Chris Black writes:
In many parts of Rayleigh there is a sudden realisation about the proposed developments to the west of the town. People are upset that they didn’t know about it.
Why didn’t they know about it ?
1 – The process has been dragging on for seven years – and the big decisions were mostly taken about three years ago. A lot of people have moved here since then.
2- It’s a difficult topic for the press to cover thoroughly. The core strategy has thousands of pages of documents, as new reporters take over at a paper they have a tricky job of learning about all this stuff and then writing articles without any mistakes.
3 – The District Council hasn’t exactly made a huge effort to publicise things. Some roadshows every few years, something in “Rochford Matters” once in while…. and trying to find this stuff on their website isn’t easy unless you already know what to look for.
4.- Some councillors have tried to keep their residents advised , maybe some others haven’t !
5 – Sometimes people just don’t read about it , whatever you do. In Downhall and Rawreth , for example we’ve written about the proposed 550 houses fairly often – most homes have had three leaflets just this year from us that mention it (and Ron Oatham pays the 50p postage to mail them to the remotest homes in our ward). And yet we know some people here who genuinely haven’t heard about it – maybe they have a ‘no leaflets’ sign on their letterbox, or someone in their home chucks our leaflets straight in the bin? The most general reaction we’ve got from our residents is “Oh, it’s still going on then is it”.
Ultimately the District Council should have done better.