onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003

 

Archive for Essex & East

Michael Hoy Starts Campaign Against School Bus Ruling

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Councillor Michael Hoy writes here about a new County Council policy:

“With effect from September 2015 Essex County Council have changed the policy on Home to School Transport for new pupils meaning parents or carers will have to pay themselves if their children go to Sweyne-Park School even though they may live over 3 miles away and would currently be entitled to free transport.  Sweyne-Park is the Catchment School for Hullbridge and currently has 248 Hullbridge children over the years 7-11…

…..I have opposed and remain opposed to this policy and will be campaigning against it.  I will post on here proposals for how the campaign will be formulated later….

…..The Echo will be taking a photograph at 3.30pm on Monday by the bus stop in Ferry Lane by the Car Park. As many people as possible are needed to be in it.

Rayleigh Town Council Wins “Council Of the Year” For Essex !

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Congratulations to Rayleigh Town Council for winning ‘Council of the Year’ by the Essex Association of Local Councils. This award was presented at the EALC’s Annual General Meeting last week when the Chairman Councillor Eddie Dray and Town Clerk Kerry Cumberland were presented with a certificate and silver platter. We understand that the Chairman of the EALC, Sheila Jackman MBE, remarked in her speech that the EALC includes all 274 Parish and Town Councils in Essex and Rayleigh Town Council won this award by a long way.

The Christmas Lights, and annual visits by schools councils (who are invited into the Council Chamber to ask the Chairman questions), were apparently two of the big points in Rayleigh’s favour.

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Excessively Rewarded ?

Southend Labour Councillor Julian Ware Lane criticises the head of the East of England Ambulance trust here, who apparently receives £232,000 plus expenses.

Julian writes:

The story of the last few years has been of a growing pay divide with some Chief Executives like Dr. Marsh receiving salary bumps well in excess of those who work for them. Their pay rises are well in excess of inflation, whilst those that work for them are lucky to see a 1% rise.

“Lib Dem councillor censured for revealing plans to increase council pay”

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It’s just happened in Cambridgeshire. As Mark Pack writes here

Maurice Leeke, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Cambridgeshire County Council, has been found guilty of breaking the council’s rules after he issued a press release about plans to increase pay for senior council staff.

From what Mark has written, Cllr Leeke issued a press release, based on the title of a document – ‘corporate leadership team pay review’, for which the title was in the public domain. Perhaps having a surname like “Leeke” is a bit of a disadvantage when trying to defend yourself from an accusation of well, leaking, but there’s a serious point that Maurice Leeke makes here:

I’m very disappointed with the decision, which shows an authority that’s keen to hide behind secrecy for matters which are inconvenient.

It’s quite inexcusable to think any authority should increase the salary of any of its staff behind closed doors without the public being aware of what is being discussed, and all along my concern has been about what I considered to be an unjustifiable pay decrease which would have been devastating for staff morale.

Essex’s Cabinet

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Councillor Michael Hoy writes here about changes in the County Council cabinet.

There are now ten cabinet members and eleven deputy cabinet members but the changes really throw up some important issues.

Council Leader David Finch has a deputy cabinet member to his position which is very strange as surely that role belongs to the Deputy Leader Kevin Bentley, who himself has two deputies of his own.

With 21 members of the Conservative party now either a Cabinet Member or a Deputy exactly half of their elected members are involved in Cabinet and receiving enhanced allowances paid on top of the standard allowance for Councillors (Full Member £34,378; Deputy Member £13,374).

Note that two of our local County Councillors – Malcolm Maddocks and Terry Cutmore – are now deputy Cabinet Members

Blame It On The Tunnel…

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

Liberal Democrats ‘Call-In’ Lord Hanningfield Decision

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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?”

Big Spending On Big Roads In South Essex (Though Not Much In Rochford)

From the Echo:


WORK is set to begin on three major transport schemes in South Essex after the Government agreed to plough in £155.8m of funding.
A four-and-a-half mile stretch of the A13 between Pitsea and the Orsett Cock, in Thurrock, is to be widened to six lanes while the A127 will get an overhaul at four-pinch points.
Southend’s Victoria Avenue will also get a facelift, while transport in the town will get a £7million boost.

The A13 needs to be widened to 6 lanes largely because of the the new London Gateway container port.

The only improvement in our district is actually on the very edge – a planned £15 million pound improvement to the Fairglen interchange, which will be welcomed by many commuters. Though what impact will this have on the proposed employment land and traveller site that RDC are planning there?

The Tour De France Essex !

A big day for Essex tomorrow, with the Tour De France passing through our county:

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The official Tour De France website is here. There is also information on the Essex County Council website.

The Guardian describes the stage as follows:

Relatively short and definitely flat, with not one rated climb en route through Essex, but scenic villages aplenty like Finchingfield and Radwinter before the lengthy run-in past the Olympic park and across the capital to the Mall, replicating the finish of the 2012 Games road race.

No Extra Police , But More Local Policing

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From the Essex police website, the Chief Constable writes about a big decision – to switch from centralised policing to more local policing:

Having discussed this with Nick Alston, the Police and Crime Commissioner, I now want to share my plans with you.
To invest 500 officers in local policing I will align about 400 centrally controlled response officers to the local policing teams and make carefully considered reductions to our firearms, roads policing and public order capabilities.

 

Full article here.

No Changes In Knife Crime In Rochford – Still 30 Cases A Year

The Essex Police Commissioner website has the latest  figures knife crime in Essex :

knife crime

So it’s down slightly in a few districts, level in Rochford and with a 31% increase in Southend.

The police commissioner Nick Alston, writes:

Knife crime is down in some of our districts, and the bulk of the increase is concentrated in the areas of Basildon, Southend and Tendring.  It is likely that part of this specific increase is due to the changing demographics of some of our communities, increased reporting of domestic abuse incidents, and police activity around organised criminal groups.  I am working closely with the Chief Constable to ensure we fully understand the nature of these crime patterns…..

….. Around a quarter of the offences, 395 offences or 26 per cent, were for possession of a knife or bladed item.  I will continue to support proactive policing to take weapons off our streets, and bring those carrying weapons to justice.  As PCC, I will also continue to support the ethical and proportionate use of Stop and Search tactics to target those carrying weapons or dealing in drugs.  I believe the vast majority of the people of Essex are in agreement with such an approach.

I believe in firm but fair policing.  I also believe that our judiciary should continue to have the ability to judge individual cases on their merits.

 

Bob Russell Writes To David Cameron On Crossing Patrols

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Bob Russell, the Lib Dem MP  for Colchester has just written to the Prime Ministers Office as follows:
Dear Prime Minister,
I regret that I was not called during Questions to you today, probably because I am told that Mr Speaker is aware that I have put more Questions to you over the past year than all but three other MPs.
Therefore I am sending you the Question which I would have put to you had I been called. It reads as follows:
“Yesterday, Tory-controlled Essex County Council decided not to save the jobs of 55 school crossing wardens.
“However, in an echo of the Hanningfield years, they agreed to pay £13,000 each to two deputies to Cabinet members.
“What does the Prime Minister think is more important – children’s safety, or giving higher allowances to Tory Councillors?”
I would be interested to hear what you think of Conservative priorities at Essex County Council.
Best wishes.
Yours sincerely,
Sir Bob Russell,
MP for Colchester

 

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Daily Reporting by Chris Black

With support from:
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Latest Comments

  • admin: Now THAT’S interesting! Nice work.
  • John Mason: The Green and Rochford District Residents Group believe that there is £30K saved in the budget from over...
  • Jim Cripps: Or they are waiting for the court ruling ( and hopefully the current traffic surveys )……
  • admin: Probably January. There are lots of important issues to be examined with this application, it will take a...
  • richard lambourne: Whilst I dont know all the circumstances, please remeber they were both “deselect ed”...
  • Jim Cripps: Admin – any sign of a date for the Planning Committee Review yet , it was muted as Oct/Nov , or are...
  • JIM Cripps: Also pleasing is the number of new names appearing on the postings on here now – A big increase...
  • A.Matthews: This is great news all power to the Capons ,hope others follow suit.You can retain your principles whilst...
  • A.Matthews: We also have cameras on the Bridge and Goose Cottages in Battlesbridge.H ope they do not go walk a bout...
  • admin: Some Conservative councillors have a quiet read, but we don’t know if either of our district’ s...
  • The Mighty Oz: Does our MP read this site ? If so Mr Francois would you please respond to the above comments from...
  • Jim Cripps: Great news, slowly but surely we are moving back towards a democracy – now just needs some of the...
  • collin: Thank god its now open, but I guess the flooding (as last week) will now become a regular issue once again....
  • Christine Paine: Linda – that of course was after he had been out in the High Street collecting signatures on a...
  • Linda Kendall: The Mighty Oz.@ 16. Re.The article in the Echo. Some people have very short memories. Mark Francois...
  • Jim Cripps: Yes , that you think it is a big ask for the judge to decide against a Council ( because of wider...
  • Angelina: Great news.
  • Proper Planning: If the Judge were to find in the appellant’ ;s (Linda Kendall) favour, then his decision would...
  • Jim Cripps: James – beyond our own ‘local event’ I think there is now a dawning by the public at...
  • bruce smart: Sadly one mans voice seems to carry, or people posting think it will, carry more weight than that of...
  • The Mighty Oz: I wonder what could have woken up our invisible MP, look, he’s at it again. He will wear himself...
  • admin: Jim @ 13. , that’s the next one to write about. But I,m just back from serious dental work, so it might...
  • James w: Then again….th is may be his plan. If he knows development wont go ahead, as it’s so unpopular,...
  • Jim Cripps: Admin – as you have quoted the MF objection , you might want to quote the objection from the RTSSC...

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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.

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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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