In a move that is sure to rock the County Hall, Labour led Basildon Council is once again leading the way and now contemplating a ‘divorce’ with Essex County Council.
I must admit, given my personal experience of the struggles of getting Essex County Council to act, I am of similar mind as to whether Rochford District Council should be looking to Basildon’s approach for an answer to it’s own problems.
What is the problem?
Essex County Council, yields the power over the district on matters such as highways, street lighting, flooding and education to name a few. They are statutory consultees that the District Council simply do not challenge. When planning applications come forward, if Essex County Council (ECC) say it’s okay – then it is simply accepted.
Our roads have potholes galore, yet it is ECC that categorise and set the priorities for repair. Areas which are highly congested with traffic are rubber stamped for further development by ECC, who say there is no problem with traffic. Street lighting has been reduced to part nighting and ECC say school places are plentiful even though we hear from residents that tell us that they have to place their children in schools outside of the district or that they are having to travel from one side of the town to another to take their children to school, which equates to an hour round trip twice a day. Residents in Rawreth, suffer flooding issues and I’m told that ECC isn’t forthcoming on resolving those issues.
Why not ‘divorce’ them?
I don’t know what the financial cost is, because as far as I’m aware it’s not been looked into. But the other issue is that we have a number of Essex County Councillors who are also District Councillors all collecting an allowance and in some cases, these Councillors collect 3 x allowances from County, District and Parish! – Would they have the will and motivation to end our ‘marriage’ with Essex County Council? The other issue of course is that Essex County Council is run by the Conservatives. Would our District Conservatives ‘stand up’ to the big boys at County?
Do you think Rochford District Council would be better off on our own? Let me know below in the comments.