I am one of your 3 District Councillor's for Sweyne Park & Grange Ward and your Town Councillor for Victoria. Please feel free to contact me about any local issues that are of concern to you using the contact page. I am here to serve the residents and I will work hard to make our community a better place for all.

Best wishes,


  • Faster than a speeding car

    Well I’m no superhero, but tonight I’ve attended a community speedwatch training session in Southend.

    The session was very well attended by a lot of enthusiastic volunteers all determined to take action against the speeding motorist. There are now over 85 speedwatch groups in Essex, so it must be something that volunteers really want to get involved with. More on this once I’ve been out for my first session in Rayleigh.

    If it’s something you fancy getting involved with contact me here

    More info available here on what Community Speedwatch is all about.

  • Rochford District Budget Survey 2018/2019

    Rochford District Council have launched this pretty uninspiring budget survey. It asks residents to rate how they feel about services such as recycling, parks & open spaces, homelessness, leisure services etc.

    The survey will take around 5 minutes to complete and is anonymous. The closing date is Sunday 7 January 2018.

    I have estimated that the council will receive around 150 responses from across the district as these things are pretty low key when it comes to getting anyone excited. However it’s an important subject and perhaps should be given a more attention from residents.

  • A Criminal Misuse of Public Money?

    Disclaimer – All views are my own, as this is written on my own website, paid for with my own money – These are NOT the views of any Council that I am a member of or a view of the Liberal Democrat Party. They are simply written as a personal view of a Rayleigh Resident. Hope I’ve got the point across….

    There is an idea by the Police & Fire Crime Commissioner, that town and parish councils could now ‘buy’ their own Special Police Constables, to police their local area. Each ‘Special’ would cost the council (or taxpayer) £1000. This is an idea that has been put to Rayleigh Town Council. The role of the ‘special’ is something like this

    Call me cynical, but isn’t this just another way to extract additional money out of the taxpayer? We already have community policing teams, that are paid for from our council tax and the PFCC is now asking if we are willing to pay more in our council tax to increase policing. So it’s a double ask. The town and parish councils have to find the money from somewhere, right?

    If we are so hell-bent on having additional policing, I think someone has missed a trick here. With some crude calculations, I worked out that the £135,000 that has been spent by the district on new public toilets and the £20,000 estimated from the town council to maintain them, then this could have funded 155 special constables for 1 year. Or over the 10 year lease of the toilets, around 15 specials for 10 years. Each special averages 40 hours per month, so on this basis it would have provided funding for around 4 FULL TIME specials for Rayleigh for the next 10 years.

    Did we have a choice? No, because we weren’t asked. Could, therefore, new toilets be a criminal misuse of public money?

    Specials play an important role in the police service, and if you are interested in becoming a special you can find full details on the Essex police website here



  • Infrastructure, Housing and the ‘Outsiders’

    As landowners eye the potential rewards for putting forward their land for development, we are still faced with a lack of infrastructure to accommodate further housing needs.

    Have we been blind to the ‘unlocking’ of land in here in the Rochford District with ‘bigger’ infrastructure investments taking place right beneath our noses? Crossrail is due to commence in December 2018 and there are the second Dartford Crossing plans.

    These major infrastructure projects have the potential to unlock our District to people who can’t afford to live in London but want to be able to get from ‘A to B’ in reasonable times. Will this put further strain on the supply of ‘affordable housing’ and is this a challenge our ‘local’ residents will now face as they try to compete for the same properties?

    Some might argue that this competition already exists and I would agree to a lesser degree, but we could see a further deluge of ‘outsiders’ coming into our areas. Our housing policies must be robust to ensure that those who already live in our district are not priced out.

    Will our district be able to cope with this housing crisis in the years to come? This is something that we need to work hard on to ensure that the District prospers for all.


  • Pavement Promotion Problems

    Tonight’s review committee meeting brought up the issue of the pavement promotions problems. The reference to ‘pavement promotion problems’ is really to A boards.

    A boards clogging up pavements

    The blight of A boards through the High St (Rayleigh) seems to get increasingly worse – however, this may only be a ‘perception‘. Taking in to account the number of reports the council receives about this specific problem, it could be that we actually think this is a bigger problem than it is and it would be interesting to hear what residents think about this problem.

    A person displaying an advertisement in contravention of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 Act and Regulation 30 of the Control of Advertisement Regulations 2007 shall be liable, on summary conviction of an offence under section 224(3) of the Act, and be liable to a fine and criminal record.

    Other unauthorised advertising in our district was also raised as a concern, from banners to illuminated signage located in inappropriate places, if its not approved by the council, at some point the owner (land owner, business owner etc) could be prosecuted and the council could even apply to recover some of money made through the illegal advertising through the proceeds of crime act. A criminal record is not something I’m sure a business would want to advertise!

    If the matter proceeds through the Court, as well as leaving the offender with a criminal record, a successful prosecution allows the Council to apply for a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) Confiscation Order.

  • For Fawkes Sake

    Last night we attended the annual fireworks display by Rayleigh Lions. The weather was on our side and as usual, it was a great display. Rayleigh Lions does a lot of good work in our community and as well as enjoying the fireworks you also are helping a very worthy cause.

    The crowds that gathered in King George’s field to watch the display were on their best behavior and it was good to see such a high turnout for the organised display. Top marks to Rayleigh Lions! See you at the Christmas lights switch on in a few weeks time.

  • A Ghoulish Meeting

    There was a ghoulish meeting last night at Rayleigh Town Council. It would appear that no less than 5 of the (non-political) Conservative members had complained about this article in the Echo Newspaper, prompting a discussion to review standing orders on speaking to the press. For those unfamiliar the policy, which it seems some Councillors are, here’s what the standing orders guide us on how we are ‘allowed’ to interact with the media.


    I have made it clear to members of the Policy & Finance committee that I won’t be gagged from giving my opinion and letting residents know what is going on. I am informed that the next meeting of the Standing Orders Sub Committee is early next year.

  • The Wrong Type of Medicine

    Bureaucrats at the NHS are seemingly coming up with further radical ways of attempting to save money. This time the target is on how to free up beds in hospitals by effectively ‘outsourcing’ the care required.

    It’s been reported from various news outlets, such as this BBC report, that Southend Hospital was to pilot “plans for patients to recuperate in people’s homes as part of an Airbnb-style trial”

    This immediately sparked huge concerns and has been swiftly retracted by Southend Hospital who have effectively tried to distance themselves from ‘the angry mob’

    The NHS is overstretched – I don’t think we can argue with that, but what we must not compromise on is the safety of patients. This not so clever idea, is clearly not what the doctor ordered and I’m glad Southend Hospital will rethink its strategy, once again!


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BiographyJames NewportSweyne Park & Grange Ward

Published & promoted by Steve Tellis 22 Beech Avenue Rayleigh, on behalf of Liberal Democrat candidates at 22 Beech Avenue Rayleigh .


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