...where there are views of West Rayleigh and beyond. (The masthead photo of onlinefocus was taken here )

Evening Consultation On October 4th

The District Council has advised interested individuals and organisations today that there will be an evening consultation on the new local plan:

” …..As an individual or organisation registered on the Council’s mailing list, and as part of the early engagement that the Council is actively undertaking to inform the preparation of the new Local Plan, I am writing to invite you to a workshop at Cloister Hall, Rectory Garth, Rayleigh, SS6 8BA on Tuesday 4 October between 7pm and 9pm. The purpose of the workshop is to help explain the role of the Parish Council in plan-making and to discuss the future development of the parish – the workshop will inform, but not set, future planning policy.

For more information on adopted planning policy documents and the new Local Plan, please visit: http://www.rochford.gov.uk/planning/policy.

We hope that you are able to attend the workshop. The event will be limited to a maximum of 50 people (due to venue restraints), therefore we kindly please ask all those who were able to attend the workshop during the day on Tuesday 12 September to allow other residents the opportunity to share their issues and ideas. The structure of the event will be identical to the previous workshop, to reach out to anyone who was unable to attend the daytime workshop. If you have been/are unable to attend either workshop, please note that there will be other opportunities to be involved and to inform the plan-making process in the future. The Council has also produced an Issues & Options survey, which provides residents with an opportunity to make their issues and ideas on the future development of District known to us. The survey is available at www.rochford.gov.uk/cee and in local libraries and Council offices.”

polling station sign

Hello Woodham – And, Er , Purleigh.

The District Council Website has a page here on the current review of parliamentary constituencies. There is a public consultation running until December 5th.

You can find the detailed proposals for our local constituencies here.

The main proposed changes for South East Essex are:

  • The three Wickford wards move from “Rayleigh and Wickford” constituency to “Basildon and Billericay”.
  • Two council wards in Pitsea will move into Castle Point.
  • Two Castle Point wards  (St James and Victoria) will move into Southend West
  • One ward -Ashingdon and Canewdon – will move from the old Rayleigh and Wickford Ward into Rochford and Southend West.
  • “Rayleigh and Wickford” constituency is losing Wickford but will have Bicknacre, Rettendon Runwell, two of the Hanningfields plus South Woodham. So it will be renamed “Rayleigh and  Woodham Ferrers “.
  • According to the proposals, “Rayleigh and Woodham Ferrers” will also gain one ward from Maldon – namely Purleigh.  We have to say this is a bit of a surprise, Woodham Ferrers has been part of a Rayleigh constituency before but a bit of Maldon hasn’t been part of the same constituency as Rayleigh since 1832.
  • These boundary changes are happening because the government is deliberating reducing the numbers of MPs in the UK, which doesn’t sound particularly democratic.  It seems a bad omen that the last time that a MP represented both Rayleigh and a part of Maldon, in 1832, he was the ludicrously named William Pole-Tylney-Long Wellesley ( yes he had a quadruple- barrelled name) and is  described by Wikipedia as “an Anglo-Irish Nobleman with a notoriously dissipated lifestyle”. This fellow has a good claim to be the worst Tory MP of all time. (Just read the Wikipedia article)
  • We also wonder whether Purleigh has much in common with Rayleigh, apart from similar names.

If you aren’t happy with these proposals, have a look at the Boundary Commision Report, at the end they give enough information on the number of voters in each council ward for you to make your own proposals. but constituencies have to have between 71031 and 78507 electors – without Purleigh, Rayleigh and Woodham Ferrers will fall short.

 

...where there are views of West Rayleigh and beyond. (The masthead photo of onlinefocus was taken here )

“The Text Was Too Small For This Forty-Year-Old’s Eyes”

James Newport writes here about the consultation workshop in Rayleigh, and he isn’t very impressed.

First of all, the presentation was made less effective by hard-to-read text on the PowerPoint displays and hard-to-hear speech fighting against the sound of the air conditioning.

Secondly, the concept of ‘a walk around the parish’ might work if the parish consists of a church, a school , a shop and a few residential roads. It doesn’t work ok for a town of 33000 people. It’s almost as if we are back in the bad old days of a few years ago when some councillors though that “Real Rayleigh” stopped at the railway bridges.

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An Important Consultation

The district council are running an online survey about future planning issues. You can find the link by clicking here.

This may be everyone’s best chance to influence future decisions – so respond and ask your local friends to do as well. The deadline is 5 pm on October 10th.

Some extra thoughts:
– we hope residents without Internet access will be able to comment.
– we hope that a meeting of the Planning Policy Sub-Committee will meet to discuss this – and in the evening, so that its easy for the public to come and watch.
– We’d like to hear your views on the design of the survey itself – is it nice and easy to use , or is something a bit more detailed required, with more in the way of background information to allow informs comments?

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Will The Fire Service Questionnaire Excite You?

The Essex Fire And Rescue Service are carrying out another consultation – you can find it here.

Don’t get too excited. All the options they’re proposing involve removing the second appliance at Rayleigh Weir. You are basically given a choice of :

cuts
fewer cuts
even more cuts
saying something else

You then get asked a load of questions about yourself.

fire service

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 Authoritys 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. Weve 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….

Consultation On Open Space – Closes November 28th –

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Rochford District Council residents have been given the opportunity to comment on the RDC draft Open Spaces Strategy.

The Friends of Sweyne Park are encouraging people to respond to the consultation, saying:

The committee wants to encourage as many people as possible to respond to this survey…

In the past RDC have been criticised for not taking enough note of public consultations. Maybe that is because so few people actually respond. In an interview on Essex Radio Cllr Simon Smith said that there were 90,000 people in the Rochford district. A recent on line council tax survey had a response from just 24 people.

I hope we can do better than that with this important survey. A significant amount of the Council’s budget is allocated to Open Spaces and if we the council tax payers and open space users want to see a reflection of our views we should take this opportunity to let them know what they are.

The draft Open Spaces Strategy is a large and comprehensive document – don’t be put off! Below is a link to the Open Space Strategy Consultation page on the RDC website where you can find the online form or download a paper copy. You will find references to Cherry Orchard Park and The Friends of Cherry Orchard Park as well as proposals for all open spaces that include the park.

http://www.rochford.gov.uk/leisure_culture_and_tourism/woodlands_parks_and_open_spaces

 

 

District Council’s Budget Survey

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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…..

Consultation Number 2 : On Ward Boundaries

election consultation

Another consultation is on ward boundaries for council elections…

What’s it about? It’s about drawing up new ward boundaries for council elections in Rochford District.

What isn’t it about? – it’s not about parliamentary elections. Only District Council.

What’s the deadline for replying? 12th September

Give me a bit more info: Its time for a government commission to look at all the various council wards we have in Rochford District. This is to ensure that , roughly, each councillor represents the same number of people. There’s a bit of an imbalance at the moment – for example Downhall and Rawreth Ward has more residents than average. The current intention is to keep the same number of councillors – 39. But at the moment we mostly have wards with two Councillors each , for example, Rayleigh currently has eight 2-member wards. Though some wards, like Hullbridge, have 3 councillors, and some , like Barling and Sutton , have 1 councillor. The commission would change this to have all wards with 3 councillors. Now the new ward boundaries have to be drawn up, also taking into account new housing expected in the next few years.

Are there any big changes planned? Well, it’s going to mean big changes across the district. For example, in west Rayleigh and Rawreth we currently have three wards, each with 2 councillors – Downhall & Rawreth, Grange, and Sweyne Park. These are likely to become just two wards, with 3 councillors each. Where do you draw the new boundaries? One way to begin would be to expand Downhall and Rawreth ward southwards to include all of Down Hall Road.

Where can I find out more? Look at the District Council website here You can draw your own lines on a map, and leave comments.

Consultation Number 1 : On Polling Stations

polling station sign

There are quite a few consultations going on at the moment. Here’s one on polling stations:

What’s it about? Polling Stations- where people vote in elections.

What isn’t it about? – it’s not about the boundaries of council wards , or which areas are represented by which councillors. That’s a different consultation…

What’s the deadline for replying? 12th September

Give me a bit more info: Well, there are 45 polling stations across the district,, from Rawreth Village Hall in the west to the Heritage Centre on Foulness Island in the east. This is a routine consultation to check that the polling stations we have a convenient for people to get to and convenient to use.

Are there any big changes planned Should I be alarmed? There’s not much cause for alarm. The only polling station suggested for closure is at Paglesham Congregational Church, which isn’t available anyway for 2015. Probably the key question is whether the polling station at Hullbridge Free Church should be replaced by one at Hullbridge Sports and Social Club:

The Free Church is well known as the polling station for the area, however the disabled access needs improving.
Disabled access is better at Hullbridge Sports and Social Club. Parking facilities are good, but those on foot have further to walk as the club is situated down a long access road.

Where can I find out more? Look at the District Council website here. And in particular download the Returning Officers comments and proposals here.

Judicial Review !

As was mentioned in a comment here last week , campaigner Linda Kendall has arranged and financed a legal action – a Judicial Review – into whether the council consulted properly on its core strategy and allocations document.

Even if she wins the court case and forced a rethink it might not ultimately change the amount of housing and the locations.

But even so its a very bold – though costly – thing for Mrs Kendall to do. If anyone wants to contribute towards the cost, you could contact her via the Rayleigh Action Group website.

Essex Consults On How Good Is Your Local Chemist

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Essex County Council is holding a public consultation on local pharmaceutical services. The consultation will run until 30th April.
Members of the public are asked to complete a short questionnaire on the services provided by pharmacies, dispensing doctors and internet pharmacies in the Essex area. The results of the survey will help the County Council and the Essex Health and Wellbeing Board to understand how local people use the services, how they rate their experiences and what services they would like to see in the future.
The questionnaire is completely confidential and does not require any personal identifying information.

The results of the survey will be used to help produce a Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment for Essex determining what, if any, services will be required to meet local needs. The report will be available to the public from early 2015.

Councillor Ann Naylor, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Public Health & Wellbeing, said: “We would really encourage members of the public to tell us about their experiences of services from chemist’s shop. It will only take a few minutes to complete, so please take advantage of this opportunity to help shape the services of the future.”

The survey is live at http://www.essexinsight.org.uk/ViewPage1.aspx?C=Resource&ResourceID=919

For more information or to request a paper copy/alternative format call 01245 430 430 or email contact@essex.gov.uk