polling station sign

The Election Battles In The West

The candidates for the Rochford District Council and town and parish council elections have now been announced – you can find them on the District Council website here and here.

Tonight we’ll look at the north-western end of the district – Sweyne Park and Grange, Downhall and Rawreth, and Hullbridge. There are 3 district council seats up for grabs in each of them.


3 Tories, 1 Lib Dem (James Newport), 1 Rochford Resident and 1 Labour  are standing. Interestingly, there is no UKIP here. Obviously , we hope that James can win one of the three seats for us. It’s possible that James, Toby Mountain and the Labour chap Mr Archer could all win, and the Conservatives win none.

For the Town Council, the Tories have won 4 seats-  unopposed  by any other candidates.



3 Lib Dems (Chris Black, Ron Oatham and Chris Stanley) ,  3 Tories, 1 Labour and 1 Rochford Resident (who lives in Hullbridge). Once again, no UKIP. Obviously we are hoping to win all three seats here and strengthen our team.

For the Town Council, the seats are contested between Lib Dems and Tories  (we will write more about this later)




There’s a big ballot paper for Hullbridge – 3 Greens, 3 Tories, 3 Labour and 1 UKIP. The biggest surprise is to see Angelina Marriot  switch from Labour to Tory. Also interesting to see former Labour councillor David Flack standing here again. With the Greens already holding 2 of the 3 seats, we’re going to stick our necks out here and say the Greens are the best option to keep the Tories out.

There  are  also elections  for Hullbridge Parish Council, with a total of 13 candidates.


civic suite

Hullbridge Plan Is Passed 9-2, Roundabout Passed As Well

It was an uninspiring night in the council chamber.

The Hullbridge/Rawreth application for 500 was passed by 9 votes to 2. Chris Black (Lib Dem) moved refusal and was seconded by John Hayter (UKIP) but they were outvoted by 9 Conservatives. The Hullbridge District Councillors Michael and Diane Hoy (Green) and Angela Hale (Tory), plus Hullbridge Parish Councillors Angelina Marriott (Labour) all made good speeches, as did our Tory MP Mark Francois , but none of them had a vote.

The roundabout application was also passed, despite a speech against by Rawreth Parish Councillor Chris Stanley and some concerns about the details expressed by Chris Black (Lib Dem). the only concession Chris got was that the ward councillors would be consulted on the screening and landscaping, to minimise the impact on neighbouring residents. This was supported by the Tory leader Terry Cutmore.

The Echo has a good report here.


Getting Back To Normal – And Back To Business

Hopefully, the hacking attack on onlineFOCUS has been dealt with now (fingers crossed).
We are trying to get back to normal.

The main event this week is tomorrow night’s meeting of the Development Committee, where a decision will be made on the big housing application on the SW Hullbridge /Rawreth borders and the roundabout application at the Hullbridge Road / Rawreth Lane junction…


The Hullbridge/Rawreth and Roundabout Applications Have Their Own Pages On the Council Website

If you want to study the two applications due to come up on March 22nd, they  both have their own pages on the council website, full of links to lots of documents, plans etc.:

Click here for the Hullbridge/Rawreth application page.

Click here for the Roundabout application page.

It makes them a lot easier to look at.



BREAKING NEWS: New Roundabout Application

The planning application for the new roundabout at the Hullbridge Road / Rawreth Lane junction has just been submitted. It is application 16/00162/FUL and you can see it here

The first thing we’ve noticed is good news.  Unlike  a previous plan that we’ saw, Mortimer Road still has access onto Hullbridge Road.

The other news is that there is no longer a extra road access going ominously into Lubbards Farm. That’s been removed. But there’s still room to add an extra exit at a later date. Also the accompanying Transport Assessment states:

“a requirement of the landowner is to consider future development access”

That looks like a hint for a future planning application  on part of Lubbards Farm. We will say no more, to avoid ‘fettering our discretion’

This is the current plan (click to enlarge)




This is the previous plan we saw:

roundabout plan


Breaking News: Hullbridge/ Rawreth Housing Application on March 22nd

We have just heard the following from Hullbridge Green Party Councillors Michael and Diane Hoy about the application for 500 homes on the Hullbridge / Rawreth borders

We have just been advised that the Outline Planning Application for Hullbridge is going to the Development Control meeting on 22 March.
Both myself and Diane will be there to speak for residents.




Fairly Quiet On the Western Front

Here’s a brief update on the 3 substantial planning applications that we’ve had in Rawreth :

The “North of London Road” application from Countryside was of course passed last year. This was an outline application and the number of homes wasn’t , but would be between 400 and 500. The paperwork and legal stuff following the approval is still being sorted out. At some stage you can expect one or more detailed applications.

The “Timber Grove” application was , perhaps surprisingly, withdrawn last month. This was for 91 homes plus a replacement care home for the existing Timber Grove. No doubt there will be a new application at some stage.

The “Site Adjacent to Grange Villa” application is still ongoing and will be coming to the Development Committee sooner or later (but not this month). This is for 47 homes.

So watch out for more news in the future…


Democracy And Debate – With Coffee And Biscuits

That’s right, Rawreth Parish Council meets again tomorrow night (Wednesday) Including a public question time and a hot drink and a biscuit for all visitors. AA little bird tells us you can expect Parish Councillor Chris Stanley to be talking about traffic…

Starts 7:30 in the village hall!


Bits And Pieces

A few things in and around Downhall and Rawreth Ward, in no particular order:


Sweyne Park:

Following a complaint about the wooden railings in the stretch of the bridle path from Canterbury Close southwards, we have reported this to Rochford DC. We understand that as the hedging has grown in size, the railing may not need replacing as it gets older , but some of it is falling down and could become a danger to riders – apart from making  the park look uncared for.

Hullbridge Road


Following a complaint from another resident, we have asked Rochford Dc to ask Essex County Council to complete their rubbish clearing of the ditch and look at the railings here.

Down Hall Road

school signWe have asked the County Council to put a new warning sign here – the existing one has changed colour from red to grey. Please note we are also thinking about complaints we’ve had about parent parking and driving around Downhall School.


London Road, Rawreth


Following complaints from a third resident, we have also pursuing two flood-related issues with Rochford DC.


golf course plan

Rawreth Golf Course Appeal DISMISSED – Christine Paine’s Final Triumph?

We are very pleased to report an important success regarding a planning appeal in Rawreth.

Back in December 2014 the District Council had to decide on an application for a 9 hole golf course near the Chichester in Rawreth. Nothing wrong with that, you might think, and the application was recommended for approval. However Ron Oatham and Chris Black were NOT happy with this one, not because we dislike golf but because of the direct impact on neighbours and the huge amount of material being brought on site to alter the landcape. As we reported on onlineFOCUS:

The Golf Course application near the Chichester in Rawreth was refused tonight. Parish Council Chairman Alistir Matthews began by setting out the parish council’s objections. Chris Black and Ron Oatham then moved refusal on the grounds of:
loss of residential amenity during the construction period ( hundreds of thousands of tons of earth being moved there over 2 1/2 years)
loss of residential amenity when completed (one example was the position of the 9th hole an d the 9th green)
flood risk concerns during the construction period
flood risk concerns when completed
position of the access onto the A129, especially during the construction period

Councillors seemed particularly concerned about the vast quantity of material proposed to be brought to the site, some expressing the view that the application was all about making money from waste, rather than creating a golf course. In the debate we got particular support from John Mason and Michael Hoy, but when it came a vote we got support from nearly everyone , including Toby Mountain, Conservatives and UKIP.

We were really concerned about the vast amount of material involved. There were indications that there would be (40 lorries per day) x (20 tonnes) x (5 ½ days) x (52 weeks) x (2 ½ years) = 572 000 tonnes. Even at 20 lorries per day that would have been 288 000 tonnes. It isn’t often you get a “Sherlock Holmes” moment in a council meeting , but we noticed on the night that the layout plan was labelled “JKS Golf Course”, JKS being the haulage contractors. This was indicative that JKS were the driving force here.

The applicants went went to appeal, and we wrote to the planning inspectorate to reinforce our objections and also to endorse a very good letter written at that time by the now late Christine Paine, who lived nearby and wrote as a resident rather than as a councillor.

We’ve just heard that the planning inspector has rejected the appeal. So the application stays REFUSED. However the inspector didn’t seem to be bothered about traffic , or flooding – just on the openness of the Green Belt:

golf decision

We will be studying the appeal decision to see what implications it has for other sites.


Look to The West

Rawreth Parish Council kicks off 2016  with a meeting next Wednesday Jan 6th at 7:30 pm in the village hall.

Nothing extraordinary on the agenda, but a chance for some participatory local democracy with a warm beverage.

Or in simple terms – the public can ask questions and express views, and get a cup of coffee or tea and maybe a biscuit!

hulbridge road

More On Streetlighting

It seems that there is a delay in faulty streetlights being inspected, due to long-term illness, for which we can only sympathise with the person(s) concerned. However the County Council do need to raise their game on this!

By special request, here are a  couple more maps to show the situation in most of Rawreth, Hullbridge and the Wakerings. Green circles are OK, brown circles are known to have a fault – and as you can see, there are a lot of brown circles in Rawreth:


streetlightproblems3 streetlightproblems4