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.
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.
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.
There is no denying the Lib Dems do their best to keep everyone informed, with websites like this, Focus Newsletters, twitter and facebook. But we are not the richest party – by far!
Unlike the other main political parties we do not receive substantial funding from big business or the trade unions. Every so often we need to raise funds just to keep the ‘wolf from the door’. At the moment we are selling Lib Dem Christmas Lottery Draw tickets. They come in books of five, each ticket costs £1.00, so five pounds the book. There are 30 prizes including a £2,000.00 holiday voucher and half a case of champagne. To purchase tickets please send a cheque made out to ‘Rayleigh / Castle Point Constituencies Liberal Democrats’ (that is Democrats with an ‘s’), please send it to Rayleigh Lib Dems, 22 Beech Avenue, Rayleigh, Essex, SS6 8AE, together with a stamped self addressed envelope. For other details of how to pay please phone or text Steve on 07799.345795. Good luck!
“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.”
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….
There will be an extraordinary meeting of Rawreth Parish Council on Weds September 28th. Main item to discuss is a request from the Rawreth Flood Action Group for a grant to assist them in getting a sequential test report in respect of flooding in the parish.
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.”