onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003


February 17th, 2015

Three Highways Issues In Downhall Park Way


Three issues in Downhall Park Way:

First of all, someone has suggested having yellow lines at the junction of Downhall Park Way with Rawreth Lane. These would be standard ‘junction protection’ lines simply to stop motorists parking too close to the junction. Any thoughts about that?

A second person has expressed their concern about the high speeds of a small number of cars in Downhall Park Way. We might be able to get temporary signs that flash when drivers exceed the limit. Again, do people have any thoughts about that?

Thirdly, we have asked County Highways to repaint the Give Way lines at the junctions of Downhall Park Way and Harberts Way.

February 16th, 2015

A Shocking Day At Hambro Parade

Armed robbery today at the Hambro Post Office …. the Echo have a brief report here.

Our best wishes and thoughts to everyone there.

February 15th, 2015

Teignmouth Drive Issues


Ron and Chris were contacted a little while back by a resident regarding parking in Teignmouth Drive , Rayleigh. The issue is the amount of on-street parking near the junction with Down Hall Road, and the resident asked for the yellow lines at the junction (which Chris arranged in about 1988) to extend a little further down.

Ron raised this with the “South Essex Parking Partnership” who are a consortium of local councils, but its’ been rejected. Their latest response said:

  • Teignmouth Drive already has 15 metres of junction protection, which is in excess of the advice given in the highway code.
  • There is no evidence to suggest parked vehicles have caused any road traffic collisions.
  • It is acknowledged that parked vehicle act as a natural traffic calming measure, even if it means drivers may have to stop for short periods due to the volume of traffic using the road at certain times of the day.
  • As previously mentioned the SEPP have a limited budget to provide parking restrictions and it is essential that it is spent on schemes where major parking issues exist. The process of providing parking restrictions is a lengthy and costly process. The estimated cost to extend the double yellow lines at this location is £1500.
  • Meanwhile , separate from this, County Highways are going to be doing a speed check in Teignmouth Drive and Exmouth Drive to see if a speed limit of 20 mph is appropriate here, bearing in mind this is near a school. The limit can only be introduced if the average speed in the survey is below 25 mph.

    Any thoughts from our residents on either ideas?

    February 14th, 2015

    Good Week, Bad Week….


    It’s been a good week for the Conservatives in Rochford gaining an extra councillor, and the national Tory website Conservativehome reports on it here. There’s a mixed response in the comments.

    It’s been a bad week for UKIP in Essex , on the same day that Nigel Farage visited the county, they lost one of their council seats in Harlow to Labour. And a UKIP councillor in Thurrock has been suspended from the party following drink driving. Why oh why do councillors say to the police “Do you know who I am? I am a prominent councillor, I know the police commissioner.”

    It’s been a good week for the main opposition group on Rochford District Council. The 5 residents Councillors and 2 Greens all spoke at Full Council on the budget, there was actually a bit of a debate for once. We’ll write more about the Budget meeting when the minutes are published and we can link to them..

    February 13th, 2015

    It’s Murder At The Quiz Night!


    (click on the poster to enlarge it)

    February 12th, 2015

    The Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project….

    The project is described as “Conservation for the 21st century, on a scale never before attempted in the UK!” This video explains what’s there.

    The RSPB website has a new comment from a satisfied visitor:

    I visited Wallasea for the first time today. I cannot get over the numbers of corn buntings. Flocks of well over 100 in more than one area, smaller groups numerous, there must have been well over 300 visible along the road and sea wall, with many in full jangle song. Simply wonderful. 3 short eared owls, at least 4 marsh harriers, half a dozen or more kestrels, over 1,000 brent geese and the constant backdrop of skylarks more than made up for failing to find hen harriers or a rough legged buzzard (a common variety was over the other side of the Crouch). What a great area, I can’t wait to see how the RSPB develops it.

    February 11th, 2015

    “Systemic Failure”

    essex police logo

    There’s been some grim news emerging today – about how Essex Police have carried out investigations of child sexual abuse in North Essex.

    The BBC have a disturbing report on it here:

    A police force has apologised to alleged child abuse victims after it found problems with 30 investigations involving 59 children.
    One police officer has been suspended and 11 others have been put on restrictive duties by Essex Police.
    Some cases are said to involve a “lack of honesty or integrity” by officers.

    The Independent newspaper is blunter. It begins its report with:

    Vulnerable children were left at the mercy of child abusers after a rogue police unit delayed the arrests of suspects during more than three years of systemic failure, officials said.

    The Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston writes on his blog about it here:

    Early indications are that the problems relating to the quality of investigation and management of investigations identified in the North Child Abuse Investigation Team do not appear to be replicated in the West and South teams….
    …. As Police and Crime Commissioner, I will continue to support the efforts of the overwhelming majority of police officers, PCSOs and police staff who work tirelessly to protect the people of Essex from harm. However, where officers are found to have failed in their fundamental duties, then firm and swift action must be taken….
    ….When I was elected Police and Crime Commissioner in November 2012, I knew that Essex Police needed to transform its approach to tackling domestic abuse, and I made this a priority in the Police and Crime Plan for our county. Much excellent work has taken place under the leadership of the Chief Constable, and I believe Essex Police’s new processes and increased commitment to partnership working are helping to address the horrors of domestic abuse
    It is now clear that a similar focus is needed to ensure child sexual abuse is tackled as professionally as possible in our county. I am committed to ensuring that the hidden harms of child sexual exploitation, online grooming, ‘honour’ based violence and people trafficking become a priority for Essex Police….

    The Chief Constable writes about it here and finishes with:

    ….If any victims or families are worried about child abuse investigations by Essex Police I would urge them to call our special helpline number on 01245 282103.
    If you are currently suffering from abuse, or believe someone that you know is, you should call us immediately on 999. My officers will do their very best to protect you.

    February 10th, 2015

    Goodbye June

    blue rosette

    We heard from our Lib Dem colleague June Lumley today that she is going to seek re-election to the District Council this year – but this time as a Conservative.

    June has been both a District and Town councillor in Grange Ward for a long time, with a good reputation that has helped her survive repeated Conservative challenges. June has indeed been a dignified and serene chairman of the District Council this year.

    If June had stood as an independent, that would not have been a surprise – June has been an independent on the Town Council for a long time. But standing for the Tories isn’t going to be easy- the Conservatives are pretty unpopular in West Rayleigh right now! Her switch is bound to be seen as an endorsement of the Tory District Core Strategy which may lead to all the proposed development North of London Road.

    If she wins it will be interesting to see how she manages moving from the Lib Dems, where she has not been whipped, into a tightly-whipped Conservative Group.

    For the local Lib Dems , this gives us the chance for more some vigorous campaigning and recruiting in Grange Ward. In a period of 10 years, we found 7 good candidates in Downhall and Rawreth to stand for us around Rayleigh. No new candidates came from Grange Ward.

    February 9th, 2015

    Thinking Neighbourly

    One of our regulars contacted us today – she’d had some sad news. Someone that she knew purely online has died.

    Unfortunately it is one of those very sad cases where the deceased lay undiscovered in his flat for, it’s thought, around 3 weeks. He was only discovered when another poster on the online board got really worried because he hadn’t been heard from him and rang the local Police Even his mothers nursing home hadn’t bothered alerting authorities when he hadn’t visited her even though he used to go every day without fail. Neighbours hadn’t noticed he wasn’t around, no-one.

    The deceased lived in central London, maybe out here people know their neighbours a little better. So if your don’t see or hear anything from your neighbour for an unusually long time, how about checking to see that they are OK?

    February 8th, 2015

    Budget Meeting On Tuesday Night…

    The District Council have their budget meeting at 7:30 on Tuesday night, it is open to the public (although there is no public speaking).
    You can find the agenda here.

    Items on the agenda :

    Medium Term Financial Strategy 2015/16 – 2018/19 This includes setting the level of District Council tax for next year, and most council fees and charges.

    New Council Ward Boundaries - report on the second stage consultation response to the Boundary Commission on new Council ward boundaries.

    Allocation of Seats on Committees- report on the allocation of seats to Committees following Toby Mountain, Phil Capon and Tracy Capon joining the Rochford Residents Group.

    February 7th, 2015

    When Rayleigh Had Speedway, Stock Car Racing , Greyhound Racing And Harness Horse Racing

    rayleigh stadium

    This month Rayleigh Through The Looking Glass looks at the old Rayleigh Stadium. Back in the 50s the Stadium was probably the most famous thing about Rayleigh….

    February 6th, 2015

    A Dozen Exceptional Rayleigh Characters

    Rayleigh  High Street From the Tower

    On the Rochford District Community Archive, Sid Barker writes about a dozen Rayleigh characters, from the 1950s to the early 1990s. Including Albert Cable, the polio victim who sold newspapers outside Rayleigh Station, and Frank Fremlin, the American who lived in the only house in Preston Gardens.

    Do you remember any of them?

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    March 2015
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    There's lots of information on the District Council website about the planning application "North of London Road ". To see it , just click here.

    The Core Strategy

    This is the official master document for planning policy in our district! To download it, click here click here. (2.5mb)

    Planning Applications…

    If you want information on a particular planning application, you can find it on the District Council website here.

    If you want to know what new planning applications have been submitted this week, click here.

    Reporting A Problem

    If you want to report a problem, you can email Lib Dems councillors by clicking here.
    There's also an independent website called FixMyStreet. It's very good for reporting minor street problems like holes in the road, grafitti or failed streetlights. You can find FixMyStreet here.

    Food Hygiene Ratings

    To find the food hygiene rating for eating places and other businesses in our district , click here.

    Essex Political Blogs

    Geography, History , Science

    Lib Dem Websites

    Local Council Websites

    Local History

    Local Info

    Non-Political Stuff

    Other Lib Dem Blogs

    Planning Issues

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    “Rayleigh was the birthplace of Britain’s first surviving quintuplets, but that’s just one of its many claims to fame”

    When the Olympic Torch came to Rayleigh, Chris Black wrote about the town in the Guardian - read it here

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