onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003

 

August 27th, 2014

The District Council’s Annual Report

annual report july 2014

The District Council are encouraging people to read their annual report, which you can download by clicking here.

Perhaps the most positive thing this year is recycling – we are back to being the number one district in England.

August 26th, 2014

Register To Vote Online

polling station sign

You can register online to vote at the gov.uk website here.

It takes about 5 minutes, you will need your NI number , if you have one.

August 25th, 2014

The Essex Eye

the essex eye

OnlineFOCUS readers may be interested in a newish website called “Essex Eye”. It has local crime news and crime prevention advice. It’s not altogether clear who’s writing it. The site conveniently collects together information that’s been published elsewhere.

There is almost too much crime data to look at , including links to monthly crime figures for each council ward!

August 24th, 2014

Where Is Cheshunt Drive?

Cheshunt Drive today

Cheshunt Drive today

CHESHUNT DRIVE MAP

If you are wondering where Cheshunt Drive is, it is along Rawreth Lane, between Priory Chase and Trenders Avenue. There is no road name shown on Google Maps , perhaps because it is an unmade road with no houses.

August 23rd, 2014

District Council Takes Pre-Emptive Action Against Travellers

From the District Council website yesterday:

Rochford District Council has successfully obtained a High Court Interim Injunction to block travellers moving onto a greenbelt site in Rawreth.

The High Court Order was obtained as a pre-emptive measure to prevent the site off Cheshunt Drive, off Rawreth Lane, from being used as a Gypsy/Traveller site.

The move was taken by the Council because hardcore and fencing had appeared on the site, and it was considered necessary and expedient to take action to prevent a residential occupation of the site.
______
It was viewed that it would be prudent to take action ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend rather than deal with the aftermath of any Travellers’ site being established.

By taking pre-emptive action, this could save the Council hundreds of thousands of pounds associated with a situation where Travellers have already settled on a site.

If the landowner were to breach the Interim Injunction they would be in Contempt of Court, which is punishable ultimately by imprisonment.
_____
The order means the landowner cannot:

Use the site as a Gypsy/Traveller pitch
Erect, bring or allow caravans or mobile homes (of any type whatsoever including touring or static), sheds, structures or storage facilities on the site
Introduce hardstanding onto the site
Carry out any building works or engineering operations whatsoever including but not limited to the installation, or connection to, services on the site.
_______
Rochford District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, Councillor Ian Ward, said: “Rochford District Council has successfully obtained a High Court Interim Injunction to block travellers moving onto a greenbelt site in Rawreth.

“We’ve all heard of the horror stories where councils have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds to evict Travellers from a site which is unsuitable. It would seem much more sensible to take pre-emptive action where it is necessary. This is a much cheaper and more effective option, which saves the taxpayer from having to shell out large sums of money.

“The Council will not hesitate in taking firm and decisive action against those who breach planning rules.

“I would also emphasise that the Council is taking steps to provide suitable space for Gypsies and Travellers through our Allocations Plan, which has provision for a lawful site at Michelins Farm.”

The Council will pursue a full injunction at the High Court next week.

Ron and Chris were consulted on this, and were in full support…

August 22nd, 2014

Looking Up……

Two WW2 Lancaster aircraft, flown over from Canada , were at Southend Airport today with a Spitfire and a Hurricane. If you were lucky, you might have seen them there, or watched them fly over Rayleigh and Rawreth this afternoon.

Incidentally Southend Airport was an RAF base in WW2. According to Wikipedia:

..in 1939, the Air Ministry requisitioned the airfield and it was known as RAF Rochford during World War II. It became a satellite base. During World War II, it became a base for fighter squadrons comprising Supermarine Spitfires and Hawker Hurricanes as well as Bristol Blenheims. Many of the 50 pillboxes that were designed to protect the airport from paratroop landings still survive, as does the underground defence control room, which is near to Southend Flying Club. A further 20 or so pillboxes also remain in the surrounding countryside.

We are grateful to Hayley Bloomfield for these photos (click on them to enlarge)

lancaster 4

planes  3

planes 2

planes 1

August 22nd, 2014

Looking Back….

1943   newspaper

model wiindmill

If you are going into Rayleigh over the weekend, Rayleigh Through The Looking Glass still have their exhibition until Monday. It’s in the Rayleigh Town Council Chamber, The Pavilion, King George’s Playing Field (back of Webster’s Way car park) from 13th August to 25th August 2014. Open daily from 10am to 3pm (4pm at weekends & on Bank Holiday Monday).

There’s a chance to find out about Rayleigh men who served (and died) in WW1, buy books about local history, look at the large-scale Ordnance Maps of Rayleigh for 1959 to see what your street was like then, see lots of old photos, and read about the gruesome Rayleigh Bathchair murder of 1943.

A copy of the Southend Standard for 1943 mixes snippets about the war –


“Private James Cotgrove is a prisoner in Japanese hands. His home is at Tranmere , Kensington Road, Thorpe Bay”

-with the more ordinary –


The sanitary inspector is authorised to erect a notice at the Junction of Down Hall Road and London Road stating that the depositing of tins and cans is prohibited”

August 21st, 2014

Consultation Number 2 : On Ward Boundaries

election consultation

Another consultation is on ward boundaries for council elections…

What’s it about? It’s about drawing up new ward boundaries for council elections in Rochford District.

What isn’t it about? – it’s not about parliamentary elections. Only District Council.

What’s the deadline for replying? 12th September

Give me a bit more info: Its time for a government commission to look at all the various council wards we have in Rochford District. This is to ensure that , roughly, each councillor represents the same number of people. There’s a bit of an imbalance at the moment – for example Downhall and Rawreth Ward has more residents than average. The current intention is to keep the same number of councillors – 39. But at the moment we mostly have wards with two Councillors each , for example, Rayleigh currently has eight 2-member wards. Though some wards, like Hullbridge, have 3 councillors, and some , like Barling and Sutton , have 1 councillor. The commission would change this to have all wards with 3 councillors. Now the new ward boundaries have to be drawn up, also taking into account new housing expected in the next few years.

Are there any big changes planned? Well, it’s going to mean big changes across the district. For example, in west Rayleigh and Rawreth we currently have three wards, each with 2 councillors – Downhall & Rawreth, Grange, and Sweyne Park. These are likely to become just two wards, with 3 councillors each. Where do you draw the new boundaries? One way to begin would be to expand Downhall and Rawreth ward southwards to include all of Down Hall Road.

Where can I find out more? Look at the District Council website here You can draw your own lines on a map, and leave comments.

August 20th, 2014

“Early on, I identified sickness levels as a matter of concern…”

essex police logo

This week the Essex Police Commisioner, Nick Alston, has been writing about the increasing amount of duty days lost by Essex Police due to anxiety, depression or stress:


Since becoming Police and Crime Commissioner, I have been scrutinising all aspects of Essex Police performance. Early on, I identified sickness levels as a matter of concern.

The figures show that in 2009-10, for police officers, an average of 7.68 duty days per year was lost to sickness. By 2012-13, this had risen to 12.10 duty days, and stayed at a level of over 12 days per officer during 2013-14.

The impact of reported anxiety, depression and stress is also clear in the figures. In 2009-10, when there were more officers than now, 5,132 duty days were lost to anxiety, depression or stress. By 2012-13, this figure had doubled to 10,521. In 2013-14, the number of police officer duty days lost to anxiety, depression or stress was 11,238, or over 3 days per officer. This figure is worryingly high. Clearly, the root causes of this increase must be properly understood and managed, with officer welfare at the heart of everything that is done.

The most significant increase in duty days lost occurred in the run-up to and during the major Essex Police organisational restructure known as Blueprint, between 2011 and 2013. All organisations need to examine how they operate, to see if alternative models might be more effective and efficient. I do not criticise Essex Police for exploring the implementation of a “functional” policing model, with more centralised control and tasking of officers, PCSOs and staff. It is to the credit of Essex Police that the Blueprint model was kept under constant review by the then Chief Constable. Chief Constable Kavanagh has now made the decision to return the force to a model with more local supervision and control of policing resources at its heart….

Full statement here.

August 19th, 2014

The Best Places To Live..?

Click on the image to enlarge it...

Click on the image to enlarge it…

The Telegraph has an interactive map today showing the “best” places to live in England and Wales:

The Telegraph has constructed an index of the best places to live in England and Wales using official data on average weekly incomes, crime rates, health, home ownership, and economic activity.

Each variable was given an equal weight to produce a ranking of all 7,137 areas, each with a minimum of 2,000 households and a maximum of 6,000, in England and Wales.

You can look at the complete map here. Each district is broken down into several areas. West Rayleigh and Rawreth comes out of it pretty well, 439th out of 7137, the strongest points being “economic activity” and “health”

Whereas the Canewdon and Stambridge area came quite far down the list in 4967th place.

August 18th, 2014

Consultation Number 1 : On Polling Stations

polling station sign

There are quite a few consultations going on at the moment. Here’s one on polling stations:

What’s it about? Polling Stations- where people vote in elections.

What isn’t it about? – it’s not about the boundaries of council wards , or which areas are represented by which councillors. That’s a different consultation…

What’s the deadline for replying? 12th September

Give me a bit more info: Well, there are 45 polling stations across the district,, from Rawreth Village Hall in the west to the Heritage Centre on Foulness Island in the east. This is a routine consultation to check that the polling stations we have a convenient for people to get to and convenient to use.

Are there any big changes planned Should I be alarmed? There’s not much cause for alarm. The only polling station suggested for closure is at Paglesham Congregational Church, which isn’t available anyway for 2015. Probably the key question is whether the polling station at Hullbridge Free Church should be replaced by one at Hullbridge Sports and Social Club:

The Free Church is well known as the polling station for the area, however the disabled access needs improving.
Disabled access is better at Hullbridge Sports and Social Club. Parking facilities are good, but those on foot have further to walk as the club is situated down a long access road.

Where can I find out more? Look at the District Council website here. And in particular download the Returning Officers comments and proposals here.

August 17th, 2014

The Garden Trail !

garden trail

We’ll get back to the political nitty-gritty next week.

But in the meantime here’s a reminder of the Rayleigh Garden Trail next weekend – on Sunday and Monday. There are 15 gardens you can visit.

And one of the gardens belongs to onlineFOCUS’ Chris Stanley!

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Daily Reporting by Chris Black

With support from:
Ron Oatham Ron Oatham Bruce Smart Bruce Smart Chris Stanley Chris Stanley

Latest Comments

  • admin: Corey, no more news since from County Highways, we will chase them…
  • Corey Vost: A week shy of 3 months later and still no progress!!! Have we been forgotten?
  • Greenbelt: Maybe it not being on Google maps is the same reason it is not on satnavs. It comes up on the satnav as...
  • A.Matthews: Chestnut drive is nearly opposite Asdas down towards Trenders Avenue between two bungalows .
  • JIM Cripps: Yep, fair play a decisive action based on common sense – a rare commodity , but where is Cheshunt...
  • Christine Paine: I popped into the exhibition this morning as I had some time left on my parking ticket after doing...
  • Christine Paine: Full marks to the Council on this one. It wouldn’t be the first time that Travellers have...
  • Chris Black: Hi, Bawler, you beat us to it :) we were going to post something tonight – and will still do so,...
  • Bawler: Couldn’t work out how to start a new post, so tagged this on the end of this one -couldn’t see it...
  • Janet Warner: A bit depressing! I was born in 1943, & it’s not encouraging that 71 years on we are still...
  • Jim Cripps: Rochford was actually established as a fighter base in WW1 , along with Stow Maries and Goldhanger it...
  • Christine Paine: You thoroughly piqued my curiosity about the bath chair murder, so I looked it up. Very gruesome
  • Chris Black: Oz, the father left school in Bristol at the age of 13 and was still working when he died at 69, when...
  • The Mighty Oz: Chris, re post 12, if the dad died after 55 years at work and he started work at 15 then would have...
  • admin: The Local Government Boundary Commission for England has the final say, not the council. They will definitely...
  • Jim Cripps: So who actually has the say on the divi-up ? – if it is the Cabinet then this will almost certainly...
  • admin: Bruce is checking on that for you…
  • Angelina: It’s very good to see him taking such a caring view towards our Police officers and PCSOs.
  • Mrs J Burgess: Is there a family fun day on this bank holiday monday 25th august 2014
  • Chris Black: Grannyt – I think you can always quote individual anecdotes to support an argument for and...
  • Grannyt: I knew someone who had free school meas for her children and thought the Council should still provide them...
  • RAB: There are still free school meals for any family who are in receipt of a benefit and should still remain the...
  • The Mighty Oz: This one could run and run but, someone with 2 kids already gets nearly £130 a month in child...
  • JIM Cripps: Catch up – apparently we are still in the fund raising phase ( a grant is being applied for...

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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)

Planning Applications…

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.

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“Rayleigh was the birthplace of Britain’s first surviving quintuplets, but that’s just one of its many claims to fame”

When the Olympic Torch came to Rayleigh, Chris Black wrote about the town in the Guardian - read it here

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