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NEW HOUSING FIGURES REVEALED FOR ROCHFORD DISTRICT

March 23, 2007 by  

NEW HOUSING FIGURES REVEALED FOR ROCHFORD DISTRICT

“The Council sets out a policy allocating the total number of housing units to the top tier (90 per cent) and second tier (10 per cent) settlements , to gain a smaller number of large sites which will deliver the greatest number of infrastructure improvements. The split is as follows:

Completions 2001 -2006: 900

Rochford/Ashingdon : 1000

Hockley/Hawkwell : 400

Rayleigh : 1800

Smaller Settlements 500

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TOTAL : 4600
(By “1st Tier ” this means towns and large villages – Rayleigh, Rochford, Ashingdon, Hockley and Hawkwell. By “2nd Tier” this means Hullbridge, Canewdon and Great Wakering. “Completions 2001-2006″ means houses already built.)

Despite Hawkwell coming out of this quite well, I decided to vote against this proposal which will mean a wholesale loss of green belt in the District as a whole.  The 3700 new homes are a Labour Government dictat not a rational view of the desires of local people or logical professional planning.  The East of England Plan does not deal with the infrastructural requirements to support an extra 4600 houses and residents.

As Rochford Officers had not put the planning reasons for choosing the allocations into the policy for review by Councillors I could not approve the draft.

The Liberals have said this on their web site:

“Independent councillor John Mason asked the most penetrating question. The government was forcing us to allow the building of 4600 houses in the district but where did the figures of 1800 for Rayleigh, 1000 for Rochford/Ashingdon come from? He wanted to know what was the logic behind these figures. The answer from the Head of Planning , Shaun Scrutton, was that Officers had come up with these figures. This was done partly by giving the most housing to be biggest towns and villages, and partly by judging what the capacity was around the edge of each of these places.”

Prior consultantion with the public had made it clear to the Council that the basis of allocation now presented was not favoured and that development should take place in the East of the District.  But the Council had made no attempt to explain why this was not possible and a logical basis put forward for the proposed allocation.

WHAT IS THE POINT OF CONSULTING WITH THE PUBLIC IF THEIR VIEWS ARE NOT TO BE FOLLOWED OR ANY EXPLANATION PROVIDED WHY THEIR VIEWS CANNOT BE FOLLOWED. ALL THAT WILL HAPPEN IS THE PUBLIC WILL BECOME DISENFRANCHISED AND PUBLIC CONSULTATION WILL NOT BE RESPONDED TO IN FUTURE. 

The Liberal Leader, Chris Black joined me in voting against. The Conservatives won the vote, 4 to 2. The 4 voting for were Terry Cutmore, Phil Capon, James Cottis and John Pullen.

Another example of the Tory Party Whip because James Cottis had previously said in the debate that the District would grind to a halt because of the extra development.

Mavis Webster, also Tory County Councillor, decided to ABSTAIN. That means to not make any decision.  What was the point of attending? This is not representation.  It is ABDICATION.

When it goes to the new super executive cabinet councillors after public consultation the policy will no doubt be voted through again by THE TORY PARTY WHIP. 

When Rochford District Council has an executive cabinet we will not even be able to try to stop these policies.

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