Daffodils on the verge by Ferndale Road and Hullbridge Road

Thank You

Thank you to everyone who’s given us a smile or words of support during this campaign.

Such as the gentleman who was pulling out of his driveway, but saw one of us coming, reversed his car , parked it, and got out to shake hands, saying that he voted for another party nationally but liked what we were saying locally and would vote for us this time.

Such as the lady who had already cast her vote for all the Lib Dem candidates in her area and agreed to help deliver leaflets for us in the future.

Such as the new resident in Rayleigh who said she was voting for us – after previously living in a Conservative area she was glad to be somewhere where her vote could make a difference.

And our thoughts go out to the residents we’ve talked to , young and old, who are having especially difficult times at the moment for personal reasons.


Another Way Of Seeing Rayleigh Online

Have you looked up Rayleigh, or Bygone Rayleigh, on Pinterest? It’s another way of seeing pictures of the town….

polling station sign

More Election Battles : Rochford

roche north and ruralThere’s a wide range of candidates For Roche North and Rural – 3 Conservative, £ Labour, 1 Lib Dem (Daniel Irlam) and 1 UKIP.  Labour’s Jerry Gibson is stepping down, and we send him our very best wishes. Meanwhile Labour stalwart Myra Weir BEM is seeking to returning to the council chamber.

Following previous results in Rochford, the Conservatives look a bit vulnerable here. The result may depend  on how much helpers each party has on the day.

roche south

3 Conservatives v 3 Labour v 2 UKIP. Could be another close one,  with possibly a split result.


green reed

Green Belt Graphics

The Campaign To Protect Rural England issued a document this month entitled “Green Belt Under Siege: 2016 “. you can download it from here. They recommend that the government should:

  • abandon proposals to relax Green Belt policy and make it clearer that unnecessa
  • ry or major losses of Green Belt should be avoided
  • reaffirm that high levels of housing demand or housing targets do not in themselves amount to the “exceptional circumstances” required to justify changing Green Belt boundaries
  • reduce pressure on the Green Belt by empowering councils (local planning authorities) to prioritise the use of brownfield sites

They have also issued a graphic showing where Green Belt is under threat- although please note that the area shown in green is ALL of the Green Belt, not just the area under threat:

green beltAnother graphic on green belt is an interactive one on the Telegraph website here – you can type in your postcode and see what green belt is near you – but be aware that this was created in November 2012, the green buffer between Rayleigh and Wickford is narrowing:

green belt2







question mark

Last Year’s Elections May Not Be Over Yet….

Local councillors and council officers  basing their decision making  on the assumption that we have a Conservative government until 2020 could be wrong::

In the news this week was the advice from the Electoral Commission to the police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that they should apply for an extension to the legal deadline for investigation the 2015 general election expense returns from candidates.

The question is whether campaign activity which was included in the national Tory expense return should really have been included in constituency returns, and so would have taken them over the legal limits.

This all follows the digging by Michael Crick and Channel 4 into the way in which activities which were charged against the national election return by the Conservatives look to have included local campaigning for named candidates, and even the distribution of leaflets with the constituency candidate and agent imprint on them……..

……If all this ends up in convictions, it could result in MPs being disqualified and a round of by-elections being held to elect new MPs for those constituencies. It would only take a small number of voters in a small number of by-elections to change their views from 2015 and see the Conservatives lose their majority in Parliament.


Though this wouldn’t affect the Rayleigh and Wickford constituency.


With A Little Help From Our Friends

We have a very busy election day next Thursday!

If any of our onlineFOCUS friends can spend one or two hours at one of the polling stations for us , please let us know. We could do with a little help.

You just wear a rosette, take numbers and smile at people….

And in any case it gives us an excuse to play this version of the Beatles song…

polling station sign

The Invisible Election

The Rochford Residents’ website had an article yesterday about the lack of publicity for the local elections:

 …This is an ALL OUT Election and the Conservatives could lose control of Rochford District Council.
But this is not news for our local papers who have failed to tell readers that there even IS an Election….

And they certainly have a point. But the local papers aren’t the only ones keeping the elections quiet.  The Lib Dems have two websites mentioning the local council elections (including this one), Rochford Residents have one website, the Conservatives don’t seem to have any. For example look at today’s front page of  the local Conservative Party  website. It’s about the same as the previous 400 days. Maybe they have a technical problem.


Rochford District Council’s own website doesn’t give much publicity to the elections either. This is last night’s front  page – the highlighted story was on self-build housing.


You can get to  election  information here – either by clicking on the pale green link “Elections on May 5th – Notice of Poll”, or by clicking on “Council and Democracy”  and following a longer route.  But it could be more obvious.


dog  mess

Hounded By Dog Mess

Tonight we want to pass on a couple of complaints  from residents about dog mess in Rayleigh.

First of all, would the owner of an apparently large dog that takes a walk around the Mortimer Road / Kings Farm/ Ferndale Road please start clearing their mess up?

Secondly, whoever decided to leave a dozen little bags of mess between Bristol Close and Downhall Park Way, can they please not do it again? (It’s been cleared up now)



What The Count Is Like From The Candidates’ Point Of View…

This year the election count is taking place on the Friday morning, which is both good and bad from the candidates point of view. It’s good because it’s such a complicated count this time that it would literally last all night and into breakfast time, so we’d be absolutely exhausted and be too tired to drive home safely. It[s bad because some candidates will be so excited or anxious that they won’t be able to sleep much anyway.

In any case the  candidates  will go to the count on Friday morning with a range of emotions.  But people don’t display those emotions very much , not until the result is declared. It’s considered bad form to gloat, or to whimper. Two candidates who have been fierce opponents during the campaign will often stand next together looking at the ballot papers being counted in the same detached way that a couple of surgeons might discuss a mildly interesting case of appendicitis in front of them. “Looks like you are just ahead ” one will say . “Oh, it’s too soon to tell” will come the reply.

Though usually it does becomes clear who’s ahead.The person with the biggest pile of ballot papers allows him or herself a relieved smile, and thinks about who to thank in the little victory speech.

But it doesn’t always become clear at all. We’ve seen people in Rochford win council seats by one , two or three votes. When the victory margin is small the loser quite rightly ask for a recount.  A recount doesn’t normally change things by very much  But  if you are, say,four votes behind after the original count, you might be only two behind after the recount. Then you ask for a second recount…..

And what happens if two candidates are tied? It happened with a District Council election in Hullbridge back in the 80s, when  two candidates got the same number of votes. The answer is, you  toss a coin…


Colchester 13 Rochford 0

The  Echo has an article on its website about improvements coming on the A127:

DRIVERS have been warned to expect delays, as work will start tomorrow to improve a busy A127 junction.

Contractors will be getting to work at the road’s Nevendon junction, near Wickford.

Improvements to its roundabout will include increasing the number of lanes from two to three, upgrading traffic signals and adding a new left turn lane for vehicles travelling east from the A127 onto the A132 Nevendon Road towards Wickford.

Work is expected to be completed by winter this year…

Essex County Council, who are behind the project, is encouraging commuters to allow extra time to complete their journeys.

Now, there are more details on the County Council website here and very interestingly they list all the ‘major schemes’ in Essex:

13 in Colchester
5 in Basildon
3 in Chelmsford
3 in Harlow
1 each in Braintree, Castle Point, Maldon, and Uttlesford
None in Brentwood, Rochford and Tendring

Congrats to the Leader of Colchester Borough Council – Lib Dem Paul Smith. Clearly Paul and his Lib Dem colleagues know how to lobby for improvements!


Out And About Today

Chris, Ron and Chris out on the “Devonshire Estate” today. We had a very good afternoon.


A Song For St Georges Day

A song about missing England and missing someone there….

This is  “Home Thoughts From Abroad” by Clifford T Ward.