Archive Monthly Archives: September 2016

West Rayleigh Flood Alleviation Scheme

Many residents of Rayleigh will remember the terrible flooding that unfortunate homeowners experienced in 2013 & 2014. Today we have received details from Essex County Council of the proposed flood alleviation scheme.

There may be some relief for those with flood risk in the area to the west of Sweyne Park School, and to properties on Pearsons Avenue, Vernon Avenue, Victoria Avenue and Cheapside West, amongst others. Proposed is a 2 part scheme

  • The first part of the scheme will involve making alterations to the existing pond in Sweyne Park and the second element of the scheme will involve making an earth bund on the Sweyne Park School Field. This is all of course subject to planning consent.

We will update residents as we find out more information

On yer bike Essex Highways!


Is Cycling the answer to Rayleigh traffic problems?

When I look at our local traffic problems, I think what a shame it is that you don’t see more families taking to the roads on bikes – then looking around Rayleigh I see that cycle lanes are either not feasible or just plain forgotten by our local highways representatives. I’m an occasional cyclist (no lycra here!) and often use my bike to nip to ASDA’s, cutting through Sweyne Park bridle track from Victoria Avenue. There is a lovely, shared footpath from the top of Priory Chase to ASDA and I’m pretty sure I could beat any vehicle that makes the same journey via the main roads. It takes me about 10 minutes to make the journey and I’m not polluting the environment or caught up in traffic.

The recent report for 47 new dwellings on London Road refers to cycle routes. I raised the point that I could not see these cycle routes around our town. In fact in some areas I struggle to see safe walking routes to be honest. I felt I was sneered at by other members for raising this and didn’t get any support but I do wonder when the last time they got on a push bike was?

I’m going to so more digging around on this subject as I think people should be encouraged to use bikes more often, but we need to make our roads more accessible for cyclists and their families.


47 New Dwellings for London Road – Approved

Last nights development committee discussed the application for 47 dwellings on London Road (15/00736/FUL). The officers report can be read here. 1500736FUL (494 downloads)  This application have been previously deferred for clarification on a number of points.

  • The location and type of pedestrian crossing, taking account of the speed limits on the A129 London Road.
  • What Highway improvement measures would be provided in respect of the additional developer contribution of £50,000 over and above the cost of the proposed pedestrian crossing.
  • Clarification of the proposed flow rates and the opportunity to seek improvement to the rate to improve local resilience against flooding and better details of attenuation arrangements.
  • The drainage details relating to conditions 7, 8,10,11, 12 and 13 to be submitted with the application for Members’ consideration.
  • Details of the surface water drainage scheme /underground drainage plan to be made available to the Committee.
  • Condition 13 to be amended so that it be required that the yearly maintenance logs be submitted to the local planning Authority annually.
  • Off street parking spaces to be provided clear of the street.
  • The road layout to be built to adoptable standards and clarification of whether the road layout will be adopted. (NOT ADOPTABLE)
  • Dormer windows with flat roofs to be revised to provide pitched roofs.
  • Clarification of the proposals to spend the contribution of £45,000 in respect of Little Wheatleys play space and whether instead this contribution might be used to fund a school crossing patrol for a temporary period of time.

Off to a shaky start due to the technical issues in the council chamber (no projector, so no plans available), the meeting commenced nearly 30 minutes late. There was about 10 visitors in the public gallery.

The council officer (Mike Shranks) gave his opening report on the planning application and how the issues had been addressed that concerned the members at the last committee meeting. Once we had heard the report (with no visual aids), the officer asked us to ‘trust’ his words – speakers were invited from the public. The applicants agent spoke first. We then heard questions from committee members. These ranged from clarification on the proposed crossing, off street parking, whether the road was adoptable and the proposed drainage system.

The proposed drainage system consumed most of the discussion, with Cllr Stanley taking a lead on the flooding issues asking whether the design of the system was adequate to accommodate the flooding issues that West Rayleigh has seen in recent years. I asked whether upstream flooding had been taken into consideration and was assured by the officer it had been.

I also made it clear I was not convinced the proposed crossing was adequate and safe for pedestrians being in a 40 mph zone.

Proposed Crossing Site

Proposed Crossing Site

I questioned as to why the new estate would not have its own play area, with a £45,000 contribution for the Little Wheatley’s play area, once the money runs out the tax payer will bear the full burden of additional maintenance.

Land will be taken from Rayleigh Sports & Social club for the proposed alleyway at the back of the development.

20160921_184731The report also makes mention of cycle routes (I see none of them in this area, in fact very few in Rayleigh). Finally I raised the issue of safety as the report proposes that the developer will widen the footpath in front of the development to 2m, however the London Road footpath is wholly inadequate on the North side (in my opinion) and is less than 2m wide.

Finally Councillor Mountain spoke up and reminded members that this application was again before the committee to gain clarification on the reasons the application was previously deferred – he then moved for approval for the application. The vote was taken with all members approving apart from myself and Cllr Stanley abstaining.


Crime Fighting Time

Police & Crime Commissioner

Tonight I attended a presentation given by Roger Hirst (Essex Police & Crime Commissioner) and ahem, a couple of invisible police chiefs (not quite sure where they went), about the new Essex Police & Crime plan. This plan lays out 7 key areas that Mr Hirst wants Essex police to focus on.

1. More local, visible and accessible policing. 

2. Crack down on anti-social behaviour. 

3. Be tough on domestic abuse. 

4. Reverse the trend in serious violence. 

5. Tackle gangs and organised crime. 

6. Protect children and vulnerable people from harm. 

7. Improve safety on our roads.

I must say Mr Hirst gave an interesting presentation and seemed to engage with the audience members very well. In fact at 9.30pm, Cllr June Lumley had to ask for final questions as poor old Mr Hirst wouldn’t be getting home anytime soon. 

I managed to get some commitment from Mr Hirst – my question was “Will you reinstate the police liaison officers in schools?” Mr Hirst responded that he would, and when pressed by myself into whether he would commit, he responded that he was committed to a joint police/fire service liaison in schools.

I think Mr Hirst’s plan targets all the areas most of us would like to see. If you’ve got comments on his plan then follow this link to complete the survey.

Notable Planning Applications in Sweyne Park & Grange Ward

There are a couple of more notable applications that have been submitted to the council.

The first is application an application by Sweyne Park School for a new building for the sixth form.

The Sweyne Park School, Sir Walter Raleigh Drive, Rayleigh, Essex, SS6 9BZ

Reference: 16/00870/FUL

Date received: 9/7/2016 12:00:00 AM

Planning for: Construct Two Storey Building To Provide Teaching Accommodation Sixth Form

The second application is an application for 47 dwellings on the land adjacent to Grange Villa (M&S Garage)

Land Adjacent Grange Villa , London Road, Rayleigh, Essex, SS6 9DR

Reference: 15/00736/FUL

Date received: 10/9/2015 12:00:00 AM

Planning for: Form Access And Layout Site To Provide Residential Development Of 21 Flats And 26 Houses ( 47 Dwellings In Total)


What’s your thoughts on these applications? Let me know in the comments box

Infrastructure first before mass development – it’s almost common sense…

Today the Echo News reports that campaigners are asking Basildon council to force developers to provide the infrastructure to support the homes before any development is commenced. Surely this is almost common sense?

Asking developers to put their hand in their pocket is truly shocking, and even before they’ve seen any return on their investment but surely this is what entrepreneurship is all about? If they argue their business plan won’t support this type of development then perhaps they will have to look at reducing the profits they expect to return to their shareholders.

Stop Start Stop Start – A journey through Rayleigh High St

Travelling through Rayleigh is often a slow journey….

When driving through Rayleigh town I often wonder why there is so much traffic and ‘what’s the hold up’ as I’m sure many do. There are several routes to get from the train station to the other side of town into ‘east’ Rayleigh. They nearly all involve going via Crown Hill or London Hill. The tail backs seem to get more frequent and the frustration grows that this town can not take any more vehicles.

Whilst attending another meeting I heard a very interesting comment from another District Councillor. Whilst looking at the roads through the High St, the number of pedestrian crossings is a contributor to these tailbacks we all face.

So today (Tuesday) whilst driving from the train station to Rayleigh Weir via the town, I actively noted just how many times I needed to ‘stop-start’ – surprisingly, the main cause of the ‘stop-start’ was pedestrians. The crossing opposite the train station was my first ‘stop’, up Crown Hill and someone stepped onto the Zebra crossing – another ‘stop’ – and so the journey continues. Yes it’s stating the obvious but all these Zebra crossings actually do hinder the traffic quite significantly. The next big question is what can be done to reduce the ‘stop-start’ traffic system we have in place? What’s your suggestions? Post them in the comments below

Zebra Crossing

Is this the Culprit for the delays through Rayleigh?

The Consultation Process 

Today was the first of a number of consultation workshops for members of the public to have a say on the new local plan. Cllr Ian Ward was quick to remind members of the public that this is a ‘fresh start’ and that he is doing things differently. About 15 members of the public attended the meeting, which was held in the upstairs room of the Mill Hall in Rayleigh Town centre. A brief presentation of what this consultation was hoping to achieve  followed by a number of good questions from the public.

Perhaps by now, as Rayleigh is one of the last area’s to hold these workshop, I was expecting something a little bit slicker. I was sadly disappointed. Given that the average age in the room much have been at least 55+ even the text on the PowerPoint presentation was too small for this 40 year olds eyes. There was no amplified speech so again hard to hear over the hum drum of the aging air conditioning fan unit located in the ceiling.

I had to raise an eyebrow at the expectation of the next part of the ‘workshop’ – a walk around Rayleigh. Now I do a fair bit of walking, but I must say, did you expect me to walk along the Eastwood Road, Up to the Weir, Along Castle Road, Through the High St, Down Upway, Along London Road past Lower Barn Farm and then on to Carpenters Arms…….

I think I make my point – Rayleigh is too big to have a little walk about. These workshops need to be spread out into East, West, Central and maybe more. Each area of Rayleigh has it’s own problems and with a population of over 33000, the council is going to need a better representation from the people if the council planning policy makers are serious about the problems local people face. Moving one stage further you actually need some younger people to have a voice. How to engage this  demographic? What I do know is the policy that’s made now is going to have a huge impact on our children.

I think this needs a little more than tweaking. It needs some real thought to be effective, unless the cynicism in me means it’s little more than a PR exercise?