Archive Monthly Archives: April 2018

Annual Town Meeting

Last night I attended the Annual Town Meeting that Rayleigh Town Council holds…..annually, surprisingly.

It’d probably be more aptly named as an awards evening. However, it was good to see local people recognised for their hard work and efforts in our town. I was actually really surprised at some of the winners! Did you know that there is a ‘shower’ type device used by the police to wash victims of acid attacks and the inventor lives right here in Rayleigh?

With a room full of proud parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters and other family, there were plenty of smiles, especially for those happy snappers. A very well done to all the winners and good to see what talented residents we have in our local community.

I was intrigued at the level that some of the winners compete at and here’s a video of  the winner of ‘Junior Sports Person’, Danny Crouch in action  in the international junior cup.

Not Quite ‘Cutting’ The Mustard

It’s that time of year again, when you will see the mowers out cutting the grass verges. This service was taken back ‘in house’ by RDC last year following the setting up of the Green Gateway Trading Company and should give the Council and ultimately residents a better service.

I’ve had several complaints from residents already that the recent grass cutting isn’t up to much this year though with the grass looking like it’s been cut in a very patchy manner. I’ve emailed the Assistant Director and Portfolio to inform them of the quality which doesn’t quite cut the mustard with residents!

Important Information!! Public Notice – Grange Parade Shops

In case you missed it…. there is a new notice board opposite the Grange shops which Rayleigh Town Council will post important and community information notices in.

I proposed this as I felt that residents (especially those who are less computer literate) should have easy access to important information that is going on in the community. I also proposed that Rayleigh Town Council’s website was made mobile friendly and this work to redesign and update the site was carried out by a local company.

Check out the new website



Exclusive First Look at Crown Hill New Public Toilets

Long time readers on the Rayleigh public toilet saga will know that I’m no superfan of the decisions made around the new toilets for the town centre. I’ve baulked at the cost of the Rochford District Councils £365,000 toilet project along with many residents and the cost shifting to Rayleigh Town Council.

The new toilets for Crown Hill are of a modular nature and have been constructed offsite. Here’s an exclusive first look at what you will see when they are finally installed.

Residents will have to wait though to test out the new facilities as there has been a delay due to an ‘oversight’ that the road will need to be closed for a crane to lift them into place and telephone lines moved….. just a slight oversight!

Know Your Own Limits

I’m not one to shy away from the media, particularly if I think it’s in the public interest to ‘get the story out’ but some Cllr’s would be best to check themselves and know their own limits.

Today’s disaster by the Conservatives is a prime example of not knowing your own limits. Let loose on the radio for all to hear is not a good look!

Hop over to our group site to hear what I’m blogging about

You can tell it’s election time when……

Suddenly, all the Conservative candidates have found a voice! They’ve all created social media accounts and will promise the earth (a bit like Labour and their free bus passes for under 25’s). Suddenly they want to become ‘engaged’ with residents. Once the 3rd May has passed I expect them to go back into hibernation until this time next year for the next elections. Me, I’ll just keep plodding away with my blog, twitter and Focus newsletters, after all the Lib Dem’s are known for their work all year round.

Curb Those Thoughts On Kerb Repairs

I’ve recently been out campaigning visiting residents around the Sweyne Park and Grange Ward and I’ve had several complaints about the condition of our footpaths and kerbs. Today was a stark reminder that these problems extend much wider than just my ward, whilst walking through the High St I witnessed an elderly gentleman taking a photo of a raised paving slab.

As the responsibility for footpaths & kerbs is with Essex County Council (as it is for roads), I contacted our Essex County Councillors for Rayleigh, Cllr Lumley & Cllr Maddocks to try and establish why ECC only carries out temporary repairs.

I have been contacted by numerous residents about the state of the repairs that have been made to kerbs around Rayleigh. They are shocked at the poor quality of repairs and the seemingly ‘bodged’ repairs by removing dislodged kerbstones and using tarmac to ‘shore up’ the edges. I’m sure you know what I mean as they can be seen around our town.

Could you please provide an explanation as to why repairs are not being carried out to reinstate the kerb stones properly? Cllr James Newport, Sweyne Park & Grange

I’m pleased to inform you that I received two replies to my question, one very helpful and one errrr….. not so helpful! Indeed Cllr June Lumley, Essex County Councillor for Rayleigh South has replied with the following

….Rochford District currently has 1017 footways which have been prioritised for repair, with a total value of £38.6m. Our engineers have explained that they currently have a budget allocation of £8m to address footways across all of Essex annually, which is divided fairly based on condition and footway length for each of the 12 districts in Essex. Rochford will be receiving £1.1m to address the highest ranked footways…. (Information correct as of December 2017)

In a nutshell, not nearly enough money to go around!


The Demise of UKIP in Rochford

It’s not often I write about UKIP, but it’s worth mentioning that our RDC Councillors have left UKIP to form a new party ‘Friends of Rochford’. They have decided that they want to focus on local issues and for them, this is the way forward without national politics hanging over their heads.

Here’s a piece that was written about the move from a recent edition of the Rayleigh Times.

This Week I Ask – Are RDC Officers Plugged In?

No, not literally, but ‘plugged in’ to opportunities for funding from central government.

It’s all very well us bleating on (and being told) about air pollution and our environment if we are not going to take steps to try and reduce the amount of pollution that we create.

One of the main cause of air pollution in our district is cause through vehicle movements. Having looked into this before I was well aware of the fact that there are ZERO public electric vehicle charging points in our district – not exactly pushing the boundaries then eh? When I later discover that indeed the Government is giving money away (albeit the taxpayers) to install these EV points, I just had to ask RDC if they had applied for this funding!

So I’ve written to one of the RDC officers in our Environmental Health dept to ask the question….

From:[email protected]
Sent: 29 March 2018 11:16
To: Martin Howlett
Cc: Louisa Moss; Shaun Scrutton
Subject: EV Charging Points


Dear Martin,

Could you please advise if Rochford has applied for funding for EV charging points for the Rochford District?




Cllr James Newport

Sweyne Park & Grange Ward


I’ve had a brief response back pointing to the ‘press release’ for the A127 ‘plan’ for reducing vehicle pollution… however this is not related to this specific question about whether RDC has applied for this funding. I’m told by the officer to expect a response from him when he returns from annual leave.

I’ll be updating this post when I hear back hopefully this week.


I’ve had a response back from the MD on this question and he replies…..

So, we have a significant pot of money from government for charging points near the air quality problem areas – around Rayleigh in our case…that is great news.

We have now started looking at the options for the Rochford capital pot, but part of that work involves ensuring that we take advantage of any funding/grant opportunities at the same time. I was aware of the slow progress with the on-street initiative, though I did have in mind there is a specific reason for these grants – inner city streets with apartments and flats where charging options are limited.

That said, we’ll be considering the possibilities of bringing in additional funding and this grant pot needs to be looked at as part of the project……