• Grumpy Christmas & Rayleigh Lights Switch On

    Hello, Grumpy Christmas here! Yes, your resident District & Town Council has been out today with lot’s of other volunteers preparing for the ‘Rayleigh Lights Switch On!’

    Chilly, isn’t the word for it, with a flurry of snow and temperatures of 3 degrees and falling, lot’s of volunteers prepared to make the night special for the families with little ones.

    As my ‘little ones’ are not so little now, it takes more than a twinkle of lights to entertain them so this year we decided to stay at home with our Horlicks for the big switch on.

    I won’t mention the lack of an ice rink (as Scrooge put a stop to that!) other activities that may have tempted them out into the cold and I’m sure everyone with children of primary school age children will have a lovely time waving their glowy, flashy stick things around as they stand around trying to keep warm. I’m afraid though for Grumpy Christmas he’s seen the light and unfortunately has been unable to deliver a Christmas wish for the supporters of this petition.

  • Is there a shortage of housing or just affordable housing?

  • An Icy Subject

    Remember my efforts in vain on this? Well for reasons unbeknown to me, the idea of an ice skating rink in Rayleigh town centre was vetoed by some members of Rayleigh Town Council. Of course, in Council’s everything must be passed with a ‘majority’ vote and we (the lib dems) do not hold such a majority. I’ve been told before that the Town Council is not about politics, it’s about the residents.

    Today when visiting Basildon town centre, I was pleased to see children enjoying themselves on their (free) ice rink. It only costs £1 to park for 3 hours and there didn’t seem to be any congestion!!

    So if you want to take the kids out for a bit of fun pop down to Basildon or Lakeside where they both have ice rinks for the seasonal shopping period.

    • Sweyne Park Bund 2

      The Great Wall of Sweyne Park!

    • Sweyne Park Bund 1
    • Sweyne Park Bund 3
    • Sweyne Park Bund 4

    Spending Money like Water

    £1.1 million pounds is a lot of money to most – so I balked at the total cost of the flood alleviation project that Essex County Council has spent on the flood alleviation project in West Rayleigh. The scheme which was consulted on last October (2016) is cited to protect 55 houses (in the interest of transparency, our house is one of those!) and has now been completed – November 2017. I ask is it good value for money? Well, we will only know once we get a deluge of rain. I’ve been trying to locate the original plans for the scheme on Essex County Councils website, but like most Council websites, it’s search facility doesn’t seem up to much. If it’s been designed for 1 in 100 years rainfall we may not even find out if the scheme has been successful!

    More details about the scheme below


    Rayleigh flood alleviation scheme gets £305k from EA

    Ground investigations for the £800,000 scheme began in April and the scheme is set for completion in November.  

    Rochford District Council’s head of the Flood Forum, Cllr Mike Steptoe, said: “This extra funding for Rayleigh will ensure that residents benefit from added flood protection and reassurance over and above the improvements that Rochford District Council has already managed to achieve.”

    The works include the construction of a small attenuation bund on a sports fields and works to increase the storage capacity of Sweyne Park pond, which had previously overflowed during periods of heavy rainfall.   

    In times of heavy rainfall, the new scheme will allow water to be stored on the school field before discharging through a series of land drains and into the existing surface water drainage system at a controlled rate. The pond works will help increase its storage capacity. These two measures will lower the flood risk in the areas to the west of Sweyne Park School which have suffered repeated flooding. The scheme will protect 55 residential properties.


  • 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.

  • Rayleigh’s ‘Night of the Year’ – the switching on of the Christmas lights

    Sadly no Ice Rink, some members of the Town Council think this can’t be accommodated – there was much enthusiasm for an Ice Rink from some members of the Chamber of Trade and members of the public. Why doesn’t the Council think outside the box or this a common trait of Councils, that like to hold back progress?

    IT’S ALL set for Rayleigh’s ‘Night of the Year’ – the switching on of the Christmas lights on Thursday, November 30 between 4pm and 6.30pm.

    It’s the night when thousands of local families throng the High Street enjoying a full programme of entertainment.

    It is now regarded as the town’s top community event of the year when families can join in the many activities that are arranged by Rayleigh Town Council, which organises the whole event.

    The High Street will be closed at the top of Crown Hill from 1.45pm until 9pm. Access to the Bellingham Lane car parks will continue until 3.45pm. There will be no taxis in the rank after 1pm. Provision, however, will be made available in Bellingham Lane outside HSBC and side of the WI Hall for pick up only.

    Signs and posters around the town will display alternative arrangements for taxis and bus diversion routes. Wheelchair users will be allowed access into the marquee area to view the event; if interested, it would be appreciated if residents could contact the Ryleigh Council prior to the event.

    Town clerk Kerry Cumberland explained: “We will have all of our usual attractions at this year’s event, including a festive market, fun fair rides and Father Christmas with his sleigh.

    “BBC Essex presenters Steve Scruton and Ian Wyatt will be on stage with popular local singer Reggie Manus, Southend United Football Club players, the Mushroom Theatre Company and our primary and senior school choirs.

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