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Bits And Pieces

A few things in and around Downhall and Rawreth Ward, in no particular order:

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Sweyne Park:

Following a complaint about the wooden railings in the stretch of the bridle path from Canterbury Close southwards, we have reported this to Rochford DC. We understand that as the hedging has grown in size, the railing may not need replacing as it gets older , but some of it is falling down and could become a danger to riders – apart from making  the park look uncared for.

Hullbridge Road

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Following a complaint from another resident, we have asked Rochford Dc to ask Essex County Council to complete their rubbish clearing of the ditch and look at the railings here.

Down Hall Road

school signWe have asked the County Council to put a new warning sign here – the existing one has changed colour from red to grey. Please note we are also thinking about complaints we’ve had about parent parking and driving around Downhall School.

 

London Road, Rawreth

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Following complaints from a third resident, we have also pursuing two flood-related issues with Rochford DC.

 

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A Thought-Provoking Point Of View On Pedestrian Crossings

The video below explains why pedestrian crossings may not always make you safer. The question is, though, is US data valid for our country? And how would you help blind or partially sighted people without crossings?

 

Hat-tip: Mark Pack

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Fencing Request

We’ve been contacted recently by a resident concerned about an unfenced ditch at the entrance to the open space where Downhall Under Fives are based. RDC has done some work recently on the drainage ditch near the entrance here. This is commendable, and there is some fencing where the ditch is deepest.

However it has not placed any fencing where the ditch is less steep.

This may not be a particular hazard right now, however in winter rains when there is water in the ditch and the sloping ground is slippery and muddy then it could be a safety hazard, bearing in mind small children passing by. So we have asked RDC if they can provide fencing here.

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Essex Fire Service Consultation

One of our readers has pointed out to us that the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service are carrying out a consultation on future strategy:

Residents are being urged to have their say in the future redesign of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS), through a 12 week consultation that starts today (Monday June 15) and ends on Sunday September 6.

The consultation process, the main element of the Fire Authority’s Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP), aims to address several key issues impacting on the fire service such as the declining number of call-outs and the need to increase the focus on preventing fires and emergencies from happening.

It will also look at major issues such as response times, and the ambitious target of having a working smoke alarm in every Essex home.

Acting Chief Fire Officer Adam Eckley said: “This is an opportunity for everyone to have a say in the future shape of ECFRS. We want all residents and businesses to have a look at the plan and let us know what you think.

“It is clear that the best way to keep people safe from fires and other emergencies is to stop them occurring in the first place. We’ve enjoyed great success in doing so, and we are proud of our record – the number of emergencies we attend has reduced by half in the past 10 years to around 13,500. All this against a backdrop of spending reductions and a growing, ageing, diversifying population.

“As a result of this success, we face a future which will be characterised by changes to the nature of the operational demands on our Service, alongside decreased funding. But we need to ensure that as a Service we remain sustainable into the future. We will become protection and prevention focussed, but we will always have a strong response element to fires and emergencies.”

The consultation exercise is in two parts, with the initial 12-week period asking eight key questions on the Service, along with opportunities for residents to have their say on any aspect of the plan. The results of the first consultation will inform the development of a set of options for change, which will then be consulted on in the second stage.

You can find the survey here. One of the questions in the survey is a bit of a giveaway:


Question 4: Provided we were able to continue to meet our response standards, would you support a reduction in our response resources?

Also the survey has “heterosexual” spelt incorrectly….

Essex Street Lights Switch-off To Be Raised In Commons

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The decision by Essex County Council to switch-off street lights at midnight is to be raised in the House of Commons this morning by Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell.
Liberal Democrat Sir Bob has had his name drawn for this morning’s Questions to the Secretary of State for Transport – and he has said that he will be asking about the road safety consequences for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians because of the black-out.
Sir Bob – who is a former Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Road Safety Group – has tried to get Essex County Council to alter its policy, but the Council has refused to do so.

Adder Warning !

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A helpful warning from Rawreth Parish Councillor Christine Paine:

I wonder if you could put something on OnLine Focus to warn walkers, dog walkers and riders about  late season adder explosion, especially on the footpath/bridleway that goes round Dollymans and over the bridge then back to the A129. One of my neighbours dogs has been bitten, fortunately they got it to the vet in time and it’s OK, but he saw several and when I saw some riders yesterday they said six had slithered across the path in front of them. We think the work at the back of the sub-station has disturbed and displaced them as there are far more than usual, and it’s late in the season for there to be this number around, possibly the summer like weather is encouraging them out as well.

Find out more about adders here.

FREE SANDBAGS

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From the District Council website today

Rochford District Council issues free sandbags

Due to the adverse weather conditions, Rochford District Council will be providing free sandbags and sand to those in need.
These will be available from BSG Buildbase, at Purdeys Industrial Estate, in tomorrow (Friday, February 14).
Residents will need to take proof of residency with them, such as a council tax or utility bill.
They will not be expected to pay for them, merely to sign for them.
Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Keith Hudson, said: “Because of the exceptional weather conditions we are experiencing at the moment, following urgent discussions with our officers this afternoon, Rochford District Council has approved this move to help residents all that we possibly can.”
Rochford District Council also called a meeting on Wednesday afternoon with partner agencies to discuss the response to flooding issues.
The meeting was a move to work more closely with Anglia Water, Essex County Council’s Highways department and the Flooding Partnership manager at Essex County Council to find joint solutions to tackle flooding.

Something For The UK To Be Proud Of

Not exactly local news – but this interactive map shows the number of road deaths per 100,000 people in the year 2010.

Move the curssor onto any country to get the figures. For the UK the figure was 3.7 deaths per 100,000 people. That’s still 3.7 too many, but still better than almost anywhere else!  The figure for Germany was 4.7 , USA 11.4, Russia 18.6, Iran 34.1…

hat-tip: Andrew Sullivan

Pool? Drainage Feature ? Hazard?

The other major planning application last Thursday was near King Edmund School.

This is a 13 acre site, and the scheme was for 100 houses and flats, a new access road, a new car park and new bus park for King Edmund School, and some open space.

This scheme had already been approved ‘in outline’ – it was the details that were being agreed here.

The big issue was, rather unexpectedly, over a new large water retention pond. It would slope very gently, and the maximum depth would be 4 feet. The idea was to have a new pond here to receive rainwater and prevent flash flooding. But some councillors, such as Gill Lucas-Gill, were concerned about the safety aspects for children . Councillor Keith Gordon was concerned that when there wasn’t much rain it might it get full of mosquitoes. Other councillors were simply very wary – this wasn’t in the middle of a big park, it wasn’t too far from houses.

In the end the scheme was passed.

Embrace Life !

We’ve never posted this film before …. almost incredibly “How It Feels To Be Run Over” was made in 1900. And hopefully it shocked those watching it to think about road safety.

We post this beautiful video about once a year and will carry on doing so…. So many people are feeling good right now, with the summer holidays and the Olympics. So let’s be careful and “Embrace life” and the ones we love….

Beware Of the Algae ! Do Not Touch Scum!

Image from the Environment Agency leaflet

From the District Council Website today:

Rochford District Council is issuing a warning to all pet owners in the District who use Cherry Orchard Jubilee Country Park after the discovery of potentially toxic algal blooms in the lake.
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During periods of warm, sunny, calm weather algal blooms can naturally appear in water.
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Following the discovery of what appeared to be algae and algae scum on the lake at Cherry Orchard Jubilee Country Park, the Council put up precautionary notices around the lake warning visitors of the possible dangers of Blue Green Algae.
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Samples of the algae and water were taken and sent for testing by the Environment Agency.
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The results of these samples have confirmed that potentially toxic Blue Green Algae is present in the lake which may cause illness in humans and animals.
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The Council is requesting that visitors to the lake take the following precautions:

• Keep away from the water’s edge.
• Keep pets away from the water’s edge.
• Do not touch scum, either in the water or on the banks.

The full article is here.

You can download the Evironment Agency leaflet on blue-green algae here. (360kb)

It says:


How can blue-green algae affect you?

Bloom and scum forming blue-green algae can produce toxins. Toxin producing blooms are called Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs).
These toxins can kill wild animals, farm livestock and domestic pets . In humans, they can cause rashes after skin contact and
illnesses if swallowed. Not all blue-green algae blooms and scums are toxic, but you can’t tell just by looking at them, so it’s best to assume they are.

County Council Paying Over A Million Pounds A Year In Pothole Compensation

From thisistotalessex:

POTHOLES on Essex roads have forced the council to pay injured motorists and pedestrians more than £4 million in compensation in just three years.
A Chronicle Freedom of Information request reveals Essex County Council paid £4,395,144 of taxpayers’ money in damages to residents hurt by falling or driving into potholes on our county’s roads.

And with budgets being squeezed at county hall and funding for capital projects cut to a third, opposition councillors say that compensation claims are likely only to rise.
Tom Smith-Hughes, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: “Contrary to what the administration has been saying – the state of our roads is pretty bad.
“Compensation claims are only likely to rise with the cuts, as there won’t be enough money to fix all the roads.
“My one worry is that the council accepts these payouts because it can’t afford to fix the underlying problem.”

Neil Greig, the Essex spokesman for the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “The problem lies partly in years of underinvestment.
“Essex, like most local authorities, has fallen into that trap.
“Not only are we wasting millions of pounds in compensation claims but we have a huge backlog of roads that need improving.

It’s going to take years to sort this out. A good starting point would be for the Conservatives on the County Council to admit they have got us into this mess. They can’t say they weren’t warned. The Lib Dems warned back in 2008:

“It will mean that people in Essex will have to get used to bigger potholes being around for longer, as the ruling party fail to balance its funding of road maintenance. The proposals come just weeks after the Conservatives announced a £10m overspend on the highways budget.
“The report is riddled with inconsistencies and it is hard to see how it will be of benefit to residents . The basic premise seems to be to wait until damage to road surfaces get worse before even looking to see whether it should be fixed or not. The Conservatives are recommending that when dealing with misaligned kerbs, for example, there is no commitment at all to provide a date for work to be carried out.
“Apart from the obvious inconvenience to the public, we have concerns about the additional hazard that damaged road and footpath surfaces will have for cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians alike. This will inevitably lead to more and higher level compensation claims being made against the council.