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News Leaks from District Council in Echo

December 16, 2007 by · 1 Comment 

Firstly Rochford not totally opposed to traveller caravan pitches

SOUTH Essex will have to find an extra 185 official traveller caravan pitches if new regional government proposals are accepted.

UNLIKE other south Essex districts, Rochford is not totally opposed to extra pitches.

Deputy leader Keith Hudson said he had no objection to a small, properly-regulated site, so long as it did not affect local residents and had adequate road access.

He added: “I believe a site for travellers should be just that – somewhere they can stay for a short time before they move on.”

And…………..An Officer speaks in public at a sub committee about a new waste contract where Councillors who met in secret on 5 December because of confidential financial matters were asked to keep quiet until a Press Release as made in the New Year !!

Full Council Minutes of the 5 December Meeting where the decision on the placement of a new 7 year rubbish and recycling contract have been suppressed.

Why should we continue to be censored if an Officer can speak and the Echo can publish?

http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/local/display.var.1905801.0.bottle_banks_cut.php

 

 

Fortnightly Refuse Collections – Residents Councillor Speaks Out In Echo

October 11, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Fortnightly Rubbish Collections on Agenda

ROCHFORD district councillors are set discuss the controversial issue of fortnightly rubbish collections as their current waste contract comes up for renewal.

John Mason, a councillor who represents Rochford district, said he did not believe fortnightly waste collections were feasible until the range of recyclables and composting was extended. He said: “The grey, general waste bins are going to get too full, unless more can be taken out of them to recycle.

“The Council can’t just say, it’s going to have to be grey bins every fortnight’ without any changes, because it’s simply not going to work.

“I think people will be co-operative with more recycling, but they’ve got to have the chance to do it.”

 

2 Hours on What Needs to Change at Rochford Council

July 14, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Tory Councillor Heather Glynn said “how sad it was that only 3 (of the 9) Executive Councillors attended.” Those absent included the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council.

All Councillors were invited to attend the initial feedback.  Important because it was fresh with direct explanation from the whole Review Team.  Apart from many staff only 7 Councillors attended.  Tory Executive Councillors Seagers, Starke and Stansby.  Ordinary Councillors Humphreys, Glynn and Cottis for the Conservatives and myself, John Mason an Independent representing Rochford Residents.   

A written report which will be made available in August and a Presentation will be made just by the IDEA Member of the Review Team in September. Let’s hope the  Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council and the rest of the Executive Councillors fully understand what is required of them to improve the Council  and get an assessment of better than POOR in the official inspection by the Audit Commission in 18 month’s time.

But already Rochford Council has missed the boat in my view.  The IDEA Team Leader, himself a Chief Executive of a successful District Council, explained that his Council had adopted a cultural organisational change theme called “One Team” but this had taken 2 years to establish. And having just split the Members into Executive Councillors and Ordinary Councillors with definitive political polarisation then the Council will find that it will take much more than this to create a “One Team” at Rochford.

I know from personal contact with Pam Challis, The Castle Point Borough Council Leader, that neighbour Castle Point is already a long way through a cultural change programme there but the Rochford Council Executive Councillors are content to only discuss matters such as Handymen, Play and Weddings !!

There were some really positive findings about Rochford Council but the focus of the Audit Commission will have changed by the time the official inspection takes place and there is a huge amount of work to do if Rochford is to get away from being assessed as a POOR Council.

Here are what I think are the most important matters to be tackled from a presentation lasting two hours;

  • The Review Team stated at the outset that Rochford District Council has all of the necessary components in order to create significant improvements; green attractive environment, airport, railway, bus network etc., There is no reason why Tourism, regeneration and a vibrant market town cannot be established but there needs to be a clear strategy with established timed expectations and outcomes.
  • Council needs a cultural identity or ethos which can be embraced by all polititical parties, residents and the staff of Rochford Council
  • there is no focussed vision of what the Council will be doing – the public do not understand what the Council vision is
  • Community Strategy and the Corporate Plan are only loosely connected
  • there is an over dependence on the Local Development Framework (LDF) to deliver the overall Council strategy
  • the public do not understand the LDF and what a spatial planning strategy is
  • 67% of the population of Rochford cannot afford rented/private housing accomodation (figures from RDC Housing Needs Study 2004) so much more, even all, of the new 3700 housing allocation must be allocated to affordable housing.  In the words of the IDEA Team Leader “This will be a testing decision because residents do not wish to see new building on green belt and business are looking for initiatives too”. “Roads are congested due to residents moving out of the area for work, so more work needs to be established in the District.
  • there is only some recognition of residents opinions in developing projects, they appear to have already been decided at consultation
  • Council projects do not have firm delivery targets or stated outcomes which are tested post delivery
  • Overview and Scrutiny does not examine, challenge or relate to the vision and objectives of the Council
  • Council Staff want to know who the Executive Councillors and Councillor Champions are and what they are doing
  • there is little evidence of Members involvement in the Corporate Plan and Economic Strategy
  • area profiles do not have clear input into decision making and no devolved decision making and budget
  • no evidence of political commitment to address the needs of hard to reach groups
  • Residents do not understand what is included in Paper kerb side recycling – an example of poor communication
  • the CDRP (Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership chaired by Chief Inspector and Rochford District Commander, John Walker) needs to be less operationally focussed and focussed more on strategy – Safer by Design and Youth Engagement are examples

 

 

 

Residents Survey – Hawkwell West 2007

May 27, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Which local issues matter the most to you? %
Anti-Social behaviour 18
Council tax 12
Litter 11
Medical care ie., dentists/doctors 10
Planning 8
Traffic congestion 7
Street parking 6
Facilities for Young People 6
Recycling 5
Parks and green spaces 5
Bus Services 5
Street crime 4
Graffiti 3
Leisure/ Sports facilities 0
How safe do you feel? %
Neutral 52
Quite Safe 34
Quite Unsafe 10
Very Safe 4
Very Unsafe 0
How do you rate the quality of local policing?
%
Neutral 53
Quite poor 29
Quite good 12
Very poor 6
Very good 0
How Clean and Tidy and Attractive do you find Hawkwell? %
Neutral 53
Quite attractive 29
Quite unattractive 17
Very unattractive 1
Very attractive etc 0

Clearly the issues of policing and anti social behaviour continue to be important to residents.

Still in the Top 5 are Council Tax, Litter (which cross links to the last survey question), Medical Care and Planning.

I shall give these issues my priority in District Council and my seat on the Governing Board of Southend Hospital continues to allow me to represent your medical needs.

Note:  This survey information is subject to full copyright and all rights are reserved by John Mason and Rochford District Residents.  Prior written permission must be given to link to this survey, reproduce this survey in whole or in part, whether in writing or otherwise.

Rochford District Council will not advertise Recycling Scheme on its Web Site

September 22, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

Despite what they say there is no scheme like this set up for Rochford District !!

Policy is “It is not our policy to link to websites expressing personal opinions that could be mistaken for the views of the Council”

Obviously the Council does not want to get firmly involved in localism, engaged with the community and recycling however it is provided – how could the views of the Council differ?

There is no furniture recycling scheme in Rochford District – period -it all goes to landfill. Why doesn’t the District Council want to save costs, if not protect the environment?

Why does the Council have a problem with engagement with the community? Obvious really – it wants to ignore any personal resident initiative by policy.

New Re-Cycling Scheme for Rochford District

September 16, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

The Rochford District Recycling Exchange is here http://rochfordessex.net/recycle/phpBB2/index.php

rochford district recycling exchange

Since Southend Borough Council cancelled the grant for the warehouse there is no more furniture re-cycling for our residents either.

As RDC previously rejected the idea of our district having its own warehouse we applied for a Rochford District Freecycle Group.

Unfortunately there was a long waiting list !! They said a month but that has now long gone.

This recycling scheme runs of the same basis as Freecycle. We do not think that they will mind.

The worldwide Freecycle Network is made up of many individual groups across the globe. It’s a grassroots movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for FREE in their own towns.

How does the Rochford District Recycling Exchange work? People who have things they want to get rid of contact people who can use them. Our goal is to keep usable items out of landfills. By using what we already have on this earth, we reduce consumerism, manufacture fewer goods, and lessen the impact on the earth. Another benefit of using Rochford District Recycling Exchange work is that it encourages us to get rid of junk that we no longer need and promote community involvement in the process.

Everything posted must be free, legal and appropriate for all ages. When you want to OFFER something – whether it’s a chair, fax machine, piano or an old door, simply post a note in the Exchange Space.

After that it is up to the giver to decide who receives the gift from the responses only they receive and to set up a collection time, and finally post an item TAKEN message.

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