The increase in car park charges went through tonight. And the free parking on Saturday afternoons was ended as well. But the vote was closer than expected – you could weep with frustration. 14 voted for, 11 abstained, 7 voted against.
14 Councillors voted for (all Conservatives) :
Butcher (Hawkwell), Cottis (Rochford) Cutmore (Ashingdon and Canewdon) Glynn (Hawkwell) Gordon (Rochford) Grey (Rayleigh) Lucas-Gill,(Rochford) , McPherson (Hawkwell), Merrick (Rayleigh), Mockford (Rayleigh) , Seagers (Wakering) , Smith (Rayleigh) , Steptoe (Barling), Wilkins (Wakering)
11 Councillors abstained (10 Conservatives and 1 Lib Dem)
Aves (Rayleigh), Dray (Rayleigh), Griffin (Rayleigh), Hale (Hullbridge), Hazelwood (Hockley), Mrs Lumley (Rayleigh), Maddocks (Hockley), Mountain (Rayleigh) , Roe (Rayleigh), Sperring (Rayleigh) and Ward (Rayleigh)
7 voted against (3 Lib Dems, 2 Greens 2 Rochford Residents)
Black (Rayleigh and Rawreth), Mrs Hoy (Hullbridge), Mr Hoy (Hullbridge), Mr Lumley (Rayleigh), Mrs Mason (Hawkwell), Mr Mason (Hawkwell), Oatham (Rayleigh and Rawreth)
It was quite a sight to see 10 Tories defying their powerful party whip and abstaining. Pity that 8 of the abstainers didn’t actually vote against – then we w0uld have won.
Three things worth mentioning:
1) Cllr Dray abstained, though the minutes will probably show him voting for, that will be corrected later.
2) It was good to see some people watching in the public gallery.
3) By this evening, it was clear that the increases are no longer linked to flood prevention measures, it’s part of an attempt to increase council reserves from £750,000 to £2,690,000