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Dear Tesco, Hours of Gridlock at your Southend Store

July 8, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Tesco Price Cut
Photo by Craig Murphy
By Christine Mason (reflecting on Tesco, Southend, on Sunday 7 July 2013

This was one of the worst, most frustrating waste of times I have yet to experience.  The staggering indifference of the staff just added to the horror.  We decided to go into store for a few items but…………….the queue to get out had snarled up the whole car park.  However we were not aware of this until it was too late to turn back.

In the hope that things would improve we had a late breakfast (kind and helpful service even if food poor), then shopped.  The only saving grace was that the store was relatively empty and we could find things with ease.  At the checkout we enquired about the queues for exit and were advised that one car had spent 40 minutes  moving just a few car lengths and the average time was 2 hours to exit.  However this was not deemed to be anything to do with Tesco’s and effectively hard luck.

With mounting concern we returned to our car.  It took over 15 minutes just to get out of the parking space.  Unfortunately we were to the rear of the car park and as no one was facilitating the movement of vehicles those at the other end were pushing out into the queue and those at the back, like ourselves consequently had an even longer wait.  Tesco’s line according to the staff is that it is nothing to do with them.  Yes it is.

If they are aware of this, and we were advised it is a common problem in good weather, they could a) Advise potential customers BEFORE THEY GET GRIDLOCKED, sorry that might affect sales but at least a choice would be possible. b) Use staff to organise traffic attempting to exit to ensure both fairness and reduce the risk of prangs. c) Offer water to those trapped in the heat, especially those with young children.  d) Consider offering to hold onto food that is sitting getting overheated.  Tesco claimed to want to reduce its carbon imprint, jamming cars for 2 hours with engines running does not help reduce the carbon imprint however it may increase their petrol sales!

We missed the start of the tennis, wasted two precious hours of a weekend, and to add insult to injury we were overcharged by £5.98.  Will I be going back?  No.

Also I will publish my experience on rochfordessex.com so other local residents are aware of what shopping in Tesco’s really entails.

Done…………………..

Will Changes in the Probation Service Benefit Local Voluntary Sector Organisations?

January 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Voluntary sector is easy pickings



Yes, the Question is “
Will Changes in the Probation Service Benefit Local Voluntary Sector Organisations?”

The Coalition Government hope that will be the case.

National comment From the The Guardian, Wednesday 9 January 2013

“The Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, is to outline plans for the wholesale outsourcing of the probation service with private companies and voluntary sector organisations to take over the rehabilitation of the majority of offenders by 2015.”

“The public probation service is to be scaled back and “refocused” to specialise in dealing only with the most dangerous and high-risk offenders and public protection cases.”

“The majority of services will be contracted out on a payment-by-result basis.”

“While the public probation service will not be banned outright from bidding for the work, it will be expected to do so only in partnership with the private sector.”

“The current arrangement in London where Serco and the probation service delivers the community payback or unpaid work contract is regarded as the most likely model.”

Local Comment from the Rochford Independent

This seems to me to be a great opportunity for the voluntary sector organisations in Southend, Castle Point and Rochford to consider bidding for the resultant commissioning opportunities next year. These organisations may or may not have any experience of bidding or tendering for public sector outsourcing projects however it represents an excellent opportunity for the existing volunteers providing advice and placements for purely voluntary work, or the increasingly popular unpaid work contract to help CV’s, to increase their own skills and provide their members or subscribing charities and operational voluntary groups with an increased source of human resources to do their work. The additional bonuses will be an income and funding from the public sector contracts that are won and the benefit of community guided rehabilitation to offenders.

I would like to see existing voluntary groups to benefit and provide this service in future rather than big companies moving further into the public sector with lucrative contracts which do not reduce costs. Hopefully the voluntary sector organisations in South East Essex will see this as an opportunity to marry their existing services to something new, adding value and ensuring their existence into the future because of falling grants from other public sector donor organisations.

I would like to see our Local Councils with experience in bidding and procurement giving the voluntary sector organisations help as needed.

To beat the private sector big companies they will all have to start right now negotiating and preparing for alliances otherwise they might lose out.

Are there going to be Major Housing Developments in the East of Rochford and Southend?

November 16, 2008 by · 3 Comments 

If you need any evidence of how quickly things change in politics look no further than Southend Borough Council.

On 28 October in the Echo, Anna Waite, Planning Supremo at Southend Council on the possibility of NEW plans to build 10,000 new homes in the next 20 years on land at Fossetts Farm and Bournes Green, Southend said:

“This scheme is ill-conceived, unsustainable and very undesirable.

“I believe we should be protecting the green belt from housing developments and farming our agricultural land to sustain the population.

“I shall be opposing this proposal, which I strongly believe the residents of east Southend do not want.”   

And yet just a week later, 6 November, again in the Echo, she said: “We would be looking at a new road running from the area of the Tesco roundabout on the A127 to Eastwoodbury Lane in the area of the Smallholdings.  “The council would expect this part of any new road to be funded by the airport and we would only be looking at funding a small road, from the Smallholdings to Warners Bridge, with access to the airport.”

“The next phase of the scheme would extend the road from Warners Bridge to Fossetts Farm and finally as far as Shoebury.”

The Rochford Independent understands from a conversation with a Southend Borough Councillor that the Southend Cabinet may have approved both legs of the new road.

And the spectre of a full outer relief road through Rochford District’s green belt is not being considered. 

But will the traffic not just feed direct into the beleaguered A127? 

So a proposed development in the Fossetts Farm and Bournes Green area, spilling over into Rochford District now seems to be on again despite the initial adverse reaction of Anna Waite. Perhaps she had no where else to go to meet the EERA allocation of 10,000 new houses in Southend? 

But Rochford District Council is firmly against with Keith Hudson, Council Cabinet Member at Rochford for Planning saying that he was fighting this at a public meeting on 13 November in Hawkwell.

Indeed in the Echo on 28 October Keith Hudson was reported in the Echo as that he agreed the proposal was totally unacceptable.

So we have Southend now moving forward with the possibility of a development on land at Fossetts Farm and Bournes Green and Rochford District Council against and the developer having made application to the EERA (East of England Regional Assembly).

How will the story end?  We don’t know but the EERA and Go-East (Government Office) could conceivably step into Rochford’s Core Strategy and either add these on to the 3500 houses that Rochford already propose on Green Belt or could the 3500 be replaced with development in the East of Rochford instead?

How does Rochford District Council reconcile its likely wish to approve an expansion of Southend Airport under the JAAP with trying to stop a big development in the East of the Rochford District? Could it be said that a new road approved under the JAAP to link Warners Bridge to the A127 at Tesco’s might by a further extension paid for by a developer facilitate a major development in Rochford that it does not want?

Strangely none of this is discussed in terms of Options in Rochford District Council’s Core Strategy which is in public consultation until 17 December.

Certainly Southend cannot expand in the East unless Rochford agrees. Publicly Rochford is against. And are there frustrated regional planners waiting in the wings to act?

Does Rochford think that just saying “No” without a reasoned planning case is going to be enough?

The loss of green belt argument goes a bit soft when Rochford is already planning to build on green belt in a series of scattered locations for 3500 new houses across the Rochford District already in its Rochford Core Strategy – Preferred Options public consultation.

And the Council already agrees that it will not get the infrastructure improvements it needs to make such a level of development sustainable.  Keith Hudson said in Hawkwell of the Council’s existing Core Strategy “that a billion pounds is needed to put right our poor infrastructure”.  Council Leader Terry Cutmore had already said in Council when the Core Strategy was presented that he feared that Rochford would not get the infrastructure improvements it needed for the plan put forward by the Council.

The Rochford Independent thought that Rochford District Council had promised two major strategic options in its next consultation on new housing……….so what happened to the second one then?  

And would that secure the infrastructure that is needed to sustain development in Southend and Rochford as an alternative?

There needs to be a joint professional spatial planning analysis with RDC working with Southend Borough Council of that option conducted, just like the JAAP for the Soutend Airport Expansion proposal, and then more public debate and consultation in both Rochford and Southend.

Allocation of new homes in Rochford District

January 25, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

The Rochford Independent has seen the article by Geoff Percival in the Echo.

http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/local/display.var.1992104.0.0.php

I would invite you to read this if you have not seen it. 

I am an independent district councillor for Hawkwell West and I have been campaigning with residents against the housing allocation for some months now. The support from Hawkwell Parish Council is welcomed.

If an additional 365 homes were to be built in Hawkwell then the road infrastructure in Hawkwell would have to be improved to cope with the number of additional cars per household multiplied by the number of average car movements per day. In addition there are many more homes to be built in Rochford District where car movements could cause those people to travel through Hawkwell on the feeder routes to the “A” Roads.  That number of additional vehicle movements would run into thousands.  If the road infrastructure were “improved” in Hawkwell to cope with that then I could forsee additional roads being built to bypass existing bottlenecks causing the loss of green space in itself together with the cost of road widening schemes.  That would make a Hawkwell a place that I would not like to see.  It would be unacceptable.  So nobody should be suggesting that Hawkwell could have the 365 homes if the infrastructure is improved.  I don’t want to the developers and the planners challenged into going ahead and making the bid for big infrastructure changes for Hawkwell in the decision process.

The report from the strategic sustainability review will be available shortly at the District Council and I have been personally invited by the Chair of the sub committee to attend.  It is premature to try and guess the recommendations but it is up to Councillors to consider what sort of policy makes sense and what doesn’t.  (Let’s hope that the strategic planners don’t now come up with a plan that will improve the infrastructure in Hawkwell.  That would ruin the environment may times over the actual impact of the allocation of the houses.) 

My proposal on behalf of the residents of Hawkwell is to say “NO” to the additional 365 homes and “NO” to any enabling infrastructure. I would appreciate the views of residents on this through our Contact Page. 

But the housing allocation for Rochford District must be formally planned for and it makes more sense strategically to put this allocation wherever the infrastructure is already and not where building new infrastructure would be an even bigger blight on the District.

As for a new “town” out to the East, in association with a Southend/Rochford Relief Road or By Pass, I understand that the sustainability figure for developers to provide that major road would have to be in the region of 12,000 additional houses in Rochford District which is many times higher than the proposed allocation. So the most likely place is in the West.  

The professional approach to strategic sustainability planning is about an objective analysis and assessment based on data and information.  It does not start with a notion of “Fair Shares For All” nor does it end with it and it does not appear in the middle either.

My view is that the abrupt decision made by the Rochford District Conservative Group to significantly reduce the number of new homes that the District Council might propose to be allocated in Rayleigh was an expedient decision to quell the internal concerns of the Tory Rayleigh Councillors who were being tormented by the Rochford Liberal Democrats. And there was the real prospect of a loss of Tory seats.  But will the next public consultation on the Local Development Framework be before or after the May Local Elections?  I can’t answer that but one can speculate.

Getting back to strategic sustainability planning. Let’s face it any new big enabling infrastructure is going to be very expensive.  It takes a lot of new houses to pay for what is necessary.  So I expect that the professional study will recommend building any lower level infrastructure on the existing higher level infrastructure.

A major build of infrastructure in the East is only really sustainable at 12,000 new homes.  So the probability comes back to the West, around Rayleigh. There is no point in “improving” the low level infrastructure to enable 300 houses here and 500 houses there to be built when the traffic they generate will run into a bottleneck just round the corner. My view is that the “Fair Shares For All” approach to the allocation of new homes will be recognised very soon as a political expedient and some serious planning analysis, tied to sane economics, will show the only way that makes every sense STRATEGICALLY is to develop the West with around 2,500 new homes. 

Hullbridge Residents Speak Out

October 24, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

The RDC Central Area Committee met in Hullbridge tonight.  About 100 people attended.  By and large they left unhappy. Here are a couple of quotes from those who spoke as they left. “This meeting has been carefully orchestrated so that we did not talk about what WE wanted”.  “The meeting has been all about dog crap and not about people.”  My take from those who raised issues at the beginning of the meeting was that the public wanted to talk about current planning issues and the new allocation of houses to Hullbridge.  The first questioner wanted to know how the allocation that was consulted upon in May/June 2007, turned into 400 houses for Hullbridge.  No answer was given from the Chair apart from “it’s all back in the melting pot.”

Which is actually not true because the Conservative Group, meeting in private and not in Council, came up with the new figures and published them in the Echo.  What the residents of Hullbridge wanted to know was who decided on this and on what basis considering the lack of infrastructure.  The response was its not our fault, it’s the Government and if you change the Government then the problem will go away.  Oh how I wish that might be true.  But it is not.  The Affordable House Building Deficit is as demonstrated in the Council’s own strategy documentation. Where are our children and grandchildren going to live?

The Chair’s answer on infrastructure was that developers would have to provide this.  So much is required to make new development work in Hawkwell and Hullbridge it is beyond the commercial capacity of such developments to fund all the necessary improvements and make a profit. Think again.

Hawkwell has decided to fight.  Hullbridge is in the mood to fight.  Residents in Hullbridge must call their own public meeting and, whether their District Councillors turn up or not, they must decide to run a campaign against the Conservative Party proposals of 400 houses before it is too late. The Conservatives faced a loss of seats in Rayleigh and the Conservatives cut the new housing allocation from 1800 to 740 in a stroke !! Such is the power of the ballot box and so be it.

The Conservatives might now consider the best option to be a new conurbation out to the East of the District associated with a Southend By Pass.  On this basis it would be all new infrastructure and fit for the purpose in terms of eco housing.  But don’t build the houses until the infrastructure is in place.  If we hope for developers to fund infrastructure in existing conurbations then it will be an unmitigated failure.

If that option came with a condition that it is no infrastructure, no houses then if the Southend By Pass never comes to fruition then NO HOUSES.  Might be a canny strategy after all?

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Residents to Give Evidence on Climate Change to Council Committee

October 24, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

The Rochford District Council Review Committee is to take evidence from the public following the intervention of independent councillor, John Mason. 

Officers presented a project plan to the last Review Committee which had not been tabled on the Agenda.  One Tory Councillor was concerned that this had not been drawn up by Members and the obvious unseen nature of the proposals.

Councillor John Mason stepped in and swiftly proposed vital changes to the project plan to include taking evidence from the public and commerce before the Review Committee makes recommendations to the Executive Board in the New Year. He also made a recommendation to visit the Borough of Merton which has reportedly angered the Government by insisting that all new housing developments have a significant percentage of sustainable energy sources on site.  John said “Given that the Council is proposing building 3300 new houses in larger developments across the district then this will be a very important policy to consider.”

Meanwhile the Committee has the following to go on from nearby districts; 

In 2005 the South East Essex Green Party released the results of the public opinion poll on climate change they conducted in Southend and Castle Point.

Most people (177 out of 200) believed climate change caused by human activity is happening. Nearly half (91 out of 200) had made lifestyle changes to try and stop it, including three who had given up their cars. However, many people would do more if they knew more about how to live a Greener lifestyle and it was made easier.

The majority (170 out of 200) thought politicians were not doing enough and particularly singled out American politicians for criticism. Our politicians pay lip service to the problem of climate change, but their actions will make things worse. 

Questions that were used for the survey;

1 Do you think that climate change is happening because of human activities?

If yes 2 Have you changed anything in your lifestyle based on this view?

If no 3 why you have this opinion? A) Media B) Part of the natural cycle C) Politicians

If don’t know 4 What would convince you that it is happening? A) An event B) Arguments

5 Do you think politicians are doing enough?

Results-

Southend

Question 1-86 Yes 6 No 2 Partly 3 Possibly 3 Don’t Know
Question 2-45 Yes. 45 No. 1 Not Yet.
Question 3-1 Said A. 3 said B. 2 said C.
Question 4-4 said A. 2 said B.
Question 5-77 No. 4 Yes-Rest (19) 1 said OK. 7 don’t know /do what they can. 1 could do more. 1 no idea. 1 not bad. 1 should concentrate on other things. 5 not sure/ don’t know. 1 possibly. 1 Environmentalists create unnecessary panic
Castle Point
Question 1-91 Yes. 1 No Idea. 3 Probably. 5 No.
Question 2-46 Yes. 48 No. 1 Not Yet.
Question 3-4 Said B. 1 Said A.
Question 4-No Answers
Question 5-93 No. 4 Yes. 3 Don’t Know. 

 

  

RSPB Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project

October 24, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

AN AMBITIOUS £12million project is planned to recreate the lost landscape of Wallasea Island.

The RSPB today announced details of the Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project, to return the farmland back to coastal wetland to attract rare birds back to an area that has not nested in for about 400 years.

The charity hopes to raise enough money to buy three quarters of the island, farmed by Wallasea Farms.

advertisementThe cash will also fund engineering work to let water back on to the land through a series of pipes in the current sea wall.

Wallasea is eight miles north of Southend, and could provide a 1,800-acre paradise for fish and birds with its planned saltmarsh, creeks, lagoons and mudflats.

It will also provide an open space for recreation with ten miles of foot paths and cycle ways.

Project manager Mark Dixon said: “The island used to be made up of five separate islands and we want to take it back to that.

“By letting sea water in through pipes in the current sea wall we will create shallow wetlands a couple of feet deep.

“The water will go in and out with the tide.

“It will be a giant wilderness. It will prepare the land for climate change, suck up carbon and provide a space for people to enjoy, and be fantastic for wildlife.”

The charity hope to attract rare birds like the spoonbills, Kentish plovers – which have been absent for 50 years – and black-winged stilts, which have only bred in Britain three times.

Otters, saltwater fish such as bass, herring, flounder and specialist saltwater plants, including samphire, sea lavender and sea aster, could also flourish.

The plans will not affect the homes and caravan on the eastern side of the island.

An agreement has been signed between the farm and the RSPB to buy the land in two years time, if planning permission is granted and the cash is raised.

Mr Dixon said: “From the farm’s point of view, they are surrounded by 12 miles of sea wall.

“They know in the medium term the sea level will rise and their land is not going to be viable. It could breach and they could lose their land overnight.

“This is a way of safeguarding the land for wildlife “There used to be 30,000 hectares of this wetland landscape in the area, now there is just 2,000 hectares.

“Four hundred years ago most of it was surrounded by a sea wall and claimed for agriculture and industry.

“It is our hope to recreate the lost landscape, with millions of birds feeding and nesting and tens of thousands of fish breeding there.” Wetland restoration began on Wallasea last year, when Defra breached sea walls on the northern edge of the island.

It is managed by the RSPB and the area of wetland will be increased sixfold when this latest project is complete.

The £12million bill, the RSPB’s most costly and ambitious scheme, is mainly to cover the research and engineering costs of allowing water back on to Wallasea to create the marshes.

Dr Mark Avery, the RSPB’s conservation director, said: “Our plans for Wallasea reflect the very great difficulties climate change will cause but also the RSPB’s determination to find ways of combating them.

“We will be providing new sites into which wildlife can move when sea level rise swallows up their existing habitats.”

The charity hopes local people will help them realise this dream by donating money as well as getting corporate sponsorship from industry and corporations.

Donations can be made via the RSPB website.

Strokebusters Appeal – Southend University Hospital

October 15, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Rochford District Residents organised a Fun Quiz Night at Hawkwell Village Hall on Friday, 12 October.  All profit went to the Southend University Hospital, Strokebusters Appeal.  Consultant Tony O’Brien gave a short talk on Strokebusters and although his quiz team did not win, they took away donations of £673.

Options for Housing Allocation – Rochford District

September 24, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Shaun Scrutton
Head of Planning and Transportation
Rochford District Council
Dear Shaun

Options for Rochford District Core Strategy – LDF Consultation

You asked me to submit any Options that Rochford District Residents (RDR) had on the LDF before 30 September.

In terms of the Options put forward by the Conservative Party, RDR would like to see a copy of the proposal together with all supporting papers if this has already been received by the Council before the deadline of 30 September.  If the proposal is not complete then I would like to receive a copy on 1 October please.

I am the Party Leader of Rochford District Residents which is a Registered Political Party which has the same status as The Conservative Party.  I am expecting that the Council will afford RDR equal status with The Conservative Party in considering the Options put forward.

I understand that Go-East is broadly supportive of  a new outer relief road for Southend, though it stresses this would need to be built in partnership with the County and Rochford district councils and might be privately funded.

On the basis that Go-East has already signified that such Option should be included in the next Option Appraisal for the LDF, RDR formally requests that Rochford District Council considers this infrastructural change, which has publicly stated Government support, in the way that it might affect Rochford District and the spatial housing planning allocation in relation to such infrastructural development and in particular that the whole requirement of circa 3,300 houses can be placed in the Eastern part of Rochford District in the LDF Core Strategy.

This request does not imply in any way that RDR is supportive of such Option.  It believes that such an Option cannot continue to be excluded from the next LDF Core Strategy Consultation.

RDR does not believe that the Option for Affordable Housing includes sufficient identification of the ownership models that exist to ensure that Affordable Housing is retained in that status over the coming 50 years.

RDR wishes to point out to Rochford District Council that Local authorities usually use policies within the LDF (sometimes with the proviso that if it could be demonstrated that developments serving the greater interest of the authority for example financing key infrastructure projects could not sustain affordable housing then an ‘open book’ approach is used with a claw back clause enabling the authority to receive commuted payments towards off site affordable
housing).  However there are other mechanisms as well. The Green Paper on housing delivery picks up on the responsibility of housing delivery and the penalties for inadequate supply.

RDR also wishes Rochford District Council to discuss this aspect in detail with the Peer Group Review Team when it visits the Council in October and report in the LDF on the content of such advice.

Councillor Hudson, Deputy Leader of the Council announced at the Central Area Committee on 20 September that the next Public Consultation on the LDF Core Strategy will take place in the Spring of 2008.  It is of regret to RDR that Rochford District Council has not given the Party more time to research and consider the Options for the LDF.

Yours sincerely

 

John Mason
District Councillor for Hawkwell West
Party Leader, Rochford District Residents

Rochford District Council – Central Area Committee 12 June 2007

June 16, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Rochford District Council – Central Area Committee 12 June 2007

NO members of the public attended.  Why?

But there were 14 paid employees of RDC present (cost?).  And at least 7 paid employees of Essex County Council who were not presenting (cost?).

RDC Executive Councillor Mavis Webster was down to present on Tourism but she did not turn up nor send apologies.

The Chairman of the Central Committee surrounded himself with an shield of paid employees.  The Ward Councillors were on the wings of the table and if the public had attended they would not have been able to see who was speaking or if they could who it was because the name tags would have been at 90 degrees to them.  I thought the idea was to get Ward Councillors more directly involved?  Perhaps not then?

The presentation made by the paid employees at top table were poor and there was one that I could not follow very well and the PA system was causing distortions.

The presentation of the meeting by the Chair, who is an RDC Executive Councillor was poor because all he did was read from notes in an uninteresting monotone. I am glad that the public did not attend.

Then there was the spectacle of 3 ballots with four Tories scrapping over the position of vice chair.  One candidate had no votes so they did not even rate themselves!!

The Chair was obviously confused about who could speak at the formal Committee.  A Chairman of a Parish Council asked if he could talk about the Terms of Reference.  The Chair said no but he went right ahead.  The Head of Legal Services intervened and said NO but he carried on and the Chair did nothing and allowed all Parish Councils to go on speaking and even one, Hawkwell Parish Council, made a presentation on a Youth Project where they want the District Council to support a Youth Centre in the form of a Portakabin being sited in Gree Belt on Hawkwell Playing Fields.  The Chair of the Central Committee gave this his full support. The Chair will then take all matters from the Central Committee for decision at thge Executive Committee.  So perhaps that is it, approved without planning permission?  Who knows these days when anyone can speak when they like at an RDC Committee but ordinary Councillors cannot speak at the RDC Executive Committee. 

Things you ought to know about matters raised during the meeting:

Police – In April there were only four offences in Hawkwell and combined with Hockley there were 28. By comparison with 2006 this had fallen from 35, which is a 20% reduction.  Across the District Anti Social Behaviour has fallen by 36%.

The Police policy is for all young people to congregate at Clements Hall and the Playing Fields but in small groups. The Police want small groups to be able to use the leisure facilities in small groups. The Police view on the new Skateboard Facility is that is well used and the youth wanted it.  It is early days but the police feel that it will make a difference.

Dog Fouling – Officers and Members agreed that there needs to be an example prosecution.

Golden X Flats – They have no wheelie bins and have to keep refuse inside their homes.

Highways – Major footway program in Hockley and Ashingdon.  Plumberow and Bramerton finished with Greenward and Southend Road to follow later in the year.

PCT – Hawkwell Doctors – Monthly meeting with adhoc patients committee

    

South East Essex Primary Care Trust (PCT) (NHS)

June 9, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Medical Care : Matter of Concern Number 4, Residents Survey – Hawkwell West 2007

As a Ward Councillor I am working with the South East Essex Primary Care Trust to ensure that there are Health Improvement Programmes aimed at the population of Rochford.

These are:

• STAR Partnership – this is a multi agency partnership aimed at increasing provision of health and well being programmes through Rochford. Originally the project focused purely on two wards in Rochford town itself but has now expanded to encompass the district as a whole. projects are delivered through a  variety of settings and involve a wide range of stakeholders form both the voluntary and statutory sector. The focus of the partnership is on the wider determinants of health so do not necessarily focus on specific disease related issues but on a more holistic model e.g. healthy eating as a means of decreasing risk factors for obesity, CHD, diabetes etc. The PCT employs the STAR partnership coordinator and supports specific projects as appropriate
• National Healthy Schools Award – a number of primary and secondary schools have achieved the National Healthy Schools Award which is facilitated through the Local Education Authority and PCT as part of the Essex and Southend Healthy Schools Partnership. The PCT employs the Healthy Schools Advisor who is the key link with schools wishing to achieve the Award and again provides additional support for specific pieces of work required to support schools in this work. The Award requires schools to evidence action around four key areas all related to wider determents of health and sustainable behaviour
• GP Exercise Referral Scheme – this operates in partnership with Clements Hall Leisure Centre and enables patients who meet a specific criteria to access tailored exercise programmes facilitated by trained instructors the outcomes of which include sustainable increase in physical activity for the benefit of both their specific condition and their overall well being
• Stop Smoking Services – this operates across south Essex and as well as a specialist service that patients can either  self refer into or be referred by a health professional, would be quitters can also access support through a scheme that has been put in place with community pharmacists
• Smoke free Implementation – the PCT is working in close partnership with Local Authorities to ensure that the smoking in public places ban that comes into force nationally on 1st July is successfully implemented through increased public awareness and support for businesses on whom the ban will impact

Health promotion campaigns with community pharmacies  – the PCT has designed a programme of six campaigns focusing on key health improvement messages that will be delivered through community pharmacies to raise awareness on issues including obesity, sensible drinking, flu immunisation, sexual health promotion and cancer screening programmes. The programme of campaigns will run throughout 2007/8.

I am currently in discussion with the PCT about improvements to heath services and will provide further information when it is available.

Residents Survey – Hawkwell West 2007

May 27, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

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

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

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

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

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

Closure of Doctors Surgeries in Rochford and Hawkwell

March 9, 2007 by · 2 Comments 

Medical Care : Matter of Concern Number 4, Residents Survey – Hawkwell West 2007

I have been contacted by many people in Rochford District about the PCT intention to close the late Dr. Sen’s Surgeries in Hawkwell and Rochford.

I understand that a final decision will be made by the NHS Primary Care Trust on 29 March 2007, 12.30 pm at Harcourt House, Harcourt Avenue, Southend.  This meeting is open to the public.

Let me say that I have not been consulted, nor have the imperative reasons why these have to close been made known to me by the PCT.

I have written to  the PCT asking what is going on and they have not replied.

A public meeting was held by the AdHoc Committee on 17 March, 2.00 pm at Hawkwell Village Hall.  About 250 people attended to object to the closures of the Hawkwell Park Drive and Leecon Way surgeries.

The PCT was only there to take notes despite having a legal obligation to consult with patients.  I reckon that this is meant to be a discussion not a passive note taking participation by the PCT.

The meeting was chaired by Lorraine Holditch who was previously the Patient Representative on the Rochford and Castle Point PCT.  The merger had happened between the PCT’s in October and nobody had told her that she had been dropped from the PCT !! RDC Director of External Services, Graham Woolhouse had also been dropped but at least he knew.  Therefore until the letters came out on 28 February nobody else knew apart from the PCT.

Dr. Mrs Sen has signed a three year lease and there is a 25 year lease on the table.

The bad news was that the 3000 patients could be accomodated in the Back Lane and Jones Family Surgery; so said Dr. Jamie Nicholls and a representative from Rochford called Lorraine.

It looks like a strategy by the PCT to save money by consolidating.

Lorraine Holditch introduced Bonnie Hart, Tory County Councillor and Tory District Councillor Derek Stansby. 

 As a District Councillor for Hawkwell I reminded the PCT that we are the Owners of the NHS and we wanted to keep our Surgeries.

Myra Weir spoke as a resident of 43 years. The Hawkwell Parish Council Chairman did not attend but I understand that he may be ill. But neither did the Hawkwell Parish Council Vice Chairman attend.

Residents were encouraged by the Adhoc Committee to write individual letters of complaint to the PCT and go to the meeting on 29 March.

News From Neighbourhood Police Team

March 2, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

BURGLARY WARNING: Several recent burglaries have occurred in Hockley. Patio doors are being smashed to gain entry. It is suggested to install a good Burglar Alarm. Install PIR lights. Postcode your property. Visit www.immobilise.com and record details of valuables, serial numbers etc for free. If your road is not currently covered by a neighbourhood watch scheme, it is strongly recommended.

YOUTH ISSUES: The new skateboard park is almost complete at Clements Hall. Rochford Council are considering installing 5-a-side football posts at the overflow car park near to the ramps to encourage youths away from Spa Road and behind the library.

Youths are travelling in from Rochford, Rayleigh, London to fight with the local youths. We need to encourage the local youths to not congregate in large groups. Offensive weapons are being carried by many of the youths possibly for protection, but can cause serious and life threatening injuries. If you are a parent or guardian of a 10-17 year old, where are they tonight? Who are they with? What are they doing? Will they come home safely or with injuries?

MOBILE PHONES: Police will take a zero tolerance approach locally into using mobile phones whilst driving. Since the introduction of the new penalty, just as many offences are being observed. Any one stopped for using their phone will be issued a fixed penalty fine of £60 and 3 points which will of course also increase motor insurance premiums.

The whole point is that it is dangerous to drive using a mobile as well as performing many other activities; lighting cigarettes, eating, putting make up on are just a few examples. These actions distract the driver from focussing on what is going on around them.

SPEEDING: Motorists are also driving over the 30mph limit at Rectory Road, Main Road, Southend Road, Hawkwell. The police are keen to reduce road accident casualties locally and offenders will be dealt with positively.

APPEAL: We are appealing for volunteers to help supervise youth activities. Sports, Arts and other activities are being considered. Please contact me if you can spare any time or for further info on any of the above matters.

CONTACT: Steve Joynes. Tel: 01268 775533. Office answer machine: 01702 530470. Text/Mobile: 07710 046161. Email: steve.joynes@essex.pnn.police.uk

Rochford District Residents Makes Donation to Hospital

February 26, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

On Friday Night, 23 February, Rochford District Residents held a Fun Quiz Night in aid of the Southend Hospital, Smellies for the Sick Cause.

Supported by over 100 local residents, including our friends from the Hockley Residents’ Association, the Quiz raised £330 for the Smellies.

Rochford District Residents also gave a donation to the local TALKING NEWSPAPERS scheme.

As well as representing people on Rochford District Council, Rochford District Residents supports local charities and good causes by giving regular donations.  

 

11.6% Possible Increase in Hawkwell Parish Council spending the last straw !!

January 6, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Christine and I have decided to leave Hawkwell Parish Council and concentrate on other more productive work for the community.  Christine will continue to run the Smellies for the Sick at Southend Hospital which covers Southend, Rochford and Castle Point Districts. They will both continue to run the Hawkwell HeartStart Group for the benefit of Hawkwell, Hockley, Ashingdon and Rochford areas.

John will continue to represent you at Rochford District Council.

Dear Colleague

We have decided to resign as Members of Hawkwell Parish Council with immediate effect.

We both feel that our reasons for doing so should be put on record.

When John was elected in 2003 he put forward a number of proposals for Hawkwell that were all achievable ambitions which we both believe would collectively have significantly improved the quality of life across all ages in the Parish. It has, however, not been possible for Hawkwell Parish Council to demonstrate its commitment to the level of change, energy and drive required.

In addition John has found Council Meetings an unpleasant experience over the last 9 months and recent unfounded complaints about him have left him wondering if his motivation would return.  Sadly it has not.

Christine has been equally dismayed by way Council business has been conducted since she was elected and under the circumstances does not wish to serve alone.

The last straw is evident in the proposal being made to Finance Committee which, if agreed, could cause an increase in the Parish Precept of 11.6% without any increased benefit to the community.  We cannot support this as a matter of principle and we both feel that the only way that this might be stopped is to resign in protest.

Yours faithfully
John and Christine Mason

Building the green barricade By Geoff Percival

October 28, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

Building the green barricade
By Geoff Percival

A country park which acts as a green buffer separating Southend from Rochford is set to be extended by 50 per cent under new plans revealed today.

Rochford District Council is behind plans to increase the size of Cherry Orchard Country Park by 80 acres and create a new access.

The council has earmarked £250,000 in this year’s budget to start the ball rolling.

The park, which is on the borders of Southend, is seen as an important green lung for the whole of the area. The first part was opened two years ago by the Princess Royal.

Members of the district council said the acquisition of what was originally Blatches Farm from Essex County Council would ensure there was no development of the site in the future.

There was a real concern that although the area was green belt it could have been sold by Essex County Council for housing leading to loss of a big part of the Roach Valley between Hockley, Rochford and Eastwood. Read more

Planning Applications at 1 Southend Road Hockley

September 21, 2006 by · 2 Comments 

I am being challenged on the way I voted at Rochford District Council on two planning applications concerning the same property in HOCKLEY.

The locally waged campaign against the development included a spate of fly posting which was reported to the police for investigation. I was shocked at the content of e-mails and the fly posters. This was the worst campaign on a planning application I have ever encountered in 26 years of being involved in community issues.

FOR THE RECORD

I only voted on two applications because I was away for the application which was considered on 26 April 2005.

25 November 2004 – I voted against this application although I understand that someone may have asserted to others that I abstained. The Minutes are downloadable and you can see that no record of individual voting was recorded. I can accept that people can be mistaken on something that took place nearly two years and there is nothing more that can be said because there was no recorded vote!!

20 October 2005 – I voted for approval although again you can see from the Minutes that are downloadable that no record of individual voting was recorded.

The overall position is that the Planning Inspectorate has approved development at this site at appeal.

Nevertheless I do not condone the action of the developer to demolish the building and create an eyesore which was, unfortunately, legal and RDC could not stop it.

Let me also repeat, once again, that I am not against Hawkwell Parish Council taking over the Glencroft Open Space. Like 6 other Parish Councillors we just wanted the costs fully investigated and approved by Hawkwell Parish Council beforehand.

I can only think that these matters are being raised for personal reasons or some sort of political gain.

The development at 1 Southend Road has been approved by the Planning Inspectorate. There was nothing sustainable that Rochford District Council Members could do to prevent it.

Perhaps I could invite whoever has an axe to grind to put their allegations in writing on this site?

Otherwise I hope that I have cleared to air and these issues can be put to rest on a final basis.

http://rochfordessex.net/cl/Minutes – Planning Services Committee 251104.pdf
http://rochfordessex.net/cl/Minutes – Planning Services Committee 260405.pdf
http://rochfordessex.net/cl/Minutes – Planning Services Committee 201005.pdf

Financial Concerns over Parish Council Decision

September 19, 2006 by · 2 Comments 

Some years ago the council tax raised by Hawkwell Parish Council was much lower than it is now.  If memory serves me correctly it was about £50,000 per annum and when the Spencers and Magnolia Open Spaces were taken over the  costs increased to the high 80’s and now over 100,000.

So when the Council decided to take over the Glencroft Open Space, I was concerned that the costs were fully understood before the land was taken over rather than discovered as the project proceeded.

When Hawkwell Parish Councl took the decision to take over the Glencroft Open Space on 12 June 2006  this was made without any presentation of the way it was to be managed and by implication the costs that will be incurred on a permanent basis together with those additional capital costs of plant and equipment that will be required,

As the Open Space is being taken over from Rochford District Council it would have been appropriate to find out exactly what current costs are being incurred by RDC.  This has not be done.

I supported, with another 6 Councillors, a Motion on Notice to rescind the Council decision made on 12th June regarding the Glencroft Open Space.

Unfortunately the vote to protect your financial insterests was narrowly lost 8/6 and the project will proceed on a hand to mouth basis with the Parks Committee asking for money as required.  What this will do to the figure raised as council tax I do not know.

This is the letter I sent to all councillors before the meeting in an attempt to get them to not commit unless the costs were known. Read more

Echo Article – Expansion of Southend – Threat of Rochford/Southend By Pass looms

September 17, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

2,000 new homes for New Ranges
Exclusive By Steven Blaakman

Up to 2,000 new homes could be built at the New Ranges weapons testing base in Shoebury.

Consultants are proposing a vibrant new town with a tree-lined main avenue, a central park and the possibility of a landmark tower block.

Investment from big companies and the University of Essex could also create more than 3,000 new jobs, consultants Llewelyn Davies Yeang believe.

A light rail system transporting residents to nearby shops and facilities could be built along the main avenue.

The project would also include a new road to the north of the site, the catalyst for the long-awaited Southend outer relief road. Read more

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