February 23rd, 2012 |
Drama In the Council Chamber
There was a surprise twist tonight at the Development Committee of the District Council.
There were only two items to consider.
The first was for a house in Trenders Avenue, Rawreth. This was refused on Green Belt grounds – despite being supported by Ron Oatham. Ron felt that as this was previously a reclamation yard, and 4 houses had already been allowed here, a fifth would finish the site nicely. However only 6 councillors voted in favour of approval.
The second was off London Road in Rayleigh. It was to demolish the existing Elizabeth Fitzroy home for handicapped adults, and build a bew care home with 43 houses. Some of these would be in the Green Belt, and could count towards the 550 proposed for “North of London Road”.
Officers were recommending refusal , on various grounds – including Grreen Belt reasons, design, and no affordable housing included.
However one of the ward councillors – Conservative Toby Mountain – asked for a decision to be deferred. He pointed out that the existing care home needed replacing, and that perhaps a deferral would allow the applicant to get together with council officers to thrash out a viable scheme.
Although Cllr Mountain is a new councillor, and hasn’t spoken very often in the council chamber yet, other councillors across the chamber felt he spoke well.
However , Cllr Mountain didn’t actually say the phrase “I move deferral”. You might expect one of the more senior councillors sitting near him to prompt him to say those words, but nobody seemed to have spotted it.
Until another Conservative councillor, Colin Seagers, said that Cllr Mountain hadn’t properly moved a deferral – so he moved refusal instead.
When it came to a vote, it was tied 12-12. The committee chairman, Phil Capon, had the casting vote , and voted for refusal.
So the scheme was refused. Though some councillors clearly felt that Cllr Mountain had been treated a bit harshly….