onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003

 

Archive for District Wide

District Council’s Budget Survey

pound_coin

The District Council are carrying out a online survey on what local people think should be priorities in the council budget.

You can complete it here

It will be interesting to see if anyone mentions the various themes that we have mentioned on onlineFOCUS recently – flooding, the council cabinet, air quality, planning enforcmnt, street lighting…..

A New Set Of Ward Boundaries In 2016 !!!

Every once in a while a government commission looks at the ward boundaries in each council area to make sure that everyone is being fairly represented. For example, areas where there has been new housing might merit having an extra councillor, which might mean an area somewhere else might lose one. At the moment the  Local Government Boundary Commission is looking at our district.

 

It’s already been agreed that we will stick with 39 councillors. The commission are also keen on having 3 councillors per ward, which means having 13 big wards. The District Council has come up with some proposals . They are actually suggesting 14 wards – 12 big wards with 3 councillors each, plus a “Roche North” ward with two councillors and a “Roche South” ward with one.

If you double click on this new map, you will see the new wards (though because of the small scale of the map it’s not completely accurate):

election map 2016

Looking at two wards in particular:

Hullbridge Ward stays exactly as it is now – same boundaries, and still with 3 Councillors.

Downhall and Rawreth Ward goes from 2 councillors to 3. It has to get bigger, but not that much bigger. The new Downhall and Rawreth Ward will include all the roads it does now, but with two expansions.

The first expansion is slightly southwards along Down Hall Road, taking in Preston Gardens, Hedgehope Avenue, Downhall Close and that bit of Downhall Road between Preston Gardens and Downhall Close:

elelection map 2016  3

 

The second expansion  is to take in part of Sweyne Park ward that is closest to Rawreth – double click on this map to see more:

elelection map 2016  2

This includes :

  • The north side of London Road as far as the junction with Victoria Avenue.
  • The western side of Victoria Avenue, up to the junction with Cheapside West..
  • The western half of Cheapside West
  • Maine Crescent
  • Sweyne Close
  • Fairmead
  • Boston Avenue
  • Grosvenor Road
  • Gunn Close
  • The new development at the old Eon site.

The new ward will also include all the proposed housing “North of London Road”, because if it is approved, it is all in Rawreth.

These new wards still have to be approved by the commision, so there might be some changes. If approved , there will be elections in all the new wards in 2016.

 

When The Rockets Fell….

 

v2flight

The Rochford Community History Archive has a new article listing all the known cases of V2 Rockets hitting our district in World War 2.

Canewdon, Foulness and Rawreth received five hits each, which may seem surprising, but these are three of the largest parishes in area and the rockets were more or less falling at random

Our Working Adults Still Living With Mum And Dad

There’s some alarming statistics this week from Shelter. To summarise their findings:

  • Almost two million working adults aged between 20 and 34 are living with their parents
  • These are working adults – not students or unemployed
  • Almost half of them say they are still at home because they cannot afford to buy or rent.
  • This map shows how the situation varies around the country
  • Castle Point has the highest percentage in the country – 45 %
  • Rochford has the second highest – 42%
  • clipped wings

    There has rightly been a lot of opposition to the proposed housing “North Of London Road” and in Hullbridge. People are justifiably concerned about infrastructure, especially roads and drainage. South East Essex – Rochford District and Castle Point in particular – seemed to have been poorly treated for decades by the county council regarding highways, and our drainage systems have been neglected. We need to carry on fighting for all the infrastructure we need.. We can certainly argue that the housing is being proposed in the wrong locations. But what we can’t do is say there is no local demand… And perhaps we should focus on getting housing suitable for local young people, rather than more 4 bedroom executive homes.

    Why is the situation so difficult for our young adults adults here? Probably the root cause goes back to the 1950s and 1960s when the population soared. The population actually doubled in the fifties. And then development continued , at a slightly lower rate, in following decades. The end result today is that housing has already spread to the edge of Rayleigh. There are very few ‘easy’ sites left to develop.

    Chart of Rayleigh and Rawreth's  population 1931- 1961

    Chart of Rayleigh and Rawreth’s population 1931- 1961

    Food For Thought

    Cafe Life DSCF0372

     

    One of our Lib Dem colleagues in Watford mentioned that their local paper had published a list of all the food establishments in that town which got a rating of “Zero” on food hygiene.

    Which prompted us to check for our district. You can find out about this by going to the Food Standards Agency website here. You can then search for a particular restaurant etc or you can search by town or district.

    There are 480 entries for Rochford District , you can find them all here.  We are pleased to say that most  get a rating of 5 out of 5. And none at all get a ‘Zero’. Just seven of them get a rating of “1”.

     

     

    Could You Be A Befriender?

    little house

    We’ve received the following from RRAVS:

    The Befriending Scheme which has been running successfully in the Castle Point area has now been extended into the Rochford area.
    ___
    The scheme aims to provide volunteer Befrienders who will visit lonely and/or isolated people in their own home, for about an hour or more every week, to provide companionship and a listening ear. Some clients benefit from a chat over a cup of tea and for those who feel isolated and lack confidence to join new groups and clubs, our volunteers will be able to accompany them until they feel confident enough to go on their own. The scheme aims to develop the client’s confidence and encourage them to join other community groups by their Befriender where appropriate; thereby integrating them back into the community.
    ____
    Our Befriending Scheme is open to anyone 18+ that may be experiencing loneliness or isolation. This may be due to lack of work, recent bereavement, low-level mental ill health or a new mum who has no local friends. However, the majority of our clients are from the older age group. We have found that the Befriending Scheme has contributed to improving the health and well being of our clients as well as raising confidence and self esteem. It has also proved to be providing our Volunteers with a feeling of value and achievement. Our main referrals are through the GP surgeries and other health professionals that visit people at home or visit their surgery, but clients or their family can refer themselves by asking their GP to refer them on to the Befriending Scheme.
    ____
    RRAVS are promoting the Free service in the Rochford area either encouraging people to become a Volunteer or locating Clients. For more information please contact Sarah Withington on 01268 772796.

    No Increase In Life Expectancy, More Violent Crime, More Smoking, More Diabetes, But Fewer Opiates.

    The new 2013 Public Health profile for Rochford District can be found on this page . Just look for Rochford, and click on the one for 2013.
    For some reason we didn’t write anything about last year’s profiles, though we did write about them in 2011 and 2006

    Here’s 10 lots of statistics about our district:

    1. A baby girl growing up here has a life expectancy of 84.0 years, that’s better than average for England and with no change from a couple of years ago.
    2. Nearly 15 percent our Year 6 children are classified as ‘obese’. Shockingly, that’s still better than average for England.
    3. Over 25 percent of our adults are classified as obese and that is worse than average.
    4. Deprivation is lower here than average. Even so, 11 percent of children – over 1,700 individual children are classified as living in poverty. (That means living in families receiving means-tested benefits and/or low income).
    The percentage of children living in poverty has increased by about a tenth in the past 2 years.
    5. Violent crime in our district is much lower than average – 6.2 reported crimes against the person per thousand population per year. That’s 519 violent crimes in the 12 month period 2011-12. But this is significantly larger than the figure 2 years ago, which was 397.
    6. 15 percent of adults smoke – that’s lower than the average in England , but higher than two years ago, when the figure was only 12 percent.
    7. 5 percent of patients on GP registers here are diagnosed with diabetes. That’s 4066 people. That’s slightly better than average, though slightly higher than 2 years ago.
    8. We have 171 people who are problem drug users using crack and/or opiates. That’s down from 223 a couple of years ago, and much better than average.
    9. Levels of skin cancer here are slightly higher than average for England – though things are getting slightly better. Apparently 12 people were diagnosed with malignant melanoma
    10. Levels of TB in our district are very low – only 3 cases a year, compared with 4 cases a couple of years ago.

    A Bit Of Good News

    … The number of people in our district claiming Job Seekers Allowance has fallen a little

    in the past 12 months:

    In August 2012 there were  1139 claimants (2.2 % of working age population.

    This August there were only 952 claimants (1.9% 0f working population).

    By comparison, the figure for the East of England is 2.6%  (down from 3.0%) and the figure for Great Britain is 3.3 % (down from 3.8%)

    New Chief Executive Coming For Rochford District Council

    Rather like Sir Alex Ferguson stepping down as the Man Utd manager, the District Council’s Chief Executive, Paul Warren, is retiring at the end of the year.

    So the council decided to recruit a new Chief Exec, and has made its choice , a very bright guy called Amar Dave, and we look forward to working with him. The council has issued a press release:

    Rochford District Council has named its successor to the existing Chief Executive Paul Warren, upon his retirement at the end of the year.

    Following a rigorous selection process, Amar Dave, who is currently Acting Corporate Director of Environment, Culture and Transport at Reading Borough Council, was selected from more than 30 applicants for the position.

    The Leader of Rochford District Council, Councillor Terry Cutmore said, “All of us on the Appointments Panel reached a unanimous decision in recommending Amar Dave for appointment. We all agreed he has the passion, enthusiasm and necessary skills to meet the future needs of the Council. With his vision and experience, I’m confident we can meet head-on the challenges that face Local Government”.

    Mr Dave has been Acting Corporate Director of Environment, Culture and Transport at Reading Borough Council since 2010 – heading up a team of 568 staff and with a revenue budget of £49 million. He has extensive experience of managing the delivery of frontline council services including highways, transport, planning, environmental, housing, arts and heritage.

    Prior to joining Reading Borough Council, Mr Dave has enjoyed success in a number of other high profile roles with organisations including Stroud District Council and Amey Facilities Management.

    Mr Dave said, “I’m really looking forward to joining Rochford District Council as Chief Executive and working with staff and councillors to continue to deliver the best possible services for residents, businesses and visitors right across the District.

    I know the Rochford District and the County well as my wife grew up in Essex and she still has family living here. It’s a pleasure to return to Essex where we can bring up our family”.

    Mr Dave is expected to join the Council in early November, when there will be a handover period before the current Chief Executive, Paul Warren, retires at the end of December 2013.

    Amar Dave’s appointment was ratified by Full Council on Thursday 1 August 2013.

     

    However the Greens and the Rochford Residents have put out a press release of their own- although they have no criticism of Mr Dave, they are not happy at how the process was carried out:

    “Residents Councillors and Green Councillors were disappointed that the Conservative Administration of Rochford District Council only invited one candidate to make a presentation and take questions from all Members of the Council on 30 July.

    Whilst all Members were initially promised that they would have a choice from more than one candidate this was changed to a presentation from a single candidate by the Conservatives.

    The Conservative Administration of the Council had made it clear at the Extraordinary Council to receive the retirement announcement of Paul Warren that Green and Residents representatives would not be invited to join the Appointments Sub Committee who would interview candidates. This was despite the Intervention of the Lib Dems to no avail given that all previous senior appointments at the Council were by full cross party interviews.

    One Tory Member who asked his Group why the Residents and Greens had been excluded was reportedly told “it would be like BP (The Conservative Administration) appointing a CEO where SHELL (Residents and Greens) would also be on the Appointments Committee.”

    This analogy unreasonably suggests that Residents Councillors and Green Councillors are, according to the Conservatives, not part of a wider representation of the interests of the people of Rochford District.

    This has been a political appointment without choice being offered to all Members of the Council.

    Grassroots Issues

     

     

     

    These photos shows one of the grass-cutting problems we had last summer. This is a stretch of ground  alongside  Downhall Park Way, Rayleigh. When the council’s contractors went bust last year, it was treated by mistake as a rural ditch instead of as an urban verge. So it wasn’t being cut.

    We pointed out that
    a) there wasn’t much point having a council notice board if people couldn’t get close enough to read it
    b) the long grass going to seed was pretty tiresome for all the keen gardeners on the other side of the road and
    c) having a ditch concealed in all that grass wasn’t too safe, especially with a childrens play area nearby.

    So the council began cutting it again.

    We are now into a new growing season. We have checked again today and are assured it will be treated as an urban verge this year and be cut regularly.   But if you think there’s a patch of grass near you that isn’t being cut properly, please let us know – the council officers are keen to get things right. And if you think the grass-cutters  are doing a particularly good job, please let us know as well.

     

    OpenlyLocal, Rochford and “Prospering Suburbs”

    You’ve seen FixMyStreet – now have a look at a new website called OpenlyLocal. It’s about making local government ‘more transparent’.

    They already have a page for Rochford District They are still developing it, but so far it has stuff like recent planning applications and the average age of people in our district (40.2 years).

    It also lists each council ward within the district, and each ward has its own webpage. So if you click on, say, Lodge Ward, you get a map, more population details , information on local policing and fixmystreet reports for Lodge.

    Now, OpenlyLocal describes each ward in terms of ‘output areas’, based on census results. Unfortunately they don’t explain what it means, but in case anyone is interested, most of Rochford District is described as some kind of suburb, though Hockley West is described as “Accessible Countryside” and Hawkwell South is described as “Industrial Areas B”.

    And intriguingly, Downhall and Rawreth isn’t just listed as suburbs, but as “Prospering Suburbs”. It’s the only part of the district described that way – even Wheatley Ward, which has some pretty impressive houses /mansions hidden away , is only described as “Commuter Suburbs A”.

    We can see housebuyers in the future looking at stuff like this when thinking about moving into an area……

    Highways Changes

    Last Saturday the County Council quietly changed which group of engineers looks after our highways. This was a surprise to just about everyone – including the District Council.

    Rochford District is now part of a mid-Essex group, so we have to get to know a different set of engineers.  We haven’t heard a reason for this

    Though the boundaries for the Customer Call Centre remain the same-  but now these do not align with the operational areas.

    Choose the layout you want to see

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    Daily Reporting by Chris Black

    With support from:
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    Latest Comments

    • Linda Kendall: Jim @ 2 above. I think we in Rayleigh Action Group need a pat on the back for achieving what no one...
    • admin: Hi Bruce the link is below. – chapter 6 is the summary: http://www.roch ford.gov.uk/sit es/rochford....
    • JIM Cripps: Let us not forget that the Chief ( Cutmore )and Deputy Chief ( Hudson ) Councillors made a pledge ( in...
    • bruce smart: Admin Do you have the figures for the amount of pitches that should be provided by the local authority...
    • admin: Yes, you are right Jim, should have done it by now, sorry. The “view planning applications 221; pages...
    • Jim Cripps: ADMIN @ 15 – can we get the RTSSC objection on here please….. ?
    • Christine Paine: Unfortunately there is no legal obligation for riders to clear up horse poo as, unlike dog poo, it...
    • Linda Kendall: Oz. Ask Asda they will have a camera on the cash machines. It would be in their interest if this is...
    • A.Matthews: Once upon a time people would fight over horse poo for their gardens but now of course there are hardly...
    • Corey Vost: I do recall when we moved into our property I had a telephone conversation with a Planning Officer at RDC...
    • Christine Paine: Admin, thanks but I don’t think it would necessarily help. During the day satnav seems to...
    • The Mighty Oz: HORSE POO ! Not sure if this is the right place for this post but, if you own the horse that poops not...
    • Greenbelt: Admin, My recollection was that house numbers in Rawreth Lane coincided wuth the introduction of post...
    • admin: Good question, not sure of the answer. Though I vaguely recall that some years ago. – maybe 20- RDC were...
    • admin: Have emailed county highways twice since your lat comment re Priory Chase Corey, don,t seem to have had a...
    • Corey Vost: So is it the responsibility of the Council to ensure emergency services (or anyone for that matter) can...
    • bruce smart: The decisions are made but afterwards the unforeseen problems arise. We could say that these issues...
    • Jim Cripps: Presumably Labour sided with Tory because they are both frightened of UKIP – and that is a good...
    • Christine Paine: We have that problem in our road Linda. No numbers, just names. It was bad enough at night when we...
    • Linda Kendall: Bruce. Part of my objection to the OUTLINE PLANNING APPLICATION ON RAWRETH LANE / LONDON ROAD...
    • Linda Kendall: At least someone is listening. Last week I had the misfortune to have to be called out in the early...
    • admin: Oz , I will email you later re buttons. There’s a good reason why it’s not been done yet. And...
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    • admin: Thanks for your responses Bob – I think it’s the first time we’ve had an MP on here….

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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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