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Who will run or even own Mill Hall in the future?

November 4, 2022 by · Leave a Comment 

As you may know Rochford District Council has been holding confidential meetings with public stakeholders about progress with The Expression of Interest (EOI) which is a Decision by RDC as to who will run or even own Mill Hall in the future.

I did ask those people if they could tell me but they could not because it was confidential !!

After much lobbying RDC an Officer has finally provided a P&C presentation to us Councillors.

We cannot share this with the general public but further due diligence is ongoing by Council Officers and Cabinet Members and we are advised that The Cabinet will make a Decision in December.

For our part we are going to make sure that we, and other Parties on The Council, can ask questions at The Overview and Scrutiny Committee in December BEFORE The Cabinet meet to make a Decision several days later.

Will RDC require any of the Mill Hall refurbishment to be paid?

October 30, 2022 by · Leave a Comment 

Will RDC require any of the Mill Hall refurbishment to be paid?

From The Echo – “TWO leisure centres have been kitted out with state-of-the-art equipment as part of a £700,000 investment and an extra £300,000 set to be spent in coming months.

Operator Fusion Lifestyle has carried out a complete overhaul of equipment at both Rayleigh Leisure Centre and Clements Hall Leisure Centre, Hawkwell, to the delight of leisure centre users.

Identical state-of-the-art equipment has been added to both centres including spin bikes, cardiovascular machines, fixed weight resistances machines, free weights, and functional training equipment.”

https://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/23082965.fusion-invest-700k-rochford-leisure-centres/?fbclid=IwAR3X9r4NTuzOXGMqy6g1imcdhHljP29y89qF4FsjIiGFFink9BKyCqixaBw

So The Conservatives have the best vision for the local community?

October 29, 2022 by · Leave a Comment 

Cloud Cuckoo Land.

What SPIN did we get this week? Formal Questions put to The Conservative Leader by Tory Councillors. Genuine Questions? Why Then? Well at least one led to a Pre-Election article in the Echo about investment at Clements Hall Leisure Centre by its outsourced contractor AND it showed “a clear demonstration of the Council’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of our residents.”

The Council has invested nothing. But it holds Reserves at record levels without justification.

But The Council needs to invest at Clements Hall with the constant complaints from residents about the Swimming Pool environment and the changing rooms every time Tory Councillors publish how much has been invested in Gyms. And worst of all The Council admits there is a lack of support facilities for the disabled.

The contract must be coming up for renewal shortly. YES. So will that be when The Council wrestles money for Swimming and support for the Disabled from Tenders?

In my view probably not. Why? Because an investment would have been made in Swimming already if it were profitable. With the regular rounds of eye watering investments in Gyms that must be where the profit is.

The ONLY way there will be new investment in Swimming is if a new contract is primed with money from The Council. From the huge Reserves.

A couple of million needs to be earmarked now in the coming Budget so that it is not spent on NEW COUNCIL OFFICES at The Freight House where increased construction costs and funds from property sales won’t happen now at The Mill Hall site.

Instead of SPIN that is a better vision for the local community.

Warm Spaces Update

October 20, 2022 by · Leave a Comment 

Councillor Deborah Squires-Coleman (Rochford District Residents Proposer) and Councillor Arthur Williams (Conservative, Seconder) are putting forward a formal proposal to RDC Full Council on 25 October for total grant funding for organisations of £5000 for individual applications of up to £500 to help fund Warm Spaces this winter.

We hope that all Members will support this in the Vote.

Councillor Toni Carter

October 20, 2022 by · Leave a Comment 

Councillor Toni Carter, who was elected to represent Hawkwell West Ward for Rochford District Residents, has informed me this evening (17 October 2022) that, with immediate effect, she will now be representing The Conservative Party.

Because there is no resignation of the seat there will be no By Election so you cannot vote on the change although there will be an election again for this seat in May 2023 at The Local Elections.

WHY ARE COUNCIL DECISIONS NOT BEING TAKEN FORWARD?

October 20, 2022 by · Leave a Comment 

As a Member of AUDIT COMMITTEE I was so concerned that I have successfully added the need for a formal internal audit to be undertaken.

EXAMPLE – IRONWELL LANE – HAWKWELL WEST TO ROCHFORD TOWN CENTRE – There was an article in the Echo in July 2022.

https://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/20273953.calls-vehicle-ban-along-ironwell-lane-rochford/?fbclid=IwAR1NRtTpS9cxNuHTPb-P0n9SL2ATl6CXAY9w-2KBSIVqsbCd78bTohpeF7g

I was surprised to see no reference to an earlier Council Decision from December 2019 some 2.5 years earlier.

“To explore ways that Rochford District Council and Essex County Council can work together to improve the cycle ways by connecting the various parts of the cycle tracks in and around Rochford District and in particular using Ironwell Lane to create a cycle way through from Rochford town to Hawkwell to make a safe route for cyclists instead of Hall Road, linking the two new housing estates and the new industrial area at the Airport. The benefits of improving cycling routes will include safer journeys, avoiding busy roads; reducing carbon emissions by not driving; fitness benefits, including health improvements; a reduction in use of the NHS by engaging in an active lifestyle while enjoying the outdoor environment and improving well-being. In addition, utilising Ironwell Lane will also bring this ancient highway up to a suitable standard to encourage leisure use.”

I asked the CEO why no action had apparently been taken. No explanation was made.

On a wider note I wondered who at The Council takes responsibility and accountability for seeing that ALL Decisions which are passed are enacted and Members updated.

There is a LIST. But has action been taken on them? We do not know as there have been no updates.

I found yet another which has not been enacted and as budget is now available that has been chased up. But will anything be done?

Please join us in campaigning to Save the Green Belt in Rochford District

September 1, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Save the Green Belt in Rochford District

Please join us in campaigning.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/saverochforddistrict

We are campaigning that no more Green Belt should be destroyed to build homes.

It is time to become prepared – watch, see and participate in what the Draft Local Plan could include at this stage in terms of sites and development areas.

http://saverochforddistrict.uk

Local Elections 6 May 2021

April 9, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Rochford District Residents
Local Elections 6 May 2021
Essex County Council Seats contested:
Rochford North – Adrian Eves
Rochford West – Michael Hoy
Rochford District Council Seats contested:
Hullbridge – Michael Hoy
Hullbridge – Tracey Knight
Lodge – Richard Lambourne
Hockley – John Mason
Hawkwell East – Stephen Hinde
Hawkwell West – Christine Mason
Roche South – Phil Capon
Hockley and Ashingdon – Elliot Mason
Sweyne Park and Grange – Lisa Newport

RESIDENTS PETITION: VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE IN ROCHFORD DISTRICT COUNCIL

October 11, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The Rochford Supporters are a NEW Action Group which is objecting to a 665 dwelling development feeding on to Ashingdon Road.

They have put up a Petition For a Vote of No Confidence in RDC because The Council has failed to carry out an EARLY REVIEW of its Local Plan called The Core Strategy.

Please sign this if you share their concerns.

This is what they had to say to The Rochford Independent.

The Rochford Supporters first request of the Council was to stop or revoke the Core Strategy when it had become obvious to residents that the programme of house building did not already match the infrastructure. Indeed The Council had already realised that in preparation for a New Local Plan. The policy of developing at the urban fringe is causing those big issues because of the lack of infrastructure and we thought it was sensible to stop so that the remaining target could be planned sensibly in a New Local Plan. Furthermore we were aware of the social house building programme of the Sanctuary Housing Association and the large number of Windfalls (house building not in the Core Strategy and therefore extras) so there would be delivery mitigation of housing during any interregnum. We also hoped that a caring Conservative Council would be able to negotiate with a Conservative Government who would understand the concerns of residents.

When it became evident from informal feedback that the Council would not Stop The Core Strategy our further research revealed the Council has ignored a legal requirement to conduct an early review of The Core Strategy which it had committed to legally in 2011. 
This would have been a great opportunity to put things right.  
So Rochford Supporters decided that a Vote of No confidence in Rochford District Council might still bring them to their senses. 

Please register your vote of “NO CONFIDENCE” in Rochford District Council because the required formal Review of The Core Strategy,  the document that sets out the overall strategy for the future housing development of the District, has not been undertaken with due diligence by the Council. With insufficient investment in new infrastructure this has already resulted in unsustainable over-development and if continued with will cause material economic damage to the Rochford District and many aspects of the lives of residents.  For formal debate by The Council.

 

The Petition is here; https://rochford.cmis.uk.com/rochford/EPetitions/tabid/90/ID/37/Please-register-your-vote-of-NO-CONFIDENCE-in-Rochford-District-Council.aspx?fbclid=IwAR17eMbuOV276UU0u62Ihtk3VDQFExb4o6PiTeVjlTMk098JPMG3nSiFw-0

Our Green Star for those reducing single use plastic

September 18, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

No photo description available.

How many local businesses have already done some of these things to reduce Single Use Plastic?

Let us know by posting here.

This is what can be done.

Stop offering straws

buy vegetables and fruit that are loose and not wrapped in plastic

avoid the use of plastic film

offer takeaway food in paper bags, rather than plastic

use compostable takeaway containers

use wood or bamboo rather than plastic spoons, forks and knives,

sell drinks in glass rather than plastic bottles

refill the customer’s own drinking cup/bottle

give one, rather than a handful of napkins. And we are sure that everyone can all add to this list.

Please do and let us know who deserves a GREEN STAR and Help Save The Planet from Climate Change.

Could this actually happen? New Toilets in Hockley with the Library in the last Cubicle?

January 16, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Yes.

There are plans for new Public Toilets to be given by RDC to the Parish Council for this other Council to pay for cleaning and maintenance in future.

There WERE plans for a NEW Hockley Library from Essex County Council.

And no plans for closure.

But we are now told that Hockley Library could be downgraded.

Our MP does not appear to be fully supporting the campaign against this by lobbying County Councillors to get what 4000 or more residents want in the Petition. He wrote to a resident, quote, “I will continue to ensure that she [County Council Cabinet Member] is aware of my constituents views” and at the end “I hope that a sustainable solution will be found”. Obviously this includes downgrade.

You will have seen this alleged comment from a County Councillor in the email we posted on Sunday “our library wouldn’t be moved from tier 3.” Which means downgrade.

That being the case why is Essex County Council even consulting with residents?

And another County Councillor wrote to residents “I was explaining the possible future foe r the whole site” (not our spelling !!)

And Rochford District Council would not back the Petition to retain a Full Library Service.

If the downgrade happens will you feel let down by your local councillors?

Who will you vote for in future?

The next Local Election is in May.

Perhaps you should tell them now………………. in case they REALLY do want to save Hockley Library with the present full service.

To Our Subscribers on Feedblitz

May 16, 2018 by · Comments Off on To Our Subscribers on Feedblitz 

To Our Subscribers on Feedblitz

We’ve been pleased having you as part of our email contact list for Rochford District Residents (http://rochfordessex.com).

However new data protection laws mean that we need your consent in order to keep receiving emails from us.

To stay with us – all you need to do is please go here [LINK] telling us you wish to stay and we will add you to our new database.

We will be closing our Feedblitz Account shortly.

 

United 4 Democracy – Help Abolish The Cabinet System at RDC

April 20, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

This is an Audio Recording.  Please turn the sound on.

Why do Rochford District Residents,The Green Party, Lib Dems and Friends of Rochford want to Abolish the Cabinet System at Rochford District Council? Listen to the reaction of the Conservative Party. Start at 5.00 minutes in.

RESULTS of Our Independent Budget Poll

January 17, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

[yop_poll id=”1″ show_results=”1″]

RESULTS – BUDGET POLL – AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD

January 17, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Rilsonav / Pixabay

All Polls ‹ The Rochford Independent — WordPress

Use the link above to see the FULL results.

134 residents (thank you) completed our Budget Poll.

What have residents said that the Council should listen to?

That residents are tired of add on “top up” taxes like special charges for green bins, car parking charges or even an extra charge for street lighting.

Whilst a majority did not want to see a Council Tax increase, which is understandable, those who preferred a Council Tax increase, rather than top up charges, were only just behind the No’s.

Interestingly residents were more in favour of using New Homes Bonus Grants to meet any shortfall in income rather than put it into reserves.

For the Investment Board residents were in favour of capital projects to develop land assets for development for affordable homes for social rent, a homeless shelter and an investment in a solar farm.

There was an overwhelming view from residents that the Cabinet with over £100,000 of allowances should go.

Councillors may call for a Local Plan Referendum

December 22, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Tumisu / Pixabay

So if it looks that the Council is not listening to residents in the public consultations on the Second Local Plan for 7500 new dwellings 2017-2037 then we will step in and raise a petition for residents to call for a Referendum before it is adopted by Rochford District Council.

We know that a Referendum on a Local Plan is not included in the list of those which must be approved by the Council but why would such a Referendum NOT be approved if the appropriate number of residents had called for it in a Petition? The cost of a Referendum would be in the region of £90,000 but that could easily be found from the New Homes Bonus from the first Local Plan in Reserves.

From the Echo

Councillors in Rochford have called for a petition to be drawn up to hold a referendum on the district’s second local plan.

In a written statement, councillor John Mason, leader of the Green and Rochford District Residents Group said that during the early stages of the new housing plan, residents have complained “they feel that they will not be listened to” about their council and councillors.

Mr Mason said: “We promise our residents that we will, whether we are Councillors at that time or not, put forward a Petition to Residents to call for a Referendum on the Second Local Plan before it is adopted by the Council.

“It is the future of our District and what we do, both councillors and residents, with it that counts. No excuses.

Residents have a right to be listened to.”

A resident added: “Don’t bother lobbying your district councillors, they will not oppose any plan unless it is in there own back yard.

“They will tell you what you want to hear but will not take any positive action.”

The second plan currently aims to create an unrestrained 7,500 new dwellings in the Rochford district across Rayleigh, Hawkwell, Hockley, Hullbridge, Ashingdon and Rochford.

Consultations have begun for the second plan which on top of the first housing plan, aims to create a total of 10,000 new homes in Rochford by 2037.

Despite support from councillors throughout the district, the council are confident the process for the new plan’s consultation is going to be effective and that resident’s concerns and ideas will heard.

Rochford District Council’s assistant director for planning, Matthew Thomas, said: “Although this is an interesting suggestion, there is no provision for a referendum in the legislation governing the preparation of a local plan.

“The council intends to ensure residents are offered substantial opportunities to participate in the plan making process and we recently sent a leaflet to all households in the district to advise of the current consultation on the issues and options stage.

“The timetable for the preparation of the local plan envisages a report from an inspector on the soundness of the plan in 2021, so there is much work to do before a plan emerges that can be considered for adoption.”

Councillors have rallied to the support of Mr Mason’s statement and they hope it will encourage more residents to become involved in the issue.

Michael Hoy, Deputy Leader of the Green and Rochford District Residents Group, said: “I fully support the statement and I believe in democracy.

“I think people have the right to say which quite often they feel their views are ignored and this is a way to show their views are not ignored, especially when it comes to one of the biggest decision in the area for the next 15 years.”

Adrian Eves, Rochford District Residents councillor for Hockley, added: “I think the actual proposal is completely unsustainable.

“When you look at the problems we have with infrastructure, we are getting power outages and losses of water pressure in Hockley.

“All we can do it be noisy as possible to get the government to learn.”

Neil Hookway, leader of the Ukip group, added: “Having local referenda in regards to housing is Ukip policy, so we will always support that, but this is something that effects the whole district and that is very important.”

 

Gagging of Councillors

December 7, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

I was invited by BBC Essex to talk about the Amended Social Media Policy or Gagging of Councillors with Sadie 9. Neil Hookway was on with me and Michael Hoy and James Newport chimed in with Tweets that were read out. I wonder if radio broadcasts will be banned after 12 December? TV?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1r3Yjrbn900&feature=youtu.be

Recording courtesy of BBC Essex And James Newport

Rochford District NEW Local Plan 2017 – 2037

December 3, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

IF YOU WISH TO HELP JUST CONTACT US here.

A NEW LOCAL PLAN FACEBOOK GROUP is here.

As many residents will already know Rochford District Council is about to launch a public consultation on a SECOND Local Plan for 2017 to 2037 focusing on a maximum of ANOTHER 7500 dwellings. With the FIRST local Plan 2011 to 2025 came committed approval for 2785 dwellings so together this makes over 10,000 !!

As you might expect the Council is required to ask Landowners and their Agents to formally notify the Council if they wish their land to be considered (for obvious reasons but some might not be so obvious and the Council assumes that each has a REAL intention to see development on their site.)

The information on the land available is publicly available on these maps (https://goo.gl/grJe3A). And there is even more information here (https://goo.gl/JNVBhv).

NO DECISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE. YOUR VIEW IN THE PUBLIC CONSULTATION COMING SOON WILL COUNT.

So what will your District Councillors be doing? I can’t speak for other political groups on the Council but I can say what The Rochford District Residents and Green Group propose.

We will leaflet all homes our Wards drawing attention to the questions and options put forward by the Council and how residents can comment on the Evidence put forward.

I shall also be asking our Councillors to work with residents to create a sustainability profile for the sites that landowners have put forward in their Wards and submit these in the Public Consultation.

How? Our approach is attached.

sustainability analysis template 2017

We will welcome all other political groups, action groups and residents’ associations/community groups if they decide to join in this way.

 

OUR INDEPENDENT SURVEY FOR A ROCHFORD DISTRICT COUNCIL BUDGET

November 30, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Because the RDC Officers are still making calculations for the Budget 2018/19 we are not certain what the Rochford District Council, DRAFT BUDGET GAP is this time round (shortage of income against expenditure [revenue]) that must be closed by law in the final budget. RDC also has a Capital Reserves and Receipts Budget.

However, as there certainly WILL be a REVENUE GAP we think that any BUDGET SURVEY needs to give residents the chance to look at what options there are for increases in charges and/or savings so that we can pass on your views. [if you are on the front page click the £5 !!] [if you are on a Mobile Phone please use Landscape.]

So we are publishing this BUDGET SURVEY as an alternative to the one put forward by Finance Officers.

We are asking for your email address so that we can show you the results in February and your post code to validate that only residents of Rochford District are voting.

We are Registered with the Information Commissioner under the Data Protection Act. Our Privacy Policy is here.

So what do you think?

The Questions are below.

Please indicate Yes (agree) or No (disagree)?

Thank you !!

 

[yop_poll id=”1″]

Is Our Green Belt Safe under our Council?

September 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

"Safe Under Us?"

http://www.cprelondon.org.uk/resources/item/2339-safe-under-us

THIS IS ABOUT ROCHFORD DISTRICT and we provided a contribution to this report which will be “news” for everyone who is concerned about the further loss of Green Belt in our revised Local Plan where there is a Council public consultation running at this moment.

This is what the Council has not told you.

There are some scary numbers coming forward as evidence from consultants such as 392pa instead of 250pa over the district. That COULD mean another 4000 over the existing building target of 2785!

At the Council’s policy rate of a minimum of 30 houses per hectare this implies the release of another 135.2 hectares of green belt.

“The government’s planning framework states that only ‘exceptional’ circumstances should allow building on Green Belt land. However, unclear national planning guidance and confusing government messages are causing councils to believe that in order to gain national approval of their Local Plans, they must meet higher targets. This is causing them to look at Green Belt land to meet housing growth figures.”

The Council is running a LIMITED public consultation right now. I say LIMITED because it does not comply with the recently approved NEW Council Policy on Community Involvement because the methods of engagement are not deep, wide or diverse enough for full engagement with residents. And the rate of response is not being monitored by channel for intervention if the response rate is low because of the lack of Council resources. This was specifically added to the Policy in just July. Needless to say I have complained to the Council.

 

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