A letter from Tim Farron

I am devastated and I am angry. Today we wake to a deeply divided country. Nigel Farage’s vision for Britain has won this vote, but it is not a vision I share.

Young people voted to remain by a considerable margin, but were out voted. They had a clear ambition for their future, yet it has been taken from them.

Even though the result was close, there is no doubt that the majority of British people want us to leave.

We should be proud of our positive, principled, and patriotic campaign for the UK to Remain at the heart of Europe.

Our fight for an open, optimistic, liberal, diverse and tolerant Britain is needed now more than ever.

Together we can still make the case for Britain’s future with Europe, as millions of people voted for it. Together we cannot afford to let that vision to die.

The Liberal Democrats will continue to stand and fight for a better kind of Britain than the one painted by the Leave campaign – tolerant, openhearted, optimistic, and outward looking.

Later today, I will deliver a speech on the outcome of this referendum, what it means for our country and how the Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for a liberal and united Britain. 

Yours sincerely,


Tim Farron MP

Leader of the Liberal Democrats

EU Referendum

EU Referendum

Result for the Rochford District are below.

Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?

Description Result
Remain a member of the European Union 17,510
Leave the European Union 34,937
Rejected Papers 32
Turnout 78.8%


That is a resounding two thirds for leave, one third for remain in Europe. Not in line with our principles and beliefs of course but such a substantial vote must be respected.

Thank you!

Rayleigh Liberal Democrats would like to welcome new Lib Dem Councillors James Newport and Chris Stanley onto the District Council’s Lib Dem bench. Excellent campaigns, best of luck with your duties, we know you will do well!

You can see all the election results by clicking here.

Downhall and Rawreth:

Candidate’s Name Description Results Elected
Chris Black Liberal Democrats 1111 Yes
Ron Oatham Liberal Democrats 945 Yes
Chris Stanley Liberal Democrats 865 Yes
Shaun Cain Labour 145 No
John Richard Chaffin Rochford District Residents 279 No
Tony Hollis Conservative 266 No
Deborah Mercer Conservative 303 No
Keith Brian Podd Conservative 305 No

Sweyne Park & Grange:

Candidate’s Name Description Results Elected
James Newport Liberal Democrats 599 Yes
June Rosemary Lumley Conservative 785 Yes
Toby Mountain Rochford District Residents 847 Yes
Carol Ann Pavelin Conservative 514 No
Craig Matthew Archer Labour 375 No
Margeret Helen Spencer Conservative 464 No

These four District Councillors were also elected to Rayleigh Town Council, along with Bruce Smart.

Our thanks to everyone who helped, including our unsuccessful candidates Steve Tellis and Mike Handford.

The Tory Budget – more sour than sweet

This is George Osborne’s sweet and sour budget. His sugar tax may seem sweet, but his hidden cuts are sour. This is not a long term economic plan, it is a short term economic scam.

He has missed his targets and is making ordinary people pick up the pieces, with cuts to disability support, universal credit, and local services. Once again his words simply don’t match his actions.Here is what the Independent said about the cuts to disability payments:

“Charities have warned that the cut to the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) WRAG would make it more difficult for disabled people to find work and that many struggled to afford food on the benefit at its current level. The Government however says the cut, which applies to new claimants, will incentivise disabled people to find work.”

The Chancellor had promised he wouldn’t fix the figures to fit the plan, but he has cut vital spending to fit his own arbitrary and unnecessary spending surplus.

Worse, what the Conservatives have done to junior doctors they are now doing to teachers. Schools will open for longer but it is underpaid teachers who will have to do more work for the same pay. Osborne should lift the 1% cap on public sector pay.

Britain deserves better.

Our Tory council pushes through planning application for 475 houses

On September 30th the Conservative District Council finally pushed through the application from Countryside Developments for 475 houses between London Road and Rawreth Lane.

This was despite fierce opposition from local residents, Lib Dem Councillors, Rayleigh Town Council, Rawreth Parish Council, Sport England and the Rayleigh Action Group.

chris It was the second application – the first one was refused back in January this year as a result of a motion to reject from Lib Dem Councillor Chris Black (pictured).

An almost identical application was brought back to Council on 30/09/15, Councillor Black supported by fellow Lib Dem Ron Oatham again proposed refusal on grounds of highways, drainage and flooding, lack of school capacity and insufficient sports pitches.

However we lost by 15 votes to 12. So the scheme was passed and cannot be reversed. There 
will be some further applications with layout details etc.  SEE ‘9 YEAR BATTLE’ BELOW


There will be some improvement: London/Downhall Road junction, probably something at the Rawreth Lane / Hullbridge Road junction and some money for drainage and mini football pitches.

However we don’t think this is enough – this is simply the kind of infrastructure that we have already needed for years!


2006 –District Council prepared ‘Local Development Framework’.   In one informal meeting councillors were asked where they thought future development should go, many Conservative Councillors wanted ALL development to go into West Rayleigh.

 2007 – Officers proposed 1800 new homes in Rayleigh, 1000 for ron-2015-april-2Rochford/Ashingdon, 400 for Hockley/Hawkwell and 500 for ‘smaller settlements’. The Tories support these figures and go out to consultation. But the exhibition in Rayleigh is hidden away – inside the Windmill for just 3 hours on a Sunday! Lib Dem Councillor Ron Oatham (pictured), complained forcefully. The Council relented and provided a better exhibition for our town. Local Liberal Democrats delivered thousands of leaflets throughout Rayleigh to publicise this vital public consultation. There was a big response, but only 1% of the public supported 1,800 new houses in Rayleigh. The Tories backed down and reduced the Rayleigh figure to 740!

2009 – The Core Strategy is voted through by the Tories 23-4 (all 3 Lib Dem Councillors and 1 Ratepayer vote against), and Lib Dem Councillor Chris Black is accused of being a NIMBY by the Conservatives. After this vote it was always going to be an uphill struggle to change things.

2010 and 2011– The Government Inspector signs off the Core Strategy. The public were now very angry – there were big public meetings at the Grange Community Centre and in Hullbridge – but as the months went by the issues dropped out of the headlines.

2012 District Council Officers quietly work on the ‘Allocations Document’ mapping out the new developments. The Lib Dems become increasingly concerned that important infrastructure and amenities issues are being overlooked. The Lib Dems voted against saying there was no traffic study for the developments, inadequate open spaces and bullying of Rayleigh Sports and Social Club by the Council. But of course the Conservatives voted it through, with just one Tory abstaining. Perhaps the Conservatives were thinking the public had lost interest.

2013 and 2014 – Public Anger In early summer the Rayleigh Action Group became active, they opposed many of the Council’s plans and were active at the Inspectors’ inquiry, and a last ditch legal case was mounted by a resident.   But the Allocations Document still went through.

2015: January – Lib Dems reject the Planning application with the support of other parties.   September – almost the same plan returns to the Council and is passed by Conservatives plus one independent, Lib Dems fiercely opposing the development and voting for refusal.

Want to know more? Want to help the local Liberal Democrats?
Why not contact us now:
for Rayleigh, Rochford & Wickford email: rayleighandwickfordlibdems@mail.com
For Castle Point email: castlepointlibdems@mail.com
Or phone / text Steve on 07799.345795
We would like to hear from you!


One rule for them, another rule for ordinary folk!

People are cynical about politicians at the best of times and can you blame them? Take this picture for example, from a quaint street in Rayleigh’s conservation area (the ‘Historic Core’).poster Government advice is that posters over 0.3 metres need Planning Permission. Temporary notices for ‘local events’ should be less than 0.6 metres and displayed for a ‘short period’. The question is: has this ‘whopper’ poster really got planning permission from the local (Conservative run) District Council? When photo’d it was still up many, many months after the election! Maybe it will be quietly taken down soon, let’s hope so.  

Lib Dem Conference report


Chris Bailey was one of several local Lib Dems who went to the 2015 Party Conference in Bournemouth held from 19th to 21st September. This is his report.

Lib Dem members own their Party and the Conference is where members discuss and make policies. This exercise in simple democracy stands in sharp contrast to the Conservative and Labour Parties whose conferences nowadays are just talking shops with no role beyond publicity. We take our members seriously which is why it was great to see so many of them in Bournemouth. Despite the bad general Election result we had a record attendance and meetings were packed to overflowing. Or maybe it is because of the election result – 20,000 supporters have joined the Party since the election, showing their determination to re-build Liberalism in Britain. At this Conference the Lib Dem fight-back has clearly begun.

500 of these new members were at the Conference and a number spoke in the debates. And how well they spoke, especially some of the students and young people who have been flocking to the Party. So after a difficult election, the Party has clearly got a great future.

Policy debates this time covered some areas where Liberals are agreed that there is urgent need for Governments to take action. The need for example, to build more houses that ordinary people can afford, including more houses for rent by Councils, and to stop the Tories crippling Housing Associations by forcing them to sell off their properties at knock-down prices. Other topics included protecting our human rights from the Tories’ plans to tear up international conventions; our campaign for a ‘yes’ vote in the European referendum; attacking the Tories’ broken promises on funding social care for the elderly, and the importance of preserving and improving services for young people, also under threat from savage funding cuts.

“There is nothing grubby or unprincipled about wanting to win.”

– Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat leader.

But a topic on which there was disagreement and a closely argued debate was Trident. Although all Liberals would like to see a world without nuclear weapons, some favour scrapping Trident immediately whereas others favour retaining Trident, albeit scaled down, until further multilateral treaties on nuclear disarmament can be agreed. The multilateralists won, though it is a subject that will probably come back to Conference in a couple of years.

In addition to the formal debates, Conference includes a host of fringe meetings where, in smaller and less formal settings, you can hear and question Lib Dem celebrities such as Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, Paddy Ashdown and Ming Campbell, or hear charities and think-tanks pressing their cases.

There are training sessions on a wide variety of campaigning issues and on a lighter note, a quiz (our team came fourth out of about twenty) and the Glee Club – an exercise in community singing with an emphasis on political and satirical songs which goes on until 2 in the morning for those with sufficient stamina!

There was a moving tribute to former leader Charles Kennedy. Although he had a lower profile in recent years he had been a regular attender and speaker at Party Conference. His thoughtful, principled and down-to-earth approach had always made him a Conference favourite.

But the climax is always the Leader’s Speech at the close of conference. And Tim Farron delivered a cracker which certainly brought tears to my eyes in a way that no Leader’s Speech has done before. I can’t do justice to it in a few words and I recommend that you watch it in full on iPlayer But he reminded us why we are Liberals and why the values that the Party has always stood for matter so much today. I know I made the right choice when I voted for Tim Farron to lead the Liberal Democrats.

To watch Tim’s speech on iPlayer, follow this link and go to coverage of the Conference on 23 09 15   (it begins about 3hours 15 minutes in).



Want to know more? Want to help the local Liberal Democrats?
Why not contact us now:
for Rayleigh, Rochford & Wickford email: rayleighandwickfordlibdems@mail.com
For Castle Point email: castlepointlibdems@mail.com
Or phone / text Steve on 07799.345795
We would like to hear from you!