onlineFOCUS’ Summer Rebuilding…

Regular readers will have have noticed that we haven’t updated the website recently. Apologies for that – it’s due to a mixture of people’s holidays and some technical problems.
We are trying to get rid of a hack this weekend, which means the website will disappear for a maybe a day, and when it comes back we will rebuild all the content added from March- plus we expect photos to disappear. But we will be back ūüôā


Paintball Application Just In

There’s a planning application for paintballing, in the west of Rawreth not far from Wickford.
Parish: Rawreth Parish Council
Ward: Downhall And Rawreth
Responsibility: Committee /Weekly List
Proposal:Change Use of Land and Woodland to Provide Paintball Activity
Venue Including Provision of Car Park, Access, and Ancillary Structures
Location: Land North Of Reservoir Dollymans Farm Doublegate Lane
You can find the application here.

Though the system was working too slow tonight at Onlinefocus HQ to actually open any documents….


Council Update On Swings

From the¬† District Council website…:

Due to findings within our annual play inspection programme, certain play areas and play equipment have been temporarily closed. We are working hard to repair and replace these items of play and these works have been prioritised. Please see below list of play areas that are currently undergoing maintenance:

Site Play Space Status Addditional Information
John Fisher Recreation Ground, Rayleigh. OPEN Swings currently closed.
Sweyne Park, Rayleigh. OPEN Swings currently closed.
Causton Way, Rayleigh. CLOSED Closed until further notice.
Betts Wood, Hockley. CLOSED Closed until further notice.
Hullbridge Recreation Ground. OPEN Boat multi-play closed.
Little Wakering Recreation Ground. CLOSED Closed until further notice.
Fairview Recreation Ground, Rayleigh. OPEN Swings currently closed.
Grove Woods Open Space, Rayleigh. OPEN Swings currently closed.


Swings Gone

With very unfortunate timing for the school holidays, the district council has had to remove some swings from playspaces due to adverse safety reports. This seems to have caught the council completely by surprise.

In some cases the removals are only temporary, awaiting the arrival of new spare parts. in other cases it may be difficult to get the spares. ūüôĀ

Of course safety has to come first. However we are keeping a close eye on what’s going on, both at a district council level and town council level.

Meanwhile, there’s nothing on the district council website about this

essex police logo

Make It Easier For The Police – Even If You Are Having A Bad Hair Day

James Newport writes :

“We often see comments from people on social media, or when you talk to residents, that the police are, ahem how should I say, often less than helpful. In fact, we, the Lib Dems have recently raised a motion at full council to find out the affect of the closure of the front desk at Rayleigh Police station and the station closure in Rochford. The demands of the general public are great and we are somewhat intolerable to slow response times, lack of community policing.

Well today should give us all a different perspective on what¬†we, the general public, expect from¬†Essex Police…”

Find out more here.


Shutter Application Comes To Development Committee on Thursday

We wrote last month¬† about a planning application for a white roller shutter for the front of the shop at no. 31 Rayleigh High Street.¬† This would normally be refused as not being suitable for the Conservation Area. but officers are recommending approval if it is painted a less intrusive¬† black rather than white. This is despite objections from Rayleigh Town Council . The reason ?¬† The mess on Saturday mornings. It has been ‘called in’ by Cllr Chris Stanley and will come to the Development Committee tomorrow evening for a vote.

Application No :16/00323/FUL
Zoning :Town Centre
Parish :Rayleigh Town Council
Ward :Wheatley
Location : 31 High Street Rayleigh Essex
Proposal :Installation of Roller Grille to Enclose Entrance to Shop
The proposal is for a white powder coated, fully electric, roller grille to enclose
the entrance to the shop….
…The site is situated within the primary shopping frontage area, Conservation
Area and town centre of Rayleigh, as well as being located within the Rayleigh
Centre Area Action Plan.
The applicant has stated within the application that they have to clean up
mess on Saturday mornings due to the use of the recess after the pubs and
clubs have closed. This area is the doorway into the premises and the use of
the area on Friday evenings results in an uninviting access into the shop
which deters customers, and has to be cleaned before it can be used.
Comments from the Council’s Anti-Social Behaviour Officer collaborate with
the owner that all of the premises with indented doorways suffer
from people urinating in them. Number 31 is on the main route from the Pink Tooth Brush
to the Taxi rank and given the queue for the rank can extend beyond Ernie
Lane back to the Pink Tooth Brush, many of the shops along that stretch
suffer as they are slightly out of sight. The shops have not made complaints
directly but raise the issues in the various forums and have asked if the clubs
would provide street urinals to reduce the abuse of their frontages. It has now
become a common practice to have to wash doorways and frontage down at
weekends before opening….

You can find the full report here – it’s the second item.

million-pounds cash

UK Credit Rating Going Down!

There are two meetings in the District Council Chamber this week.

The first is Full Council tomorrow (with Development Committee on Thursday)  The items include:

  • Revised Draft Statement of Community Involvement (how the council consults residents and others on planning policy decisions)
  • Treasury Management Annual Review (where the council deposits its money and manages its cash flow)
  • Lib Dem motion asking for a report following the closure of Rayleigh Police Station
  • The Council’s Pay Policy Statement

The Treasury Management Annual Review isn’t normally very exciting but this year there is at least one point worth mentioning. It has been council policy that we only deposit our money in countries with a credit rating of AA+ or better. However following Brexit, the UK’s credit rating has fallen from AAA to AA, meaning that the UK’s ratiing now falls below council standards! There is a recommendation from officers to change the rules to allow us to¬† still invest in UK institutions.

On a positive note, the council isn’t borrowing money, so isn’t paying any interest.

essex police logo

Lib Dem Motion On Police Stations

Only one group of councillors have submitted¬† a motion for next Tuesday’s full council, and it’s the Lib Dems:
“… the following motion has been received from Cllrs C I Black, J E Newport, R A Oatham and C M Stanley


“In view of the closure of the front desk of Rayleigh police station and the total closure of Rochford police station and the concern expressed by some members of the public, this Council requests the appropriate Portfolio Holderto report back to Council on how these closures have affected policer esponse time to crime, and police and District Council response to anti-social behaviour and also the current levels of crime and anti-social behaviour across the district in recent months.‚ÄĚ


Welcome Aboard!

Everyone is welcome to read and comment on onlineFOCUS – whatever their politics. However we’d like to give an extra¬† hello to¬† the 16 new people who¬† have joined our local party since the referendum.¬† Mostly women, as it happens…..

websters way

Could This French Artist Improve Websters Way?

Websters Way in Rayleigh has a lot of … utilitarian ….buildings. Could the French artist¬† Patrick Commercy improve one or two of them? He creates fantastic Trompe d’oeil effects on blank walls, for example:

trompe 1


trompe 3

To see more of these, have a look at this article here and his website here.

civic suite

A Lengthy Interview

There’s a lengthy interview on the Rochford Life website with John and Christine Mason…. well worth a read.

It gives a flavour of how the various opposition groups in the council chamber , which all concentrate on the local area rather than national politics, can work together.

The cabinet system , which is now even being criticised by Conservatives, is hopefully on the way out….

steve tellis crop

A Message From Our Local Chairman Steve !

A guest post from local campaigner and our local party chairman Steve Tellis:

After the referendum we awoke to a deeply divided country.

Seventeen million people voted to leave the European Union. Sixteen million people voted to Remain. Here in Rayleigh and in the Rochford District at large a majority voted to Leave. Just up the road in Chelmsford a majority voted to Remain.

The Liberal Democrats fought a united and positive campaign to keep our place in the European Union. Sadly we lost, narrowly.

We have to accept the democratic result of the referendum. But we do not have to accept a view of Britain as an inward-looking, intolerant nation ‚Äď as promoted by some in the Vote Leave campaign. Britain is so much better than that.

The Liberal Democrats will continue the fight for an open-minded, hopeful and tolerant Britain.

Will you join us today to help? Joining does not have to be a major commitment on your part,but it would be your way of saying you back our vision of a tolerant, hopeful Britain.

Britain faces extended uncertainty. The country does not know who will lead crucial negotiations. The Conservatives and Labour are lacking clear leadership.

We will stand up for an inclusive, optimistic Britain. We will not let down the millions of people who voted Remain, and many millions more young people who feel the same but weren’t able to vote.

If you agree please join us today.

With best wishes,
Steve Tellis
Rayleigh, Wickford and Castle Point Liberal Democrats

22 Beech Avenue Rayleigh, SS6 8AE

Phone: 07799.345795



P.S. Over 11,000 new members have joined the Liberal Democrats since the referendum ‚Äď including many in our area. Join us today to show your support for a diverse, hopeful Britain.