onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003

 

April 24th, 2013 |

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.

 

26 Responses to “Grassroots Issues”

  1. 1
    The Might Oz:

    Chris / team,

    Thanks for your work on this one, let’s look forward to a “tidy” summer !

  2. 2
    John Mason:

    Is it not time that Essex County Council paid RDC the going rate for carrying out the highway cutting operations that ECC is responsible for? In my view if Essex County Council had done so then there would have been NO need for a Council Tax increase at RDC of 1.96%. It should have been no problem for Essex to make very small savings in other things in their budget in order that the contract put on RDC was economic and not loss making to Rochford District Council. Inevitably I am going to ask candidates for our votes to tell voters how this unacceptable situation will be put right.

  3. 3
    Chris Black:

    This is a very important point John.

    The County Council is responsible for cutting verges, but for many years the District Council has done it on their behalf, for a fee. But the agreed fee is much less than the actual cost.

    I asked about this earlier this week. After about a year of trying, the District Council still can’t even get a meeting with the County Council portfolio holder to discuss this!

    Let me repeat that. Despite having all Conservative County Councillors in this area, and 2 Conservative MPs, our District Council can’t even get a meeting with Conservative County Councillor in charge of this.

    If I’m elected it will be in my top three on my list of issues to be tackled.

  4. 4
    John Mason:

    Chris

    “If I’m elected it will be in my top three on my list of issues to be tackled.”

    What are the other two and what is the order of all three?

  5. 5
    ST1:

    Can anything be done to get the central reservation on the A1245 cut regularly this year? Same goes for the A127 central reservation and grass beside slip roads.

  6. 6
    Chris Black:

    Another issue is potholes and highways maintenance.

    And I don’t know what the third one is.

    That sounds odd. But I’m guessing that , just as the issue about the costs of cutting grass verges had been hidden away until last year, there’s surely another big issue that you and I don’t know about yet… I’d be surprised if there wasn’t

  7. 7
    John Mason:

    @ST1

    I understand that RDC is having to reduce the periodicity of cutting on behalf of Essex County Council in order to ensure that the huge loss that Rochford District Council is incurring on the Contract awarded by ECC is reduced.

    I will leave Chris and his colleagues on this site to report on the details.

  8. 8
    John Mason:

    @Chris

    What about the issue of a consolidated, comprehensive traffic assessment to take account of the cumulative effects of ALL of the planned house building. We discussed that here and I thought that you saw such an assessment as a priority?

    I heard The CEO of RDC at the Business Breakfast on Thursday tell businessmen and women in his update that RDC was encouraging house building in the District.

    Further another RDC Officer has written when discussing Planning Conditions and Non Enforcement with me “the local planning authority is required by Government to take positive stance on housing development”.

    Both of these evidence that this promotion seems to be going much further than the binding requirements of the new NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework).

    Can you recall when and how in Council this was debated?

  9. 9
    Chris Black:

    Oh yes John, a comprehensive assessment is needed – but I’m thinking that is something we have to strive for, whatever the election result.

  10. 10
    The Mighty Oz:

    Chris, I suggest that your 3rd issue should be anti social behaviour and graffiti. I see that our local yobs have recently broken one of the saplings next to the Virgin Leisure Centre.

  11. 11
    Chris Black:

    I take your point , Oz.

    Though these aren’t specifically County Council issues – except that County Councillors might be able to get ECC to clear up graffiti on their own property more quickly,

  12. 12
    The Mighty Oz:

    Chris,

    To be brutally frank people don’t care if it’s CC, ECC, RDC. They want the place cleaned up ASAP and the yobs doing it caught and charged. ( and no do gooders worrying about their Human Rights )

  13. 13
    ST1:

    John, I did wonder if grass cutting on long the arterial roads was a county issue rather than district. I seem to recall that last year the A127 central reservation was better maintained west of the M25, which is in the London Borough of Havering.

    On the subject of graffiti, I’ve noticed some pretty big scrawls in the town. Someone has climbed on top of the building where the Clarkes shoe shop is and scrawled on the side of the neighbouring building. Similarly at the parade of shops opposite the post office collection office, someone has climbed up and painted a scrawl on the side of a building. It really looks a mess. Same goes for the area behind the Audley Mills building, as you walk through from Websters Way carpark – graffiti and litter.

  14. 14
    Chris Black:

    Yes, there’s still much too much graffiti around.
    We should keep reporting it, encourage landowners to clean it up, and encourage the police to put resources into dealing with this. Two persons did get ASBos last month. http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/10274875.Problem_teens_given_anti_social_behaviour_orders/

    Back in 2010 someone was jailed: http://www.southendstandard.co.uk/news/8442432.Railway_graffiti_vandal_jailed_for_a_year/

  15. 15
    John Mason:

    @ST1

    The frequency of urban cuts has been reduced from 15 to 7 and the frequency of rural cuts has been reduced from 2 plus junction sight lines to one + junction sight lines.

    This decision was agreed as part of the budget process and specifically ratified by the RDC Cabinet on 17 April.

    RDC tells me that the urban verge contractor is currently behind schedule and this is being followed up.

  16. 16
    The Mighty Oz:

    Chris,

    In reality how are you going to “encourage” the police, I thought that they should be on top of this as part of their day to day duties.

  17. 17
    ST1:

    I think the council must have a different definition of junction sight lines to me. Views of traffic on the Carpenters Arms roundabout and Fair Glenn roundabout were very poor for most of last summer. Some slip roads were also affected by long grass restricting the views of traffic as you try to join the a127.

  18. 18
    ST1:

    Does anyone know why the council contractor has cut the grass in Rawreth Lane outside Asda, but has not bothered to cut the grass outside the flats on the other side of Priory Chase?

  19. 19
    admin:

    If it is within the curtilage of the flats it would be cut by the Housing Association’s contractor rather than the council’s contractor.

  20. 20
    ST1:

    I suspected that could be the case, but from a council tax payer point of view it looks like the council playing politics while the residents put up with scruffy verges. For the sake of an extra 10 minutes with the mower it could have been a lot neater.

    That piece of lawn has some kind of memorial in the middle of it, a remnant of the old school if I recall correctly. Is that also now owned by the flats?

  21. 21
    admin:

    I will double-check re the flats, I could have got that wrong.

    The memorial is to two schoolboys killed in Hullbridge Road about 1990. I don’t know who is actually the owner, though Ron was involved in getting it put back in place after the redevelopment.

  22. 22
    Greenbelt:

    The grass has been cut today but the memorial would look much nicer for a little TLC.

  23. 23
    Chris Black:

    Speaking more generally, we are not happy with the grass cutting this year and Ron has sent some photos in to the District Council.

  24. 24
    ST1:

    Greenbelt, Chris, thanks for the feedback. Good to hear it has been cut now, it didn’t make sense to do one side of the road and not the other.

    I think I’m becoming slightly obsessed with grass cutting in the area. I agree with Chris, it’s not very good at the moment. My main gripe is the poor visibility on main road junctions because of the lack of maintenance on our A-roads now, but also in town the verges are being left neglected for too long, and the town starts to look shabby because of it. Driving home from Sweyne school yesterday, I noticed how untidy London Road looks at the moment because of the shaggy verges.

  25. 25
    A.matthews:

    Back to the usual question .Why the inequality of resources provided by County to RDC ?Perhaps our new County Councillors will ask the question at County Hall .The contrast between the roads around Rettendon and South Wood ham and the verges along the A1245 is stark . Please do not use the argument that wild flowers need protecting as I find the forest of Ragwort not attractive and as I have said many times before is so dangerous to grazing animals.I try to establish wild flower margins on fields which gets contaminated by ragwort seeds blowing in the wind from the road verges .

  26. 26
    The Mighty Oz:

    On a brighter note the verge / ditch / edge between Downhall Park Way and the park is being kept in tip top condition this year. ( well so far anyway )

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