onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003


January 4th, 2014 |

Flood Questions

Full credit to Councillors John and Christine Mason for their work on flood prevention – as reported in the Echo here.

echo - flooding

Especially their questioning about the district council budget, and the apparent failure to use £10,000 in the council budget for sewers and ditch clearance.
It would be very good news if the council administration could have a rethink and reinstate this budget!

12 Responses to “Flood Questions”

  1. 1
    Jim Cripps:

    An even more fundamental question is if/why planning permission is given to building on/close to sites clearly subject to flooding – the areas subject to either / or both tidal and surface water ( rain) flooding are clearly illustrated on Environmental Agency maps ( available online). In fact their documents instruct Developers to consult the EA
    and create a flood Risk Assessment ( and risk mitigation plans) for inclusion in any Planning Application ( to RDC).
    A quick look at the map shows High Risk ( dark blue) at Canterbury Close/ Priory Close + Temple Way/ Fairmead/ Salem and the Eon site – in fact all those that flooded
    Last August, not to mention the land immediately adjacent ( where the 550+ are proposed).
    Full marks to the Independents for actually clearing a brook and raising this issue.

  2. 2
    bruce smart:

    Ditch by Hullbridge Road. Has a lot of debris in it both vegetation and household. I asked for clearing on 11/12/13, an easy date to remember. How long until the work is completed. Also 2 drains blocked reported near Cadets Hall on Hullbridge Road on same day.

  3. 3
    Jim Cripps:

    Bruce, it will probably need a Sludge Gulper Lorry to clear the drains but (as with Hawkwell)
    a volunteer working party could clear the ditch.
    We need to shame those who are actually responsible – put out a call, I’m sure you will get a response, then get the Echo to report it.

  4. 4
    John Mason:

    Obviously not confidential as it is in the Echo.

    “Ideas include back-dating charges to those not properly maintaining their ditches, funding bids to Government and increasing parking charges with extra funds raised being ring fenced for flood defence improvement.”

    What do residents think about increasing car parking charges for a new RDC flood prevention service?

  5. 5
    Jim Cripps:

    I think this proves that Councils/ Hospitals/ Rail Stations etc; all see parking fees and fines as the proverbial “cash cow” income source , so no from me – whereas fining parties for not having executed the obligations does have logic/ merit.
    But it is just fire- fighting, it must be obvious to everyone that the climate is changing and a cohesive plan to combat flooding is now required; after all nearly a 1000 years ago the Normans were smart enough to build at the top of the hill. Hundreds of years ago peasant Farmers were savvy enough to create a series of field ditches to steer
    surplus water towards the Crouch. Then we come along with the benefit of detailed flood zone mapping and continue to build on prone areas , justified by culverts/ponds
    that are not maintained and surprise,surprise they back up and flood.
    Half a million on the Town Centre ( see other thread) – NO , a flood solution strategy is a more pressing need, and £2+ million on a Travellers Site – NO , a flood solution is needed by the majority mot a minority.
    We seriously need some more professional help in running this district.

  6. 6
    John Mason:

    Hi Jim

    Here is another one for residents to consider.

    From An Interview with the now retired RDC Chief Executive, Paul Warren

    “Rochford Life : You mention verge cutting. Is grass cutting a big issue?

    Paul: Well, we have gone through some interesting learning exercises around verge cutting because highway verges are a County Council function. This means they should be cutting them, but they pass it to us and they only give us enough money for one and a half cuts a year! This comes to about £30,000.”

    So if the cutting of highway verges were to cost RDC say, £100K, then RDC would be losing circa £70K each year which, I think, equates to more than a 1% rise in Council Tax.

    Any comments from residents?

  7. 7
    Jim Cripps:

    John at #6 –
    I’m convinced that the switch to centralised government ( EU > Westminster > District)
    creates too large a scope and that breeds a broad brush decision making culture, we
    lose the pragmatic common sense approach of more ‘local’ knowledge. A future example for you –
    ECC will own and operate the proposed Traveller Site, but it will be paid for by RDC
    ( or rather us the punters via Council Taxes) but Highways will be responsible for designing safe access and egress and no doubt security services will be contracted out and so on. It is an obvious recipe for no one party taking responsibility for it.
    So how can County sub-contract part of their scope ( grass cutting) to District ? , or was it their scope in the first place – probably nobody knows , I rest my case.

  8. 8
    christine paine:

    I agree Jim. we have Town and Parish Councils, that we are paying for on our Council Tax, but they have no real power when it comes to making important decisions that affect their areas
    that they know better than anyone else. “Localism” seems to have been one of those “ideal concepts” that this Government seem so fond of but that have no intention of actually carrying out. A good hard look at the whole thing is needed, with the ideal solution being power stripped from Westminster other than for national matters with local matters decided at local level. If your Town or Parish Council says no to certain plans, that’s it, end of story, no overturning it by big government who don’t know, and even worse, have no interest in the area or impact of the plan. Local works, i.e. grass cutting, decided on by Districts, money taken from County and given to District to cover the actual cost of this. Again County restricted to things that affect the whole county, like major roads, lighting etc. If localism was put into full effect we would see some massive changes I think

  9. 9
    Jim Cripps:

    @8 –
    You of course realize that Cllr Seagers will be on shortly – with his ‘Passport to Pimlico’
    put- down, but I think you are right, I’ll give another example of “big picture is best” –
    I spent a 50 year career in Design & Construction , from bottom up to the top, I saw the new order arrive ( blue-sky thinking / win- win scenarios /economy of scale / contracting out and all the other MBA mantras ). It took them just 3 years to ruin the
    companies reputation for excellence – a rep that had taken 100 years to build. The EU, Westminster , NHS , Councils etc; all suffer from the same outsize issue……..

  10. 10
    JIM Cripps:

    Christine – we are not alone, a splendid summing up letter in the Echo tonight, from
    another Rayleigh resident , basically there is no democracy……….

  11. 11
    Jim Cripps:

    Interesting item on BBC TV news this morning – apparently a number of large housing developments have been delayed due to Council and Developers not
    agreeing on who pays for flood measures ( presumably culverts/ponds/pumps etc;).

    Now given the land North of London Rd is bisected (E > W) by Rayleigh Brook and
    ( N > S ) by feeder ditches – all shown as flood risks on the EA flood maps, the first
    Question in the consultation phase has to be what measures & who pays the bill?.

    Presumably this issue has come up due to the regular flooding events being high
    profile news over the last few years and currently – not to mention Rayleigh in the
    News last year.

  12. 12
    Christine Paine:

    Nice to know we are not alone Jim. Perhaps others will join us in the run up to Council/General elections, we can but hope.

    On flooding – I also saw a suggestion that householders should in future be billed by Councils for flood prevention measures (this in relation to new developments). If that goes ahead it will make developments in flood prone areas very unattractive to buyers and if they are unattractive to buyers they will also be so to developers.

    There are just so many things against this development. Taken individually some may not be that large, but when you add them all up it makes it more and more astounding that RDC ever even thought of it, let alone agreed to it. The consultation process could be interesting.

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