onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003

 

April 6th, 2014

Whipping Themselves Into Errors

ukip

 

There’s a slightly peculiar article in the latest Rayleigh Times this week,  from the UKIP candidate John Hayter. It’s called “THE SCOURGE OF THE PARTY WHIP  – ITS IN THE PARTY’S INTEREST NOT THE ELECTORATE”. As you can guess, he’s not keen on the party whip system.

The article begins:

The local elections are fast approaching with 11 wards to be contested in Rochford District. There will be several key issues . There is the matter of the party whip employed by the three main parties – the Lib Dems,  Labour and the Conservatives…

… The Conservative councillors are told which way to vote, and do so for their party, and not for the electorate. The same applies to the other two main parties in councils…

And that’s just incorrect . Because the Lib Dems haven’t had a whip on the District Council for years  and there haven’t been any Labour councillors at all for years.  It shows a pretty shocking lack of knowledge about the council.

And then the article goes on to describe things that UKIP are committed to doing in our district.  Which is weird. Because how can UKIP promise in advance how any UKIP councillors would vote – without having some kind of a whip themselves?

 

 

 

 

April 5th, 2014

A Telephone Survey

Rayleigh High Street

Rayleigh High Street

 

Chris Black writes:“Rochford District Council have arranged a telephone survey to ask residents about their shopping habits, and as it happens I was phoned today! When I was asked what would make me shop in Rayleigh more I replied free parking on Saturday afternoons,  and a wider range of shops. (We do shop in Rayleigh quite a lot anyway)”.

April 4th, 2014

Wallasea Wander

Paglesham -lookingouttoWallaseaIsland

 

From the RSPB website, a morning you might enjoy:

Wallasea Wander

Saturday 12 April

9:45am to 12pm

Price: Free, donations welcome.

Booking essential

Join our monthly walks to spot some of the amazing wildlife that makes Wallasea Island its home. Find out more about the development of this exciting new nature reserve.

Directions

Meet at: RSPB car park, Wallasea Island

 

Don’t forget that Wallasea Island ( in our district) is going  to become a pretty wonderful place:

Wallasea Island Wild Coast project is a landmark conservation and engineering scheme for the 21st century, on a scale never before attempted in the UK and the largest of its type in Europe.

The aim of this project is to combat the threats from climate change and coastal flooding by recreating the ancient wetland landscape of mudflats and saltmarsh, lagoons and pasture. It will also help to compensate for the loss of such tidal habitats elsewhere in England.

Once completed, this will provide a haven for a wonderful array of nationally and internationally important wildlife and an amazing place for the local community, and those from further afield, to come and enjoy.

Although the reserve is planned to be in development until around 2019, you’re welcome to come along and view the progress as each phase comes to life and the marshland naturally regenerates. The current sea wall access along the North (Defra) sea wall is a wonderful place to come to relax and enjoy, whether for walking, cycling, birdwatching, painting, photography or simply taking in the sea air.

Over the coming years, the scheme will create a varied wetland landscape with more than nine miles (15 km) of new and improved access routes, and eventually a range of visitor facilities.

Opening times

The sea wall footpath is open at all times.

Entrance charges

None – it’s free.

Information for dog owners

There are plans for a dog walking area on part of the island – please contact us for details.

 

April 3rd, 2014

This Week’s Challenge

computer

We get around 150 – 250 unique visitors per day to onlineFOCUS , and we suppose that most of you are pretty good at using websites.

So we’d like to see how easy you find it to use the District Council website. The challenge is this :

Find out from the council website whether the public can ask questions at Full Council meetings.

If you can’t find the answer in 15 minutes, give up! Please let us know how you get on… And how many minutes it takes you.

April 2nd, 2014

Plaques of Rayleigh

The April feature on the Rayleigh Through The Looking Glass website is on heritage plaques, like this one near Bellingham Lane:

bellingham

 

 

 

April 1st, 2014

Lost Trees

Just to say that we are aware that some  trees have been removed in the Hatfield Road / Purleigh Road area of Rayleigh. District Ward Councillors were not consulted or advised about this (it’s a County Council matter) and we are getting more information….

March 31st, 2014

This Week in Rawreth…

 

240px-Rawreth_sign

Rawreth Parish Council meets this Wednesday at 7:30 in the Village Hall . You can find the agenda here.

A hot drink for the public (maybe even a biscuit). Public Question time, a bit of laughter and a chance to see how local democracy should be….

March 30th, 2014

Chris And Chris

Why do Downhall & Rawreth and Grange wards have Liberal Democrat councillors? We think that’s because:

- people like how we have voted on various issues, such as the overdevelopment of our area.
– we try harder than the other parties to keep people informed with newsletters and onlineFOCUS
– the Lib Dems want to have listening councillors who engage with the public
– we vote for what’s best for our areas, not just following a party line like the current Conservative group.

There are District Council elections in May and we’d like to tell you what we are doing in these wards:

Chris Black (11 of 20) small

Chris Black is standing again in Downhall and Rawreth. Four years ago he beat the Conservative candidate pretty comfortably, but that was four years ago and we are taking nothing for granted.
Contact details for Chris Black are:
Telephone: 01268 778973
Email: cllrchrisblack@gmail.com
Letters: 56 Love Lane Rayleigh Essex SS6 7DX
Chris is a life-long Rayleigh resident, he went to Glebe, Downhall and Sweyne Schools. He works in the shipping industry along the Thames.

chris stanley smallish

In Grange ward Liberal Democrat councillors Chris and June Lumley have a great record dealing with local problems in a friendly non political way that residents like, that is why they have been re-elected many times. June remains a Councillor but this year Chris Lumley has decided to retire from the District Council – although he will still be on the Town Council.

We have carefully chosen Chris Stanley as our candidate here, we think he is definitely the best person to follow in Chris Lumley’s footsteps. Chris has been part of our team for several years, helping to deliver our newsletters and getting involved in  local issues. He wants to be another listening councillor, keeping in contact with people. He has lived in the Down Hall Road area since 1970 and is a semi-retired electrician. “Chris and Chris” are already working together on issues – you might have seen them recently at events at the Mill Hall and St Nicholas School.

Contact details for Chris Stanley:
Phone 01268 785732
Email: chrismstanley@hotmail.co.uk
Home address: 48 Hambro Avenue Rayleigh, Essex

We put our hearts into working for our areas because we really do care. Too many people have been elected elsewhere in our District, just because their party is doing well in the national polls and they are wearing the right colour rosette. We don’t want that to happen here, but we could do with some help!  If any onlinefocus readers can help us a little, delivering 150- 200 leaflets or spending a hour helping us on election day May 22nd, we’d be very grateful!

March 28th, 2014

Not Exactly Fashionable…!

Rawreth Brook Sunday 28th

Rawreth Brook

Last month we praised Rawreth Parish Council for ordering a pair of waders for their clerk:

At its last meeting, Rawreth Parish Council agreed to buy a pair of waders for it’s clerk, Hayley Bloomfield. This may seem unusual , but seems very sensible, as Mrs Bloomfield has been very active, walking through waters to help deliver sandbags and to check on conditions. This is very much to her credit.
This may seem a minor matter, but symbolises the flooding problem in parts of Rawreth and the determination of the parish councillors and clerk to try to deal with it. It would be interesting to know if other parishes in the district have provided waders for their clerks.

And the waders have now arrived!

clerks waders

March 27th, 2014

Two Decisions

There are quite a lot of items at tonight’s meeting of the District Council Development Committee. However 2 of the items were:

35 London Hill, Rayleigh- build 3 houses in the garden. This is a very unusual , large , sloping garden bordering on Rayleigh Mount and the Windmill, largely hidden from the road. Ward councillor John Griffin moved refusal with a lot of help from other councillors, and it was indeed refused, on the grounds of (roughly) , effect on the Rayleigh Conservation area, lack of information on drainage, and being detrimental to the residential amenity of neighbouring properties.

The Lawn, Hall Road, Rochford. Install 6 rows of solar panels. This was recommended for refusal by officers on the grounds of being in the Special Landscape Area, and effect on the listed building. However ward councillor Keith Gordon successfully moved approval.

March 26th, 2014

Confidential Report On Open Spaces

exclusion

The Council’s Executive – the ‘cabinet’ – meets on April 2nd.
There are two items – one is the “Rochford Growth Strategy 2014 -2017 ” , which we are still reading. It’s 21 pages on promoting economic growth in the District.
The second is “Draft Open Spaces Strategy”, which is private and confidential, so we can’t tell you anything about it….

The way the council is run at the moment, the only councillors who can speak at these meetings are the 8 members of the cabinet themselves, all Conservatives. Only one is from Rayleigh – Councillor Simon Smith.

March 25th, 2014

Secrets Of The Piccadilly Line

How to tell what Piccadilly Line Station you are on even if you can’t read, how to make concrete attractive, plus gnomes , tilework and a failed spiral escalator…

Choose the layout you want to see

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Daily Reporting by Chris Black

With support from:
Ron Oatham Ron Oatham Bruce Smart Bruce Smart Chris Stanley Chris Stanley

Latest Comments

  • Chris Black: Christine – I spoke to the licensing people yesterday. They visited the site the day before with...
  • Chris Black: Hi Tom – its a good question, things have gone quiet on that. I will try to find out.
  • Tom Smith: Hi, Is the Waste recycling centre still being moved from Castle Road to this area? There seem to be no...
  • Brian Guyett: A welcome, overdue initiative but I agree with John Mason – we need to consider the whole...
  • Jim Cripps: PS: And can you explain how a party political leaflet “in touch” has the authority to cancel...
  • A.mattbhews: Please note this is not a flood prevention solution but is the replacement of a foul sewer . Despite...
  • Jim Cripps: Well done Chris/ John and sorely needed as they have already cancelled two promises ( RTSSC & new...
  • Jim Cripps: Two quotes for you :- Cllr K Hudson via Evening Echo ( Fri 11th April ) – “The process we...
  • Jim Cripps: That is exactly why it is later ( negative election impact ) , however all the voters need to do is ask...
  • Jim Cripps: Greenbelt – it is’nt the same show ( the Battlesbridge one is in June ), the one last weekend...
  • John Mason: As far as I can see “by 9 April” quoted in your Article allowed “the 5 day rule”...
  • Greenbelt: The ‘RaveR 17; type event last year which caused many complaints on this site was clearly audible...
  • Christine Paine: We could hear it over the television. I’ve got nothing against the showground as such,...
  • admin: I would think you can hear it over half of Rayleigh, with the windows closed….
  • admin: Not sure…
  • John Mason: So what happens next please?
  • Jim Cripps: I think you will find that ECC will be running this site ( not RDC ) so who knows, this might be a Fee...
  • admin: David – I would expect them to pay. I know some travellers elsewhere do.
  • David. B: Will any of the travellers who will be living on the new proposed sight be paying Council tax? i.e. just...
  • Jim Cripps: Christine - 1. I did’nt have any part in the legal challenge, it is a private action. 2. I have no...
  • Christine Paine: A Judicial Review is all well and good Jim, but what happens if the court come down against RDC....
  • Jim Cripps: Well done that man/team for taking the lead , it is becoming evident that the only voice we have is our...
  • Jim Cripps: Apparently it challenges the whole process ( my error to have said only Allocations Document) – the...
  • admin: Very interesting Jim! But the “North of London Road” area was allocated 550 new homes 2 years ago,...

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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.

The Roads That Need Repairing


The County Council admitted in July that over 200 roads in our district need repairing! They say they will fix them by May 2013. Click here to see the list.

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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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