The Perils Of the Cabinet System

We are not keen on the Cabinet system at Rochford – it’s expensive and not very democratic. Here’s an example from the Guardian website of how a Labour cabinet in Lewisham is pushing through a development that will force Millwall Football Club away from their home – even though the plan’s  not even supported by Labour’s own back-bench councillors:

The Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, has joined the growing chorus of dismay at Lewisham council’s “extraordinary” plans to carry out a compulsory purchase of Millwall’s land at The Den.  n a statement to the Guardian, Farron called on Lewisham council to consider the full repercussions of its land seizure. The Liberal Democrat leader said it would be “heartbreaking” if the decision to sell the land on to a mysterious offshore-owned property developer led to the club having to consider leaving the borough….

…. Farron is the first senior Westminster figure to speak out on the issue. His call for the council to work instead with the club and the community comes three days before a town hall meeting at which the compulsory purchase order is due to be confirmed or rejected by the Labour cabinet.

This will be the second time the CPO has been ruled on. The council’s own scrutiny committee urged it to reconsider last September after grave concerns were voiced by senior councillors at both the murkiness of the process and the identity of the parties involved.

Lewisham plans to sell Millwall’s land to an offshore-owned property developer called Renewal, a company whose CEO is a former Lewisham council officer, and which, records have revealed, had the last Labour mayor of Lewisham as one of its founding directors…..

…..It is understood Lewisham’s cabinet still intends to push through a decision that has been condemned by a vast majority of its own backbench labour councillors.

 

Full article here.

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 councils 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 days) x (52 weeks) x (2 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.

The Yachts Set Sail….

We wrote recently about the Cllipper Round The World Yacht Race that started this weekend:

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race begins in St Katherine’s Dock London on August 30th and then begins in earnest from Southend Pier on August 31st. As the Port of London Authority explains:

30th August 2015
12 yachts will lock out of St Katherines Dock from approximately 1400 until 1530. At 1530 4
of these will pass under Tower Bridge and gather on the Starboard side of the Upper Pool as

.
31st August 2015
The yachts will gather south of Southend Pier from 1200, a cannon will be sounded at 1220 to
indicate the ten minutes before the race start. The race will commence at 1230 and yachts
will start their passage outbound.

Jim Cripps has kindly sent us these photos (click to enlarge):

yachts1yachts2yachts3

 

 

 

If You Like Yachts, You Might Like To Take A Look.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race begins in St Katherine’s Dock London on August 30th and then begins in earnest from Southend Pier on August 31st. As the Port of London Authority explains:

30th August 2015
12 yachts will lock out of St Katherines Dock from approximately 1400 until 1530. At 1530 4
of these will pass under Tower Bridge and gather on the Starboard side of the Upper Pool as

.
31st August 2015
The yachts will gather south of Southend Pier from 1200, a cannon will be sounded at 1220 to
indicate the ten minutes before the race start. The race will commence at 1230 and yachts
will start their passage outbound.

There are also free yacht tours in the days leading up to the race…

Golf Application Goes To Appeal

Last December the District Council refused a planning application for a golf course near the Chichester Hotel in Rawreth. Though it seemed more like an excuse to dump hundreds of thousand of tonnes of earth. Officers recommended approval, but one of us called it in to committee and we won the vote. You can still download the officers report here – it starts on page 8.

This is what we wrote at the time 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 councils 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 and 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.

It’s worth quoting some of the comments we had after this on onlinefocus:

To say I am delighted to read this would be an understatement. Im sure this wont be the end of it, but at least the ground rules are now in place

A mighty well done to all concerned gives me some hope of a fair hearing for the forthcoming assault on the future of West Rayleigh & Hullbridge because the issues are the same.

I am delighted it was refused it is like a heavy weight lifted from my shoulders and I cannot thank those concerned who did such a lot of work and got it sorted out.

The applicants have now gone to appeal! This appeal will be decided by written representations. We will write soon about how people can make representations – the deadline is August 24th.

refusal1

refusal2

Time For Trampolines?

Planning officers are recommending approval for an application for a trampoline centre at 12a Purdeys Way, Rochford. You can download the report here – it starts on page 10. Here’s some extracts:

The unit has an internal floorspace of 900m and includes a mezzanine floor. There would be a reception area and office space at the front of the building with the remaining area used for trampolines. The mezzanine floor would be used as caf/waiting area with an adjacent room designated as a party room. The proposed opening hours are 7am to 10pm daily. The application form states that there would be 12 full time employees although not all staff would be on site at one given time due to the shift pattern to cover the proposed opening hours. The unit has 20 existing parking spaces and it is proposed to add a further 20 to the rear of the building to be used as an overflow parking area during busy periods.
The applicant has stated that were the facility to be at capacity there would be a maximum of 30 children/users….

There has been one representation from a neignbouring business:

9 Purdeys Way


We feel that unless the applicant’s have sufficient parking within their own boundary this would put additional pressure on an already bust throughfare. At peak times the road adjacent Rollercity and indeed the Homebase car park which is currently vacant are used for parking as the parking at Rollercity (during peak times) is not sufficient for all of their customers. Therefore
allowing another facility with insufficient parking would only add to the problem and could create safety issues, there are always large goods vehicles delivering to the estate and pedestrians having to cross the estate roads and car parks to gain access to these facilities may create health and safety issue.

Planning Enforcement On Academy Soccer’s Car Park

Following serious concerns from residents about whether the car park at the Academy soccer site in Rawreth was being constructed in accordance with the planning permission, there is now an enforcement case open, see the letter below:

“The matter will be investigated as soon as possible and any breach of planning control will be given further consideration”

planning enforcement academy