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Action Taken on Local Issues – Update

April 25, 2014 by  

signingYour Independent District Councillors, John and Christine Mason  have been working on the problems and issues that you have given us feedback upon this week face to face, by phone, text, email and Facebook.

Here is an update on the position with FIVE of your big issues.

There are others, of course, in the feedback on Facebook that can only be facilitated at Essex County Council and your “Ward” County Councillor. In order these are not lost we will send the details to the TOP of ECC, namely the CEO, Joanna Killian.

OpenClips / Pixabay

1. Car Parking Charges up 25% and No Free Saturday Afternoons

Rochford District Council decided in January that it had to raise £180.000 a year for the foreseeable future to plug huge future gaps in the Council’s finances.This was supposed to start on 1st April. It was not an elaborate April Fool but the charges have not gone up!! Should we all keep quiet? Or could it be that the new charges won’t come in until after the Local Council Elections in May? Call me cynical if you like but what other explanation could there be?

Or has the Council listened to Iain McGeoch OBE, Chairman M&Co, “Your decision to introduce parking charges on Saturday afternoon in Rayleigh will be detrimental to the long term prosperity of the town’s shopping , and shows little understanding of retail dynamics in 2014……..”?

Update from the Echo

The Tory-run Council now says the charges have been put on hold until they can be debated further at a full council meeting in June – after May’s local elections.

A Council statement said: “The charges are under review to consider the objections received and are set to be discussed at full council in June.

 Part of those objections will be a 500-strong petition collected by Chris Stanley, Liberal democrat candidate for the Grange ward. Collected in Rayleigh High Street, Mr Stanley submitted the petition on the grounds of a possible increase in on-street parking and congestion.

The Liberal Democrats think “There’s a growing feeling that the District Council is going to do a U-turn and keep free car parking on Saturday afternoons. Either the leadership will gracefully back down on this, or there will be another vote.”

John Mason, Independent, Rochford District Residents, does not hold out such optimism “if the £154,000 owed by ECC to RDC on verge cutting is paid that could easily restore Saturday Afternoon Free Parking. That could have been reversed on 15 April if the Council Administration had wanted to do that. But the delay till June does not suggest an about turn given the benefit that a reversal might have had on some candidates electoral chances !!”

OpenClips / Pixabay

2. Speeding in Rectory Road, Hawkwell – 30 MPH Limit !!

In response to our posting last week about the lamp columns and road safety in Rectory Road Hawkwell more residents have complained to us about the alleged speeding of the heavy construction vehicles visiting the Barratts, Clements Gate site through Rectory Road and Clements Hall Way.

Whilst we have drawn this to the attention of Barratts/David Wilson Homes and they will have raised this with the haulage contractor it was great surprise when the Barratts/David Wilson Homes spokesperson asked us to report this to Essex Police as they also have concerns. “DWH have a concern about the general traffic using Rectory Road that do not stick to the speed limit, putting our workforce and local residents at risk.”

John Mason has written to Chief Inspector Ian Cummings, the Commander for Rochford District, to ask for action to be taken on all speeding and inconsiderate driving in Rectory Road, Hawkwell.

 Update 

 John Mason, Independent, Rochford District Residents, thinks that “we need the speed flashing boards to help deal with this problem.”

But Essex Police say ” I understand that the flashing boards now sit redundant in an office at ECC due to no funding so am not sure if you are able to do anything in that respect for us.”

John Mason has asked  County Councillor Cutmore  to take steps to unlock this kit.

Update from Essex Police

Nothing definite but “The Essex Police motorcycle team may be available to carry out some work at the location”, “the newly formed Community Speed Watch (CSW) group for another part of Hawkwell might be able to assist”, “Officers need a laser speed gun otherwise we can’t prosecute and currently there is only one which is being used for a long term operation elsewhere.”

We have also drawn to the attention of Essex Police to speeding in Main Road near the “lower” Zebra Crossing ” where some drivers also show a lack of awareness of pedestrians.

 

 street lights3. Street Light Blackout

We saw the Article in the Echo this week where Essex Police advise that Crime has not increased during the “Blackout”.

Whilst we have seen articles in the Echo from Basildon, Wickford showing that residents are not happy about the “Blackout” explaining their reasons we had seen nothing from Residents of Rochford District.

We thought that we would put this right using our Facebook, Streetlife, Twitter, Feedblitz and Web Site Subscribers by running a survey of opinion as fairly as possible.  Incidentally we get to 1000 people daily by our “Channels” and probably many more on a casual basis.

We asked;

Are you FOR, AGAINST or NEUTRAL? Please comment below and let us know how you feel about this 3 months on. Essex County Council (a Conservative controlled Council) decided to cut night street lighting to save just £59,000 a year in Rochford District. Compare this to the £300,000 a year increase that RDC has just imposed on residents through freeze busting Council Tax rises (£120,000) and Parking Charges (£180,000).

The Results; 

Straw Poll from all channels (not just FB!!)

FOR 5

AGAINST 24

NEUTRAL 5

My Summary

Residents of Rochford are not generally fearful of the increase in crime, although some mention that, but the general issues of safety out and about on foot and by car/bike and the issue of FEELING SAFE. This is a big issue as well as the risks run from potholes and footway surfaces that become dangerous in complete “Blackout”.  It is not right that there should be a CURFEW imposed because people do not FEEL SAFE to go out or are stopped from going out because of the REAL SAFETY ISSUES.

The £59,000 could easily be found by Rochford District Council if the £154,000 owed by ECC to RDC on verge cutting is paid.

Above all residents do not see £59,000 saved as value for money given their concerns. Most would like ECC to pay for the lighting out of the money that they owe RDC for verge cutting.

In real terms this is much more than £154,000 as the RDC have been underpaid for many years by ECC and this is money effectively owed to us all!

echo hawkwell 3009134. Clements Gate – David Wilson Homes/Barratts

There is still no definite basis for the unmade end of Thorpe Road to be repaired although some work seems to have done by a sub contractor according to residents.

A resident of the unmade part of Thorpe Road has written on behalf of himself and other residents to County Councillor Cutmore to have the  the unmade end closed for access of residents and pedestrians only.  Your Independent District Councillors understand the residents’ concerns and support this.

A suitable tree replacement on the estate has proven problematical and Officers at RDC have been asked to make sure matters are put right for the residents in Thorpe Close who have put their complaint to us.

 

5. People still have worries about local flooding

Have you a new large estate housing development being built near you? Has the land been cleared of all trees and shrubs down to the top soil?

Hans / Pixabay

If so are you concerned that the surface water might now run off faster and in greater volume possibly flooding you and the surrounding area?

Why have local Independent Councillors John and Christine Mason called an important meeting in Hawkwell DIRECT with the Environment Agency? Because residents have raised continued concerns about the possibility of local flooding following the 24 August event and Council Officers have not answered questions from the Councillors.

By Law every new estate development has to have a sophisticated surface water drainage system to protect the NEW residents AND those living nearby BUT will it be only be fully operational when the development is completed ?????????????

How long will that take?

Everybody now knows that clearing the land causes less water to be retained on the building site and more to run off…………so unless the SUDS drainage system is in place to take the water away and control the output into ditches and larger water courses we ask the question ” where does it go and does it go?”

There seems to be a gap between agreeing what will protect residents in giving planning permission with an FRA (Flood Risk Assessment) and when the protection will be delivered.

In the time gap, which might be several years before the flood prevention system is in place, what protects everyone?

This seems to be another National Planning GAFF !! What do you think?

Think about how this would look on the front page of the Daily Mail.

Another failure of National planning procedures to protect people from flooding?

A definite question for you to ask your MP and the Lib Lab Con UKIP Candidates plying for your vote on 22 May what they are going to do about it !! (Independents are already on the case !)

Please SHARE this post so that more questions can be asked by more people across the UK and please…………… LIKE our Page if you have not already done so at www.facebook.com/rochfordindependent

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