onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003

 

July 22nd, 2014

Flooding Advisory Group Meeting Is POSTPONED

Laburnum Way

Laburnum Way

From the District Council website:

The Flooding Advisory Group Meeting that was due to convene on Wednesday , July 23, has been postponed.

The meeting brings groups such as Anglian Water, Essex Highways and the Environment Agency together with the Council to discuss measures that need to be taken.

Cllr Terry Cutmore, the Leader of Rochford District Council and Chairman of this committee, said: “We have been advised by the Environment Agency that they will not be able to send the appropriate engineers to this meeting at this time as they have to work around the clock to try to resolve urgent matters resulting from the recent storms.

“Essex County Council, the specific flood authority, is similarly stretched. We are of the view that the immediacy of this urgent work must take precedence and have therefore decided to postpone our meeting.

“The District Council’s desire to ensure that all relevant authorities come together to determine the way forward to assist with surface water flood amelioration remains as strong as it has ever been; we have already been instrumental in encouraging other organisations and individuals to resolve some of the surface water drainage problems afflicting parts of our community and we intend to continue to build on this success.”

July 21st, 2014

After the Flooding….

So, another onslaught of intense rain led to more flooding yesterday. In most cases, not as bad as last year, but in other places much worse.

 

The District Council, has said the following today:

 

Free collection service for flood-damaged goods

A free collection service is in place for flood-damaged goods, following this weekend’s heavy rain.

Those who need to get rid of bulky items will need to contact customer services. The goods will then be collected the following day.

If you have any small electrical items you need to be disposed of, please bag them up separately.

You can either call Rochford District Council’s customer services team on 01702 318111 to arrange collection or e-mail using this form

Reporting a flooding problem

The lead local Flood Authority is Essex County Council, who provide information at www.essex.gov.uk/flooding

Blocked gullies and highway drainage issues can be reported via the ‘Report a Problem’ page at www.essex.gov.uk/highways or by calling 0845 603 7631.

Travel information on highways in Essex is also available at www.essex.gov.uk/highways and on Twitter at @Essex_Travel

For further advice regarding flooding visit the Environment Agency website on www.gov.uk/check-if-youre-at-risk-of-flooding They also operate a Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or 0845 988 1188

Road Sweepers clear up following flooding

Residents are being urged to contact Rochford District Council if they have roads that need sweeping following flooding issues.

The Council’s waste collection contractors, SITA, are sending their mechanical road sweepers out to clear debris left behind by the waters.

The sweepers have already been out this morning clearing the roads where the Council is aware there has been a problem.

However, if you live in the District and your road still needs sweeping please inform Rochford District Council’s customer services team on 01702 318111.

 

 

If your home was flooded or nearly flooded, or if you know of any blocked gullies, please let us know as well as the council.

In the meantime, here are some photos from yesterday from Downhall and Rawreth Ward:

Canterbury Close,

Canterbury Close,

Ditch in Sweyne Park., after nearby residents had unlocked most of the grille

Ditch in Sweyne Park., after nearby residents had unlocked most of the grille

Laburnum Way

Laburnum Way

"Trenders Avenue - Filthy Black Water Smelling Of Sewerage"

“Trenders Avenue -Filthy Black Water Smelling Of Sewerage”

July 20th, 2014

Sports Pitch Application Recommended For Approval

Football

 

The Sports Pitch application from Academy Soccer comes to the District Council Development Committee next Thursday. You can find the agenda here.

The report runs to 32 pages but here are the officer’s conclusions:

6 CONCLUSION
6.1 The proposed use of the site for football pitches is an appropriate use of land
within the Metropolitan Green Belt. The proposed changing rooms would be
appropriate facilities for outdoor sport and recreation in accordance with the
National Planning Policy Framework and local policies for development in the
Metropolitan Green Belt. The ball catch fencing will have an impact on the
openness of the area generally but has to be weighed against the wider
recreational benefits, access to the countryside inherent in the application and
its necessity on highway safety grounds.
6.2 The use proposed would provide sufficient off street car parking and would
not give rise to adverse conditions of highway safety or residential amenity
that would weigh against the merits of the proposal.

 

July 20th, 2014

In Fond Memory of James Garner

The actor James Garner has , sadly, just died. He was much loved by some of us at onlineFOCUS. He starred in the film “Support Your Local Sheriff” , possibly the greatest film ever about a local government officer trying to manage without proper resources!  He hasn’t got any metal bars for his jail, though he does have a bit of red paint:

 

July 20th, 2014

Changes To Look At Carefully !

One part of the District Council’s Local Development  Framework is the “Development Management Plan”. This is the document that sets out the day-to-day policy for determining planning applications.

The document has already been to an government inspector, the inspector asked for some changes, and the council officers have now amended the document.

Cllr Keith Gordon has been the portfolio holder for planning (at least until a few days ago). He has now agreed that the revised document should go out for public consultation over an 8 week period, with the consultation responses going straight to the inspector.

However there is still time for any 3 councillors to call this in to Full Council, or for the Review Committee to call it in. The deadline for calling it in is 5 working days after July 18th.

So where can you see the document and what are the changes? Well, you can download the document here (2mb)

Here are a few of the changes:

  • The density across a site should be a minimum of 30 dwellings per hectare, unless exceptional circumstances can be satisfactorily demonstrated.
  • Instead of just refusing ‘tandem development’ ‘, which has been council policy for 30 years, tandem development would be allowed when ‘overlooking, privacy and amenity issues’ can be overcome (tandem development is when one house is built directly behind another in a ‘tandem’ arrangement)
  • Instead of sticking to minimum floorspace standards, a smaller floorspace would be allowed if compliance with the standards would be unviable or undeliverable.

But there is a lot more for councillors to study. It’s surprising that this hasn’t gone to the Local Development Framework Sub-Committee

 

July 19th, 2014

Hedgehope Avenue Works

The blocking of the ditch behind Hedgehope Avenue helped cause flooding in Down Hall Road last year...

The blocking of the ditch behind Hedgehope Avenue helped cause flooding in Down Hall Road last year…

Credit’s where it’s due. The District Council has worked behind the scenes to get Anglian Water to carry out improvements to the ditch that runs between Hedgehope Avenue and Down Hall Close in Rayleigh.
Nearly 30 years ago the District Council paid to enclose most of the ditch in a culvert, but weren’t able to do all of it. That meant there was an open stretch between two culverted sections. After the floods last year we were asking that the open section be culverted as well, so we are very pleased that the work has been done. Town Councillor Chris Lumley had a look this week, and residents there are very positive about it.

But there are still plenty more sites to deal with…

July 19th, 2014

Lightning Over South Essex

stuart dymond lightning

stuart dymond 2

There’s quite a few people feeling tired today after two nights of thunderstorms… Lawn mowers will definitely be staying in the shed today.

Photo Credit: Stuart Dymond.

July 18th, 2014

“Flood Advisory Group” Meets Next Week

As Richard Lambourne has pointed out in a recent comment, the District Council’s new “Forum For Surface Water Issues meets next week. We have it confirmed in writing that the public, and councillors who are not members, can attend. We are still waiting for confirmation that they can speak.

Forum for Surface Water Flooding Issues
23 July 2014, 7pm, Room 4 >Rayleigh Civic Suite

Agenda

Membership

Cllr T G Cutmore Cllr B T Hazlewood
Cllr K H Hudson Cllr Mrs J A Mockford
Cllr C G Seagers Cllr D J Sperring
Cllr I H Ward

Budget

Watery Lane

Hedgehope Avenue – confirm satisfactory completion of works

Sweyne Park

Highways hotspots – progress (Spa Road Hockley, Hall Road Rochford, Rectory Road, Hawkwell, and Church Road, Hockley)

Kingsmead Cottages, Barling Road

Salem Walk & Fairmead Rayleigh

Westminster Drive Hockley

Riverside Industrial Estate and the Horse and Groom Pub

Laburnham Way Rayleigh

Rochford reservoir outfall – maintenance works

Fairmead and Salem Walk, Rayleigh

Any Other Business

July 17th, 2014

District Council Website Disrupted Tonight

From the district council website :

There will be severe disruption to our online services today (17th July 2014) from 6pm – midnight for essential maintenance.

This will affect the following systems:

Services for viewing council tax, business rates or benefit account, registering or obtaining a PIN and council tax banding
Online forms
Online parking services
Committee Management Information System (CMIS)
Online planning, building control and licensing searches
If you would like to comment on an application, please email:

planning: planning.applications@rochford.gov.uk

building control: building.control@rochford.gov.uk

licensing: licensing@rochford.gov.uk

Any emails to the Council will not be received until the Council opens on Friday morning.

We apologise for any inconvenience.

July 16th, 2014

Blame It On The Tunnel…

Apologies for no item tonight, blame it on the Dartford Tunnel…!

July 15th, 2014

Michelins Farm Jail Sentence

michelins

From the District Council website:


Date:
Friday, 11 July 2014

Land owner Roger Frederick Phipps, aged 72, has today (Fri 11 Jul) been sent to prison for six months.

Chelmsford Crown Court activated part of a suspended sentence given in January last year for a waste offence after he was convicted of breaching advertisement regulations; alongside his continued breaches of planning and environmental laws.
+++++
Phipps was sentenced in 2013 to eight months imprisonment and ordered to carry out 180 hours unpaid work for allowing an illegal waste site to be run on his farm for years. He was also fined £15,000 for breaching three planning enforcement notices and the Environment Agency and Council were jointly awarded £20,000 in costs.

The prison sentence was suspended for two years.

Since then, the court heard, he has carried out the unpaid work but has yet to pay the court costs and fines. He has failed to remove the majority of the waste from the farm by 30 June 2014, and has continued to display advertisements without consent on his land.

Michelins Farm, Rayleigh, did not have a waste permit nor planning permission to operate the site for waste purposes and it was run without an environmental permit from April 2008-11. The farm is on green belt land and is within a Landscape Improvement Area.
+++++
Site visits undertaken by the Council and the Environment Agency had observed plastics, tyres, building materials, cylinders, and plastic piping and these were seen in 35 fires that the fire service had to attend in 2010-2011.

Environment Agency officers carried out covert surveillance in May 2010 and saw lorries taking waste into the site and at the same time saw smoke regularly coming from the farm. Aerial photos taken by Council officers also demonstrated to the Court the full scale of the damage being caused by Mr Phipps.

Judge David Turner said Phipps had been given by the Court, the Environment Agency and the Council every opportunity to comply with the law and had not done so.
+++++
The Leader of Rochford District Council, Councillor Terry Cutmore said: “It is clear that Mr Phipps’ breach of the advertisement regulations was yet another example of his fragrant and deliberate disregard for the law. Mr Phipps has continued to breach planning regulations despite previously receiving a suspended sentence for similar offences, and it is right that the Court has taken this into account in giving Mr Phipps a 6 month prison sentence. Whilst the council sees legal action as a last resort it will not stand for any inappropriate actions from people who choose to ignore planning laws”.

“It is clear that Mr Phipps’ breach of the advertisement regulations was yet another example of his fragrant and deliberate disregard for the law. Mr Phipps has continued to breach planning regulations despite previously receiving a suspended sentence for similar offences, and it is right that the Court has taken this into account in giving Mr Phipps a 6 month prison sentence. Whilst the council sees legal action as a last resort it will not stand for any inappropriate actions from people who choose to ignore planning laws”.

July 14th, 2014

Liberal Democrats ‘Call-In’ Lord Hanningfield Decision

lord-hanningfield

Breaking news from the County Council – Liberal Democrats at County Hall have ‘called in’ the decision by Essex County Council Tories not to pursue Lord Hanningfield in the Civil Courts. Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Cllr. Mike Mackrory said:

“I called in this decision because I believe we owe it to the council taxpayers of Essex to scrutinise this decision. There is an overwhelming public interest here for justice to be seen to be done; the £51,000 originally claimed back is a token amount out of the total £288,000 claimed by him whilst Leader of the Council. Why should he get away with this when people who are in arrears with their council tax or people who have committed fraud against the council are relentlessly pursued through the courts? Why is there one rule for Lord Hanningfield and another for ordinary people?”

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Latest Comments

  • Jim Cripps: Richard @7 – getting the volume away via the watercourses is of course fundamental, and cleared...
  • Jim Cripps: West Rayleigh / Rawreth people unite and help the cause by sending a simple e-mail to the Planning...
  • 123: I understand that the 3 councillors required to call this in has now happened. Is there any hard evidence of...
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The Core Strategy

This is the official master document for planning policy in our district! To download it, click here click here. (2.5mb)

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If you want information on a particular planning application, you can find it on the District Council website here.

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