Caravan Site Application Recommended To Be Rejected – Enforcement Action To Follow

There’s been an application to give planning permission for the unauthorised caravans at the Pumping Station in Watery Lane, Rawreth.

This weekend the planning officers are recommending refusal – it will be refused unless any councillor calls it in by 1 pm on Wednesday.

You can find the officers report on this document, starting on page  31.  These are the reasons for refusal:

watery-lane1This part of the report explains why the applicants would be given 6 months to comply with an enforcement notice:

watery-lane2This part explains why County Highways are opposing the application:







RIP Richard Boyd

We were very sad to hear of the sudden passing of Richard Boyd .

Richard played the epic, leading role in the Liberal revival in Rochford District in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. He was first elected as a councillor for Trinity Ward in 1976, coming second in a year when there were two seats available. This was a considerable achievement at a time  when the Liberals were doing poorly nationally.

1976boyd Until then there had only been one Liberal on the District Council , the gentlemanly and caring Bernard Crick from Ashingdon. Richard soon became leader of the Liberal Group. He helped another Liberal, Derek Helson, get elected in Trinity Ward , and the Liberals were on their way.

Derek was the most  studious councillor, poring  over  council documents to find much of the ammunition that Richard would then use with tremendous flair, either in the council chamber , or in the local press, or in Focus newsletters.  They campaigned to cut down on what they thought was unnecessary spending, and to use the money instead on good causes such as bus passes for pensioners, or to cut the rates.

In 1981 Richard upset the applecart further, by unexpectedly winning a County Council seat, Rayleigh North. By 1984 he led a group of eight  on the District Council , and the numbers gradually increased until the Tories lost control of the  District.  Richard also stood for parliament in 1983, coming second with a very creditable 32% of the vote.

He played a role in the reinstatement of Rawreth Parish Council, and in the creation of Rayleigh Town Council. On the County Council Richard eventually became group leader (we understand the flag is at half mast today at County Hall). He also achieved other positions, such as Chair of the Essex Police Authority in 1994:




Richard acted with flair and panache in the council chamber, and was capable of some withering ad libs.  When a very inexperienced Chris Black got up to speak in a debate on storing nuclear waste in Essex , the Tory  chairman said he had heard enough from the Liberals and told him to sit down. Richard immediately up stood up and said “Well done Chairman, there’s only one councillor here with a degree in physics and you’ve told him to shut up”. That attracted some publicity.

Even those who disagreed with him  enjoyed his wit and ability.  When he had poked holes in a Conservative argument he would dryly apologise for “clouding the issue with facts”. There was nearly always something to enjoy when he was in the chamber! For many of us entering politics he was an inspiration .

Rest in peace Richard, and our thoughts are with your family.

Former Group Leader Richard Boyd
Former Group Leader Richard Boyd




Development Update

As regular readers will know, the Liberal Democrat councillors OPPOSED the principle of development of any of the green fields between London Road , Rawreth Lane and the A1245 .  We were concerned about many things – including the extra traffic , increased risk of flooding in Rawreth , and  insufficient health, education and leisure facilities.

However after some bitter battles in the council chamber, we lost the vote, and development is slowly but surely going ahead at that site and elsewhere. This is an update:

Countryside Developments have got ‘outline’ permission  on their big site between London Road and Rawreth Lane. This means that they WILL be able to build. The details of the house design, etc.will still have to be agreed in a further “detailed” application, but there’s no sign of it yet.

An application for 44 dwellings was passed this month September near the BP garage on London Road (without Lib Dem support)

There is going to be a third application for about 80 dwellings on London Road near the Timber Grove care home (which is likely to be rebuilt as part of the application).

There is also of course a big scheme  in South West Hullbridge, near the border with Rawreth parish. This has also been passed. It  will lead eventually to an improved roundabout at the Hullbridge Road / Rawreth Lane junction. But nothing seems likely to happen with the Hullbridge site in the next few months.

Thats my starter... DSCF0446

Two Food Premises On Zero

We haven’t reported on the local food hygiene ratings lately, – you can find them on the Food Standards Agency website here.

Out of the 418 premises in Rochford District, there are currently two places with zero stars out of five, and seven places with just one star.

Meanwhile a Labour MP has suggested that food premises should be required by law to show their ratings. :

“Betts called the food inspection service “one of the unsung services of local government” – a service the public doesn’t usually notice, but would “suddenly become aware [of] if they weren’t there”.

“There is a worry with cuts to local authorities and budgets, food inspection is one of the areas that has been hit the hardest, so it’s important that what work they do do gets results,” he said.

Cuts to local government funding have meant the number of food inspectors has declined in recent years. The ratio of food safety inspectors to businesses has dropped from 4.2 full-time inspectors per 1,000 food businesses in 2012-13, to 3.7 per 1,000 in 2014-15. This figure is dragged down considerably by England, where there are only 3.2 officers per 1,000 businesses, compared with 5.7 per 1,000 in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Betts said that as well as being effective, a mandatory display scheme was likely to be cost-effective.

“The inspections are done, so there’s no extra cost to the local authority and there’s no cost to the business of sticking something in the window,” he said.”


Finally Fixed…

About 17 months ago we spotted a cracked cover in the pavement in Downhall Park Way (opposite Canterbury Close). It was quite a serious trip hazard – we reported it to County Highways and they acknowledged receipt on May 4th 2015. (and we chased it later).

County Highways have finally carried out the repair! This is an example of how long it takes to get non-urgent (but necessary) work done….

...where there are views of West Rayleigh and beyond. (The masthead photo of onlinefocus was taken here )

Evening Consultation On October 4th

The District Council has advised interested individuals and organisations today that there will be an evening consultation on the new local plan:

” …..As an individual or organisation registered on the Council’s mailing list, and as part of the early engagement that the Council is actively undertaking to inform the preparation of the new Local Plan, I am writing to invite you to a workshop at Cloister Hall, Rectory Garth, Rayleigh, SS6 8BA on Tuesday 4 October between 7pm and 9pm. The purpose of the workshop is to help explain the role of the Parish Council in plan-making and to discuss the future development of the parish – the workshop will inform, but not set, future planning policy.

For more information on adopted planning policy documents and the new Local Plan, please visit: http://www.rochford.gov.uk/planning/policy.

We hope that you are able to attend the workshop. The event will be limited to a maximum of 50 people (due to venue restraints), therefore we kindly please ask all those who were able to attend the workshop during the day on Tuesday 12 September to allow other residents the opportunity to share their issues and ideas. The structure of the event will be identical to the previous workshop, to reach out to anyone who was unable to attend the daytime workshop. If you have been/are unable to attend either workshop, please note that there will be other opportunities to be involved and to inform the plan-making process in the future. The Council has also produced an Issues & Options survey, which provides residents with an opportunity to make their issues and ideas on the future development of District known to us. The survey is available at www.rochford.gov.uk/cee and in local libraries and Council offices.”