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Rochford District

Coordinates: 51°34′54″N 0°42′30″E / 51.5817°N 0.7082°E / 51.5817; 0.7082
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Rochford District
Rochford, the administrative centre and one of the towns of the district
Rochford, the administrative centre and one of the towns of the district
Rochford shown within Essex
Rochford shown within Essex
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionEast of England
Non-metropolitan countyEssex
StatusNon-metropolitan district
Admin HQRochford
Incorporated1 April 1974
 • TypeNon-metropolitan district council
 • BodyRochford District Council
 • LeadershipAlternative - Sec. 31 (No overall control)
 • MPsJames Duddridge
Mark Francois
 • Total65.44 sq mi (169.49 km2)
 • Rank156th (of 296)
 • Total87,216
 • Rank272nd (of 296)
 • Density1,300/sq mi (510/km2)
Ethnicity (2021)
 • Ethnic groups
Religion (2021)
 • Religion
Time zoneUTC0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)
ONS code22UL (ONS)
E07000075 (GSS)
OS grid referenceTQ876904

Rochford is a local government district in Essex, England. It is named after one of its main settlements, Rochford, where the council is based. The largest town in the district is Rayleigh. Other places in the district include Hockley, Ashingdon, Great Wakering, Canewdon and Hullbridge.

The district borders Maldon District to the north, the City of Chelmsford to the north-west, the Borough of Basildon to the west, the Borough of Castle Point to the south-west, and the City of Southend-on-Sea to the south. To the east, it has a stretch of coast at Foulness Island.

Most of the built-up areas are in the western part of the district, along the railway line from Shenfield to Southend Victoria. Southend Airport straddles the district's border with the City of Southend-on-Sea. The eastern part of the district is more sparsely populated.


The district was formed on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, covering the whole area of two former districts, which were abolished at the same time:[2][3]


Rochford District Council
Jack Lawmon,
since 23 May 2023
John Mason,
Rochford Residents
since 23 May 2023
Jonathan Stephenson
since 1 August 2021[4]
Political groups
Administration (24)
  Liberal Democrats (9)
  Rochford Residents (7)
  Independent (7)
  Green (1)
Opposition (15)
  Conservative (14)
  Independent (1)
Last election
4 May 2023
Next election
Meeting place
Council Offices, South Street, Rochford, SS4 1BW

Rochford District Council provides district-level services. County-level services are provided by Essex County Council. The district is also entirely covered by civil parishes, which form a third tier of local government.[5]

Rayleigh, one of the towns of the district and its largest settlement

Political control[edit]

The council has been under no overall control since the 2023 election, being led by a coalition of the Liberal Democrats, Rochford Residents, Green Party and independents.[6][7]

The first election to the council was held in 1973, initially operating as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities until the new arrangements came into effect on 1 April 1974. Political control of the council since 1974 has been as follows:[8]

Party in control Years
No overall control 1974–1976
Conservative 1976–1990
No overall control 1990–1994
Liberal Democrats 1994–1998
No overall control 1998–2002
Conservative 2002–2023
No overall control[9] 2023–present


The leaders of the council since 2004 have been:[10]

Councillor Party From To
Terry Cutmore Conservative 22 Jun 2004 14 May 2019
Mike Steptoe Conservative 14 May 2019 9 Jul 2020
Simon Wootton Conservative 9 Jul 2020 23 May 2023
John Mason Rochford Resident 23 May 2023


Following the 2023 election, the composition of the council was:[11]

Party Councillors
Conservative 14
Liberal Democrats 9
Independent 8
Rochford Resident 7
Green 1
Total 39

Of the eight independent councillors, four form the "Independent and Green" group with the Green councillor, three form the "Rochford District Independents" group and the other does not belong to a group.[12] The next election is due in 2024.


The council has its main offices on South Street in Rochford. When the council was created it inherited the former Rochford Rural District Council's offices at Roche House, 7 South Street, Rochford and the former Rayleigh Urban District Council's offices at Barringtons, 2 Hockley Road, Rayleigh. Both buildings were converted houses. The council acquired other properties along South Street in Rochford and combined them with Roche House to form the council's headquarters.[13] The council used a modern extension to Barringtons in Rayleigh as an area office and civic suite, containing the council chamber, until 2023 when the building was closed.[14][15]


Since the last boundary changes in 2016 the council has comprised 39 councillors representing 13 wards, with each ward electing three councillors. Elections are held three years out of every four for a third of the council at a time. Elections to Essex County Council are held in the fourth year of the cycle when there are no district council elections.[16]


Hawkwell, one of the villages of the district

The district is divided into 14 civil parishes. The parish council for Rayleigh takes the style "town council".[17][18]


Coat of arms of Rochford District
Granted 8 March 1975.
Issuant from an ancient crown Or a mount Vert thereon in front of a representation of Rayleigh windmill Proper a seaxe fesswise Proper.
Chequy of twelve Or a rose Gules barbed and seeded proper charged with a like rose Argent barbed and seeded Proper and Gules a garb Or.
On the dexter side a bull [guardant] Sable armed unguled and winged Or and sinister a wyvern Vert.
Our Heritage Our Future.[19]
A roundel barry dancetty of six Gules and Or a pale wavy Argent charged with two pallets wavy Azure.


  1. ^ a b UK Census (2021). "2021 Census Area Profile – Rochford Local Authority (E07000075)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 5 January 2024.
  2. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Definition) Order 1972", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1972/2039, retrieved 31 May 2023
  3. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Names) Order 1973", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1973/551, retrieved 31 May 2023
  4. ^ Ferris, Mick (29 July 2021). "Joint chief executive appointed to oversee Brentwood and Rochford councils". Yellow Advertiser. Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  5. ^ "Local Government Act 1972", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 1972 c. 70, retrieved 31 May 2023
  6. ^ "New Council administration appointed". Rochford District Council. Retrieved 7 June 2023.
  7. ^ Dedman, Simon (24 May 2023). "Colchester: Power-sharing ends between Labour and Lib Dems". BBC News. Retrieved 7 June 2023.
  8. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2023.
  9. ^ Dedman, Simon (24 February 2023). "Tories lose control of council after three quit". BBC News. Retrieved 27 February 2023.
  10. ^ "Council minutes". Rochford District Council. Retrieved 26 May 2022.
  11. ^ "Local elections 2023: live council results for England". The Guardian.
  12. ^ "Council meeting, 23 May 2023". Rochford District Council. Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  13. ^ "Rochford Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan". Rochford District Council. April 2006. Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  14. ^ Emes, Toby (12 October 2021). "Protest held over plans to build on Civic Suite, Rayleigh". Southend Echo. Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  15. ^ "Council's Rayleigh reception moves to Mill Arts and Events Centre". Rochford District Council. Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  16. ^ "The Rochford (Electoral Changes) Order 2015", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 2015/1860, retrieved 8 June 2023
  17. ^ "Parish and Town Council Clerks". Rochford District Council. Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  18. ^ "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  19. ^ "East of England Region". Civic Heraldry of England. Retrieved 9 March 2021.

51°34′54″N 0°42′30″E / 51.5817°N 0.7082°E / 51.5817; 0.7082