lib Dem Blogs

Planning Issues

Join Your Local Team

If you read onlineFOCUS for a while you can see the kind of things we are trying to achieve locally. Maybe you would like to help us?


If you fancy helping us deliver leaflets, or actively campaigning for us at election time, or simply just helping behind the scenes with paperwork, please contact the onlineFOCUS team here.

“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

Join the National Team

If you would like email updates on what the Lib Dems are doing nationally, click here.
If you would like to join the Lib Dems click here.

Meta