onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003

 

Archive for Essex & East

On A Positive Note….

http://www.matsmithphotography.com/

http://www.matsmithphotography.com/

To strike a positive chord, BBC Radio 3 recently featured a classical musical composer from Essex. This was the first programme in a series about female British composers under the age of 35.

The composer concerned is Cheryl Frances-Hoad, and you can hear the programme here for another 18 days. It’s a interview that features some of her music. It begins with two short pieces inspired by the London Olympics- one for sailing, and one for Table Tennis.

Would You Like To Answer 999 Calls? Essex Police Are Looking For Control Room Staff

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From the Essex Police website:

Communications Officer Vacancies

30 hours per week (part-time), 24/7 shift pattern Chelmsford

Starting salary £17,361 (pro rata), plus 20% shift allowance and additional weekend working enhancements

About the Force Control Room

The Force Control Room opened in July 1997 bringing single tier control to Essex Police and handles approximately two thousand public telephone calls every day.

We are one of the first Police units to provide a response to the victims of crime therefore it is easy to see why the role of Communications Officer is so important. The FCR is one of the main hubs of operational policing in Essex and plays a pivotal role in delivering front line services to the community…

“Systemic Failure”

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There’s been some grim news emerging today – about how Essex Police have carried out investigations of child sexual abuse in North Essex.

The BBC have a disturbing report on it here:

A police force has apologised to alleged child abuse victims after it found problems with 30 investigations involving 59 children.
One police officer has been suspended and 11 others have been put on restrictive duties by Essex Police.
Some cases are said to involve a “lack of honesty or integrity” by officers.

The Independent newspaper is blunter. It begins its report with:

Vulnerable children were left at the mercy of child abusers after a rogue police unit delayed the arrests of suspects during more than three years of systemic failure, officials said.

The Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston writes on his blog about it here:

Early indications are that the problems relating to the quality of investigation and management of investigations identified in the North Child Abuse Investigation Team do not appear to be replicated in the West and South teams….
…. As Police and Crime Commissioner, I will continue to support the efforts of the overwhelming majority of police officers, PCSOs and police staff who work tirelessly to protect the people of Essex from harm. However, where officers are found to have failed in their fundamental duties, then firm and swift action must be taken….
….When I was elected Police and Crime Commissioner in November 2012, I knew that Essex Police needed to transform its approach to tackling domestic abuse, and I made this a priority in the Police and Crime Plan for our county. Much excellent work has taken place under the leadership of the Chief Constable, and I believe Essex Police’s new processes and increased commitment to partnership working are helping to address the horrors of domestic abuse
It is now clear that a similar focus is needed to ensure child sexual abuse is tackled as professionally as possible in our county. I am committed to ensuring that the hidden harms of child sexual exploitation, online grooming, ‘honour’ based violence and people trafficking become a priority for Essex Police….

The Chief Constable writes about it here and finishes with:

….If any victims or families are worried about child abuse investigations by Essex Police I would urge them to call our special helpline number on 01245 282103.
If you are currently suffering from abuse, or believe someone that you know is, you should call us immediately on 999. My officers will do their very best to protect you.

Essex Comes Second For Pothole Claims In England !

POTHOLE COUNTY

According to the RAC, Essex County Council still has the second highest figure in England of legal claims against it for damage cause by potholes !  You can download their data here. Only Surrey County Council had more claims. In the financial  year 2013-2014  there were 2548 claims, totally over £156,000. But the County Council only paid out on 98 of them.

 

 

 

Action Groups Ally Together….

We’ve just been sent the following press release …. worth printing in full:

South East Essex Action Group Alliance Press Release Issue 1

Introduction

In towns and villages across the country residents are fighting to prevent unjustified housing developments, particularly those where Green Belt land will be lost for ever. Councils are wilfully

ignoring local concerns in spite of the Prime Minister’s drive for Localism. In the South East of Essex the situation is exacerbated by the limited supply of land suitable for development, the already-overstretched infrastructure and the existing high population density. A number of independent Action Groups have already been set up by concerned residents. Now these groups are collaborating, sharing information and experiences and preparing to fight together on their shared concerns.

The SE Essex Action Group Alliance, (AGA), has been initiated by action groups from Billericay, Rayleigh, Hullbridge, Daws Heath and Jotmans Farm (these fall within the Basildon, Rochford and Castle Point Local Authority areas). AGA will campaign on three main issues:-

 Unnecessarily high housing targets;

 failure to implement Localism;

 impact on the Green Belt and infrastructure.

Unnecessarily high housing targets

Councils across south Essex are making policy decisions that produce housing targets that are unnecessarily high. For example:-

 Basildon proposed a new homes target of 16,000 when natural growth would suggest just 8,900 homes are required;

 Rochford’s target of around 3000 new homes is twice the natural growth needed;

 Castle Point is proposing 4-5000 new homes when recent estimates show negative growth.

Other areas show similar disparities. There can be sound reasons for increasing housing targets beyond that required for ‘Natural Growth’, but the contrasts noted here are staggering.

Failure to Implement the Localism Act

In 2011 Central Government introduced the Localism Act with the stated aim of devolving detailed planning powers, including the setting of housing targets, to Local Authorities. Numerous Government Ministers have reiterated the intention of the Act to put Local Authorities and the communities that elect them in charge of planning in their areas. Unfortunately Local Authorities in South East Essex have universally failed to understand and implement the concept of Localism. They have allowed themselves, not necessarily unwillingly, to be held to ransom by developers and Central Government dictat, to the detriment of their residents and at the expense of their Green Belt.

Some residents groups have even resorted to taking expensive legal action against the Authorities who purport to represent them. The fact that residents of most towns and villages have to form an Action Group to give the public a voice speaks volumes about the way our Councils wilfully ignore the concept and implementation of real Localism.

Impact on Green Belt & Infrastructure

Local historic demographic data indicates a steady and relatively low rise in the number of new homes required for the existing local people which, in many areas, could be met by Brownfield sites
and infill building. This would leave the untouched Green Belt able to fulfil its purposes and give the inadequate infrastructure a chance to catch up. Government-prompted over-estimates of future housing quotas (driven by the myopic expansion of London), will destroy the existing Green Belt and overwhelm the under-funded existing infrastructure (roads /railways/ schools /hospitals etc ).

Our Conclusion

Untold and irreversible damage will be done to the towns and villages in Essex if National and Local Government continue to disregard the views of residents (the electors), by allowing unjustified
building and the destruction of the Green Belt. To stop this happening it is essential that local people make their views known through their local Action Groups who are working together to present a strong and united case to the decision makers.

The SE Essex Action Group Alliance invites other groups in the SE of Essex to unite with us to ensure the views of existing residents are no longer ignored by those who purport to represent them.

Contact info@billericayactiongroup.org.uk for more information.

Could Be A Dark and Stormy Night…

essex

 

From the County Council website:

Gale warnings issued for Essex

14 January 2015
The Met Office has issued severe gale warnings for Essex for today and tomorrow (Thursday 14 January).
Inland gusts may locally exceed 60mph close to the squally cold front, while gusts of 60 to 70mph seem likely at coastal sites in the south and west, as well as across hills. Gusts may exceed 75mph in the more exposed coastal locations.
For more information, visit the Met Office website.
For information about schools closures and travel advice, visit our winter service page.

Essex Police Federation Speak Out

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The Essex Police Federation (the trade union for Essex Police) is launching a campaign against cuts.

To quote them:

We have chosen to run this information and awareness campaign because we believe you the tax paying public have a right to know what the £72.5 million cuts to the policing budget mean to you.
How cuts will affect you. That crime is not falling; it is changing.
That Cuts have consequences.
Essex Police Federation represents the rank and file police officers in your county. We are police officers ourselves and like all officers in Essex we joined the police to serve and protect the public.
For the first three months of 2015 we will be giving you information that you are entitled to know. What you do with that information and knowledge is for you to decide.
Only those with knowledge and those making the decisions can stop the erosion of your police service…..

That line “…crime is not falling; it is changing” is interesting, hopefully they will enlarge on that.

County Council Rejects Lib Dem Proposal To Roll Out LED Lighting

lighting

Essex County Council today rejected a bid to allocate funding for low-energy streetlights. At a meeting of the full council, the Liberal Democrat Group moved a motion calling on the council to allocate funds for LED roll-out in next year’s budget.

Moving the motion, Cllr Stephen Robinson (Chelmsford North) pointed out that the Liberal Democrats in the coalition Government have created the Green Investment Bank (GIB) to help the UK economy become greener and stronger.

Cllr Robinson said, “The GIB has £3.8 billion to support the roll-out of projects like low-energy LED streetlights. I am disappointed that the Conservative majority on the council would not agree to a plan for a roll-out of LED lights.

“Moving to LED lights would save Essex taxpayers MORE money than switching off most streetlights during the night.

“I am especially puzzled that they are willing to spend £1 million on a pilot of LED lights but will not set aside any money to take the pilot forwards if it is successful.”

Seconding the motion, Cllr David Kendall (Brentwood South) pointed to figures from the Police in Brentwood, showing that crime has risen during the “lights off” period. Cllr Kendall also pointed out that the AA are now saying that lights should be left on in roads where the speed limit is 40mph or higher, because of the dangers to pedestrians.

Councillors were also concerned that the £1 million for the pilot is being taken away from the budgets of the Local Highways Panel.

Read About Complaints Against Essex Police

Police Commissioner Nick Alston’s office has just published the latest quarterly report detailing Essex Police complaints and conduct matters.

You can download it here.

Here’s an extract (click on it to enlarge):

police2

Be Warned – Dartford Crossing Closed Overnight This Weekend, One Direction At A Time

From the Echo today:

THE DARTFORD Crossing will be closed overnight this weekend.

On Saturday night the northbound tunnels will be closed and on Sunday night the QEII bridge will be fully closed, with signed diversions in place via the Blackwall Tunnel.

Dart Charge project director Nigel Gray said: “This weekend will see the start of massive changes at the Dartford Crossing and by Monday morning we will have southbound traffic able to use the Crossing barrier-free.

“We will be closing the Crossing overnight, in one direction at a time, to minimise the disruption while we change the road layout. I advise drivers to plan ahead and allow extra time for their journeys.”

Erwan Huerre of Connect Plus which is carrying out the work, said: “Road users will see the benefit on southbound journeys early on, however work on the northbound carriageway, approaching the Dartford Tunnels, will take longer to complete.

“In the short term, road users will still need to drive through the old payment plaza, which will remain temporarily to manage traffic flows and maintain safety in the tunnels.

“The main works are due to be completed by spring 2015, which is when the full benefits of Dart Charge will be felt.”

The Crossing will be closed, between junction 2 (for the A2) and junction 31 (for the A1306), to northbound traffic between 11.30pm on Saturday 29 and 6am in the morning of Sunday 30 November.

It will then be closed to southbound traffic between 11.30pm on Sunday 30 November and 5.30am in the morning of Monday 1 December.

A diversion route will be in place via the A2, A102 Blackwall Tunnel and A13.

The Blackwall tunnel has a height restriction of 4m northbound, 4.7m southbound and is classed as ‘ADR Category E’ for hazardous goods.

Any vehicles above these height restrictions or carrying dangerous goods will be diverted via the western section of the M25

The Owlets Of Essex

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These photos in the Guardian today are worth a look….

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.

Choose the layout you want to see

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Latest Comments

  • John Mason: Does anyone know please (genuine questions). Why were the street lights previously on all night? What was...
  • Oz the Positive: Jim@7, you have neatly avoided the question… .I personally do not believe that there has been...
  • Jim Cripps: OK facts then Oz the Poz , how many accidents would warrant putting them back on?.
  • corey vost: John Mason @ 3, there is no law in the United Kingdom that forces any authority to provide any form off...
  • admin: Jim I will start a new post this morning on the subject of the appeal, people can leave further comments...
  • Oz the Positive: Has the predicted chaos / crime wave / mayhem caused by the turn off actually happened ? Facts...
  • Jim Cripps: Me @ 15 – can anyone explain how it works , do we ( those directly impacted ) have any opportunity...
  • Jim Cripps: Think this comes under the heading of progress , a long time ago there was none, then oil lamps, then...
  • John Mason: Jim, it could just be that both the professional planners and political planners decide not to defend the...
  • John Mason: Apparently, from an Officer Report, Essex County Council has NO OBLIGATION to provide Street Lighting....
  • Jim Cripps: Current theory is the people we elect to represent us are not driving the agenda but being driven by the...
  • Jim Cripps: Brian @15 – 55 is Bullwood Hall ( Millionaires Row ) , did’nt know about the 200😤
  • Linda Kendall: Martin. It isn’t money that is the issue with the lights. What most people don’t know is...
  • Oz the Positive: If anyone is interested here is a little video from Mark Gino Francois’ s Facebook page...
  • Jim Cripps: So who do they appeal to (Secretary of State ? ) who appoints an Government Inspector to rule on it...
  • Brian Guyett: The Echo is reporting that ECC are refusing to support plans for 6,000 homes at Dunton until more...
  • Brian Guyett: Jim @13: Just to clarify your figure of 55 for Hockley. That relates to land off Folly Lane only. For...
  • John Mason: In the Echo today. But it is is Land North of the London Road NOT Hullbridge !! “DEVELOPE RS have...
  • A.Matthews: Just going out Dear to Tesco,s be back next year !
  • Jim Cripps: The new A130 section between the A13 > A12 was presumably a strategic link ( for example ) between the...
  • Jo McPherson: It is unimaginable what these poor families are going through and our thoughts go out to all of them in...
  • Brian Guyett: Thanks Jim. So to be clear, we potentially have the following new houses in/around A127: – 1200...
  • Jim Cripps: Oz the Poz @ 4 – Too right mate , I would’nt trust them with my shopping list…&...
  • Jim Cripps: Another nugget that came up tonight – A formal forecast from the CBI says that we need 240,000...
  • Jim Cripps: Brian @ 3 above – Still very much alive but , like most things , low profile before the election...
  • Oz the Positive: Jim mate – your getting paranoid… .you need a dose of positivity̷ 0;..
  • linda Kendall: As a mother and grandmother who has waved her children off on similar adventures, over many years,...
  • admin: Jim, This is ECC checking on average speeds, to see if a 20 mph limit in appropriate here.
  • Jim Cripps: Traffic counting gear in place in Exmouth and Teignmouth at the Mo , presumably counting the rat run...
  • martin: Are Essex CC not looking at this the wrong way round ,they should be embarking on changing all lamps to low...

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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

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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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