We had Full Council last night, a fairly straightforward half-hour of deciding who does what for the next year.
First of all Cllr Joan Mockford stepped down as chairman of the council. She has commendably raised over £11000 for her chosen charities during her year. Joan had prepared some cheques - £8000 to Southend Hospital (towards cancer research), £1500 to the Mushroom Theatre Company, £1500 for the local talking newspaper for the blind, and £770 to Holy Trinity Church.
Secondly, Cllr Barbara Wilkins, who has been vice-chairman, was elected Chairman. There was some interesting moments during her first moments in the Chairman’s Chair, as she is a petite lady and needs a cushion! However Barbara is a very popular choice as chairman and we very much wish her well for her year in office. Her chosen charities were , she said, ” small local ones where a small amount of money makes a difference.” They are the local Multiple Sclerosis society, the South Essex Youth Orchestra and the Ryan Tolley Leukaemia Trust Fund.
And then we elected the new-chairman, who normally becomes chairman one year later. This decision lies completely in the control of the Conservative Group, who vote on this in one of their private group meetings beforehand. Rather unusually , and to their credit, the Conservatives proposed a Liberal Democrat – June Lumley. Naturally we are delighted by this, and see it as deserved recognition of June’s work on the District Council, the Town Council and especially with local voluntary groups. Responding to the nomination, Chris Black said: ‘The words’ grace’ and intelligence’ come to mind. The nomination was made with grace and intelligence, and I’m sure June will show her usual grace and intelligence in her new civic duties”
Reported in the Pavements/footpaths category anonymously at 13:16 today
Sent to Essex County Council 4 minutes later
Pavement broken with large potholes at edge. This right outside Bell House main entrance, Bell House being shelted housing. Should be attended to with urgency when considering the residents who cross pavement in this location.
Claude Friese-Greene, one of the earliest British pioneers of film, filmed a series of short clips around London documenting major attractions of the city nearly 90 years ago, specifically in 1927, using a primitive color process developed by his father William Friese-Greene…..It’s like a beautiful dusty old postcard you’d find in a junk store, but moving.
There’s going to be a tidy-up of the churchyard of St Nicholas Church in Rawreth on Saturday 1st June. It will start at about 11 go through until 3 or 4pm depending on how many helpers there are, and, of course, on the weather.
The focus will be the churchyard but if folk can help in church, especially if the weather is bad, that would be appreciated too. Please bring whatever tools you would like to use, think about hedges, grass (especially around graves) and roots. Garden gloves make a big difference!
Mike Steptoe takes over economic development and regeneration
The new district council year starts in earnest with Annual Council next Tuesday.
It’s a bit like the start of the football season. Just as premiership teams have to submit their squads, each year the political groups have to send a list of councillors in their group. The political groups also send in the names of their leaders, deputy leaders and nominations for each committee place available to them. You can find all the details here.
Groups and Group leaders: No surprises here. Councillors Cutmore, Black, John Mason and Michael Hoy remain leaders of their respective groups. And no councillors have defected to another party.
The Council Cabinet : A few changes here. In particular Cllr Colin Seagers is no longer in the cabinet. (This may be because he is now a county coucnillor). He is replaced by Simon Smith, which means that one Rayleigh member can now speak at cabinet meetings! Also some other responsibilities have been swopped round, so that Keith Gordon takes over recycling from Mike Steptoe. In return Mike Steptoe takes over economic development and regeneration. So if you want to talk about regenerating town centres, the affable Cllr Steptoe is now the man to talk to.
Other Committees : Perhaps the biggest change is that Phil Capon will be the new chair of the Development Committee, with Cheryl Roe as vice-chair (which many people will see as deserved promotions). Also the Lib Dems have nominated Chris Lumley to the chair of the Review Committee, instead of his wife June.
Well I’ve been inundated over the past few weeks with kind readers sending me their frugal recipes – and I wondered if you wouldn’t mind if I added a section to my blog so you could all share them with each other? It seems a shame to leave them piled up in my email inbox – and I like the thought of fostering a community spirit here on my humble blog.
I think this could be a great additional section and love the thought of how we could all help each other out. I know I’m not the only frugal cook in the world!
If you’re happy to have your recipe included, if you have a favourite you wouldn’t mind typing out, with or without pics, or even any tweaks or alterations to mine – please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Essex’s ruling Conservative councillors have voted down a Lib Dem plan to save council taxpayers £21,400.
At today’s meeting of Essex County Council, the Liberal Democrat Opposition Group proposed deleting the Special Allowance for the Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group.
Chelmsford Lib Dem Cllr. Stephen Robinson said:
This post is just not required. The Conservative Deputy Leader of the Council receives £40,000, eight Cabinet members receive £35,000 and the Deputy Cabinet members receive £13,000 each. The Conservative group must recognise that they lost one third of their Councillors at the election and don’t need this extra allowance.”
The Liberal Democrat proposal was supported by Labour, Independent and Green Councillors; UKIP abstained, and the Conservative majority voted it down.
If you are interested in history, or in ships, you might like to read a new 22-page booklet called “London Gateway – A Maritime History”. You can download it here
Did you know that the first signs of river travel in the Thames area is actually a bronze age paddle found at Canewdon? It’s about 3,500 years old. Then there’s the wreck of a Roman ship found at Blackfriars with a cargo of stone, the Anglo-Saxon ship carrying hops, the navy ship “London” that suffered an explosion in 1665 killing 300 people, and many more wrecks from the last two centuries…. There were many ships and planes lost during World War Two….
Wild Woods Day is a popular family event which happens each June in Hockley Woods.
The event offers a range of arts, sports and leisure activities and a focus on ‘green’ themes including recycling, sustainability and protecting the local environment.
In 2013, the tenth annual Wild Woods Day will take place between 11am and 4pm on Saturday 1 June.
Another change in the national planning rules is supposed to help retain the viability and vitality of town centres. The government will allow a range of buildings to be converted to other uses for up to two years without planning permission. So buildings can have their uses changed to shops, financial and professional uses , restaurants and cafes, or offices, for up to 2 years without needing planning permission.
David Mitchell writes about this today in the Observer, and he isn’t impressed:
Unfortunately, having identified the problem, Pickles’s attempt to solve it is perverse. He’s going to relax the planning rules which restrict how buildings are used. It will be a lot easier to use places currently classified as shops, restaurants, offices or leisure facilities as other things. For example, you’ll be allowed to use empty offices as residential property, convert anything into a school, or open a shop or restaurant in an agricultural building, all without planning permission.
How is that supposed to help our high streets? They’re full of premises currently designated as shops, restaurants or cafes. For these areas to look and be prosperous, they need to be filled with profit-making shops, restaurants or cafes. We don’t want them converted into anything else, because then those streets won’t be high streets any more. And how is allowing people to open exactly the sort of business that was once the preserve of the high street in any barn anywhere going to drive commerce back to our historic trading hubs? Surely it will have the opposite effect.
By the way, this is the David Mitchell who is a comedy writer and performer. Which gives us an excuse to include one of his sketches:
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The Roads That Need Repairing
The County Council admitted in July that over 200 roads in our district need repairing! They say they will fix them by May 2013.
here to see the list.
If you want information on a particular planning application, you can find it on the District Council website here.
If you want to know what new planning applications have been submitted this week, click here.
Reporting A Problem
If you want to report a problem, you can email Lib Dems councillors by clicking here.
There's also an independent website called FixMyStreet. It's very good for reporting minor street problems like holes in the road, grafitti or failed streetlights. You can find FixMyStreet here.
Rochford District Council carries out grass cutting on behalf of the County Council.
If you see a grass verge that badly needs cutting, you can report it
The Core Strategy
This is the official master document for planning policy in our district! To download it, click here
click here. (2.5mb)