Due to findings within our annual play inspection programme, certain play areas and play equipment have been temporarily closed. We are working hard to repair and replace these items of play and these works have been prioritised. Please see below list of play areas that are currently undergoing maintenance:
With very unfortunate timing for the school holidays, the district council has had to remove some swings from playspaces due to adverse safety reports. This seems to have caught the council completely by surprise.
In some cases the removals are only temporary, awaiting the arrival of new spare parts. in other cases it may be difficult to get the spares. 🙁
Of course safety has to come first. However we are keeping a close eye on what’s going on, both at a district council level and town council level.
Meanwhile, there’s nothing on the district council website about this
Please beware of the plant Giant Hogweed – it can cause very nasty blisters, like the dome-like one on my leg in the picture. There’s a 2p coin next to it for comparison . I’m not sure where it was, as I do a lot of walking for exercise. Fortunately it does not hurt but looks very nasty. Wikipedia describes it like this:
“The sap of the giant hogweed plant is phototoxic; when the contacted skin is exposed to sunlight or to ultraviolet rays, it can cause phytophotodermatitis (severe skin inflammations). Initially, the skin colours red and starts itching. Blisters form as it burns within 48 hours. They form black or purplish scars that can last several years. Hospitalisation may be necessary. The presence of minute amounts of sap in the eyes can lead to temporary or even permanent blindness.[better source needed]
These reactions are caused by the presence of linear derivatives of furanocoumarin in its leaves, roots, stems, flowers, and seeds. These chemicals can get into the nucleus of the epithelial cells, forming a bond with the DNA, causing the cells to die. The brown colour is caused by the production of melanin by furocoumarins.
Authorities advise that children should be kept away from giant hogweed, that protective clothing, including eye protection, should be worn when handling or digging it, and that if skin is exposed, the affected area should be washed thoroughly with soap and water and the exposed skin protected from the sun for several days.”
A few things in and around Downhall and Rawreth Ward, in no particular order:
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.
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
We 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
Following complaints from a third resident, we have also pursuing two flood-related issues with Rochford DC.
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?
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.
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….
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.