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Flooding Prevention Versus Finance – “The Winner is………….”

December 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

head_in_the_sandOn the 17th December Rochford District Council formally adopted the revised budgetary estimates for 2013/2014.

We noted that the provision of £10,000 for Sewers and Ditch clearance, which presumably if spent may have eliminated or prevented some of the flooding experienced by residents in August, has been reduced to NIL!  Only £595 was spent in the previous financial year which makes us wonder why the budget was hiked so high and then not used.

Yet when the rains came on the 24th August the advice given by the Leader of the Council on TV  was for residents to go out and buy sand bags.  In our view the money budgeted could have been either used as proposed, used for sand bags or not put into the budget at all.

Whilst we prefer that Riparian Owners keep the land adjoining watercourses that they are responsible for clear of debris and the watercourse free flowing we accept that many Riparian Owners do not have the financial or physical means to achieve this which is why, in Hawkwell West,  we arranged for the Community at large to assist affected residents last month.  As Ward Councillors John and I led this very successful and rewarding couple of days and not only achieved the aim of clearing vegetation and other debris but also helped forge Community bonds.

We are curious as to the future intentions of the Rochford District Council.

Has the Council removed this Budget item only to reinstate it later or will other District Councillors follow our example and help the residents in their Wards themselves by organising flood prevention work?

Read the answer from the Leader of Rochford District Council, Councillor Cutmore (also an Essex County Councillor where ECC does have responsibility for flood prevention).

Flood victims’ anger

Flood victims’ anger at council bigwigs

Echo Wednesday January 1, 2014

We sent a Report on Hawkwell West Flood Risk to the new Chief Executive, Amar Dave, on 8 December pointing out that work needed to be done on Council land adjoining Clements Hall Leisure Centre. This is in Flood Zone 3 and is upstream of the areas that flooded in August . On 17 December, the Council cancelled a £10,000 Budget which Councillor Cutmore states is for ““The budget for sewers and ditch clearance was specifically set aside for those on Rochford District Council land that we have responsibility for.” We are now asking if this work will be done or not?

Councillor Cutmore also told the Echo “As a local authority, we are also looking ahead to see what else we can do in the future to help residents in situations like this and we are currently working on an improved flood plan.”

But……………………

The Environment Agency says on its Web Site “Local authorities have powers to manage local flood risk only if they are lead local flood authorities under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010. These include county councils and unitary authorities, but do not include district councils.

Community Assistance and Hairdressing

December 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

kesNot two words that you often see together but a wonderful simple way for the community to help local students and themselves at the same time.

A few weeks ago a leaflet was enclosed with my Council papers asking for people to attend the King Edmund School Salon.  Well my hair certainly needed re-doing but did they really need me?  It transpired that they did, still a little uncertain I was asked to pop along for a patch test – impressed I cannot recall ever having one done before.  Patch test fine I duly made an appointment and turned up on the day to be pleasantly greeted by one of the sixth form students and treatments, options etc were discussed in a relaxed and friendly manner with great attention paid to my simple request to banish the grey.

The students are fully supervised at all times and it was fascinating to be part of their learning process.  My pleasant and friendly stylist started a little tentatively but with reassurance from her mentors soon gained in confidence.

The result:  far the best I’ve ever had at a fraction of the cost and for the first time the grey has been hidden!

Downsides:  no tea (health and safety issues apparently).  Only open Tuesdays.

Upsides: Not only did I get a superb hair do at a fraction of normal rates but I get the added satisfaction of being involved in the training of our youngsters.

The students need heads to practice on – especially with colouring – so come on ladies treat yourselves, your purse and help your community by phoning 01702 545771 x 3238 for a great experience!

Seasons Greetings To All Of Our Readers

December 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

seasons greetings We hope that you have enjoyed reading our Articles and you have been kept advised of what is going on in Hawkwell and Rochford District.

Thank you also to those who have helped ad supported us.

There will be local elections in 2014, 2015 and 2016 when the later will be as a result of a Boundary Commission Review of Electoral Representation in Rochford District and ALL Councillors will be either be up for Re-Election if they choose or there will be a new set of Candidates for you to choose from.

If all goes well in 2014 for John and for Christine in 2015 we expect to offer ourselves for re-election in 2016.

Three busy years in a row !!  We will need help to deliver leaflets so if you can volunteer please contact us on christine.mason@rochfordessex.net or john@onlinemail.me.uk

We hope you like our electronic Christmas and New Year Card, just click on the blue image it and turn on the sound, just for once !!

Wishing you and your families a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

John and Christine Mason – The Rochford Independents

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Update on Flood Prevention Work In The Vicinity of Rectory Road

December 8, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

 DSCF0749Hawkwell Brook 8th December 2013

As organised by us the length of the Brook from Windsor Gardens to the end of the field adjoining Clements Hall was cleared by volunteers on the Weekend 30th Nov/1st Dec.  Thanks to everyone involved.  Certainly we were relieved that no further problems occurred on Friday when a similar flood warning was sounded.

Yesterday John and I walked along the Brook up to Thorpe Close and noted the work that needs to be done by the local land owners.  As these riparian owners are commercial organisations we have submitted a report to our new Chief Executive so that he can arrange for the appropriate work to be undertaken as appropriate.

Our main concern was the allegation from a  resident that David Wilson Homes/Barratts have been pumping water into the Brook and we have asked for this to be investigated.

The other concern was the silting up of the higher level of the Brook as this will be near to the new David Wilson Homes/Barratts Homes.

The amount of work needed to provide the same level of clearance that the volunteers achieved downstream is small and we are optimistic that this will be done soon so that the risk of flooding is reduced and peace of mind is achieved for local residents.

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David Wilson Homes “hopes” to reopen a temporary path through Thorpe Road by Christmas – Quote – Unquote

December 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

DSCF0417Reported in the Echo 6 December 2013

Update on our Article, Thorpe Road Closure with less than 24 hrs Notice

A FOOTPATH which was closed,leaving residents with a half-mile detour to reach village amenities looks set to be reopened by Christmas.

The path at the unmade end of Thorpe Road, Hockley, was shut unexpectedly in October, as part of a development for 175 homes in the village.

The closure meant residents had to walk half-a-mile along narrow pavements on Main Road or Rectory Road to reach shops, a doctor’s surgery and Greensward and Westerings schools. At the time, the move left residents angry at the lack of communication from developers David Wilson Homes, who had told residents the path wouldn’t be shut and access would be maintained at all times.

Now, after intervention from County Hall, the path looks set to reopen.

Following a meeting with developers,a spokesman for Essex County Council said: “The developer was understanding and supportive of the council’s desire to have access through Thorpe Road fully restored for pedestrians as soon as possible. “An alternative diversion within the site is being considered by the developer, which will direct pedestrians from the north of Thorpe Road, and to the east of the site to join with the southern part of Thorpe Road.”

“A spokeswoman for David Wilson Homes confirmed that it hoped to reopen a temporary path by Christmas.”

Comment from District Councillors John and Christine Mason

“Let us hope that the promise made by Barratts is fulfilled because this has caused problems for residents for over a month now and by Christmas  is another month”  

“Whilst welcoming the position negotiated by Essex County Council Officers this has only been achieved after protest by Councillors and Residents.” 

“Essex County Council should never have allowed the agreement that it would not be closed to pedestrians, agreed with District Councillors by ECC and Barratts, to be reneged upon in the first place.” 

Flood Warning !!

December 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

flood_alertEnvironment Agency Warning Page – Updates Regularly

Echo Feature Article on Hawkwell Flood Prevention

Echo Feature Article on Hawkwell DIY Flood Plan 

Just in the nick of time-page-001

“People Power” or How Residents Can Carry Out DIY Flood Prevention

December 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

2013-11-30 10.27.21_DCEHawkwell Brook Saturday 30th November and Sunday 1st December

As featured in the ECHO DIY Flood Plan

No one told us how physically hard flood prevention would be.  John and I ache in muscles that “we did not know that we had and probably have not got”!  (Christine was heard saying “Charlie Dimmock I am not.  (Certainly John is not!))  That said it is a lot cheaper and more rewarding than the gym.

Saturday dawned cold, bright and above all dry.  Nearly 40 people turned up over the course of the session, it was impossible to keep track of everyone but all set to with a will.  Father and Son, Mother and Daughter, Family and friends from age 8 to 80 every one did what they could and more.

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As someone said the camaraderie was fantastic and they got to know their neighbours better.  The community support has been staggering from Rochford Hundred Rugby Club members to school children, young and old, fit and less physically able, residents and ‘outsiders’ side by side.  Some residents who could not help provided tea, coffee and biscuits for the volunteers, one lady brought round a tray of cakes.  Everyone has contributed. As tired limbs were failing we were further encouraged by the Rochford Hundred Rugby Club members who came along after their commitments and finished of the stretch we were all working on.  A massive improvement but better was yet to come.  Sunday saw more members of the Rochford Hundred Rugby Club and their strength and abilities saw the task finished.    With the support of yet more tea and cakes!

 

2013-11-30 10.27.27_DCE

As a Community, Hawkwell West owes a great deal to these willing volunteers for their assistance with this project, but we can also congratulate ourselves.   Let us hope that those residents that were so adversely affected by the floods can now approach winter with a greater sense of peace and that this effort will achieve its aim of helping to prevent a repetition of the August floods.  Everyone has contributed.  Our Hawkwell West Community has proved that the spirit of community is alive and well.

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Thanks to Rochford District Council for the Gloves and Rubbish collection, DWH for the loan of two wheelbarrows and forks, Southend Hospital for the Hand Cleanser, Everyone who helped and…………………

Special Thanks to Rochford Hundred Rugby Club Members.

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2013-12-01 11.54.35_DCE

Clements Gate – David Wilson Homes & Barratts – Update 18 – HGV Access to Thorpe Road

November 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

GB_Rochford District Residents_254  We returned home from our annual family holiday to find that David Wilson Homes (Barratts) had not ceased to use Thorpe Road for access of HGV Construction Traffic from the end of October.

Complaint to the Managing Director, David Wilson Homes (Barratts)

Dear Mr. Eardley

Several weeks ago Mr. Ruffy advised me personally, face to face, that HGV Construction Traffic would cease to use Thorpe Road from the end of October.

On the strength of this, and in response to a large number of complaints, Christine and I knocked on every door on Thorpe Road to pass on this assurance from Barratts. This was in good faith and an attempt to assuage the growing deterioration in the relationship between residents and Barratts.

It is evident from a complaint today that this promise has not been fulfilled.

I am advised that a large amount of clay has been deposited on the highway and all that has been done is turn this into a dangerous slurry.

The resident is as I write telephoning County Councillor Cutmore to complain and ask ECC Highways to send an Inspector immediately.

If the resident is unsuccessful then I shall contact the Chief Executive of Essex County Council personally.

I expect to receive a number of further complaints that HGV Construction Traffic has not ceased to use Thorpe Road from the end of October as promised.

I have copied in Mr. Amar Dave, Chief Executive of Rochford District Council because I believe that a resident of Thorpe Road has met with him recently.

Sincerely
Councillor John Mason
Hawkwell West Ward
Rochford District Council

Reply from David Wilson Homes

Dear Mr Mason

I am in receipt of your mail to David Eardley regarding concerns about the mud to Thorpe Road, caused by construction movements and he has asked me to respond as he is away from the office.

Recently we have experienced extremely heavy rainfall and this has made our processes to keep Thorpe Road mud free more challenging. We are making every effort to improve the situation and will continue to do so on a daily basis. We have had a number of discussions with residents locally and we continue to address their concerns.

We are moving the wheel wash over to the bottom half of the development next week and will be using the Clements Hall access exclusively for Construction traffic from Monday the 25th November, which is later than we had originally targeted and we apologise for the inconvenience this delay may have caused, but we can assure you that we are giving the matter our utmost attention.

Best regards

Peter Creighton
Construction Director
David Wilson Homes

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.

Thorpe Road Closure with less than 24 hrs Notice

October 24, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

road-closedThis was permitted by Essex County Council with less than 24 hours Notice against promises that footpath access would never be closed for more than a few days at a time.

Closure of the footpath along the unmade end of Thorpe Road, Hawkwell.

“I am writing on behalf of Barratt Developments to let you know that due to safety reasons, Thorpe Road will be closed to pedestrians as from 10:00am tomorrow (23/10) until further notice.

It is already of our concern that there is currently no segregation between members of the public walking through our construction site and the construction plant, as well as delivery vehicles at the site entrance. We have decided that with this concern, and whilst the current stage of deep drainage, services and road construction is carried out, the safest way forward is to close Thorpe Road at our site entrance down to plot 57. This is in line with our current stopping up order for Thorpe Road which expires at the end of February, however we will of course re-open the road for pedestrians when we feel it is safe to do so.”

We have written to Joanna Killian, Chief Executive of Essex County Council.

“I have been trying to get an understanding of how ECC will be dealing with the fact that the Road Closure will cease on 1 November 2013 from Sarah Alcock. We have had no reply. This is unacceptable.  I shall be obliged if you would arrange for an Officer to call on the affected neighbours and explain why ECC has reneged.”

Residents have also written to County Councillor Terry Cutmore.

“As you will be aware by now, David Wilson Homes (DWH) have given local residents just 24 hours notice of the closure of the footpath along the unmade end of Thorpe Road, Hawkwell. Although I recognise that the path runs through the building site, I am astonished by the lack of consideration for local residents, this is a right of way and without it residents will have to make a half mile detour in either direction. My concern is mainly for the elderly and school children that use this cut through every day. When we asked ECC to pedestrianise the unmade end of the road to prevent it becoming a rat run (which it will), we were firmly told that right of way cannot be rescinded, so how come DWH can do it? I would ask why this was not considered within the plans when the Hawkwell Action Group and our two local Councillors were in consultation with the developers on behalf of local residents? “

“Make no mistake, closure of this path is devastating to local people, it is used constantly and closing it will affect many people’s lives. I have copied in both of our local Councillors for their information and also my three neighbours at this end of Thorpe Road who are all affected by the closure.”

“I hope you can step in and help us.”

 

 

Clements Gate – David Wilson Homes & Barratts – Update 17 and Other Local Issues

October 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

DSCF0680

Clements Gate Development

A brief summary of where we are now with this development and other local issues.

 

 

Signs and Advertising

No more progress or information on the simple request for a ‘residents only parking sign’.  However David Wilson Homes have applied for permission for some of the signage at the Thorpe Road Marketing suite and although our last information on a site visit was that the application did not reflect what was on the ground the RDC Planning Officer was attempting to resolve this so that the retrospective application can be heard by the Development Committee on the 24th October.   As far as we are aware there has been no application for the flagpoles and advertisements at Clements Hall Way although I believe this has been ‘requested’ by Officers.

The abundance of signs appearing on the Rectory Road site entrance gate are growing but as we have not received any complaints we have not raised this with Officers.

The many signs at the unmade end of Thorpe Road seem to have eventually registered on delivery drivers and we have had only one recent report of a vehicle trying to access the site that way.

Rodents

This situation seems to have been satisfactorily resolved and we have had no more reports of infestations.  Now that the site clearance has been completed this problem should hopefully not reoccur.  Seven householders who jointly employed a consultant had to contribute £10 per household over and above the ex-gratia payment from Rochford District Council.  David Wilson Homes were approached to pay this amount but declined.  Other residents have dealt with this problem in different ways with different degrees of success in obtaining financial assistance from the Developer.

Road Names

We have still have not heard who the winners of the David Wilson Homes and Barratts Competition are although the street names were announced in July, and the site is well under way, however we are pleased that our suggestion of Aaron Lewis Close was included in recognition of his service and the sacrifice of his life for our Country.

Road Closure

Our original understanding of this closure was that it would be for a six month period in an 18 month window and this was originally confirmed by ECC.

The closure is required for the safety of the public and workforce while construction works of the new roads and sewers are undertaken.

The alternative route will be via Thorpe Road – Main Road – Rectory Road and vice versa. 

Access for pedestrians will be maintained at all times during the closure, pedestrians will need to follow the diversion as signed on site. 

The Order will come into effect on 1 April 2013 and may continue in force for 18 months or until the works have been completed, whichever is the earlier.’

This road should be almost ready to open now as the reason given for closure was to facilitate the installation of drainage and make up the road.  To our knowledge this work does not appear to have been started and the closure appears to be mainly facilitating construction traffic moving from one part of the site to another.  Thankfully the footpath has remained open for pedestrians and we have only had one report of a pedestrian (school child returning home) being denied passage but this was granted when another pedestrian pointed out that access was permitted.  I suspect this was a one off error as it is the only report we have received of any difficulty.

I chased this situation with ECC and the response on the 18th September was as follows.

‘I also asked for clarification regarding the road closure and can confirm that it was indeed originally for 6 months.  However this has just been extended  because of the following 2 main points

•         To enable heavy plant to cross between sites safely for public safety

•         Shortly, drainage will be installed which will involve very deep excavations and therefore it is not safe for the general public. This has been subject to a delay as changes needed to be made in regard to the drainage system being installed.

 Once the drainage is in place I have been advised this road closure will be removed and the Development Management Team will chase this up with the site once the drainage system is in place.’

Wheel Cleaning/Mud on Roads

On the 25th September John and I were visiting a resident in Thorpe Road and the state of mud on the road caused us such concern that I made the following report to ECC.

John and I have been visiting various residents in Thorpe road this afternoon and were disturbed to notice a JKS lorry remove its net by number 8 Thorpe Road whilst travelling at speed towards the site at around 3.45.  This resulted in a cloud of dust and various small (I hope) bits of hardcore flying of the back of the wagon onto the surrounding road/pavement and possibly adjacent parked vehicles.

Concerned I immediately walked down to the site and to speak to the ‘gate’ attendant.  Whilst walking another JKS lorry passed me and removed its net before entering the site although on the small stretch of road between the marketing suite and No 37 Thorpe Road.  This vehicle was at least travelling slower than its predecessor. 

I understand that DWH have spoken to their contractor about this and it should not reoccur.

At the same time I raised this problem:  Whilst visiting residents the most common concern was the state of the footway and road as a result of the heavy traffic.  Indeed we have witnessed lorries mounting the pavement on almost every occasion we have visited the site.  Residents do not want to wait for months or years to have this repaired and wish for the surfaces to be repaired before the icy weather.  The other common concern was that this was not done at a cost to the public purse as they feel strongly (or at least the ones we spoke to) that this damage was caused by DWH and they should be responsible for the repairs.

We have been advised that photographs were taken prior to construction and that the surfaces should be reinstated however we have asked that this is done sooner rather than later due to the obvious dangers to residents.  On the 8th Oct ECC advised they were undertaking a site visit…………………we are waiting to hear the outcome.

Construction Access

We have been advised that DWH will be moving the construction access to Clements Hall Way at the end of October which should alleviate some of the distress that has occurred.  If this has not stopped by the 10th November please advise us.

We are however concerned that the wheel washing facility is at the Thorpe Road end and although our Officer advised that there should be another one at Clements Hall Way end of the site we have never had confirmation that this is so.  Also we asked for an updated ecological report before the construction traffic was permitted to cross the Public Open Space as this disturbance to wildlife was not originally envisaged or assessed.  Whilst the Officer advised that he agreed with us we have not yet heard if that has been done.  As ever we are reliant on the efficiency of our Planners.

Site Road Construction

John has checked the Conditions that were made prior to construction starting and apparently the site roads should be made up to base level before house building in each Phase commences.  We do not think that this has been done. This has been checked by a Planning Officer at our request because we felt that this might partially explain the problem with mud on the road.  No Action will be taken!!

“Condition 17 of the consent does require the estate roads to be constructed up to base level prior to the commencement of any dwelling to gain access from that road.

 The purpose is so that any dwelling when occupied has a sensible means of access. The final wearing courses must be provided within 12 months of occupation.

 At our recent site visit a small number of houses had been constructed with the roof on. It was not clear to me as to whether the road construction was up to the requirements of the condition but it did not have visible inspection chambers and kerbing. That being said, the site manager anticipates selling the first few houses around Christmas. It may be that the road construction is not yet to road base level but as there are no houses to be soon occupied, it would not be expedient to take enforcement action at this early stage. The condition is worded the way it is so that there would be an opportunity and a measureable point in time. Clearly, it is in the applicants interests to make access provision in time for the first occupiers. With the extent of heavy plant on the site and the outstanding work still required on those first houses. It would not be expedient to pursue action at this early stage.”

 Site Visit

John and I had asked to visit the David Wilson Homes/Barratts site so that small issues could be raised, clarified and hopefully resolved either by fuller communication, better understanding or action.

However that appointment has been cancelled and no alternative offered.  Ever felt unwelcome!

Flooding

We are in the process of arranging a ‘volunteers’ group to help residents prevent future problems.  More information when the details are firmed up.

Application for 177 Main Road

Whilst this planning application was refused the nearby residents have taken the view that a new application would probably be made and wanted to discuss this with the developer so that their point of view could be incorporated, if possible, in any new application.  Resident’s wished for John and I to be present with them to assist an even and constructive discussion.  Unfortunately our Planning Department has not allowed an Officer to accompany us as the Standards and Planning Protocol that MUST be complied with by Councillors would indicate that we cannot get involved without an Officer present.  Both the residents and ourselves have contacted Mark Francois MP as we believe that the NPPF (Government Policy on Planning) encourages this dialogue but so far there appears to be an impasse with conflicting decisions between the Council’s Legal Officers (No) and Planning (Yes).  We have asked our Officers to determine this but are still waiting for a decision.  It seems a shame that such a simple, constructive approach is not officially supported in the dos’ and don’ts documentation.

Tree Preservation Orders

Whilst these Orders are put in place to protect trees and indeed some new ones have recently been put in place in our ward, we remain concerned that if a tree with a TPO is illegally felled that it should be, wherever possible ,with a similar sized and species tree.  If not the legal consequences should follow.  Are we out of touch here?

Contact

Please note our preferred contact details are our personal e mail addresses: Christine.mason@rochfordessex.net and john.mason@bigfoot.com

Rochford Core Strategy – The Allocations of Sites DPD & Hockley Area Action Plan (HAAP)

October 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The Allocations of Sites DPD & Hockley Area Action Plan

The Inspector’s Interim Letters were published on the Council’s Web site this morning, 18 October.

http://www.rochford.gov.uk/sites/rochford.gov.uk/files/documents/files/planning_all_exa175a.pdf

http://www.rochford.gov.uk/sites/rochford.gov.uk/files/documents/files/planning_haap_exh137_0.pdf

Flooding – Rights and Responsibilities

October 5, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Discussing Water Rights.previewAfter the recent flooding and observing first-hand the distress and damage caused to affected individuals and the general confusion that was created I decided to look into the general situation with a particular regard to our own Ward.

Hawkwell West is criss-crossed with drainage ditches, brooks and streams.

Generally speaking the water will flow through the ground and enter these water courses slowly finally exiting into the sea via the River Roach. Very heavy rain may cause surface water, which should lead into these water courses and so out of harm’s way.

Hawkwell Flooding 2013

 Quite a few activities that we take for granted affect this

 Firstly older properties do not commonly have a separate surface water  drainage system so the surface, storm (rain) water is channelled into the main  sewers. In the recent rains a main sewer that crosses our property was up  about 10 feet in height, 1 inch from over-spilling.

Clearance of land for building or other purposes also speeds up the movement  of water as it is no longer inhibited or used by vegetation. Although all new  buildings now have to have a surface water drainage system and on large sites,  an overflow/retention arrangement put in place [SUDS tank or pond/lagoon] there is a risky interim time between the clearance of the land and the installation of surface water drainage that could potentially cause problems for the surrounding area. This is due to larger amounts of water than usual flowing to neighbouring areas and at much greater speed.

Lastly the tide; As all water courses tend to ultimately end up in the sea high tide inhibits the discharge.

So who is responsible for what? And do any rights compensate for this responsibility?

A watercourse is defined as any channel through which water flows and can be open or enclosed underground as a culvert.

Whilst the Environment Agency is responsible for main, or designated, rivers all other watercourses are the responsibility of the Riparian Owner……………

Not a term that we hear very often but one that I think we are going to become more aware of as weather variations continue to increase the risk of flooding.

A Riparian Owner owns the land adjoining a watercourse and the law presumes an ownership to the centre of the water course. The Riparian Owner is deemed to be responsible for the maintenance and water flow where the watercourse borders your land and in extreme circumstances could face legal action.

riparian

However you do have the right of access to the water and also generally the right to use it for irrigation for your own use as long as you do not dam or channel the water for this purpose and it is only extracted from below the normal water level. You also have the right to protect your property from flooding (it is not specified how!) and to prevent erosion of the watercourse banks!

 

Not a great trade off!

John and I are aware that many of the residents affected by this are elderly and are in the process of trying to arrange some community activity to assist some of them.
If you wish to read further these documents will clarify and expand the above information.

• The Public Health Act 1936
• The Land Drainage Acts of 1991 &1994
• Water Resources Act 1991
• National Rivers Authority (now the Environment Agency) Land Drainage Byelaws 1981
• Flooding and Water Management Act

Strategic Housing Market Assessment 2013 (SHMA) in Echo Today

October 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

shma72,000 more homes by 2031 says report

  • A key factor is the number of people moving to the area from neighbouring London.
  • 4,200-8,100 more houses in Rochford District by 2031 required

Read the full Article here.

Extracts

AS many as 72,800 homes may have to be built across south Essex in the next 20 years, a report seen by the Echo suggests.

The Thames Gateway Partnership report says Basildon, Castle Point, Southend, Rochford and Thurrock might have have to find land to build that number of homes to meet demand from a fast-growing population.

The Echo has seen a leaked copy of the Strategic Housing Market Assessment Review for 2013, setting out housing demand as far ahead as 2031.
The figures are based on population trends, employment and commuting patterns, land already allocated for homes, and previous Government targets.

The document suggests:
• Between 5,500 and 17,000 new homes will be needed in Basildon borough
• 1,700-9,000 in Castle Point
• 4,200-8,100 in Rochford District
• 5,400-20,700 in Southend
• Between 16,500 and 22,000 in Thurrock.

If the biggest estimates were to prove correct, that could mean a total of 72,800 new homes between the coast and the out-skirts of London.

A key factor is the number of people moving to the area from neighbouring London boroughs, such as Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Newham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Redbridge.

Basildon Leader Councillor Tony Ball said “I told our full council meeting I was not going to play the game of number-crunching. It is about the needs of local people.

Comment

Independent Councillors John and Christine Mason have been warning residents of Rochford District for months with a series of Articles that this was coming.

http://www.rochfordessex.com/rol/what-does-the-census-2011-tell-us-about-our-future-housing-needs/

http://www.rochfordessex.com/rol/strategic-planning-at-castle-point-in-a-spin/

(The last draft of the SHMA they saw was in January which was marked CONFIDENTIAL.)

The latest draft now been leaked. But it was to be published by 18 November anyway because the TGSE has a Housing Strategy Forum on 18 November !!

There was no comment in the Echo from Rochford District Council.  Why?

The Census 2011 we published shows that we do not need to increase the housing build rate in Rochford District and we need more starter homes and more retirement accommodation in what we are building rather than estates of 3,4,5 bedroom houses.

Will Rochford District Council agree that is only about the needs of local people?  Now is the time to stand up and be counted.

As Independents we will fight any increase in the build rate and loss of green belt.

 

Councillor Michael Hoy (Hullbridge) and Councillor John Mason (Hawkwell West) put a Motion to  to Full Council on 27 July 2010 for a local housing needs study. You can read more about it here.

“Pursuant to the Parliamentary Statement made by The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on 6 July 2010, this Council agrees to carry out a housing needs study for Rochford District and adjust the housing allocations proposed in the Core Strategy to satisfy the minimum needs of our community.”

The Conservatives in Rochford voted against a Motion which is now in 2013 adopted by the Conservative Leader in Basildon (It is about the needs of local people).

And Conservative run Castle Point is not happy with the housing numbers demanded.

New Hawkwell Homes “Out of our Reach” is quite true

September 30, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

echo hawkwell 300913

The Echo published an Article today headed “Hawkwell homes “out of our reach”.

You can read it here.

 We have approximately 600 registrations on the Council’s Housing Register in a hierarchy of bands that are eligible for housing in our District.

 We hoped that the 35% Affordable Homes, presumably sold at rock bottom prices to Registered Social Landlords (RSL), would enable some of those residents that are on the Rochford District Council Housing Register to be housed at last.

 Councillor Keith Hudson, in charge of planning at Rochford, said to the Echo that he expected first time buyers would look to buy at the site, but would encourage people to use the shared ownership options available as a way of getting on the housing ladder. He added: “It’s an excellent way to get on the ladder. You share the burden with the housing association.“You can have a shared equity situation where you can buy a percentage of the property, and then pay a smaller amount of rent.”

 HERE IS THE WHOLE STORY.

 What Councillor Hudson did not say was how few of the Affordable Houses were available to be sold with “shared ownership”.

 It is only 20%. …………………….  Only 20% of the 35% Affordable Housing 

 Putting this into perspective this means for Hawkwell 20% of 62 Affordable Houses making just 12 available for Shared Ownership.

 Of the 35% Affordable Housing the rest, 50, are for rent only.

 According to Council Officers the Shared Ownership will be 50:50.  So, on a property of £300,000 a first time buyer of an Affordable Home would have to raise a Mortgage of £120,000 (80% of £150,000) and provide a cash deposit of £30,000 as the Government Help to Buy Scheme for 5% will not apply, plus continue to pay rent on the other 50%.

 “Out of our reach” is quite true.

 Buying a new home direct from a developer under the Government “Help to Buy Scheme” you look at, even with the 5% cash and the remaining deposit of 15% Guaranteed by Mr. Cameron announced today, you still need an 80% Mortgage.  Even with a property costing £300,000 you still need a Mortgage of £240,000.  Plus £45,000 provided by the Government on the 15% Deposit making a 95% Loan of £285,000. Can young adults with or without  University Debts of £ 20,000 – £40,000 EACH afford a Loan of £285,000 on top?

 How can these new houses be for our kids?

 “Out of our reach” is quite true.

Strategic Planning at Castle Point in a Spin

September 29, 2013 by · 2 Comments 

Council fears for a concrete jungle futureCouncillors are saying “We do not want Castle Point to be turned into a concrete jungle, but don’t know how to stop it !!”

“The Government wants to see more development in South Essex and has got us over a barrel.”

What do outsiders think?

It seems surprising that Castle Point Councillors have chosen to question the Conservative led Government especially when the Council has a Conservative Administration.

One wonders what they expect to achieve because most District Councils are managing to avoid a clash with Government by putting house building plans in place to avoid planning powers being effectively taken away from the Council.

But as Castle Point Council is so against the new house building targets as a resident you would have to agree that the Council is doing the right thing.

If Castle Point truly do not know what the heck to do then perhaps the Leader of The Council should be making an urgent appointment in Westminster to tell David Cameron and Eric Pickles that Conservative Government Policy is not for Castle Point.

It is all a bit of a mystery why all the Conservative run Councils in South Essex have not got together and challenged Pickles and Osborne because they all must know that saying to residents that they had no choice but to follow Conservative Government Policy will not rub on the doorstep.

Perhaps with Campaigning for the 2015 General Election already underway there might be change in Government Policy to let Castle Point off the hook?

As regards the Rochford Core Strategy speaking to residents of Hawkwell recently identified to us some significant flaws in what is happening.  They want to know that if their children, as young adults, wished to stay in the area then they could find housing to rent or buy.  They do not understand the term Affordable Housing.  Residents think that this means that there will be one and two bedroom houses to buy at prices they can afford.  Not so. Affordable Houses means that these houses are made available for rent from a Registered Social Landlord.  Unfortunately, there are more than enough people on the Housing Register to take these up already.

Whatever Government “Help to Buy Scheme” you look at, even with the 5% cash and the remaining deposit of 15% Guaranteed by Mr. Cameron announced today, you still need an 80% Mortgage.  Even with a property costing £300,000 you still need a Mortgage of £240,000.  Plus £45,000 provided by the Government on the 15% Deposit making a 95% Loan of £285,000. Can young adults with University Loans of 20,000 – £40,000 EACH afford a Loan of £285,000 on top? 

How can these new houses be for our kids?

If the houses for sale are too big and too expensive then young adults will have to leave the area which is what the Rochford District Census 2011 suggests has happened and will no doubt continue. Perhaps this explains why the Rochford District Census 2011 also shows that there has been no increase in 0-18 year olds over 10 years.

As regards our aging population Council Officers told us at a Hearing that if older people wished to downsize then they could also apply to rent Affordable Homes from Registered Social Landlords.  But why would they want to rent 3 bedroom homes even if the Registered Social Landlords could ignore the waiting list on the Housing Register?

There is something fundamentally wrong here if residents think that the young (children) and old (parents) are not properly catered for in Council Housing Strategies for the local communities that they serve.

The housing in Rochford District has increased at average of 183 per year (2001 – 2011 by Council figures) and apart from the housing stock for rent by Registered Social Landlords this has met the needs of all age groups.

Perhaps Castle Point has more to concern itself with before it decides whether to buck Government Policy or not.

And Rochford District needs to consider these facts and trends in its Revision of the Core Strategy which starts again in January 2014.

If you want to read the Echo Article (27 September 2013) entitled “Council fears for a concrete jungle future” then it is below;

CONCERNS have been raised that the future development of thousands of homes in Castle Point could be left in the hands of the Government.

Castle Point Council is in the process of creating a new Local Plan which will act as a blue-print for where new homes could be built in the borough over the next 15 years.

It is the authority’s third attempt at putting together the housing strategy, as the original proposals were rejected by a Government inspector in 2010 and again in September 2011, following opposition from residents and backbench councillors.

Now, councillors are claiming the new draft document, which is yet to be completed, might not get voted through as it bears too much resemblance to previous plans.

If the new plan is rejected at full council, councillors fear the Government’s Planning Inspectorate would intervene and take the decision-making powers away from the local authority.

Alf Partridge, Conservative councillor for St Mary’s ward, said: “When I last saw the latest scheme I was not happy with it because it would still mean seeing the demise of green belt. I cannot see any difference between this plan and the last one.

“Council officers are making a valiant effort to try to rescue us from a ridiculous situation and find new ideas of where to put these homes, but what the heck can we do?

“The Government wants to see more development in south Essex and has got us over a barrel. It was talking about 200 homes a year and now its 250 homes. I am not happy to commit to such high numbers of new houses.

“But if we do not come up with a practical plan to allow a certain number of homes to be and members at the moment as we try to agree something. There is a good chance of the Government coming in and taking over. ”

Dave Blackwell, leader of the Canvey Independent Party, said: “The council has found itself in a difficult position. If everyone doesn’t agree this time round, the Government could come in and decide things for us.

“I don’t think the Tories will vote it through because they are looking at a lot of development on the mainland which could lose them voters. But they have to make tough decisions.”

However, Tory councillor Bill Sharp said a new committee of six councillors has been put together to scrutinise all the potential development sites in the next few weeks.

He also said new sites have come to light, such as the Blinking Owl site off the A127, which could help relieve the pressure on the major green belt sites.

Mr Sharp said: “The Blinking Owl site has been left out in the past, but already has around six or seven entrances from the A127 and could be a suitable site. While I am concerned, I am not as concerned as I was a few weeks ago.

“I am confident we can come to a decision that will not see us lost our virgin green belt sites.”

 

 

Part Night Street Lighting

September 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

ecc

Essex County Council is currently consulting on its proposal to introduce ‘part night’ street lighting in the District from January 2014.

The County’s consultation seeks views and particularly suggestions as to those areas which meet the exception criteria, advising of the location of the lights including street and settlement names and the reason for meeting these criteria.

So please let us know by emailing john@onlinemail.me.uk or christine.mason@rochfordessex.net

‘Part Night’ lighting , where the lights are switched off between midnight and 5am, was introduced in Maldon and Uttlesford Districts in 2007. It was introduced in Braintree and Chelmsford from 1 September 2013 and the intention is to roll it out across the remaining parts of the County in a phased way with Brentwood and Harlow being the last two Districts where it will be introduced from February 2014.

The County advise that ‘part night’ lighting brings benefits in the form of energy consumption and carbon emissions, a reduction in light pollution, and a more tailored, responsive service eg lights can stay on later over periods such as New Years Eve, etc. In Uttlesford and Maldon there has been no evidence to support the possible effects of such a move in terms of raising crime levels, an increasing ‘fear of crime’ or accident rates. Crime rates in both Districts have fallen broadly in line with the rest of the County since 2007 and surveys commissioned by the County show that the percentage of people who feel safe outside after dark has increased in both Districts over the same period.

The County propose that lights in areas meeting the following exception criteria will continue to be lit throughout the night. This amounts to around 30% of streetlights:

The criteria are:

  • Sites where there are a large number of conflicting traffic movements eg roundabouts which are on significant routes (generally where light columns are 6m or more);
  • Sites where lights have been installed as a result of accident remedial measures;
  • Town Centres where there is one or more of the following features –
  • i) publicly maintained CCTV;
  • ii) a high proportion of high security premises (eg banks,jewellers);
  • iii) areas of high crime risk;
  • iv)Areas where there is a high concentration of people at night e.g. Transport interchanges, nightclubs;
  • Main approaches to town centres where there is a mix of development between residential and commercial/industrial;
  • Sites where the police can demonstrate that there is likely to be an increase in crime; remote footpaths and alleys linking residential streets;
  • where there is a statutory requirement to provide lighting.

Review of the 7 and 8 Bus Services

September 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

bus

Essex County Council would like to hear your views as it starts a review of its Bus Strategy and how it provides financial support to local bus services.

In this challenging economic climate it is very important that we focus our expenditure where it is really needed to ensure value for money for residents.

This review will help to ensure that the bus services provided by the County Council meet, as far as possible, the essential needs of Essex. The outcome of the review will help to decide what types of service will be supported in future.

This first consultation stage is designed to help us understand which types of supported bus service you value most. Individual services are not being considered for change at this stage. You will have the opportunity at a later stage to give your views on any proposed changes to individual services that may result from the review.

To respond online, please click here to answer the survey. The Survey is open until 9 December 2013.

 

PLEASE NOTE THAT A BUS SUBSIDY OF £100,000 HAS BEEN AGREED TO BE OBTAINED FROM BARRATTS  FOR CLEMENTS GATE. THIS IS UNDER THE CONTROL OF ESSEX COUNTY COUNCIL.

Here is an extract from the Section 106 Agreement;

“The County Council hereby covenants with the Owner and the Developer to place the Contribution [£100,000.00] into the Contribution account and to utilise the principal and interest solely to subsidise the provision of a bus service between Rochford and Rayleigh passing the Application Site on Rectory Road as the Engineer considers necessary or other bus service connecting Hawkwell with one or more of Rayleigh Rochford or Southend (in respect of which the Engineer shall consult with the Developer before making his decision) the unexpended balance of principal and interest on which account at the tenth (10th) anniversary of the receipt of the said Contribution in cleared funds after appropriate provision has been made for sums committed to be expended by the County Council prior to the said anniversary but not yet paid on the said anniversary shall be returned to the Payers”

If Essex County Council remove or reduce the subsidy on the Number 8 Service then we would expect ECC to use the above funding in substitution.
With regard to the 7 Service running through Hawkwell South or Hawkwell North Wards we will support any initiative taken by Hawkwell Parish Council or the District Ward Members for Hawkwell South or Hawkwell North to keep subsidised services.

Information on bus services from http://onlinefocus.org/
In Hockley, Hawkwell and Ashingdon Essex County Council subsidises the following services:

Monday to Saturday

7  – ECC subsidises three services per hour between approx 0900 and 1500 to extend from Ashingdon Schools to Hockley Spa

8 – ECC subsidises one service per hour between approx 0900 and 1500 to extend from Golden Cross to Hockley Spa

If subsidies for extending weekday bus services beyond Ashingdon Schools / Golden Cross were cut there would only be an hourly service on the number 8 via Hawkwell and a half-hourly service between Hockley and Southend compared to every ten minutes at present.

PLEASE COMPLETE THE SURVEY IF YOU WISH TO SAVE THESE SERVICES

Sundays

7 – ECC subsidises the 1829 (1820) journey from Rayleigh to Southend

If this was cut there would be a one and a half hour gap between the last number 8 and the next number 7, or a two hour gap between services if the number 8 service were also cut.

8 – ECC subsidises the whole number 8 timetable between Southend and Rayleigh.

PLEASE COMPLETE THE SURVEY IF YOU WISH TO SAVE THESE SERVICES

and

email your County Councillor cllr.Terry.Cutmore@essex.gov.uk

 

 

 

A new local community website for The Rochford District

September 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Streetlife-Characters-LogoStreetlife.com, the local social network, has a simple aim: to help people make the most of where they live by connecting with their neighbours.

It also gives you the chance to ask open questions of the District Councillors for your Ward.

If you live in Hawkwell , for example there are three Wards, Hawkwell North, South and West.

The Rochford Independent” web site is run and owned by John and Christine Mason who are Independent District Councillors for Hawkwell West Ward.

John and Christine will continue to publish their Articles on their own web site but will also be publishing these on streetlife.com and will be happy to have your feedback on their new Page.

Rochford District Residents 

John and Christine also see streetlife.com as a sort of online Ward Surgery on another Page.

Hawkwell West Ward

………………but please bring any confidential matters directly to us by phone, letter or email.

This is what streetlife.com has to say about themselves.

 

The website provides a free and easy streetlife.com place to share local news, views, recommendations and resources, enabling people with busy routines or reduced mobility to keep in touch with their community.

 

Conversations started on have helped unite lost pets with owners, expose doorstep scammers, save threatened public services and recall local history.  The site is also encouraging real-world friendships, with neighbours sharing gardening equipment, IT advice and dentist recommendations, organising craft groups, street parties and book clubs.

 

streetlife.com has just launched in Rochford,and everyone – residents, groups, local government representatives and businesses – is invited to share their knowledge, discuss the local issues they care about, and help build a stronger, better connected community.

 

Get involved!

  • Sign up at www.streetlife.com with your postcode and email address
  • You’ll automatically be linked to the people and conversations where you live
  • You can post messages, events, polls and pictures, and locals will be able to respond
  • You can customise your account so you control how often you receive local updates

 

Sign up and join the local conversation on streetlife.com.

Clements Gate – David Wilson Homes & Barratts – Update 16 and Other Local Issues

September 15, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Putty Road

Clements Gate Development

A brief summary of where we are now with this development and other local issues; Flooding, Noise & Pollution, Highways and Parking

Signs and Advertising

Residents in the unmade section of Thorpe Road have still not achieved success in the simple request for a ‘residents only parking sign’ yet David Wilson Homes appear to be able to erect as many signs as they want without Highways permission from Essex County Council or compliance with advertising regulations.  David Wilson Homes and Barratts have now applied again for retrospective planning for the signs around the Show Homes and the greater number of flagpoles than normally allowed around the whole site.  On the day the original application was to be heard, (Officers had recommended Refusal) the application was withdrawn. The new retrospective planning application should be heard in October and we hope to visit residents for your views once we have reviewed the position with Officers.

No 352 Rectory Road has been sold which resolved the issue of the enormous ‘For Sale’ board, which should have had permission and did not.

Rodents

David Wilson Homes and Barratts help did not materialise in an effective way so in extremis we approached Rochford District Council who have agreed to provide £50 towards the cost per affected household.  The residents are now requesting David Wilson Homes and Barratts to cover the additional £10 per household and await their response.  There is much appreciation for the assistance that RDC provided residents in this difficult situation.

Official Opening

The Show Homes are open and maybe the resulting traffic has created a problem so please advise us if you have experienced any problems. The Official Launch of Clements Gate is on the 23rd September at 11.00 am in the Sales and Marketing Suite (by invitation of course!).

Road Names

We still have not heard who the winners of the David Wilson Homes and Barratts Competition are although the street names were announced in July.

Noise and Air Pollution Concerns – Clements Gate and Clements Gardens

Prior to planning approval we raised concerns regarding potential high and invasive noise and hours of working with the Head of Planning.

Although hours and days of working are in the formal documentation we now gather that decisions on enforcement could be made by RDC Officers on a subjective basis leaning towards leniency.

The Head of Planning did inform us that any issues could be more effectively controlled by Environmental Health Statutes which provide adequate powers to deal with environmental issues.

However when issues of noise from the construction were raised it transpired that these powers do not provide the expected protection. The noise from construction is not covered.

Issues of ‘dust’ from building materials blowing onto adjacent properties and across Rectory Road from the compounding on the Vega Nurseries Site (Christmas Tree Farm), was another environmental concern, but it was, however, investigated and dealt with by RDC.  We were given to understand that the material should have been dampened to prevent this issue.

We had understood at the pre-planning stage that the storage compound would be to the right hand side of the new Clements Hall Way access and not on the Christmas Tree Farm accessed direct from Rectory Road. Indeed there is, apparently, provision for the Christmas Tree Farm to still sell trees this year. Because Officers had apparently not noticed, and certainly did not point out to Members, the possibility of the use of this entrance by the Developer, it was not covered in any agreements.  Unfortunately the Christmas Tree Farm access from Rectory Road is now yet another construction access despite intentions to the contrary.  Apparently our Officers are powerless to prevent this despite the amount of time and money spent on this application.

On the issue of pollution we were notified of an issue at Clements Gardens (not David Wilson Homes and Barratts) this Saturday, 14th September.  After visiting the site we realised that apart from the clearing of vegetation and trees it appeared that tyres were being burnt on the site.  An environmental “No No!”  Although we and residents contacted the Council’s Out of Hours Service, the Police and, we believe, the Fire Service was called, little happened.

An RDC Officer attended and asked the people responsible to stop but was apparently ignored.

What is the point of rules, regulations (laws?) if they cannot be enforced and do not protect the public?  We live some way from the burning but could smell it outside our house and inside where windows were open.  We wait with interest to see what action, if any RDC will take.

Wheel Cleaning/Mud on Roads

We have not had any recent complaints regarding this activity but with autumn approaching the difficulties originally experienced at the beginning of the year may resurface (no pun intended).  Mud on the road is potentially dangerous so if you do see any please photograph it and telephone Rochford District Council on 546366 or contact us straight away.  Prevention is always better than an accident!

Planning/Highways/parking

Recently we have been busy looking at two local planning applications that have caused distress and concern.  One at 177 Main Road was Refused but we are puzzled that although the County Council Highway Authority is the statutory expert on accident blackspots and what it says carries full weight in planning decisions the information they gave was different to that given by the Police and residents.

It would appear that only accidents which cause certain injuries are recorded by Essex County Council Highways.  Surely the number of collisions is more appropriate?  It is for schools. If you think this is wrong please ask your County Councillor to investigate.

Parking on pavements is seen more and more these days.  We can understand the temptation to ‘remove’ your vehicle from the highway and potential danger but parking on the verges causes other, sometimes hidden, problems.  Apart from the unsightly aspect of killed grass, mud can be slippery for pedestrians.  Pedestrians with mobility issues or pushchairs and prams can be caused difficulty, damage is often caused to underground services and the sight splay for drivers coming out of nearby driveways may be compromised.  So please think twice before parking inconsiderately.

Flooding

Our hearts go out to all those residents affected by the recent storms.  Please consider checking all your storm drains and nearby water courses for blockages to try and prevent future trauma.  We will be writing more on this at a later date.

Contact

We have been told that RDC is, as required by the Government, adopting the utmost security of emails sent to Members by The Council.  The small Ipads that the Conservatives have decided will be supplied to Councillors, for Council email use only, are not satisfactory in operation for either of us due to certain personal issues. Unfortunately rather than accepting our word The Council is now insisting that we will be required to obtain a medical report at our cost before alternative arrangements can be made. We have refused because we see no reason to have to pay personally for medical reports or to waste the time of our GP.  Our personal email addresses are Christine.mason@rochfordessex.net and john.mason@bigfoot.com

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