“We, the Lib Dems are vigorously challenging the council’s approach to air quality measurements.”

James Newport writes about it on his blog:

“All these cars on our roads have led to Rochford District Council declaring in February 2015,  Rayleigh Town Centre becoming an air quality management area (AQMA) due to the levels of  vehicle exhaust emissions. More than 18 months on, the air quality targets are NOT being met. I’ve questioned why London Road, Down Hall Road & Rawreth Lane are not included in the AQMA as we all see the volume of traffic queuing on these roads frequently. Is it because the council’s own policy restricts new residential development in air quality management areas and these were the areas destined for development under the core strategy?”

Full article here.


New Application At Timber Grove For 83 Dwellings And A Replacement Care Home

There’s a new planning application at Timber Grove, off London Road. You can find it on the district council website here.

Application Reference:16/00899/FUL

Address Of Proposal:Timber Grove, London Road, Rayleigh, Essex, SS6 9DT

Proposal:Demolition of existing care home and all other buildings, erection of 83 dwellings comprising 5no. two bed houses, 25no. three bed houses, 16no. fourbed houses, 3no. five bed houses, 19no. one bed flats (including 4no. ‘FOG’ units) and 15no. two bed flats, construction of replacement part single andpart two storey 13 bedroom care home, associated parking and landscaping, stopping-up of existing access, and improvement of existing access ontoLondon Road.





Frances Cottee Lodge

The District Council has a responsibility towards homeless people in our area, and for a number of reasons it needs to do better. It costs the council  in the region of £400000 per year – in comparison , we spend £700,000 on street cleansing and £800,000 on parks and open spaces. And that money is spent on putting homeless families into accommodation in Southend which may not be of very good quality….

If a way can be found to put homeless people from our area into accommodation in our area that is cheaper but better quality, then that could be a great success.

So there’s a proposal to put homeless people into Frances Cottee Lodge in Rayleigh, which was built as sheltered housing for the elderly. From what we gather , the elderly people living there have been properly consulted, and from what we’ve seen on social media , generally seem to be OK. The intention is to move them all to other suitable (and actually probably better) accomodation.

However there seems to have been a lack of consultation with residents living nearby, and when people aren’t consulted  they worry about what’s happening.  (This sort of complaint about the Council not consulting residents is something we hear too often!)   The council is now trying to improve the situation by holding drop-in sessions at Rayleigh Methodist Church on Tuesday.

We will write in more depth on this when we have some answers to some of our own questions that we have asked on this issue.






West Rayleigh Flood Alleviation Scheme Consultation

Do you live in West Rayleigh? Have you been flooded in the past or worried about the flood risk to your property? Then come along to the West Rayleigh Flood Alleviation Scheme consultation on 19th October 5pm to 8pm at Sweyne Park School hosted by Essex County Council. It’s your chance to have a say on their proposals to reduce flood risk to YOUR homes and OUR area.


Business Owners Beware

We’ve been asked to alert people in the Rawreth Lane area – reportedly there were a couple of burglaries around there last night. However these were NOT burglaries of people’s homes , but of other types of premises. So if you have a business – or help manage some kind of community building –  in the Rawreth / West Rayleigh area maybe it’s probably worth being extra careful…


Caravan Site Application Recommended To Be Rejected – Enforcement Action To Follow

There’s been an application to give planning permission for the unauthorised caravans at the Pumping Station in Watery Lane, Rawreth.

This weekend the planning officers are recommending refusal – it will be refused unless any councillor calls it in by 1 pm on Wednesday.

You can find the officers report on this document, starting on page  31.  These are the reasons for refusal:

watery-lane1This part of the report explains why the applicants would be given 6 months to comply with an enforcement notice:

watery-lane2This part explains why County Highways are opposing the application:







RIP Richard Boyd

We were very sad to hear of the sudden passing of Richard Boyd .

Richard played the epic, leading role in the Liberal revival in Rochford District in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. He was first elected as a councillor for Trinity Ward in 1976, coming second in a year when there were two seats available. This was a considerable achievement at a time  when the Liberals were doing poorly nationally.

1976boyd Until then there had only been one Liberal on the District Council , the gentlemanly and caring Bernard Crick from Ashingdon. Richard soon became leader of the Liberal Group. He helped another Liberal, Derek Helson, get elected in Trinity Ward , and the Liberals were on their way.

Derek was the most  studious councillor, poring  over  council documents to find much of the ammunition that Richard would then use with tremendous flair, either in the council chamber , or in the local press, or in Focus newsletters.  They campaigned to cut down on what they thought was unnecessary spending, and to use the money instead on good causes such as bus passes for pensioners, or to cut the rates.

In 1981 Richard upset the applecart further, by unexpectedly winning a County Council seat, Rayleigh North. By 1984 he led a group of eight  on the District Council , and the numbers gradually increased until the Tories lost control of the  District.  Richard also stood for parliament in 1983, coming second with a very creditable 32% of the vote.

He played a role in the reinstatement of Rawreth Parish Council, and in the creation of Rayleigh Town Council. On the County Council Richard eventually became group leader (we understand the flag is at half mast today at County Hall). He also achieved other positions, such as Chair of the Essex Police Authority in 1994:


Richard acted with flair and panache in the council chamber, and was capable of some withering ad libs.  When a very inexperienced Chris Black got up to speak in a debate on storing nuclear waste in Essex , the Tory  chairman said he had heard enough from the Liberals and told him to sit down. Richard immediately up stood up and said “Well done Chairman, there’s only one councillor here with a degree in physics and you’ve told him to shut up”. That attracted some publicity.

Even those who disagreed with him  enjoyed his wit and ability.  When he had poked holes in a Conservative argument he would dryly apologise for “clouding the issue with facts”. There was nearly always something to enjoy when he was in the chamber! For many of us entering politics he was an inspiration .

Rest in peace Richard, and our thoughts are with your family.

Former Group Leader Richard Boyd
Former Group Leader Richard Boyd




Development Update

As regular readers will know, the Liberal Democrat councillors OPPOSED the principle of development of any of the green fields between London Road , Rawreth Lane and the A1245 .  We were concerned about many things – including the extra traffic , increased risk of flooding in Rawreth , and  insufficient health, education and leisure facilities.

However after some bitter battles in the council chamber, we lost the vote, and development is slowly but surely going ahead at that site and elsewhere. This is an update:

Countryside Developments have got ‘outline’ permission  on their big site between London Road and Rawreth Lane. This means that they WILL be able to build. The details of the house design, etc.will still have to be agreed in a further “detailed” application, but there’s no sign of it yet.

An application for 44 dwellings was passed this month September near the BP garage on London Road (without Lib Dem support)

There is going to be a third application for about 80 dwellings on London Road near the Timber Grove care home (which is likely to be rebuilt as part of the application).

There is also of course a big scheme  in South West Hullbridge, near the border with Rawreth parish. This has also been passed. It  will lead eventually to an improved roundabout at the Hullbridge Road / Rawreth Lane junction. But nothing seems likely to happen with the Hullbridge site in the next few months.