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Who will run or even own Mill Hall in the future?

November 4, 2022 by · Leave a Comment 

As you may know Rochford District Council has been holding confidential meetings with public stakeholders about progress with The Expression of Interest (EOI) which is a Decision by RDC as to who will run or even own Mill Hall in the future.

I did ask those people if they could tell me but they could not because it was confidential !!

After much lobbying RDC an Officer has finally provided a P&C presentation to us Councillors.

We cannot share this with the general public but further due diligence is ongoing by Council Officers and Cabinet Members and we are advised that The Cabinet will make a Decision in December.

For our part we are going to make sure that we, and other Parties on The Council, can ask questions at The Overview and Scrutiny Committee in December BEFORE The Cabinet meet to make a Decision several days later.

Local Elections 6 May 2021

April 9, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Rochford District Residents
Local Elections 6 May 2021
Essex County Council Seats contested:
Rochford North – Adrian Eves
Rochford West – Michael Hoy
Rochford District Council Seats contested:
Hullbridge – Michael Hoy
Hullbridge – Tracey Knight
Lodge – Richard Lambourne
Hockley – John Mason
Hawkwell East – Stephen Hinde
Hawkwell West – Christine Mason
Roche South – Phil Capon
Hockley and Ashingdon – Elliot Mason
Sweyne Park and Grange – Lisa Newport

RESIDENTS PETITION: VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE IN ROCHFORD DISTRICT COUNCIL

October 11, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The Rochford Supporters are a NEW Action Group which is objecting to a 665 dwelling development feeding on to Ashingdon Road.

They have put up a Petition For a Vote of No Confidence in RDC because The Council has failed to carry out an EARLY REVIEW of its Local Plan called The Core Strategy.

Please sign this if you share their concerns.

This is what they had to say to The Rochford Independent.

The Rochford Supporters first request of the Council was to stop or revoke the Core Strategy when it had become obvious to residents that the programme of house building did not already match the infrastructure. Indeed The Council had already realised that in preparation for a New Local Plan. The policy of developing at the urban fringe is causing those big issues because of the lack of infrastructure and we thought it was sensible to stop so that the remaining target could be planned sensibly in a New Local Plan. Furthermore we were aware of the social house building programme of the Sanctuary Housing Association and the large number of Windfalls (house building not in the Core Strategy and therefore extras) so there would be delivery mitigation of housing during any interregnum. We also hoped that a caring Conservative Council would be able to negotiate with a Conservative Government who would understand the concerns of residents.

When it became evident from informal feedback that the Council would not Stop The Core Strategy our further research revealed the Council has ignored a legal requirement to conduct an early review of The Core Strategy which it had committed to legally in 2011. 
This would have been a great opportunity to put things right.  
So Rochford Supporters decided that a Vote of No confidence in Rochford District Council might still bring them to their senses. 

Please register your vote of “NO CONFIDENCE” in Rochford District Council because the required formal Review of The Core Strategy,  the document that sets out the overall strategy for the future housing development of the District, has not been undertaken with due diligence by the Council. With insufficient investment in new infrastructure this has already resulted in unsustainable over-development and if continued with will cause material economic damage to the Rochford District and many aspects of the lives of residents.  For formal debate by The Council.

 

The Petition is here; https://rochford.cmis.uk.com/rochford/EPetitions/tabid/90/ID/37/Please-register-your-vote-of-NO-CONFIDENCE-in-Rochford-District-Council.aspx?fbclid=IwAR17eMbuOV276UU0u62Ihtk3VDQFExb4o6PiTeVjlTMk098JPMG3nSiFw-0

Our Green Star for those reducing single use plastic

September 18, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

No photo description available.

How many local businesses have already done some of these things to reduce Single Use Plastic?

Let us know by posting here.

This is what can be done.

Stop offering straws

buy vegetables and fruit that are loose and not wrapped in plastic

avoid the use of plastic film

offer takeaway food in paper bags, rather than plastic

use compostable takeaway containers

use wood or bamboo rather than plastic spoons, forks and knives,

sell drinks in glass rather than plastic bottles

refill the customer’s own drinking cup/bottle

give one, rather than a handful of napkins. And we are sure that everyone can all add to this list.

Please do and let us know who deserves a GREEN STAR and Help Save The Planet from Climate Change.

Could this actually happen? New Toilets in Hockley with the Library in the last Cubicle?

January 16, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Yes.

There are plans for new Public Toilets to be given by RDC to the Parish Council for this other Council to pay for cleaning and maintenance in future.

There WERE plans for a NEW Hockley Library from Essex County Council.

And no plans for closure.

But we are now told that Hockley Library could be downgraded.

Our MP does not appear to be fully supporting the campaign against this by lobbying County Councillors to get what 4000 or more residents want in the Petition. He wrote to a resident, quote, “I will continue to ensure that she [County Council Cabinet Member] is aware of my constituents views” and at the end “I hope that a sustainable solution will be found”. Obviously this includes downgrade.

You will have seen this alleged comment from a County Councillor in the email we posted on Sunday “our library wouldn’t be moved from tier 3.” Which means downgrade.

That being the case why is Essex County Council even consulting with residents?

And another County Councillor wrote to residents “I was explaining the possible future foe r the whole site” (not our spelling !!)

And Rochford District Council would not back the Petition to retain a Full Library Service.

If the downgrade happens will you feel let down by your local councillors?

Who will you vote for in future?

The next Local Election is in May.

Perhaps you should tell them now………………. in case they REALLY do want to save Hockley Library with the present full service.

United 4 Democracy – Help Abolish The Cabinet System at RDC

April 20, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

This is an Audio Recording.  Please turn the sound on.

Why do Rochford District Residents,The Green Party, Lib Dems and Friends of Rochford want to Abolish the Cabinet System at Rochford District Council? Listen to the reaction of the Conservative Party. Start at 5.00 minutes in.

RESULTS of Our Independent Budget Poll

January 17, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

[yop_poll id=”1″ show_results=”1″]

RESULTS – BUDGET POLL – AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD

January 17, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Rilsonav / Pixabay

All Polls ‹ The Rochford Independent — WordPress

Use the link above to see the FULL results.

134 residents (thank you) completed our Budget Poll.

What have residents said that the Council should listen to?

That residents are tired of add on “top up” taxes like special charges for green bins, car parking charges or even an extra charge for street lighting.

Whilst a majority did not want to see a Council Tax increase, which is understandable, those who preferred a Council Tax increase, rather than top up charges, were only just behind the No’s.

Interestingly residents were more in favour of using New Homes Bonus Grants to meet any shortfall in income rather than put it into reserves.

For the Investment Board residents were in favour of capital projects to develop land assets for development for affordable homes for social rent, a homeless shelter and an investment in a solar farm.

There was an overwhelming view from residents that the Cabinet with over £100,000 of allowances should go.

Councillors may call for a Local Plan Referendum

December 22, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Tumisu / Pixabay

So if it looks that the Council is not listening to residents in the public consultations on the Second Local Plan for 7500 new dwellings 2017-2037 then we will step in and raise a petition for residents to call for a Referendum before it is adopted by Rochford District Council.

We know that a Referendum on a Local Plan is not included in the list of those which must be approved by the Council but why would such a Referendum NOT be approved if the appropriate number of residents had called for it in a Petition? The cost of a Referendum would be in the region of £90,000 but that could easily be found from the New Homes Bonus from the first Local Plan in Reserves.

From the Echo

Councillors in Rochford have called for a petition to be drawn up to hold a referendum on the district’s second local plan.

In a written statement, councillor John Mason, leader of the Green and Rochford District Residents Group said that during the early stages of the new housing plan, residents have complained “they feel that they will not be listened to” about their council and councillors.

Mr Mason said: “We promise our residents that we will, whether we are Councillors at that time or not, put forward a Petition to Residents to call for a Referendum on the Second Local Plan before it is adopted by the Council.

“It is the future of our District and what we do, both councillors and residents, with it that counts. No excuses.

Residents have a right to be listened to.”

A resident added: “Don’t bother lobbying your district councillors, they will not oppose any plan unless it is in there own back yard.

“They will tell you what you want to hear but will not take any positive action.”

The second plan currently aims to create an unrestrained 7,500 new dwellings in the Rochford district across Rayleigh, Hawkwell, Hockley, Hullbridge, Ashingdon and Rochford.

Consultations have begun for the second plan which on top of the first housing plan, aims to create a total of 10,000 new homes in Rochford by 2037.

Despite support from councillors throughout the district, the council are confident the process for the new plan’s consultation is going to be effective and that resident’s concerns and ideas will heard.

Rochford District Council’s assistant director for planning, Matthew Thomas, said: “Although this is an interesting suggestion, there is no provision for a referendum in the legislation governing the preparation of a local plan.

“The council intends to ensure residents are offered substantial opportunities to participate in the plan making process and we recently sent a leaflet to all households in the district to advise of the current consultation on the issues and options stage.

“The timetable for the preparation of the local plan envisages a report from an inspector on the soundness of the plan in 2021, so there is much work to do before a plan emerges that can be considered for adoption.”

Councillors have rallied to the support of Mr Mason’s statement and they hope it will encourage more residents to become involved in the issue.

Michael Hoy, Deputy Leader of the Green and Rochford District Residents Group, said: “I fully support the statement and I believe in democracy.

“I think people have the right to say which quite often they feel their views are ignored and this is a way to show their views are not ignored, especially when it comes to one of the biggest decision in the area for the next 15 years.”

Adrian Eves, Rochford District Residents councillor for Hockley, added: “I think the actual proposal is completely unsustainable.

“When you look at the problems we have with infrastructure, we are getting power outages and losses of water pressure in Hockley.

“All we can do it be noisy as possible to get the government to learn.”

Neil Hookway, leader of the Ukip group, added: “Having local referenda in regards to housing is Ukip policy, so we will always support that, but this is something that effects the whole district and that is very important.”

 

Gagging of Councillors

December 7, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

I was invited by BBC Essex to talk about the Amended Social Media Policy or Gagging of Councillors with Sadie 9. Neil Hookway was on with me and Michael Hoy and James Newport chimed in with Tweets that were read out. I wonder if radio broadcasts will be banned after 12 December? TV?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1r3Yjrbn900&feature=youtu.be

Recording courtesy of BBC Essex And James Newport

OUR INDEPENDENT SURVEY FOR A ROCHFORD DISTRICT COUNCIL BUDGET

November 30, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Because the RDC Officers are still making calculations for the Budget 2018/19 we are not certain what the Rochford District Council, DRAFT BUDGET GAP is this time round (shortage of income against expenditure [revenue]) that must be closed by law in the final budget. RDC also has a Capital Reserves and Receipts Budget.

However, as there certainly WILL be a REVENUE GAP we think that any BUDGET SURVEY needs to give residents the chance to look at what options there are for increases in charges and/or savings so that we can pass on your views. [if you are on the front page click the £5 !!] [if you are on a Mobile Phone please use Landscape.]

So we are publishing this BUDGET SURVEY as an alternative to the one put forward by Finance Officers.

We are asking for your email address so that we can show you the results in February and your post code to validate that only residents of Rochford District are voting.

We are Registered with the Information Commissioner under the Data Protection Act. Our Privacy Policy is here.

So what do you think?

The Questions are below.

Please indicate Yes (agree) or No (disagree)?

Thank you !!

 

[yop_poll id=”1″]

Is Our Green Belt Safe under our Council?

September 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

"Safe Under Us?"

http://www.cprelondon.org.uk/resources/item/2339-safe-under-us

THIS IS ABOUT ROCHFORD DISTRICT and we provided a contribution to this report which will be “news” for everyone who is concerned about the further loss of Green Belt in our revised Local Plan where there is a Council public consultation running at this moment.

This is what the Council has not told you.

There are some scary numbers coming forward as evidence from consultants such as 392pa instead of 250pa over the district. That COULD mean another 4000 over the existing building target of 2785!

At the Council’s policy rate of a minimum of 30 houses per hectare this implies the release of another 135.2 hectares of green belt.

“The government’s planning framework states that only ‘exceptional’ circumstances should allow building on Green Belt land. However, unclear national planning guidance and confusing government messages are causing councils to believe that in order to gain national approval of their Local Plans, they must meet higher targets. This is causing them to look at Green Belt land to meet housing growth figures.”

The Council is running a LIMITED public consultation right now. I say LIMITED because it does not comply with the recently approved NEW Council Policy on Community Involvement because the methods of engagement are not deep, wide or diverse enough for full engagement with residents. And the rate of response is not being monitored by channel for intervention if the response rate is low because of the lack of Council resources. This was specifically added to the Policy in just July. Needless to say I have complained to the Council.

 

NEW THREATS TO THE GREEN BELT OF ROCHFORD DISTRICT

July 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

NEW THREATS TO THE GREEN BELT OF ROCHFORD DISTRICT

Rochford District Council is holding a number of community engagement workshops this summer to give local people a say on planning matters. These will be interactive events and a chance for residents, businesses and the local parish council to feed information into the Local Plan process. The new Local Plan is a document which will set the strategy for future development of the District beyond 2025 (which is when the current plan finishes).The workshops will include a ‘walkabout’ in the villages in order to identify the needs of the community, local issues and opportunities for growth and development.

The Canewdon and Rochford workshops have already been held but parish councils in Hockley, Hawkwell and Hullbridge are already in discussion with RDC on dates. I believe that Rayleigh Town Council is also likely to participate.

Just a few days after the Local Elections, 5 May 2016, a very influential document (SHMA – Strategic Housing Market Assessment) was published by consultants on 10 May concerning the number of houses which were needed in our District based on Government assessment rules looking at trends and forecasts on such issues as affordable housing need, population demographics, the housing market and local economics. The housing needs forecasts do not take into account availability of brown field sites, loss of green belt and infrastructure/environment.

I have carried out this review personally with no additional input from Rochford District Council and I think that residents need to be given information now (transparency) notwithstanding the fact that there is still a long way to go.

The Core Strategy approved in December 2011 required Rochford District Council to deliver 250 houses per annum up to 2025.  Because it ended earlier than the Government required, which was 2031,  The Government Planning Inspector required there to be an early Revision of the Core Strategy.  The Council has just started to assemble evidence of which the SHMA is part.

So a new housing target?

Yes.

312 pa min and 392 pa max but consultants recommend the upper end.

Many residents have observed that Rochford District Council has been very good at meeting Government targets and its requirements for house building taking very little notice of the views and concerns of residents from consultations. (Rayleigh and Hullbridge have been prominent in the Echo, social media and blogs but other areas in the District as well have had Action Groups) and unlike Castle Point,  RDC seems to have very little regard so far for the constraint of green belt.  Equally Essex County Council has not raised any systematic issues of the impact of this level of house building on highway constraints but have been content to tinker with junction improvements on a piece meal basis application by application post  the Allocations DPD.

So if constraints on this figure are not forthcoming what COULD this mean?

The 392 is to start retrospectively in 2014. So there is an addition of 142 in the number of houses required for the plan period 2014 to 2025 from the agreed 250 over 12 years.

So that is 1704 more to add to the planned 2785.

The Council needs to extend the 2011 Plan from 2025 to 2031.  That means 6 years at 392 which is an additional 2352.

Over 2011 to 2031 that is an additional 4056 over the planned 2785 in the Plan to 2025.

That makes a total of 6841 over 2011 to 2031 which is an increase of 4056 by this new housing target (1704 plus 2352 as calculated above).

At the Council’s policy rate of a minimum of 30 houses per hectare this implies the release of another 135.2 hectares of green belt.

I am telling you this so that residents and residents action groups who attend the local workshops have an informed view and afterwards can prepare to form or recall local Action Groups to raise material planning considerations as to why the loss of green belt and infrastructure are constraints and the unconstrained new target is not supportable.

 

John Mason

Rochford District Residents

Election Results – for Rochford District Residents

May 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

emblem1We now have six Councillors for Rochford District Residents.

Sweyne Park and Grange – Toby Mountain
Hockley – Irena Cassar and Adrian Eves
Hawkwell East – Elliot Mason
Hawkwell West – Christine Mason and John Mason

And forming our continued Alliance with the Green Party that makes 9 working together in Council.

Hullbridge – Michael Hoy and Diane Hoy with Stuart Stuart Dave Wilson

RDC is made up of 21 Conservatives and 18 Non Conservatives.

Full Results here.

The Battle for Rochford District is on 5 May !!

May 4, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

5 mayThe Battle for Rochford District is on 5 May !!
 
There is a battle on 5 May when 53 hopeful “non conservative candidates” take on 39 Conservative Candidates at the Local Election Polls.
 
There are 8 Independent Candidates (Residents BEFORE Politics) representing Rochford District Residents.
 
rdr vote2Please Vote for them………………
 
happy 5 MayBut What is Cinco de Mayo?
 
Literally “the Fifth of May,” Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican Holiday celebrating the Battle of Puebla, which took place on May 5, 1862.
 
The results of the Rochord Battle will not be announced until 6 May.

this is what we will do if elected…………

May 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

emblem1In less than 250 words this is what we will do if elected…………

This is the “common ground” between all of our independent candidates.

Rochford District Residents is a voice of 8 candidates calling for open, transparent, representative local government.

The Cabinet System which has cost over £500,000 will be abolished.

We have a long-term commitment to a sustainable community with necessary infrastructure improvements put in place before construction developments. Rochford District needs an Infrastructure Champion.

With the Re-Cycling Service that we are all proud of costing £440,000 a year this needs a full review so that it also the best value for money as well as top of the league. We do not think that an extra £40 a year charge for the Green Bins is the answer.

Public Toilets – Rochford District Residents believe that public toilets are a basic necessity and will do all we can to ensure that they are NOT closed.

Council Tax Support – Rochford District Residents will make sure that there is a further review at a local level to re-dress the recent reductions in support for the disabled.

Rochford District Residents will press for changes in the housing building policy with a consultation on retirement villages, a balance between both starter homes and those for rent and a reduction in the house annual house building quota for 2025 to 2031.

Instead of homeless families, including children, being sent to temporary accommodation in the notorious York Road, Southend we want the re-purposing of surplus council buildings to provide emergency accommodation right here in our District.

emblem1

Rochford District Residents Candidates 2016

April 27, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

rdrOur Rochford District Residents Candidates are standing in the following Wards;

Downhall and Rawreth – John Chaffin
Sweyne Park and Grange – Toby Mountain
Lodge – Richard Lambourne
Hockley – Adrian Eves and Irena Cassar
Hawkwell East – Elliot Mason
Hawkwell West – Christine Mason and John Mason

Please Vote for them on 5 May !!

Results may not be in until mid morning 6 May.

THE LOCAL ELECTION BATTLEGROUND IN ROCHFORD DISTRICT

April 26, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

rdrThere are 39 Conservative Candidates for the District Local Elections on 5 May. This is an ALL OUT Election and the Conservatives could lose control of Rochford District Council.

But this is not news for our local papers who have failed to tell readers that there even IS an Election.

How could control be lost? With just 20 non Conservatives being elected.

 

21 Labour candidates
9 Liberal Democrats candidates
8 UKIP candidates
8 Rochford District Residents candidates
4 Green Party candidates
2 Independent candidates

There are 52 non Conservative Candidates.

If only 20 were to be elected then RDC would be in No Overall Control leaving the road clear for a Rainbow Administration.

If only 50% were elected, 26, then there could be a comfortable majority for a Rainbow Administration.

This is NEWS. But not something that the Echo wishes to run even in the public interest.

Or do residents wish to see the Conservatives to continue to be in Overall Control or even have a LANDSLIDE VICTORY?

 

A total of 275,000 homes are now planned for England’s green belt

April 25, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

CPRE MAP SOUTH EASTThis new report from the CPRE has a map showing all the local authorities planning to release green belt.

http://www.cpre.org.uk/resources/housing-and-planning/green-belts/item/download/4485

A total of 275,000 homes are now planned for England’s green belt – an increase of nearly 200,000 since 2012, according to research by countryside campaigners.

This map alone says everything that residents have been concerned about ever since the Core Strategy was adopted in 2011.

And now we have the Revision of the Core Strategy for an unspecified extra number.

By entirely circling London and for good measure an extended strip across South Essex it supports either an exodus from London or London coming out to meet us to form a wider Greater London.

If you are concerned about this please share as widely as possible before Voting in the Local Elections on 5 May.

And from the PlanningResource Web Site

According to figures published by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), the number of homes planned for England’s green belt increased by 50,000 in the last year to hit 275,000.

It added that 11 local authorities finalised green belt boundary changes to accommodate development in the year to 2015.

According to CPRE, green belt policy is “gradually being weakened through loopholes in planning guidance”.

“Under pressure from government to set and meet high housing targets, councils are releasing green belt for new development through a misappropriated ‘exceptional circumstances’ clause,” it added.

Paul Miner, planning campaign manager at CPRE, said: “Councils are increasingly eroding the green belt to meet unrealistic and unsustainable housing targets. The government is proposing to encourage further development in the green belt.

“Our green belt is invaluable in preventing urban sprawl and providing the countryside next door for 30 million people. We need stronger protection for the green belt, not just supportive words and empty promises. To build the affordable homes young people and families need, the government should empower councils to prioritise the use of brownfield sites. Brownfield land is a self-renewing resource that can provide at least 1 million new homes.”

 

Why local elections could be influenced by housing hostility

April 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

rdr

Rochford District Residents has been afforded a rare but very important interview with the national professional planning web site PlanningResource. Here are just the excerpts that apply to Rochford District. 

22 April 2016 by Joey Gardiner

Opponents of controversial housing developments are standing in next month’s local elections in order to fight what they see as the over-development of their areas.

With polling day for local and mayoral elections less than two weeks away, planning issues – particularly in the form of opposition to development – have the power to shake voters out of their traditional political allegiances.

“The job of a local politician is to try to buck the national trend,” said Martin Curtis, associate director at stakeholder engagement consultancy Curtin & Co and a former leader of Cambridgeshire County Council. “Development is one of those key issues where people will vote for a different party locally than nationally. Therefore some politicians looking to make an impact will always look in that direction.”

Assessing the impact planning will have on next month’s poll, in which four city mayors and councillors in 124 constituencies are up for election, is not easy. Received wisdom has it that local elections are primarily won and lost on national issues, but with public faith in the established Westminster political parties at a low ebb, some believe that could change this year.

Certainly there are a number of examples where planning issues seem to likely to affect the way people vote. In Conservative-run Rochford Council in south Essex, opposition to two controversial 500-home developments in Rayleigh, both of which have received outline consent, has been harnessed by vocal grassroots action groups. This anger is also feeding into the council’s current local plan review process, and contributing to support for a new independent party, Rochford District Residents, which, while not officially a single-issue party, is strongly campaigning to limit the number of homes allocated to the area.

Working with residents’ action groups and in formal coalition with the Green Party, it already has enough councillors to be considered the district’s official opposition, and is fielding eight more candidates this time. The maths are against it taking away the incumbent party’s majority, but party leader, councillor John Mason, maintains it is possible. “Residents want these issues raised,” he said. “On the doorstep people talk about flood risk and the lack of infrastructure. They don’t believe the council is representing them on these concerns at all.”

 

It may be no surprise that planning is the subject of heated election debate, but those who earn a living helping developers communicate their plans say these examples show how, in the age of social media, ward-level wrangles can become much bigger issues. In Rochford, for example, the Rayleigh Action Group now boasts a 5,000-strong Facebook group of supporters.

 

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