At the District Council meeting earlier this month , there were a number of decisions taken in private and confidential. The public minutes are here but there is an appendix to the minutes for councillors only .
One of the items was about a “transfer of engagements” from Rochford Housing Association to Sanctuary. We aren’t allowed to add much more than that, except that a number of councillors voted against teh decision, in particular Chris Black and Chris Stanley.
Please beware of the plant Giant Hogweed – it can cause very nasty blisters, like the dome-like one on my leg in the picture. There’s a 2p coin next to it for comparison . I’m not sure where it was, as I do a lot of walking for exercise. Fortunately it does not hurt but looks very nasty. Wikipedia describes it like this:
“The sap of the giant hogweed plant is phototoxic; when the contacted skin is exposed to sunlight or to ultraviolet rays, it can cause phytophotodermatitis (severe skin inflammations). Initially, the skin colours red and starts itching. Blisters form as it burns within 48 hours. They form black or purplish scars that can last several years. Hospitalisation may be necessary. The presence of minute amounts of sap in the eyes can lead to temporary or even permanent blindness.[better source needed]
These reactions are caused by the presence of linear derivatives of furanocoumarin in its leaves, roots, stems, flowers, and seeds. These chemicals can get into the nucleus of the epithelial cells, forming a bond with the DNA, causing the cells to die. The brown colour is caused by the production of melanin by furocoumarins.
Authorities advise that children should be kept away from giant hogweed, that protective clothing, including eye protection, should be worn when handling or digging it, and that if skin is exposed, the affected area should be washed thoroughly with soap and water and the exposed skin protected from the sun for several days.”
Amar Dave, the District Council’s chief executive, is leaving for another job, and the council has decided against a like-for-like replacement:
Plans have been made for the succession of current Chief Executive, Amar Dave, who is leaving the Council to take up a new position at the London Borough of Brent.
The Council has a legal duty to appoint to a number of statutory roles including Head of Paid Service, Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer. These three roles were included in Mr Dave’s role as Chief Executive, and he will retain these responsibilities until Sunday 26 June.
It was resolved at a meeting of Full Council held on June 8 that Rochford District Council’s two directors, Shaun Scrutton and Nick Khan, will take on these roles for an interim period of 12 months. Mr Scrutton will be appointed to the post of Managing Director (Head of Paid Service) and Mr Khan will be appointed to the position of Executive Director (including Returning Officer and Electoral Registration Officer).
It would be good if some of the money saved by not having a chief executive could be used to fund a few new front-line staff in overworked departments.
At tonight’s District Council meeting (about which we will write more later) , the new Chair of Council Carole Weston announced that one of her charities this year will be the Indee Rose Trust, based in Canvey , which describes itself as follows:
“The Indee Rose Trust is a charitable trust founded in July 2009. Our aim is to help children and their families who have been diagnosed with a brain or spinal tumour.
We provide Treasure Boxes to children who have been hospitalised whilst receiving treatment for a brain or spinal tumour. A wonderful box of treats created especially for the child. We also provide a one off grant to help the family at this difficult time.”
… Each year Great Ormond Street Hospital are contacted by approximately 500 children with brain and spinal tumours – more than one child each day! With the Help of CLIC Sargent our referall leaflets are offered to these famillies to make contact with us.
We aim to help every child we can with the best presents we can, and to do this we need to raise approx £100,000 a year to give each child a treasure box and provide our grants and holiday accomodation.
Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of our children in our country, yet for some reason it only receives approximately 1% of the funding available from the government.
The good news is that the number of zero-rated places in Rochford has fallen from 11 to 6 . But the numbers in our other council areas has fallen faster – Castle Point now has 1, Basildon has 2 and Southend has 2. So Rochford now has more zero-rated places than the other councils put together.
One other morsel of information from the Echo is that all the zer0 inspections were carried out last year. So hopefully when these places are re-inspected they will do much better.
We are now roughly at the starting point in the next cycle of development proposals, so be aware!
In one of our yellow paper Focus newsletters in Downhall and Rawreth , we wrote a section called “Beware the Boring Stuff , warning residents that sometimes the boring stuff is very important. An example of this was was a council report last week.
It has the unexciting title SOUTH ESSEX STRATEGIC HOUSING MARKET ASSESSMENT (SHMA) but is very important.
Basically some consultants have looked at the “South Essex” area (Southend, Rochford, Castle Point, Basildon and Thurrock) and has concluded that the “objectively assessed needs” for South Essex are for between 3,275 and 3,750 dwellings per annum. For Rochford District this equates to between 312 and 392 dwellings per annum between 2014 (the base date for the study) and 2037.
Cllr Ian Ward, the portfolio holder (or cabinet member) for planning has agreed to accept this document into the council’s ‘evidence base’.
This DOESN’T mean that Rochford will have to allow this amount of housing, it’s not as simple as that – infrastructure limitations could have an impact here, but it should alert people to the kind of arguments that lie ahead!
The problem with our current Tory administration isn’t that they don’t have the answers about infrastructure they don’t even seem to know the questions...
The Essexology blog has a feature here on the Chafford Gorges:
“Close to Lakeside and within the buzz zone of the M25 there sits a connected set of gorges. Not your ordinary gorges, however: these are what remains of three chalk quarries, Warren Gorge, Lion Gorge and Grays Gorge. Worked from the end of the 18th century for about 150 years, this was an important centre for cement production and a significant local employer. If you visit Lion Gorge you’ll be able to spot the remains of the old 19th century tramway which carried the chalk to the riverside wharves of the nearby Thames.
The gorges now form an Essex Wildlife Trust nature reserve. I’m the first to admit I’m not a keen birdwatcher, but even I was impressed to see so many geese, some with goslings toddling along too. I think I’ve identified them correctly, but please do put me straight if I haven’t!
Geologists will be impressed by the reserve. Fossils have revealed that the area was once a tropical sea – yes, tropical Essex, who knew? There’s an information board at the visitor centre if you’re keen to find out more.