onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003


November 28th, 2012 |

Bloody Hell ! A Stormy Night In The Council Chamber




Last night the District Council approved the latest stage of the Core Strategy – the specific allocations for housing and other development. This will now go to public consultation, on whether it  is sound and legal….

The Conservatives voted it through (although Cllr Angela Hale from Hullbridge abstained.)

The Lib Dems present  and the Greens all voted against.

Setting out the Lib Dem objections, Chris Black said that

  • the council still couldn’t say what improvements were needed to Watery Lane,
  • there hadn’t been a traffic impact study on the cumulative effect of the  sites to the west of Rayleigh,
  • the new open spaces were small compared with open places like Sweyne Park
  • Rayleigh Sports and Social Club were being bullied by the council –  into being  relocated so that houses could be built on their present site.

This accusation of bullying (not of course  by individuals, but the actions of the council as a whole)  angered a few Tories. Councillor Colin Seagers stood up, facing Chris (who sits almost behind him) and spoke to him in a stern voice. Memories differ on what was actually said (it was a highly charged moment)

Whilst Cllr Seagers was speaking there was some gentle booing from the public gallery and one lady could be heard saying  “Bloody hell”.


53 Responses to “Bloody Hell ! A Stormy Night In The Council Chamber”

  1. 1
    Chris Black:

    I will not be resigning !

  2. 2
    John Mason:

    Am I right in remembering that it was said that my reference to the Rochford Bypass was a flight of fantasy? Check here

  3. 3
    brian guyett:

    The Hockley Area Action Plan, which was also unanimously passed without comment, despite the fact that it is not viable and contains contradictions, also hasn’t had a traffic assessment, due to another U-turn by the council. I wonder why?
    Despite the entertainment of a stand-up fight between Chris and Colin (and I agree Chris that the council is a bully), the most concerning disclosure was that assessment of the cumulative traffic impact is down to ECC Highways and no one seems to know or care what they are doing. John Mason suggested that the ‘Local Transport Plan’ is already out of date! It became clear that funds from Standard Charges will be used entirely on local road improvements so no funds for strategic developments. I can only suggest drivers ensure they have plenty of reading material,water and emergency rations when they use their cars. And I withdraw my earlier suggestion about not discussing bus-stops.
    Yes John, I heard the same “fantasy” comments.

  4. 4
    Angelina Marriott:

    I think the events of Yesterday Morning perfectly illustrates the problem with Watery lane. If as you say no explicite answers can be given with regard to what improvements would need to be done to support further development thereabouts, then I wholeheartedly thank my District Councillors who either opposed or abstained the motion.

  5. 5
    Cllr Colin Seagers:

    The description of events and report that I ‘offered to resign if he did’ is untrue, not the first time a thoroughly inaccurate and distorted report here has needed to be corrected by me. Perhaps the anonymous ‘reporter’ should pay more attention to those Members in the debate rather than listening to abusive muttered interruptions from a so-called ‘lady’ or any heavily conflicted/biased other members of the public.
    Prior to rising I stated that I found his ‘bullying’ assertions highly offensive, particularly so as one who had suffered bullying in schooldays and again in my employment almost 20 years ago, and that I would turn to address him specifically from my position in the front row. That was somewhat more than 3 feet from where he was seated behind, above and well to one side of me. (Standing to speak is optional but quite normal in an Extraordinary Council unless reading from lengthy documents, but becomes absolutely essential if endeavouring to address directly an individual Member seated in the back row.)
    The offer I made to him in the Extraordinary Council was that I would resign IF I was unable to ensure my fellow Conservative Members delivered the promised improved and fully completed new facility to RTSSC before any actual move by the Club was required post expiry of their lease in 2019, PROVIDED Cllr Black took the other side of the bargain and agreed to resign when RDC’s undertaking is fulfilled prior to any required move of RTSSC after the expiry of the Club’s current lease in 2019 (unless by previous agreement). It was a very different offer I made to him than that which he has reported here.
    Cllr Black failed either to accept the pact that I offered him or else retract and apologise wholeheartedly for his repeated accusations of bullying of RTSSC by RDC. He had been made fully aware of the inclusion of the exceptionally generous offer to RTSSC of completed superior new facilities, as contained in publicly issued RDC papers published prior to his vote against in the LDF Sub-committee. Before his Sub-committee vote he also received further verbal confirmation from LDF Sub-committee Chairman and Portfolio Holder Cllr Keith Hudson that the effective Allocation of the present playing fields for housing was therefore wholly conditional on that undertaking being fulfilled first. Thus Cllr Black’s subsequent assertions of bullying by RDC, reported in the Echo of 1st November and yet again repeated twice in the RDC Extraordinary Council Meeting of the 27th November, are totally unfounded. By his failure to retract and apologise or else to accept the pact offered to him, Cllr Black demonstrated he has neither the common decency and moral fibre to apologise nor sufficient belief in the veracity of his own public statements, which have called into question the word and integrity of fellow RDC Members including the Leader and Deputy Leader of RDC, LDF Sub-committee members, and RDC Officers. Unbelievably, he apparently still considers RTSSC have been bullied but, if that were truly so, I suspect many other less fortunate clubs would be only too delighted to be so ‘bullied’ as to accept such a generous offer indeed in the place of RTSSC.

  6. 6
    chris black:

    Cllr Seagers – the recollection of Ron Oatham and myself is different to yours, however in the stress of the moment – and it was a very stressful moment – its possible that we didn’t take in the details of your proposed ‘pact’.If we have got that wrong then we apologise. We will amend the post.

    Its clear that my use of the word bullying has caused you some personal distress. I suffered some bullying myself as a child, and there is no intention at all to cause you any distress – truly.

    But this isn’t about you and me, its about the public we serve. If all goes well, then I hope that the Sports and Social club ARE well looked after. Because that’s at the heart of what councils should do, help their communities, help local groups. We are here to help them, not vice versa.

    But that’s not the issue. The club are not being given any real choice , are they? Despite their objections in previous consultations, the council is wielding its superior power to force them to relocate. They probably wouldn”t even know about it now if I hadn’t told them. The council is using superior strength or influence to intimidate the club, to force them to do something. Guess what the Oxford Dictionary definition of bullying is?

  7. 7
    brian guyett:

    Cllr Seagers, I wasn’t going to comment on this ‘spat’but your arrogant dismal of the public you serve has irked me.
    First, I agree that Chris got it wrong and its good he apologised. However, I do not recognise your statement above as what you said on the night. I think you got it wrong as well and accidentally mis-spoke.
    Turning to bullying, I repeat my comment that I have been bullied a number of times by the council. You will no doubt write me of as one of those “heavily conflicted/biased other members of the public” but that’s my understanding of democracy. I would suggest that the decline and virtual non-attendance by the public at Community Forums etc demonstrates the wider public views on how RDC is run. If you truly object to bullying, as you say, I hope you will publicly acknowledge my concerns and work to improve the council.
    Finally, you imply Chris should have accepted Cllr Hudson’s assurances but the HAAP has again clearly demonstrated that this cannot be relied upon. Highways concerns have been an integral part of the HAAP since it started and we have had repeated assurances they would be included. The latest assurance being at Full Council on 17th July – its in the minutes if you don’t believe me. But guess what, they haven’t been included in a last minute U-turn. How can anyone be expected to trust the council?

  8. 8
    John Mason:

    Full Council on 17 July 2012 was obviously a bad night for assurances…….see

  9. 9
    Cllr Colin Seagers:

    Cllr Black:
    The cut and thrust of debate is never stressful to those delivering the home truths to you, so I fear you mistake the passionate delivery of my rebuke to you for stress, perhaps you are now stressed and regretting your failure to retract and apologise on the night when given at least two opportunities to do so?
    I also urge you to check the definition of what a lease is before further denigrating the extremely generous treatment of RTSSC by RDC.
    a. A contract granting use or occupation of property during a specified period in exchange for a specified rent.
    b. The term or duration of such a contract.

    Cllr Black and Mr Guyatt:
    No ‘mis-spoke’ or mistake in delivering my well considered challenge to Cllr Black at all, perhaps Brian you were interfered with in your listening by the untoward and purely abusive interuptions from the public gallery around you, or maybe it was influenced similarly to the Lib-Dem’s by their extremely wishful thinking that I would offer to resign for absolutely no reason and no political advantage?

  10. 10
    brian guyett:

    Well Cllr Seagers you have “mis-spoke” the spelling of my name, so perhaps you are not infallible!
    I note that yet again you have failed to take a stance against bullying by the council. Clearly you have a one side view and its no wonder the council’s reputation is so low.
    By the way, yet another mispresentation by the council, regarding HAAP, has come to light today. More on that later. Beginning to really look forward to meeting the planning inspector!

  11. 11
    Cllr Colin Seagers:

    Mr Guyett
    I have never claimed infallibility, least of all in typing, and was not going to mention your own rather greater typo fallibility, but your pedantic comment subsequent to your own ‘..arrogant dismal…’ has irked me……
    As for my not taking a stance on bullying, were you listening at all? For your information, I stated that I had been on the receiving end of it in two earlier occasions in my life, and can also inform you now that I later fought to prevent its occurrence against others as part of my duties during my 14 years as a Compliance officer since.
    RTSSC have most definitely NOT been bullied by RDC, the fact is leases do eventually expire as both lessees and lessors should be well aware when agreeing those. RDC have very generously (and voluntarily) offered to provide on lease a rather better new facility for the club after their current lease expires, just 340 metres away.
    I advise that your observations on HAAP would be more appropriately addressed to your great friend Cllr Keith Hudson, in his capacities as both Portfolio Holder for Planning & Transportation and a Hockley Central Ward Councillor, and he will undoubtedly act to address any real problem that you identify in the HAAP.

  12. 12

    Oh my goodness, I’m coming over all Latin again…

  13. 13
    Corey Vost:

    Just to point out that:

    1, being bullied in previous years does not make one immune from being a bully.

    2, a bully will never admit to being a bully

    3, a Councillor is elected to represent and be the voice of the people in their ward, acting in their best interests. Cllrs Black and Oatham are pillars of excellence when it comes to serving the community – this website being a fine example of keeping the district informed of affairs, something no other party councillor has even attempted to emulate!

  14. 14
    Christine Paine:

    Gentlemen, I am not a member of any Political party, indeed I could probably be best described as a floating voter. I am however a Council Tax payer. I have something to say to you – GROW UP! All this he said, I said, no I didn’t, yes you did, is reminiscent of schoolboys in a playground. I don’t pay my Council Tax for you to have public rows with each other. I pay for services, and quite honestly I get very bad value for my money. The Council as a whole fails to listen to the wishes of local people on a very consistent basis, a fault they share with their party leaders in Westminster. I don’t feel represented by either Rayleigh or Rochford Councils, or indeed our Parish Council.

    I suggest that if any and all of you want relection at some time you stop squabbling, act like the public servants you are supposed to be, and start acting in the best interests of your local communities (which is not covering it in more and more development and ignoring or brushing off real and relevant concerns about flooding, traffic etc.)

  15. 15

    Well put Christine, I will add though that my parish council in Rawreth do an excellent job in representing their parishioners, which is why they have good attendances at their meetings.

  16. 16

    Christine sorry you feel we do not represent you and that you are not happy about our support for the michelin farm proposals ,but are you happy about what is going on there now? We believe that RDC should CPO the land and that the landowner should not over benefit by the developement as the land has been abused over the years on what is greenbelt and should be valued as such .
    I was not going to comment on the bullying debate but i will .I felt very uncomfortable at the west area forum by the intimidation of the sports and social club member by one councillor standing behind him and the leader of the council on his podium .Whatever the rights and wrongs of the issue I am not sure that was the forum for that humiliation .I am aware that there is a lease on the land ,but that club fulfills an important function in the community with volunteers giving of their time freely .This should have been dealt with at a much earlier stage of the consultation .On balance I think it is a generous offer from RDC but all this bad feeling could have been avoided with a little humanity and dare i say it humility .

  17. 17
    Christine Paine:

    I would like to add to my previous comments that Cllrs. Black and Oatham do indeed care about the communities they serve, and this website is something that other parties would do well to emulate. However, this public squabbling does nothing to raise the status of the Council as a whole in the eyes of anyone who reads it.

  18. 18
    Mike Nobes:

    2019 is still a long way away, who knows Councillor Seagers may not even be a Councilor by then and if RDC do not keep to their word and do not produce the type of facility promised, what then? RTSSC should not be MADE to vacate their their ground.

  19. 19
    Cllr Colin Seagers:

    Sticking firmly to fact as usual, I trust the following may assist:

    Mike Nobes
    Very true, 2019 is a long way off, and indeed I might not be a RDC Member or even alive and kicking for that matter, who ever knows, but then neither might Cllr Black.
    That does not change one iota of the fact that RTSSC has not been bullied by RDC, and Cllr Black is wholly out of order repeatedly so to accuse RDC, its Members and Officers. So his abject failure to retract and apologise for calling it and them into disrepute by impugning their integrity, or alternatively to accept the other side of my level challenge regarding the provision of the offer to RTSSC, speaks volumes.
    I refer you back to the definition of a lease. It entitles any lessee such as RTSSC the right to occupy ‘their ground’, as you term it, only to its lease expiry, not in perpetuity. Furthermore, the generous offer by RDC of a COMPLETED new BREEAM standard facility BEFORE they would be required to move just 340 metres is enshrined in the LDF and part of the Core Strategy that requires long lead times, so why would any fair minded person presume the volunteered offer would be reneged upon rather than kept? After all, if still alive and kicking and remaining a RDC Member, in order to demonstrate my goodwill I was prepared to resign in the event it is not provided, whereas Cllr Black apparently has had little faith that it would be reneged upon, else why would he not have accepted my challenge.
    Is it not also most residents’ wish, and rather better, to have playing fields on the new site in the green belt as a buffer rather than have the required houses in that place?

    Christine Paine
    I think you should note that addressing flood risk and flood prevention issues has always been high in my priorities, not unexpectedly as I both represent and live in Gt Wakering, much of which is a flood risk zone. It is unworthy to suggest that only Cllrs Black and Oatham care for their Wards and Residents to the exclusion of the many more Conservative Members, who care also not just for their own Wards but for the whole District too.
    Without a Core Strategy being in place and including the provision of the level of housing required of RDC over its term, RDC would be overrun with developers placing developments of housing in practically unlimited numbers, virtually automatically anywhere THEY chose in RDC green belt under the existing planning law, just by appealing to the Planning Inspectorate after a refusal by RDC. We should all be grateful that despite the delays, not caused by RDC, our Core Strategy is in place – unlike in some other local authorities lacking one which may well soon suffer uncontrolled developments. Votes against the Core Strategy and its parts by many of the non-Conservative Members could have further delayed or prevented emplacement of our Core Strategy, with potentially disastrous results, had Conservative Members not acted responsibly for the overall benefit of the whole District.

    A. Matthews
    It has been my previous understanding from RDC Officers that any Compulsory Purchase Order (‘CPO’) is both a long drawn out and costly process, and that there is no way of purchasing land by that means without reflecting the intended change of use and its usually much higher ‘planning uplift’ value in the payment to the original owner, overseen by the District Valuer (not connected to RDC).

  20. 20
    Mike Nobes:

    Councillor Seagers I would also remind you that this land is not your’s to do with what you would want to do with. It is public land, land that is in the realm of your constituents, not yours. Many generations have used this land for both Cricket and Football and to to see you standing for taking this land to build housing without giving absolute confirmation of what will happen in the future is just not good enough. You may be able to convince people of what will happen in the future but we will look retrospectively to see what has happened in the past.

  21. 21
    Mike Nobes:

    One other point Councillor Seagers, would you be looking at making a bid at taking over the Rayleigh Cricket club land to build housing? I would appreciate an honest answere

  22. 22
    Christine Paine:

    a.matthews. No I’m not happy about the Michelin Farm proposals, after all I’m at the end of the Parish nearest the proposed travellers site. I don’t object to a small industrial estate there provided the access road question is sorted out, but there are more than enough travellers round here already without encouraging even more in. You only have to look at Dale Farm to realise that within months 15 legal sites will turn into 15 legal and a lot more illegal. Overall our end of the Parish is pretty much neglected by Parish Council, the only thing that ever seems to be discussed is the land drain, which is a non issue.

    As regards your comments Cllr. Seagers. I attended a presentation by Rochford Council in Rayleigh Windmill. There was a firm and definite promise made that there would be no more development in Rawreth. By approving the Core Strategy Rayleigh Council have allowed that promise to be shattered into tiny pieces. Rawreth area is rapidly becoming a dumping ground for things that no-one else wants – housing, travellers sites, more industrial units, yet whenever questions are raised about how to cope with increased traffic levels, what is to be done about Watery Lane etc. it is brushed off as being someone elses responsibility. If Conservatives are backing this then you owe it to every single resident in the affected areas to make sure these questions are looked at and answered before building starts, not after.

    At least Cllrs. Black and Oatham are trying to oppose all of this, which is in line with the wishes of the residents of the area.

  23. 23
    Chris Black:

    Christine – Ron and I voted ‘against’ on Tuesday night, but I don’t want to be accused of deceiving people, so I had better clarify my position. I have opposed much of it , but not all.

    In particular I have been in principle against any development in the ‘big green rectangle’ which has Rawreth Lane to the North, the A1245 to the West and Rawreth Lane to the south. I think the land should have been left completely alone. Unfortunately it’s going to happen now somewhere in that rectangle, as an inspector has approved ‘land north of London Road’ as a general location.

    I have also voted against the housing proposals just inside the parish boundary next to Hullbridge, because of the Watery Lane issue.

    I can live with the council putting houses on the Rawreth Industrial Estate, providing the businesses there are treated fairly. I’m not sure if its practical though.

    Regarding Michelins Farm – this isn’t going to make me popular, but its probably the best way to avoid a “Dale Farm” in our district. The council intend to own the land themselves, so that proper control can be kept. And without a legal site in the district, its very hard to take enforcement action on unauthorised sites. The road access and other details need to be worked out though, pity we are going into another consultation without having all this already worked out to reassure people. It’s going to be next to a significant industrial / employment site, which we hopefully give people more confidence that things will be properly managed.

    I still find it odd though that all 5 possible traveller sites were in West Rayleigh or Rawreth!

    Regarding the exhibiition at the Windmill, one of the ongoing concerns has been that the Council early on almost completely avoided the use of the word “Rawreth”. And yet the parish is likely to double in population!

  24. 24
    John Mason:

    Being a Ward Member in the geographic centre of the District and a long standing resident of my Ward I have opposed what I, and residents, consider unsustainable large housing development. I considered that not voting in favour of an overall Core Strategy that insisted on such development justifiable in support of residents even though there were parts I could agree with. Unfortunately it was ALL or nothing.

    Residents must get a little confused when their Ward Members vote for the Core Strategy with a large scale development in their Ward and then oppose the consequent planning application. But there has been an example of that.

    My other reason for not supporting the Core Strategy is my concern that the cumulative effects of each development on highways and infrastructure would not appear to have been finalised.

    I asked that question in Council on 27 November and I was assured that the ECC Local Transport Plan had been revised in 2011 when it had “expired”.

    I was then sent by email a copy of the revised Local Transport Plan which indeed had been revised in June 2011 and that it was good for 15 years.

    But when I ask if RDC was consulted I am told that was not the case.

    Then a resident shows me an email where a Councillor writes “I am aware that this ECC Plan is at present under review for many reasons and including locally, London Airport (Southend), the Joint Area Action Plan for Southend Airport and its Environs and new education, employment and residential locations as identified within the Rochford District Council’s Core Strategy.”

    From that I conclude that the cumulative effects of development are still under study but RDC has approved the Core Strategy and planning permissions have already been granted for 926 in the Central area. (It is not all in the West !!)

    I understand the issue of protecting the District from predatory developers but why has Essex County Council left our District exposed to the risk of the cumulative effects without a plan for strategic improvement?

    The Hawkwell Parish Plan Group are so concerned about the effect of 875 houses in the Central part of our District that they now are actively promoting a Rochford Bypass.

  25. 25
    Christine Paine:


    I find it very odd that all 5 traveller sites were in West Rayleigh or Rawreth – again the words dumping ground come to mind. Also I don’t trust the Council on any enforcement action. The illegal site by Rawreth Lane traffic lights is still there with no enforcement action being taken some time after the appeal was turned down. If the site at Michelins Farm goes ahead will the occupants of the illegal site be forced to take pitches there instead? or will we have the situation of a legal site plus the illegal site still sitting there – I think I can guess what will happen in reality no matter what the official answer is.

    We are being so short sighted – not just here but in the country as a whole. Our population is booming at a frightening rate, we will need every bit of agricultural land to help feed ourselves, yet we persist in building on it.

    I think I’m glad I’m at an age where I won’t live to see the full disastrous results of a lot of policies pursued by Government and Councils over the last 10 years or so.

  26. 26
    John Mason:

    The Friends of the Earth have sent me a think piece on “The Housing Crisis in South East Essex” -“Saving Green Space with High quality, high density housing”. It is here to download. Comments please !!

  27. 27
    Cllr Colin Seagers:

    Christine Paine
    Until we are able to extract ourselves from the worst aspects of the EU European Court of Human Rights and hopefully have a referendum to decide whether we should remain in the EU (only those over 55 have ever even had a vote on UK membership of the European Economic Community when that was solely a free trade area), our borders will remain porous and the demands for both housing and our new World Health Service will remain insatiable.
    RDC had no alternative but to use some green belt land (under 1% of that in our District), to provide housing in locations divided across the whole District, for the reasons already explained because we are now virtually out of previously developed ‘brown field’ sites.
    RDC will be able to enforce more effectively against a number of illegal traveller sites only when the new municipal site is up and running and residents of those other sites are given their priority for use of the new RDC pitches.

  28. 28

    Christine I am wholely in support of the above , and have opposed both land north of london road and the illegal site at bedloes ,but we have been steamrolled into the acceptance of the core strategy by various means .Some of which as John has said are questionable .I could never get my head round the consultation for specific sites with the huge numbers of opposition from both west and mid district ,the results of which were never published ,until well after the report was finalised , only to find the feedback was totally ignored .Consultation was a mere sop to the residents ,is it any wonder that local”democracy ” is held in such low esteem? Yes Christine I would rather travellers sites were not our problem ,but they are and they must be dealt with and the RDC s scheme seems the only solution as Chris says it will be controlled and owned by RDC.That is in black and white we must all hold them to that .The illegal site must be cleared .I am a farmer and I understand the coming of an increasing “food crisis ” it is real and people will have to face facts that cheap food is no longer a right ,but we have to compete on the world market for vital comodities against increasing wealth in the far east.With the recent announcement of the new planning minister of the use of more greenfield sites to satisfy the greed of developers the pressures are very real .He has history on his preference for these sites .

  29. 29
    Cllr Colin Seagers:

    Mike Nobes
    ALL my answers are always honest, at the very least to a minimum standard of to the best of my knowledge, it would be unworthy of you to imply otherwise.
    All land in the District held by RDC is managed for the greatest overall benefit of ALL the residents of the whole District overall, not solely those of one Ward, Parish or Town or its current user(s) alone. Please re-read my previous answer regarding the assurance given within the documentation and discussion for the LDF Sub-committee and that for the Extraordinary Council on the 27th November at which the Sub-committee’s recommendations were approved by RDC for inclusion in the Core Strategy (‘CS’).
    As regards use of Rayleigh Cricket Club land, that appears to be very deep in the middle of green belt land, and any land not now included in the LDF and allocated for housing in the term of the CS cannot be used so solely with the approval of RDC – although I could not speak for the actions of the Planning Inspectorate or the Secretary of State in response to an overly optimistic developer’s appeal, but it is extremely improbable that either would ignore the CS now it is in place. Beyond the term of the current CS I rather doubt I will still be around as a Member to influence its successor and the decisions of an entirely new generation of RDC Members and housing or other planning needs for consideration by then.

    Christine Paine
    I have re-read your earlier comment re a presentation you attended at Rayleigh Windmill. Any assurance you received regarding no developments in Rawreth that was given by an Officer or Member of Rayleigh Town Council would have been acting ultra vires since CS policy and planning matters are solely the province of 39 Rochford District Council Members as a whole to decide, acting with advice from RDC Officers.

  30. 30
    brian guyett:

    1) Re Highways: John I share your concerns and raised the same issues during the Core Strategy examination. I was assured they would be addressed and remember seeing a RDC timetable to do this in the next few years(!). It was therefore very worrying at Full Council last week, that no one from RDC seemed to have any knowledge or interest in the subject. Can any RDC members enlighten us as to what is happening?
    2) Re Broken promises: At full council on 17th July, Cllr Hudson repeated earlier commitments to undertake a Traffic Study as part of the HAAP. By November the council had renegaded on that, demonstrating yet again that you cannot rely on any RDC commitment. I’ll be publishing some new evidence of the extent to which the council is prepared go shortly. What could the council hope to gain?

  31. 31
    Christine Paine:

    Cllr. Seagers – the assurance I was given was given to me by a senior official [Edited – actual name of person was given to onlinefocus] . I remember being pleased that he was there in person to take queries, discuss matters in general etc. so his name has stuck in my mind (along with the broken promise).

  32. 32
    John Mason:

    If you were interested in a follow up on Comment 24 as to “when” and “how” as it relates to the additional information provided to a resident after the Council Meeting on 27 November I have been informed further of the following;

    “After the JAAP meeting in October 2011, the County and Southend took the opportunity to carry out work on modelling the implications of the JAAP proposals, naturally taking into account of the numbers from proposed nearby housing developments where this was appropriate.”

  33. 33
    brian guyett:

    John, Presumably you have not had a response to your question on 27 November and I wonder why not? In any event, it only covers appropriate housing development nearby which is not the whole CS, but has it has been published?
    As I’ve said before, RDC have manipulated the HAAP with regarded to Highways and neither has anyone has responded to my request above for information on Highways Strategy. I wonder why?

  34. 34
    John Mason:


    The answer I received on 27 November, I think, was that the ECC Local Plan was up to date and by inference that the infrastructure improvements recommended in the CS were all that is required.

    The copy of the Local Transport Plan dated June 2011 does not appear to confirm that the RDC Core Strategy was specifically considered in the formulation of the Plan.

    RDC would not appear to have been consulted.

    The ECC response to the JAAP is, as you say, restricted to certain parts of the CS.

    I have been advised that ECC Officers were at meetings on the CS.

    To be honest my confidence factor is low based on what I have read.

  35. 35
    Cllr Colin Seagers:

    Christine Paine
    I am unsure of the date of the meeting you attended, but I would not have thought any RDC Officer felt empowered to make a premature statement regarding any area’s inclusion or exclusion from allocation for development, since it would have been RDC Members alone that decided the final content of the RDC Core Strategy and Local Development Framework Allocations to be adopted. Perhaps you would care to pass the name of the senior official (officer?) to me at so this can be followed up, or else if you prefer, request that Cllrs Black or Oatham do so.

  36. 36
    Chris Black:

    Christine, please feel free to email Cllr Seagers if you wish, I will be speaking to the officer myself.

    The problem has been that Rochford DC only regarded the area around the Church and Bedloes as “Rawreth”. Bits of Rawreth close to Rayleigh have been treated as Rayleigh, bits of Rawreth close to Hullbridge have been treated as Hullbridge etc.

    Totally misleading to anyone who actually lives in the parish.

  37. 37
    brian guyett:

    John, I think it is fairly clear that RDC have done nothing, and seemingly don’t intend doing anything, about the cumulative impact of new housing on highways. Not surprising but disappointing.
    As I understand it, local councillors meet regularly with ECC Highways to review ‘local’ plans, so is there is a void on addressing District plans?
    Any suggestions on how this void can be filled?

  38. 38
    John Mason:

    Hi Brian

    Chris Black was selected by Council to join the Local Highways Forum but I don’t think that it looks at strategic issues. I ‘ll ask Chris to confirm that though.

    As to the void you perceive I would expect the County Councillors for our District to take responsibility for this. Perhaps it will become an election issue in the County Council Elections in 2013.

  39. 39
    Christine Paine:

    Thanks Chris. If you are speaking to Cllr. Seagers then I’ll leave it to you. As regards what is and isn’t Rawreth, I was always under the assumption (obviously erroneous) that when RDC or anyone else said “Rawreth” they were referring to the whole area within the designated parish boundary, and I would imagine any normal member of the public would think the same. Your comment does explain a lot of confusion over the years.

  40. 40
    John Mason:

    The HPPG (Hawkwell Parish Plan Group) who propose a new bypass wrote to me last night and asked ” I note that you were against a new road in 2004. What is your considered opinion of how the highway system should now develop to protect the well-being of local communities.”

    My reply was as follows (edited for brevity and to not publish names without permission);

    “I wish RDC to engage ECC in conducting a full traffic assessment of Rochford District to specifically take into account the addition of all development in the Core Strategy,propose a strategic highway improvement scheme with funding and publish this as a discrete public Development Plan Document.

    It would be helpful if you could write to Councillors Cutmore and Hudson also on the request I raise above and copy in all the County Council Members for Rochford District because they are responsible for all Highway matters.

    I would suggest that rather than wait for Hawkwell Parish Council for reply to the HPPG in January that you engage the local press in making your proposal known and raise the idea for open debate across the District.

    As you point out your proposal is different to that put forward by the EERA in 2004 and I would like to hear the new views of residents before I make up my mind.

    All of our County Council seats are up for re-election in 2013.

    I look forward to being copied into your campaign material and would like to see any responses from residents or elected persons.”

  41. 41
    Rayleigh Resident:

    HAAP’s, EERA’s, JAAP’s, HPPG’s, RTSSC, RDC, EC – can I be the only person who has become completely confused by this posting ?

  42. 42

    Christine, the problem is that people living in the east of the parish with an SS6 9– postcode have a postal address of Rayleigh and our post is delivered from the Rayleigh office. Therefore, I need to use Rayleigh in the address because if I use Rawreth the post goes to Wickford and is then transferred to Rayleigh. Result being that my post arrives a day later which at times is not convenient.

  43. 43

    Rayleigh Resident – you are right. The jargon makes it hard for ordinary residents to read what is going on. It also makes it harder for endeavours like onlineFOCUS to explain things to people. I hate writing opening sentences that begin “There was a very important meeting of the something something something subcommitee last night.

    It actually also discourages people from standing for election because they think council work as a) boring and b) almost impossibly difficult. Of course in reality its usually interesting and not that tough to do….

  44. 44
    Chris Black:

    Brian / John – yes the Local Highways Forum is not supposed to discuss strategic issues but I think they are something we think about when discussing smaller stuff. (e.g. if improving a road junction will just help an immediate locality or if it will help motorists driving further through the district)

  45. 45
    brian guyett:

    Thanks Chris – if not the Local Highways Forum, who/how looks at strategic issues?

  46. 46
    John Mason:

    Whilst Rochford District Council advised me that there was not a consultation a Freedom of Information request made of Essex County Council did not agree. The information provided also helpfully explains that the Local Transport Plan 2011 is not a 5 year plan that sets out a specific programme, instead it is a long term document that provides the framework within which transport programmes can be developed.

    So when will there be a transport programme for Rochford District? It appears to be in a void.

    Essex County Council requires me to do the following;

    “You may reuse all or part of this information contained within this email free of charge; however, you must reuse it accurately and not in a misleading context.”

    So here is the full statement in order that I may not be held to have been misleading in my introduction above.
    Thank you for your request for information on the process used to prepare Essex County Council’s current Local Transport Plan. I am pleased to enclose the following information, which I believe satisfies your request:

    The current Essex Local Transport Plan (LTP) was developed in line with Department for Transport Guidance on LTPs. LTP3 represents a significant change from previous LTPs. It is not a 5 year plan that sets out a specific programme, instead it is a long term document that provides the framework within which transport programmes can be developed.

    The LTP was formally adopted in June 2011 following a period of evidence gathering, an initial phase of consultation to identify issues and a second phase of consultation to examine options. Districts and boroughs, including Rochford, were formally consulted during the production of the document, as was the South Area Forum that included representatives from Rochford District Council. In addition, meetings between Essex County Council and Rochford District Council employees took place as part of the ongoing engagement process between the two authorities at which issues relevant to the LTP were discussed.

    The Rochford District Council response to the LTP Consultation was as follows:

    “Rochford District Council are generally supportive of the approach taken in the Local Transport Plan, particularly of the five outcomes that the plan must deliver. RDC are also supportive of the approach taken in outlining both Rayleigh and Rochford as areas that currently suffer from peak period congestion and pockets of poor air quality. It should be noted that the location of London Southend Airport is in Rochford District, and the expansion of this airport is likely to have impacts on the highway network.”

  47. 47

    Well RDC s response was comprehensive !!

  48. 48

    Is Watery Lane still shut? Traffic in Rawreth Lane was tailing back past the Asda traffic lights at Saturday lunchtime. Hardly a peak period, and not a bus in sight.

  49. 49

    Yes it was shut on saturday by the emergency response vehicle again ,I can only believe the melting snow was flooding the road .I am afraid I did not check because at the moment I am not sure what they are up to .Saw the emergency vehicle go down there again yesterday but funny they did not shut the road!! Someone has ruffled their feathers or they have just discovered Rochford District Council or there is a nice pub in Hullbridge which of course there is !!

  50. 50

    …and again tonight, stop start from the cricket pavilion at 5:30.

  51. 51
    Rayleigh Resident:

    This does not bode well for anybody opposed to new housing:

  52. 52
    Rayleigh Resident:

    ST1 – as I have said before, the problem is too many cars, all belonging to other people…

  53. 53
    A Sketch Map « onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003:

    […] back to the council meeting on November 27th last year, we reported: Last night the District Council approved the latest stage of the Core Strategy – the specific […]

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April 2015
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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.
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With support from:
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Latest Comments

  • Oz the Positive: A little bit of light relief, how about from the High Street down Crown Hill to Rayleigh...
  • admin: Hi Jim, yes I saw that and was going to link to it today. Will do so later on after Ron and I done our...
  • Jim Cripps: The Echo has been running a piece on the recent ( recurring ) local Highway problems for the last week or...
  • admin: Good point Geoff, as you know we reported it in February, I will make a phone call on Monday…
  • Geoff: If there is any paint left any chance of marking the junction at Harbets Way/ Downhall Park Way ?, I will send...
  • Oz the Positive: Folks, as we all just can’t get enough of the election this is a useful site ( from the BBC )...
  • Ron Oatham: The email detailing the changes went to Rawreth Parish council, not Rayleigh Town Council and to Stephen...
  • Ron Oatham: I note the bit about “maximisi ng the efficient use of brownfield opportunities&# 8221; Is that why...
  • Jim Cripps: This seems at odds with the Royal Town Planning Institute’ ;s rose coloured view in the item listed...
  • Chris Black: Oz, I’m grateful for your concern, but things are OK. Besides – and this shows that some...
  • Oz the Caring...: Chris, I can only echo James’s post @ 13. I have not met anybody that does not value the work...
  • Christine Paine: If they are among the best I hate to think what he worst are like
  • Jim Cripps: A truly stunning manipulation of the facts – you have to admire their ability to talk it up and get...
  • James Newport: Chris, you’re an excellent councillor and have my upmost respect, but seriously save your money...
  • James Newport: It’s not April fools is it?
  • admin: :)
  • Steve Tellis: I would certainly agree that Kingley Wood and adjacent parkland is a beautiful open leisure area. There...
  • Jim Cripps: Admin – I assure you it has’nt been forgotten , we have four teams of three people , each...
  • John Mason: RAG have a large team of residents working on the four main reasons for refusal just in case that The...
  • Chris Black: It’s important that we don’t forget about this appeal just because there’s an election...
  • Chris Black: Christine, I’m not sure how one defines ‘serious& #8217; here. Certainly Mike is capable of...
  • Oz the Positive: I think we can all safely say Pitt the Invisible will not be moving any time soon….
  • admin: Christine, yes if Mike overturned Mark Francois’ 22,338 majority at the last election and won he would...
  • Christine Paine: NHS should free at point of use for all British citizens. If others need medical...
  • Jim Cripps: Not living in the constituency is not that unusual for MP’s ( neither the Labour or Green...
  • Oz the Positive: Admin, depends if you have paid in or not…..alt hough what that’s got to do with Pitt...
  • admin: Meanwhile Oz do you agree that NHS services should be free at the point of use? (apart from prescription...
  • admin: Candidates can either show their full address or show the constituency. I don’t know of any particular...
  • Oz the Positive: Admin, do you know why other candidates addresses are, quite correctly, listed on the electoral web...
  • Tom: What happened with the notice of intent that was published months ago? Still no action taken I see. Still idiots...

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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.

Essex Political Blogs

Geography, History , Science

Lib Dem Websites

Local Council Websites

Local History

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.