Snow Sunday?

The BBC weather forecast for Rayleigh has heavy snow falling for much of tomorrow.

The County Council Website has details here of how its planning to respond to the weather.

You can track some of their gritting lorries here.
They also have a twitter feed here.

Maybe its a good time to show this video we’ve just found, of Crown Hill, Rayleigh, in a snowy 2009!

Chickpea, Tomato and Rosemary Best Brunch Loaf

We seem to write about food on Friday nights (it’s often an easy post to write at the end of a long week !)

Well, Southend Labour Blogger Jack Monroe has a recipe at only 10p per portion

“Shape into a rugby ball shape, pop into a lightly greased 1lb loaf tin, cover with a tea towel or cling film and leave to rise for TWO HOURS. This sounds a lot but I left this one by fluke for much longer than my usual half hour rising time, and the end result was a light gorgeous loaf with a proper crust around it.”

We might have some meatier local stuff over the weekend….!

Sounds Like An “Interesting” Meeting…

Michael Hoy writes about the latest Hullbridge Parish Council meeting here.

Clearly there were some disagreements on local Hullbridge issues – Michael describes the meeting as backward looking! But on the big issue of the night:

The most important matter, the housing allocation for the 500 houses to the West of Hullbridge, was also discussed. The Parish Council is a consultee on the proposals and responded with the following points, stating the policy;

conflicted with community cohesion
lacked infrastructure planning, re water, sewage & transport
lacked integrated transport planning
was confusing over whether 2015 start or 2021 start (it is very clear that all the documents state a 2015 start so we are not sure why there is any confusion)
The surprise was the Portfolio Holder in charge of the Allocations proposals, Cllr Keith Hudson, suggesting a new access road to the Beeches Road/Watery Lane junction from Malyons Lane. To us this would put Hullbridge right in the middle of a rat run with the traffic now using Watery Lane (plus additional traffic attracted by the better road) using the route through Hullbridge increasing the traffic flow along Ferry Road 10 fold and that along Malyons Lane 100 fold. A mad idea.

The District Council Unveils It’s Action Plan For Rayleigh…

From the District Council website…..


Rochford District Council is pleased to announce an exhibition for the Rayleigh Area Action Plan.

The Rayleigh Area Action Plan will create the framework for development sites and planning policies for Rayleigh town centre, and will help guide public and private investment in the area.

The exhibition will take place from 2pm on 15 January 2013 to 29 January 2013 in the foyer of Rayleigh Library. The exhibition will give members of the public an opportunity to see, and comment on how the Council’s plan for Rayleigh town centre is progressing.

Library opening times:
Monday – 9.00-17.00
Tuesday – 9.00-17.00
Wednesday – 9.00-17.00
Thursday – 9.00-17.00
Friday – 9.00-17.00
Saturday – 9.00-17.00

The exhibition material and the questionnaire can also be viewed  online – please see under Related Documents [towards the bottom of the council webpage]

Further, formal, consultation on the Rayleigh Area Action Plan will take place later in the year.

One earlier version of the Rayleigh Area Action Plan, called the Issues and Options Document, has been prepared in 2009 taking into account community involvement. More information on this document can be found under Related Links.




You can download the council exhobition leaflet from here, but here are the key proposals from the document (click to enlarge)

We hope you will reply to the council directly, but as always, comments are welcome here on onlinefocus (once you have read their leaflet or been to their exhibition)

Dangerous Zebra Crossing In Ashingdon Road !



On FixmyStreet over the weekend:

Zebra crossing both flashing lights not working

Reported in the Traffic lights category anonymously at 13:34, Saturday 12 January 2013
Sent to Essex County Council less than a minute later

The zebra crossing has both flashing lights out, vehicles unfamiliar with the area are not aware there is a zebra crossing when it is dark and are therefore not stopping to let people cross. This crossing is used by students attending The King Edmund School.

Hullbridge Parish Council Meeting

There’s a meeting of Hullbridge Parish Council tomorrow night 14th January at 7.30pm.

It’s at the Hullbridge Centre in Windermere Avenue. It’s of course open to the public (even if you don’t live in Hullbridge)
The agenda includes the housing allocation for Hullbridge/ NE Rawreth and also a new logo for the parish.

Full details on the Hullbridge Green Party website here.

Regal Bus Worries

Rawreth Parish Council have been advised by the Essex County Council bus team that from March 3rd, two Regal Busways routes are being withdrawn, and a third one reduced. It’s very disappointing news. It would have a drastic impact for some Rawreth residents in particular:

Service :Regal Busways R3 – Rawreth Lane – Rayleigh Station
Changes :Service withdrawn
Impact: A number of peak time journeys linking the Rawreth Lane area of Rayleigh to the station are withdrawn, leaving a small number of remaining service 3 journeys at these times unaffected.

Service: Regal Busways 2 – Southend – Rochford – Hockley – Rayleigh – Chelmsford
Changes: Service withdrawn
Impact:This 3 day a week direct shopper service between Southend and Chelmsford will be withdrawn, alternative journeys will require using more than one bus.

Service: Regal Busways 6 Southend – Rayleigh – Rawreth – Chelmsford
Changes: Service withdrawn
Impact: This 2 day a week direct shopper service between Southend and Chelmsford will be withdrawn, alternative journeys will require using more than one bus.

Essex County Council is assessing its response to these changes.

We’ve tried looking at the Regal Busways website, but all you get is a big red page, saying the website is currently down for maintenance:

This information is included on the County Council’s monthly bus passenger news, which you can download from here.

We will be seeing if there is anything we can do to help the situation.

Bullwood Hall To Close

As the Guardian reports here, Bullwood Hall Prison in Hockley is to be closed by this March.

This is obviously bad news for the staff who work there; we understand some may be offered transfers to other jails or to take voluntary redundancy packages.

It may also have an impact on the District Council’s core strategy. The Bullwood Hall site is a ‘brownfield site’ in the Green Belt. Although we can’t see the District Council giving a reprieve to Rawreth or to Hullbridge ,because the general locations have already been chosen. But this site could conceivably be used in the future, to avoid another site from being selected elsewhere.

Feasts Of Nostalgia

One of the local websites in our sidebar is the Rochford District Community Archive. If you have a look, you’ll find a small goldmine of stories about local people and places..

One example is about Love Lane School in Rayleigh from 1955 to 1957/58. This article actually demonstrates just how fast Rayleigh grew in the 1950s – pupils as young as six were being bussed to Thundersley because of the rapid increase in population!

Another is about William Atkinson, one of the finest violin-makers in England, who moved from Tottenham in 1911 to avoid the air pollution that affected the varnish when it was drying. So he moved to Paglesham, took over the village shop and still made violins. He had a secret formula for his varnish:

“The old man realised too late that he was dying, and tried to impart the secret to his son, but the effort was too much for him. He fell back on his pillow, dead….he was an old sailor, and lived for many years at Tottenham, moving to Paglesham in order to secure the pure air and sunshine for drying the varnish on his violins. To fill in his time he took a small general store and became postmaster for the village”.