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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.

NEW THREATS TO THE GREEN BELT OF ROCHFORD DISTRICT

July 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

NEW THREATS TO THE GREEN BELT OF ROCHFORD DISTRICT

Rochford District Council is holding a number of community engagement workshops this summer to give local people a say on planning matters. These will be interactive events and a chance for residents, businesses and the local parish council to feed information into the Local Plan process. The new Local Plan is a document which will set the strategy for future development of the District beyond 2025 (which is when the current plan finishes).The workshops will include a ‘walkabout’ in the villages in order to identify the needs of the community, local issues and opportunities for growth and development.

The Canewdon and Rochford workshops have already been held but parish councils in Hockley, Hawkwell and Hullbridge are already in discussion with RDC on dates. I believe that Rayleigh Town Council is also likely to participate.

Just a few days after the Local Elections, 5 May 2016, a very influential document (SHMA – Strategic Housing Market Assessment) was published by consultants on 10 May concerning the number of houses which were needed in our District based on Government assessment rules looking at trends and forecasts on such issues as affordable housing need, population demographics, the housing market and local economics. The housing needs forecasts do not take into account availability of brown field sites, loss of green belt and infrastructure/environment.

I have carried out this review personally with no additional input from Rochford District Council and I think that residents need to be given information now (transparency) notwithstanding the fact that there is still a long way to go.

The Core Strategy approved in December 2011 required Rochford District Council to deliver 250 houses per annum up to 2025.  Because it ended earlier than the Government required, which was 2031,  The Government Planning Inspector required there to be an early Revision of the Core Strategy.  The Council has just started to assemble evidence of which the SHMA is part.

So a new housing target?

Yes.

312 pa min and 392 pa max but consultants recommend the upper end.

Many residents have observed that Rochford District Council has been very good at meeting Government targets and its requirements for house building taking very little notice of the views and concerns of residents from consultations. (Rayleigh and Hullbridge have been prominent in the Echo, social media and blogs but other areas in the District as well have had Action Groups) and unlike Castle Point,  RDC seems to have very little regard so far for the constraint of green belt.  Equally Essex County Council has not raised any systematic issues of the impact of this level of house building on highway constraints but have been content to tinker with junction improvements on a piece meal basis application by application post  the Allocations DPD.

So if constraints on this figure are not forthcoming what COULD this mean?

The 392 is to start retrospectively in 2014. So there is an addition of 142 in the number of houses required for the plan period 2014 to 2025 from the agreed 250 over 12 years.

So that is 1704 more to add to the planned 2785.

The Council needs to extend the 2011 Plan from 2025 to 2031.  That means 6 years at 392 which is an additional 2352.

Over 2011 to 2031 that is an additional 4056 over the planned 2785 in the Plan to 2025.

That makes a total of 6841 over 2011 to 2031 which is an increase of 4056 by this new housing target (1704 plus 2352 as calculated above).

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.

I am telling you this so that residents and residents action groups who attend the local workshops have an informed view and afterwards can prepare to form or recall local Action Groups to raise material planning considerations as to why the loss of green belt and infrastructure are constraints and the unconstrained new target is not supportable.

 

John Mason

Rochford District Residents

The Battle for Rochford District is on 5 May !!

May 4, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

5 mayThe Battle for Rochford District is on 5 May !!
 
There is a battle on 5 May when 53 hopeful “non conservative candidates” take on 39 Conservative Candidates at the Local Election Polls.
 
There are 8 Independent Candidates (Residents BEFORE Politics) representing Rochford District Residents.
 
rdr vote2Please Vote for them………………
 
happy 5 MayBut What is Cinco de Mayo?
 
Literally “the Fifth of May,” Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican Holiday celebrating the Battle of Puebla, which took place on May 5, 1862.
 
The results of the Rochord Battle will not be announced until 6 May.

an important document on future housing numbers not been published

May 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Why has an important document on future housing numbers not been published even though the target date was December 2015? No explanation has been given to Members of the Rochford District Council who have asked via the Review Committee.

I think that you might know the answer…………Elections??

Basildon Council has been forced to do so because it is in a public consultation on its Core Strategy.

Castle Point is also in consultations but it has not been published (and CP is in charge of the project for all of our local councils).

Rochford District Council has not published this information even though it has formally commenced its long awaited Revision of the Core Strategy.

“The Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) is a technical study intended to help the local planning authorities understand how many homes will be needed in the period to 2031 and may be beyond. It also considers the housing needs of specific groups such as older people, minority groups and people with disabilities.

The housing figures included within the SHMA constitute an objective assessment of housing need in line with the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework.”

this is what we will do if elected…………

May 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

emblem1In less than 250 words this is what we will do if elected…………

This is the “common ground” between all of our independent candidates.

Rochford District Residents is a voice of 8 candidates calling for open, transparent, representative local government.

The Cabinet System which has cost over £500,000 will be abolished.

We have a long-term commitment to a sustainable community with necessary infrastructure improvements put in place before construction developments. Rochford District needs an Infrastructure Champion.

With the Re-Cycling Service that we are all proud of costing £440,000 a year this needs a full review so that it also the best value for money as well as top of the league. We do not think that an extra £40 a year charge for the Green Bins is the answer.

Public Toilets – Rochford District Residents believe that public toilets are a basic necessity and will do all we can to ensure that they are NOT closed.

Council Tax Support – Rochford District Residents will make sure that there is a further review at a local level to re-dress the recent reductions in support for the disabled.

Rochford District Residents will press for changes in the housing building policy with a consultation on retirement villages, a balance between both starter homes and those for rent and a reduction in the house annual house building quota for 2025 to 2031.

Instead of homeless families, including children, being sent to temporary accommodation in the notorious York Road, Southend we want the re-purposing of surplus council buildings to provide emergency accommodation right here in our District.

emblem1

Rochford District Residents Candidates 2016

April 27, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

rdrOur Rochford District Residents Candidates are standing in the following Wards;

Downhall and Rawreth – John Chaffin
Sweyne Park and Grange – Toby Mountain
Lodge – Richard Lambourne
Hockley – Adrian Eves and Irena Cassar
Hawkwell East – Elliot Mason
Hawkwell West – Christine Mason and John Mason

Please Vote for them on 5 May !!

Results may not be in until mid morning 6 May.

THE LOCAL ELECTION BATTLEGROUND IN ROCHFORD DISTRICT

April 26, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

rdrThere are 39 Conservative Candidates for the District Local Elections on 5 May. This is an ALL OUT Election and the Conservatives could lose control of Rochford District Council.

But this is not news for our local papers who have failed to tell readers that there even IS an Election.

How could control be lost? With just 20 non Conservatives being elected.

 

21 Labour candidates
9 Liberal Democrats candidates
8 UKIP candidates
8 Rochford District Residents candidates
4 Green Party candidates
2 Independent candidates

There are 52 non Conservative Candidates.

If only 20 were to be elected then RDC would be in No Overall Control leaving the road clear for a Rainbow Administration.

If only 50% were elected, 26, then there could be a comfortable majority for a Rainbow Administration.

This is NEWS. But not something that the Echo wishes to run even in the public interest.

Or do residents wish to see the Conservatives to continue to be in Overall Control or even have a LANDSLIDE VICTORY?

 

NHS Breast Screening Unit Gets parking charges

May 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

breast screening  (1)Hells Bells !! Rochford District Council even charges the NHS Breast Screening Unit parking charges !!

WOULD YOU STILL THINK OF VOTING CONSERVATIVE IF YOU THINK THAT THIS IS WRONG?

AND PLEASE SHARE THIS FOR ALL TO SEE. “Exploiting the NHS is NOT Saving the NHS”

Look at the photo. The Unit is not even in any parking space so this is additional revenue over and above the additional charges from patients visiting the unit for screening.

How much? An Officer’s report says that it used to be “by calculating a fee based on the pro-rata price of an annual parking permit (£800.00)”.

Based on a usage of 10 months that is £666. BUT WHY IS THE NHS CHARGED AT ALL?

And the DECISION of a Conservative Councillor (Cabinet Member) is NOW to charge £2750 instead.* see Note.

Look at the Photo. The Breast Screening Unit is not using any bays in Hockley Car Park.

AND EVEN IF IT WAS, WHY IS THE NHS BREAST SCREENING SERVICE STILL CHARGED AT ALL?

Many residents will have viewed the highly emotional BBC dramatisation of “The C Word” on Sunday night.

There is no case in humanity for any parking charges for Breast Screening yet alone an increase.

“Lisa Lynch was 28, newly married and the editor of a magazine when a diagnosis of breast cancer changed everything in an instant.”

“Normality vanished and, while Lisa’s family were overwhelmed with grief, she found refuge in her laptop.”

“The C-Word is an unflinchingly honest and darkly humorous account of Lisa’s battle with The Bullshit, as she came to call it. From the good days when she could almost pretend it wasn’t happening, to the bad days, when she couldn’t bear to wake up, Lisa’s story is emotional, heartbreaking and often hilarious. The C-Word will make you laugh and cry, and ultimately reaffirm your faith in life.”

* Note : (25% of £11,000 based on usage of 5 bays or £2,750. To meet Government cuts to the Council whilst the Government promise £8bn to save the NHS.)

Local Elections : How to Decide Who to Vote For

May 4, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

rdrIf you are still undecided who to vote for in The Local Elections for Rochford District Council our local paper, The Echo, decided to ask each Group Leader what their candidates planned to do if elected.

http://goo.gl/jFhePW

You can put the leaflets down at last and compare each party to the others based on just 100 words.

The whole page is carried at the link above.

If you have any questions about Rochford District Residents do ask on the new FB Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/rochfordandrayleigh/?fref=nf

Would Ukip represent you locally when it matters?

January 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

In the Echo today “Ukip suspends four councillors” – Ukip has suspended four of its Southend councillors because they disowned the party’s parliamentary candidate.

In Rochford District we ask would Ukip represent you locally when it matters?ukip

The Leader of Ukip on Rochford District Council, Councillor John Hayter, writes “Normally I should have been only too pleased to serve, but at present I am heavily committed to the General Election as the UKIP Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Rayleigh and Wickford, and am not in a position to do justice to the position.”

Very little work by local Councillors gets headlines but do people want to vote for a party locally that seems only interested in using your vote as a platform for greater political power?

Let me explain;

During the whole of last week Councillors and Staff were working together in a Selection Assessment Centre to appoint staff to new new positions established in the Organisational Re-design of the Council.

At the last Full Council a Chief Officers Appointments Committee was set up to take this forward. Political Parties have seats on Committees based on the number of Councillors each has of the total number of Councillors on our Council.

There was no surprise when the Conservatives had 5 Members on the Chief Officers Appointments Committee, The Green and Rochford District Residents, Liberal Democrats and Ukip one place for each. Each Party accepted the places allocated to this important task.

On the day that Members met for briefing and training, 8 January, for the “selection week” Ukip were unable to participate further. (And of the two remaining Ukip Councillors it would seem that neither was able to take up the place.)

Why?

Here is the email from the Ukip Group Leader, Councillor John Hayter, explaining why to the CEO of RDC.

“I write as UKIP leader. It is with regret that Ukip will not be able to take up the appointment on the Assessment Committee.”

“I should very much liked to have continued on the Committee today. However I did not appreciate the level of commitment that the position entails. Normally I should have been only too pleased to serve, but at present I am heavily committed to the General Election as the UKIP Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Rayleigh and Wickford, and am not in a position to do justice to the position.”

“May I wish the Committee all the best in their endeavours.”

It would be fair to conclude that Ukip in Rochford District may prefer to prioritise its own interests ahead of representing residents, playing their part in managing the Council and ultimately the running of the District.

Another 37 New Houses in Hawkwell !!

January 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

houseAnother 37 New Houses in Hawkwell !!

No planning application has been received by RDC but the Agents are seeking feedback from the public at this stage through a statement of community involvement to be submitted alongside the planning application.

Re-development of land at 90 Main Road, Hawkwell (Site Locationhttp://goo.gl/Q4yWcz)

 

Google Map here

Extracts from Letter to your District Councillors (http://goo.gl/jyzef2)

“Strutt & Parker are acting as planning consultants on behalf of Marden Homes Ltd with regards to the above site. It is planned that the current uses on the site are to relocate and this brownfield site will therefore become available for redevelopment. We have been instructed by Marden Homes to prepare a planning application for residential redevelopment.”

“The application will seek permission for the development of approximately 37 high quality homes to meet local needs. The
proposed new homes will be a mixture of detached, semi-detached and terraced properties, along with private amenity
space and parking.”

Site Layout http://goo.gl/kT83F1

“The site at 90 Main Road is within the existing urban area and was allocated for residential development within the 2006 Rochford District Local Plan, to support the housing needs of the district.”

 

Rochford District Residents now 7 Councillors with Greens

January 26, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The Green and Rochford District Residents Group on Rochford District Council grows today to 7 Members of The Council.

Originally the Group had 4 Members; John & Christine Mason (Hawkwell West) and Michael and Diane Hoy (Hullbridge) yet the Group was still the largest Opposition Group on the Council.

They are now joined by 3 more Independents; Councillor Toby Mountain (Sweyne Park, Rayleigh), Councillor Phil Capon (Hawkwell South) and Councillor Tracy Capon (Ashingdon and Canewdon).

The Group Leader in Council will continue to be John Mason and the Deputy Group Leader will continue to be Michael Hoy.

John Mason said today “We welcome Phil, Toby and Tracy joining us. All 3 are very experienced Councillors who are respected in their Wards for the work they do for residents. Rochford District Residents already covers the whole of the Rochford District but with the additions to the “Team” we will have widened our coverage to having a representative in Rayleigh in the West of District. Furthermore there will be closer shadowing overall of the Conservative Cabinet”.

All 3 will be joining Christine Mason in seeking re-election in May for Rochford District Residents.

Phil Capon said “I have chosen to stand again in Hawkwell South after being approached by a number of residents. I feel that by joining Rochford District Residents, I can best represent the people who live in the ward without being bound by national party policies. I look forward to working with the other members of the Group whose sole aim is to do what is best for the district and not for one party.”

Tracy Capon commented “Now I have taken time to think of recent events, I have decided that the residents of the Ashingdon and Canewdon ward deserve to be represented by a Councillor who is not bound by national party politics and the whip during council meetings. By joining Rochford District Residents, I will be able to act in a way that is best for all concerned and I look forward to standing in this seat in May and giving voters a viable alternative to party ‘yes men (or women)’ whose sole aim is self promotion and toeing the party line.”

Toby Mountain said “”Since leaving the Conservatives and becoming an Independent I have been included in several open forum, round table political discussions with the Rochford District Resident’s Group. We share the same belief with regard to openness and transparency and an engagement with residents in the decision making process. Uniting to create a strong and effective non-whipped group of residents representing residents, willing and able to challenge the current administration, presents a fresh choice at the local elections in May 2015. Residents in Sweyne Park Ward will now have the option to vote beyond the traditional narrow perspective of party politics and choose a local free speaking candidate to properly represent them.”

Rochford District Council Budget 2015/16 – Have your Say !!

September 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

dollars-31085_1280Rochford District Council Budget 2015/16 – Have your Say !!

WE NEED YOUR HELP !!

Council Members have been invited to an All Party But PRIVATE Away Day at the Freight House on 4 October to discuss the ideas that the Conservative Cabinet Member for Finance has on next year’s Budget.

Whilst the Public will be asked by the Council later for their views on the DRAFT Budget we wondered if residents would like to make their ideas known right now on what should be cut and what should be increased.

These ideas will can then be put forward at the Away Day by The Green and Rochford District Residents Group as an alternative “RESIDENTS BUDGET”.

So do you wish to see a FREEEEEEEEZE on Council Tax or a minimum of a 1.5% increase which has already been factored into the Council’s projections?

If there is a DEFICIT GAP of say £100,000 to £500,000 what would you wish to see cut? Or would you say just increase other charges, like car parking again, or just increase the Council Tax to meet the DEFICIT.

Please email to john.mason@bigfoot.com

Holding Decision Makers Accountable

July 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Why hasn’t Rochford District Council made  Press Releases  or given prominent publicity on its Web Site or in Rochford District Matters to  “Holding Decision Makers Accountable”?

We are going to run a series of posts over the year to tell you how the powerful Review Committee will be holding Council decision makers accountable.  It is led this year by the Green and Rochford District Residents Group i.e. US!

The Review Committee of Rochford District Council is empowered by Law to question elected members who sit on the Council’s Cabinet, Council employees, and representatives of other organisations involved in carrying out the Council’s responsibilities.   Review Committee is able to investigate any issue which affects the local area, or the District’s inhabitants, whether or not it is the direct responsibility of the Council’s Cabinet.

Members of the Public are welcome at most Review Committee Meetings and may be invited by the Chair to speak if they wish to. We will advise you when the “big issues” are in play so that your point of view may be reflected.

Hot Off the Press it has been recommended that the Committee will also look at the Council’s Budget proposals on 2 December in order to get direct feedback from residents and “To put rigour into the proposals”!

So what is this powerful Committee going to look at this Year?

  1. Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA): changes in policy and the Council’s annual usage of RIPA.

The Council often works in partnership with Essex Police, and this will sometimes involve the use of CCTV. CCTV evidence can be used as long as the correct procedure has been followed. RIPA applies to covert surveillance, whereas the Council will generally use overt surveillance to address any persistent/on-going issues around, for example, fly-tipping. Covert surveillance can be used, once authorised, if this approach is unsuccessful.

  1. Car parking charges

A  review around whether there has been a change in income as a result of increased charges and to see if Budget expectations at the time charges were increased have materialised.

  1. Rochford District Matters (RDM)

Information generated by an internal Council review of RDM to be available to the Committee prior to the review taking place.

  1. ICT Contracts

A  review to include any contracts within the overall service, including an assessment of value for money and any issues that have arisen within the main contract.

  1. Building control

A review to cover the future of the service,  including the options of shared services with neighbouring authorities, withdrawing the service altogether or offering just a residual service.

  1. ECC financial contribution to cutting verges

It was agreed to wait until October to see if there is any change in the remuneration the Council will receive from ECC before commencing this review. (In addition a review the possible pollutant and blockage effect of Council Grass Cuttings adversely affecting surface water drainage has been requested.)

  1. Highways/Potholes –

An invitation to County Highways to attend either the September or October meeting of the Committee.

  1. Treasury Management Review
  2. Community Safety Partnership (CSP)

This is scheduled to take place at the November meeting; specific invitees from the Police.

  1. Dog Fouling – (Review to be scheduled.)

The next Meeting will be on 8 July in the Civic Suite in Rayleigh when the Review Committee will be receiving a Report on ICT Contracts – “A  review to include any contracts within the overall service, including an assessment of value for money and any issues that have arisen within the main contract.” from Shaun Scrutton. Members will be asking an initial set of fact finding questions in order to decide how to take this review forward.

Could YOU represent your Community? Do YOU like to be involved in local issues?

June 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Could YOU represent your Community? Do YOU like to be involved in local issues?  Can YOU assist your neighbours to find the right route to resolve a problem? If so Rochford District Residents needs YOU.

Rochford District Residents is a local political party that has its roots in Residents Associations.  Run and administered by John and Christine Mason who represent their Ward – Hawkwell West – on Rochford District Council the aims are simple:  To achieve the best possible results for the residents they represent in local matters.

Many national political parties, but not all,  set their policies focused on Parliament and Parliamentary seats and these are cascaded down from the top to the local political groups. Rochford District Council (RDC) seats come under two different Parliamentary Constituencies and the Leader of the RDC group ensures that both National and Local (Conservative) Policies are adhered to by use of the Whip. (Nothing to do with black leather (!!) but to do with ensuring that members of that group vote as instructed by the Leader of the Council.)

Rochford District Residents  are unlike national political parties as there is NO whip nor will there ever be.  We believe that everyone has a view that they are entitled to put forward and after a debate a vote should be taken on the merits of the points raised, discussed and debated.

Unfortunately at present the local administration have a different policy, their whip ensures that their Councillors vote in line with the party instructions regardless of whether it is right or wrong for your area.  The craziness of this was demonstrated by the recent Conservative led hike in car parking charges when 10 Conservative councillors disobeyed the Whip and abstained.  Yes, abstained because they were ‘not allowed’ to vote against the Conservative Policy.  Had they had the courage of their convictions and voted against the rise we would not be facing this increase, which is yet to be implemented. (Delayed from the beginning of April.)  These ten became nine etc and only one of the original ten has had the courage to continue to reject the Whip, becoming an Independent Conservative .

We are not anti- conservative, or anti-labour or anti-liberal for that matter.  We just believe that local people should have an independent  voice in local issues.  In many ways we are Independents under a Heading to allow voters to identify with us and our aims.  We had hoped that the much publicized Localism Act would create more democracy at a local level but unfortunately this has not been the case. Nor will it – ever.

Next May thirteen RDC seats are up for election, one in each of Ashingdon and Canewdon, Barling and Sutton, Foulness and Great Wakering, Hawkwell North, Hawkwell South, Hawkwell West, Rochford, Hullbridge, Hockley Central, Grange, Lodge, Sweyne Park, Downhall and Rawreth (Rayleigh Wards).

Christine will be standing in Hawkwell West seeking re-election.

Would you like to join her and stand in one of the other wards?

Even if you do not wish to use our heading of Rochford District Residents and wish to stand as an ‘Independent’ we are more than willing to help and advise you on the complexities of seeking election and representing your area and your views.

It may seem a long way till May 2015 but we feel it is best to get to know your potential ward well in advance of an election which enables you to go to the electorate with a track record and a clear understanding of the commitment you may be making.

Contact John or Christine on john.mason@bigfoot.com

Rochford District Council Subsidises Gala Dinner

May 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The confusion over the Rochford District Council Annual Civic Dinner persists, but we seem to finally be getting a truer picture of the event.

According to latest information from The Chief Executive it would appear that;

  • 47 guests paid for their tickets at £40.00,
  • Also 16 guests, including three RDC Councillors, received ‘free’ tickets
  • And 11 ‘chauffeurs’ dinners were provided;
  • 7 at the reduced price of £10
  • the other 4 free for RDC Operational Staff.

(Not quite sure what the difference between the chauffeurs’ dinner is other than price.)

£90 is still owed by someone.

Confusion reigns because there does not seem to be any reconciliation between the number of tickets and the income and accounts are presented without the VAT element.

My maths calculate a gross income of £1950 and gross expenditure £3920. This of course excludes any staff costs as RDC do not appropriate such overheads to individual events.

This results in a loss of £1970 for the 47 paying guests, or alternatively a subsidy of about £42 per full priced ticket, meaning that the full cost should have been £82 instead of £40.

There are of course many other ways of looking at this.

But however you look at it the event makes a loss and is a drain on the public purse.

Multiply this across every Council in England and the potential cost could be substantial.

If RDC wish for a Civic Dinner perhaps they should ensure that it is cost neutral, or even better raises money for the Chairman’s Charity.

Certainly most organisations would not run a loss making event year on year and since the Recession in 2008 the cost to the community is over £16,000.

A little bird tells me that they might seek a Sponsor for next year’s do.

Perhaps we shall see a menu with builders’ soup, highway congestion of mixed vegetables and a large slice of humble pie.

Personally I think the answer is simple – raise the ticket price to cover all of the costs.

What do you think?

Email john.mason@bigfoot.com or Comment on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rochfordindependent

Free dinner guests below:

• Chairman, Councillor Mrs B Wilkins
• Mr Martin and Mrs Julie Butler (Citizen of the Year Winner and wife)
• The Rt. Hon Mark Francois MP (Guest Speaker)
• James Duddridge MP and Mrs Katy Duddridge (wife)
• Lord Petre, Lord Lieutenant of Essex
• Mr and Mrs Julia and Charles Abel Smith (High Sheriff of Essex and husband)
• Mr Nick and Mrs Pippa Alston (Essex Police & Crime Commissioner)
• Rev. Alun Hurd (Chairman’s Chaplain)
• Mr Malcolm and Miss Rosanna Hiscock (South East Essex Symphony Orchestra – one of the Chairman’s Charities)
• Leader, Councillor T Cutmore (hosting a table)
• Councillor Mrs Mockford (hosting a table)

Local News from Hawkwell, Hockley and Rochford District

April 4, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

front pageIf you live in Hawkwell, Hockley and Rochford then please “Like” and “Share” Our Page on Facebook or “Bookmark” to get regular local news.  The Rochford Independent was first published in 2006 and is a trusted source of local news being run by John and Christine Mason who are also Independent Members of the District Council.  
If you give our FB Page a “Like” we promise you that there will be no advertising feature articles or adverts just relevant local news and updates.
So please do give this “free offer” a go !

VOLUNTEERS WANTED TO HELP WITH FLOOD PREVENTION IN RECTORY ROAD

October 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Discussing Water Rights.preview30TH November: 10 am

1st December: 10 am

Meet at junction of Windsor Gardens & Rectory Road

The Problem: In August our area suffered flooding when the Hawkwell Brook overflowed as a result of the heavy rain and high tide.  Many of those worse affected were frail or elderly and have become fearful of a repeat situation.

The Situation: Generally, the owners of the land adjoining a watercourse are responsible for keeping the passage clear.  In the past the Water Authority cleared this on occasion but in recent years they have left this to the adjoining landowners.  Unfortunately, many landowners are unaware of their responsibility or are unable to deal with the debris and growth.

The Resolution: We are asking residents to come together and help clear the vegetation around the Brook, starting at Windsor Gardens and working back to Clements Hall. Once the vegetation has been cleared, this should allow water to flow more freely to where it passes onto farmland and no longer threatens property.

Equipment Needed (Please raid your sheds!)

∙ Thick Gloves ∙ Secateurs ∙ Shears ∙ Sacks ∙ Wheelbarrows/Containers

If you can help please call 01702 204377 or write to us at Wistaria Cottage.

The Planned Action:

∙ Mick Purkiss (the farmer) has offered to remove as much vegetation as possible during November with his hedge cutter.

∙ Rochford District Council are providing large bins for us to fill with green debris

∙ Rochford Hundred Rugby Club and a local Church have offered their help

∙ We ask for your help cutting back vegetation or transporting it to the bins

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: When working in areas such as the Brook there is always a risk of Weil’s Disease. Please be aware and take precautions, you may also want to check your tetanus is up to date. Sensible footwear is a must.

 PLEASE BE AWARE THIS ACTIVITY IS AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Let us all work together and show that Hawkwell still enjoys a real community spirit.

What does the Census 2011 tell us about our future housing needs?

September 12, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Essex Coastal Scene

The recently published Census 2011 data suggests to us that we did not need 175 new houses in Hawkwell for our children and grandchildren as the Council suggested to residents when they protested.

Nor perhaps the housing estate developments proposed in the rest of Rochford District.

With the age group 0 to 18 having increased across the whole District by only 186 over 10 years we leave it to you to decide about that.

Even if the birth rate in Rochford District shoots up from 2012 onwards as predicted these youngest children will not need new houses until earliest 2031 which is almost outside of the house building plan period.

With 0-18’s remaining around 17,000 over 10 years it is evident that the 1,828 new dwellings built in the District over 2001 – 2011 contributed adequately to their housing needs and other age groups. That is on average 183 new houses per year against the 250 per year which has been forced on our District by the last Labour Government and the new Coalition Government.

So if new estates numbering thousands in the District are to be built then many of these new homes must be for new residents to the District.

We are promised new jobs. When will the new jobs be created?

As the majority of the 6% population increase for Rochford District in the Census was in the over 60’s then instead surely we will need retirement villages to release “secondhand” family homes instead of new housing estates for a phantom birth rate or incomers to the area.

We adopted this policy as Independents several years ago.

On 9 April 2011 we wrote to Miss Laura Graham who was the Goverrnment Planning Inspector responsible for making a Decision on the Rochford Core Strategy.

“You should be recommending that the LPA should, therefore, take the existing CS away and press ahead without delay in preparing up dated development plans to respond to Planning for Growth and the LPA should use that opportunity to be proactive in identifying, driving and supporting the type of housing growth that this district really needs.

Instead of building new homes for families the housing strategy should focus on releasing smaller parcels of green belt in appropriately strategic locations to accommodate the needs of our aging population in terms of retirement villages which use a smaller footprint of green belt and release over housed family properties for re-use on sale.

Indeed Planning for Growth says “LPA’s should make every effort to identify and meet the housing, business and other development needs of their areas, and respond positively to wider opportunities for growth, taking full account of relevant economic signals such as land prices. Authorities should work together to ensure that needs and opportunities that extend beyond (or cannot be met within) their own boundaries are identified and accommodated in a sustainable way, such as housing market requirements that cover a number of areas, and the strategic infrastructure necessary to support growth.  I do not believe that the CS meets these requirements.”

We were interviewed by Rochford Life;

“Interestingly enough, when I mention retirement villages, I was quite heartened that in this Thames Gateway draft that the consultant have been putting together, that issue seems to be coming back, so maybe the noise we made, and the noise we made to the Inspector on the Core Strategy, has been read by someone and maybe this is the way our ideas come back and come into fruition.

I don’t honestly understand why the Inspector, when looking at the Core Strategy and looking at the potentials, didn’t turn round under the subject heading of housing and housing types, didn’t actually introduce that into the debate. If she had brought that idea forward with the developers, we may have found that many of them would have put their hands up and said, what a great idea, we can do that and it’s highly profitable and it’s socially sensible, it’s entirely engaging because it releases less Green Belt, so why don’t we do that. It’s a mystery to me.”

But today the Telegraph publishes that there is now support for this policy from a respected think tank report.

Pensioners stuck in family homes

A report from Demos has claimed that millions of pensioners face growing old in social isolation because they are trapped in family homes which they cannot leave. Pensioners who would like to downsize are sitting on a stockpile of properties with an estimated value of £400bn, the reports says. However, a shortage of smaller homes suitable for retirement means that more than three million over-60s are unable to move, it adds.

About Demos

Demos is Britain’s leading cross-party think-tank. We have spent 20 years at the centre of the policy debate, with an overarching mission to bring politics closer to people.

The Government’s response to the housing crisis is a focus on increasing home ownership among first-time buyers. Our latest report argues that building retirement properties for older people keen to move could free up over 3 million family homes.

The District of Rochford is part of the Thames Gateway Housing Market which comprises Rochford, Castlepoint, Southend, Basildon and Thurrock. This is a “Strategic Housing Market” and we are part of that “SHMA” (Strategic Housing Market Assessment) which will be published again by the end of 2013.

As with the Labour legacy of the Regional Spatial Strategies, it would appear that the number of new houses required to be delivered in Rochford District will not be decided solely by Rochford District but by consultants partly paid for by the Council and possibly by adjoining Councils under the “duty to co-operate” who would like us to take part of their quotas.

Will the new SHMA increase the yearly requirement from 250 per year in RDC?

According to the experience of the last 10 years according to the Census 2011 perhaps that figure should have been reduced already to the original 190 per year?

To justify 250 per year or more we need explanations and furthermore justification why we cannot have less.

[Notes: Rochford District Council provided the metrics referred to above and as such were verified and validated by the Council. The base information has since been requested and provided by the Council although Councillor John Mason has simplified the spreadsheet to allow the comparison between 2001 and 2011 to be seen at a glance here.]

Love thy Neighbour

August 24, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Rectory Road Hawkwell

Despite our concerns about the new Barratts/David Wilson Homes development when an invitation to their new Show Homes launch arrived in the post unexpectedly we decided to be open minded and as a family member is house hunting for such a property Saturday morning saw us at the Sales Office (still no permission for the copious advertising and lighting but that is another story).

It was pouring with rain but the car park was full, including of all things an ice cream trolley and some tables, indeed the only umbrella on site appeared to be the one protecting the ice cream container!

Nevertheless we persisted and parked in Thorpe Road – sorry residents – braved the torrential rain and darted along the path to the sales office.  Had we an appointment?  No!  Alas I had failed to turn the card over and see that we were invited to call and make an appointment………..Nevertheless we were advised we could look around the Show Homes and told to follow the path.  We did.

The first house was a three bedded one (nice, neat and well presented) but the rain appeared to make a weird glugging sound emit from the plug hole in the kitchen which caused some confusion and hilarity.

By now we were so wet that we decided we may as well drip over the other house as well.  Four bedded and again well presented although a bit unnerving that the electrics kept switching on and off on their own accord, however teething problems that I am sure will be corrected.

Back to the Sales Office where tea and cup cakes seemed to be the order of the day; but not for us.

hmm, some sort of raspberry cupcakes

Perhaps you needed to have an appointment to be offered those!

Soaking wet we had to run back to the car and return home for dry clothes.  Note to Barratts: perhaps a few brolly’s for use of customers  might be a good investment if you are expecting potential buyers to undertake unconducted viewing in wet weather.

Our day meandered as most Saturdays do via food and shops but when we returned home we were concerned to see that the Brook behind our house was over the bank and up to the fence and our neighbours had potential issues as part of Rectory Road is very low and the torrential rain plus high tide (the Brook eventually runs into the sea and is consequently affected by the tides).

Several properties were affected and some flooded.

John could not get through on the Council’s emergency number  and the emergency services were inundated and only concerned if there was risk to life.  Although the Police agreed we could ask drivers to turn back due to the problems the wash was causing although they did imply people might be difficult.  Surley not thought I, homes at risk, potential untold distress and misery, no one would be that callous.  Wrong.

Rectory Road was flooded at the junction with Windsor Gardens and for some considerable length and the water levels rising.  Unfortunately motorists driving through the flood waters aggravated the problem sending the flood waters back towards the properties in a strong surge.  Some properties had air bricks covered and were literally an inch away from flooding.  Some have flooded.  My heart goes out to those residents affected.

Local residents were doing all that they could to support each other but the motorists seemed to be in their own protective bubble, more concerned with their own journey and some obviously relishing the mess and mayhem that they were creating.  One (local) tractor came tearing along and when asked to slow down speeded up creating a wave of over 6 inches (I know my wellies got flooded).  After that we discovered another property under water.  Generally though most motorists understood and were helpful, a big thank you to those drivers who offered to park up and walk or turned around.   After a while the water started to recede and we merely had to ask traffic to drive slowly.  A big thank you to all those neighbours who tried to help each other and themselves and for those who thought it did not matter remember it could be you needing help another time………..

Hawkwell Flooding 2013

Hawkwell Flooding 2013

Rectory Road Hawkwell

Rectory Road Hawkwell

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