onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003

 

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Under Attack!

computer

Onlinefocus has been under web attack for a few hours, don’t be surprised if we go offline for a little while…

Letter of Condolence sent to Haltern am See

From the District Council website :

Haltern Am See

As a mark of respect, in relation to the sad loss of 16 children and two teachers from the Joseph-Konig-Gymnasium in our twin town of Haltern am See, the Council has lowered flags to half-mast and will remain so, until further notice. The Chairman of the Council, Councillor Mrs June Lumley, has written to the Burgermeister of Haltern am See, Burgermeister Bodo Kimpel, expressing condolences on behalf of the District

What Can Possibly Go Wrong At A Council Meeting On April 1st?

240px-Rawreth_sign

You can find out at Rawreth Parish Council’s meeting on Wednesday April 1st, 7:30 in the Village Hall. No big guest this time, but there’s a lot of things going on in the parish to discuss. Expect a hot drink , biscuits and some lively discussions….

Haltern Tragedy

white-lily-wreath

Some readers may remember when the District Council took an active role in twinning with the town of Haltern, in Germany. One of the highlights was the visit of two German minesweepers to Baltic Wharf on Wallasea Island.

Today we have heard the distressing news that sixteen teenagers and two teachers from Haltern were amongst those killed in the Germanwings plane crash yesterday. The loss of so many young lives, full of promise, is shocking.

We are sure that many people’s thoughts and prayers will be for them and their families tonight.

Thinking Neighbourly

One of our regulars contacted us today – she’d had some sad news. Someone that she knew purely online has died.

Unfortunately it is one of those very sad cases where the deceased lay undiscovered in his flat for, it’s thought, around 3 weeks. He was only discovered when another poster on the online board got really worried because he hadn’t been heard from him and rang the local Police Even his mothers nursing home hadn’t bothered alerting authorities when he hadn’t visited her even though he used to go every day without fail. Neighbours hadn’t noticed he wasn’t around, no-one.

The deceased lived in central London, maybe out here people know their neighbours a little better. So if your don’t see or hear anything from your neighbour for an unusually long time, how about checking to see that they are OK?

A Reminder To All Members Of the District Council

From Section G of our code of conduct on the Council website:

 

Don’t decide or discuss how to vote on any application at any sort of political

group meeting, or lobby any other Member to do so. Political Group Meetings should never

dictate how Members should vote on a planning issue.

Holocaust Day 2015

From the District Council website:

 

Picture - Keep the Memory Alive - Holocaust Memorial Day 2015

 

Holocaust Memorial Day 2015

 
Date: 
Tuesday, 27 January 2015 – 12:30pm

 

To commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day 2015 Rochford District Council will be holding a public service at the Memorial to Victims of Persecution Bellingham Lane, Rayleigh followed by a short film and reading in The Mill Arts and Events Centre on Tuesday, 27 January at 12:30 pm

The Chairman of the Council would like to invite you, your family and friends to attend the service

Please RSVP to Lynn Rackley, Civic Officer

Phone: 01702 318144
Email: lynn.rackley@rochford.gov.uk

Getting Our Walking Shoes Ready…

We are getting a Focus for Downhall and Rawreth Ward printed tomorrow…

Season’s Greetings

Rayleigh Mount 1c

Best wishes to all of our readers, whether they are residents, fellow councillors or dedicated council staff. We’ll be back after Christmas…

… and remember spring is coming soon….

Rayleigh Mount 2

Tonight’s Council Meeting

It was reasonably lively but without any bad temper. Here’s a few points:

Council Chairman June Lumley was admirably frugal tonight. Most Council Chairman request a buffet with wine for councillors on the night of the December meeting. June didn’t do this, but did arrange refreshments to the public who attended the Civic Carol Service on Sunday, which raised about £245 for charity.

Green Party Leader Michael Hoy made the best point of the evening. The decision to offer free parking on 3 Saturday afternoons before Christmas was taken as “an urgent item” which couldn’t be challenged. Michael asked why the decision was taken so late in the year that it had to be an urgent item. “Didn’t the Council know Christmas was coming?” The answer given was that the council didn’t know it could afford this until quite late in the year. John Mason and Chris Black followed this up later with some forensic questioning , which revealed that the council knew in June it had about £60,000 available – the cost of 3 free Saturday afternoons was about £9,000. Chris Black asked for an earlier decision next year, which might allow an extra free afternoon, either earlier in December or just after Xmas.

UKIP leader John Hayter had a go at the adoption of the “Development Management Plan”: This is basically a new version of the council’s “Bible” of planning policies. Not the zoning of land for development, but all the other policies. Things like the design of new developments, housing density, infilling of gardens, phone masts, what is allowed in the Green Belt, green tourism, playing pitches and other leisure and recreational uses…. John criticised the document because of all the new development proposed in the district, but John Mason, Chris Black, and Michael Hoy pointed out that he was criticising the wrong document for that.

The Tories best part of the night was a report showing that the council’s financial situation was improving.

Ron Oatham made it clear his opinion of central government when John Mason asked whether a certain financial amount “was being lost back to central government, or worse?” Ron immediately called out “Could anything BE worse?”

Chris Black asked how many planning enforcement cases were currently ongoing – the answer was 362, just four less than last year. He asked what could be done to reduce this figure quicker, and was told they would soon have three members of staff again, instead of the current two.

Rochford District Matters Is Coming Out This Week….

Rochford District Matters (the council newspaper) is being delivered this week.

The council’s senior communications officer would like to know of any residents who don’t receive a copy. So if you don’t receive one by the end of tomorrow (Friday 28th) , please feel free to leave a comment below, with your postcode

Thanks.

Sorting Out Sweyne Park

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

Credit where it’s due – Its good to see that the District Council de-silting the ditches in Sweyne Park, and carrying out other work to reduce the risk of flooding.
See more on the council website here.
 

Hopefully this will prevent incidents like the one pictured above.

Plenty more work around the district still to do though.

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Daily Reporting by Chris Black

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

  • bruce smart: Seems to me that the social housing tenants need to remember where they were before they moved into it....
  • Christine Paine: Bruce, you are right, if they weren’t busy then yes some would close, however, my thoughts are...
  • John Mason: I am glad that you have also raised Homelessness. The Review Committee has been investigating the extent...
  • Oz the Positive: Toby@12, I had completely forgotten that the Taxi Drivers run the town, how is it that these small...
  • Toby Mountain: There needs to be some rounded thinking and less bureaucracy – Look at the calendar and start...
  • bruce smart: Christine – we probably all agree that there is an excessive number of eating places in the Town...
  • admin: Well , thats a pity , Oz.
  • Oz the Dissapointed...: Ron, thank you for the reply however I am slightly disappointed, I’m looking to vote...
  • admin: James, the action plan’s modified version has the following paragraph: “The Council recognises the...
  • Angelina: Good luck Ron.
  • Christine Paine: Bruce, I think you are approaching a Catch 22 situation with the High St. The more coffee shops,...
  • James Newport: Ron wasn’t the A1 target being reduced in the action plan recently as it couldn’t be...
  • admin: One thing that Ron didn’t mention was the campaign to keep free parking on Saturday afternoons in...
  • Ron Oatham: The council’s targets are 75% retail(A1)in the primary shopping area and 50% in secondary. These...
  • bruce smart: Best way is for people to use the existing shops and make them profitable. Being positive, I think...
  • Oz the Positive: Ron, could you please give me your thoughts on the best way to maintain the retail / service balance...
  • Jim Cripps: OK thank you CHRIS – think I will do an open letter ( via the ECHO letters page ) and ask what they...
  • Chris Black: Jim. District and Parish councillors can get involved in the really local highways stuff – for...
  • Christine Paine: It’s not so much the queues Oz, it’s the fact that the road system is not robust enough...
  • Oz the Positive: Ladies, I feel your pain, all that traffic, I don’t blame you for complaining, just like the...
  • Jim Cripps: ECC are responsible for Highways – just which (Parish/Town/Di strict ) Councillors represent us (...
  • Janet Warner: Thanks Christine. Unfortunately I had no choice on Saturday, as I had approached the Carpenters Arms...
  • John Mason: I understand that the main Green Party Web site had been under a Denial of Service attack but it has been...
  • Chris Black: Oz, yes other majority parties can definitely behave differently. I’ve seen three majority groups...
  • John Mason: This is a significant watershed not just for Rayleigh, Sweyne Park Ward, but for the whole of Rochford...
  • Oz the Positive: Would any other majority party behave any differently ?
  • Chris Black: Geoff , I spoke to County Highways yesterday, the junction has been inspected, and its on the list to be...
  • Christine Paine: I would like to wish all the non Tory candidates the very best of luck in the election. If they take...
  • Christine Paine: Janet, I saw the queue of traffic Saturday and decided to go London Road way. London Road/Crown Hill...
  • David Montgomery: The car that Clive is sitting in in the photo above has a Buckler DD2 chassis.

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500 HOUSES BETWEEN LONDON ROAD AND RAWRETH LANE

There's lots of information on the District Council website about the planning application "North of London Road ". To see it , just click here.

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.

Food Hygiene Ratings

To find the food hygiene rating for eating places and other businesses in our district , click here.

Essex Political Blogs

Geography, History , Science

Lib Dem Websites

Local Council Websites

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Local Info

Non-Political Stuff

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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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