Sadly this is probably what it will come down to….
*Update - I've received a 'request' to modify this post from Rochford District Council Strategic Director, I will leave you the reader to draw your own conclusions why I have received this request, but I am pretty certain it's not for the reasons alluded to!
From: "Angela Hutchings" <Angela.Hutchings@Rochford.gov.uk>
Sent: 31 December 2018 14:38
To: "Rayleigh Town" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: "Daniel Kudla" <Daniel.Kudla@Rochford.gov.uk>, "Shaun Scrutton" <Shaun.Scrutton@rochford.gov.uk>
Subject: Corrections to website post required
Dear Kerry I have today noticed the post (screen shot below) on Cllr Newport’s website which states that colleagues from RDC will be attending a meeting at Rayleigh Town Council to “present their strategy for helping our struggling retailers and their vision of our High Street”. This is not the case. The invitation came from you to RDC (myself and my Econ Dev colleague Dan Kudla will be attending) to discuss concerns which the TC has about its High Street and for us to share some ideas. The text of your email is copied below in red for ease of reference.
Hi Rayleigh Town Council is concerned about businesses in the town centre as a number are up for sale and shops often become cafes and restaurants or remain empty for a while. It would be good if we work together to try to come up with any ideas or a strategy to preserve our High Street. We know that this is a nationwide issue and we are more fortunate that some other town centres but we need to help businesses as much as we can as Councils. Would a representative from the Economic Development Team like to come to one of our Full Council meetings to discuss this?
I shall be grateful if you will please ask Cllr Newport to amend his website as I am concerned that it is setting expectations for members of the public which will not be met on the night. Many thanks, Angela
In Rayleigh, we can be reasonably proud of our High St, but we can not be 'asleep at wheel'. We're in uncertain times for our High St and I don't think we can afford to be complacent of its ongoing success.
I've recently spoken to many local small business owners in Rayleigh, who are equally as worried about the future of the High Street, after all, this is their livelihoods. With many businesses 'quietly' up for sale and empty retail units we have to do something before it's too late. Drawing on these informal discussions I've put forward to Rayleigh Town Council, that an invite should be extended to Rochford District Councils economic development team (which they've accepted) to present to the Town Council their
strategy* ideas for helping our struggling retailers and their vision of our High Street.
This doesn't just fall to one council or another, this needs community involvement. The retailers want you to shop in our town, but they too need to provide the services and products you want - so it's an all round effort that's required.
I'm looking for members of the local community to get in touch with me and put forward their ideas and questions so I can ask Rochford District Council on their behalf and hopefully together we can boost our local trade.
The meeting will be held on 25th February at 7.30pm at the Town Council offices.
Like him or loathe him Mike Ashley talks about the future of the High Street
Although my blog posts have been slightly infrequent, I’ve been still been busy dealing with local politics. As a Rayleigh Town Councillor for the Victoria Ward, I still maintain an interest in both Town and District matters. You might have seen our Liberal Democrat Blog ‘onlinefocus‘ which I regularly contribute to.
At the Town Council, I’m a member of the Policy & Finance Committee, which I actively participate in. Helping to reduce the Councils expenditure on some of its core costs such as telephony, postage and IT systems by making recommendations to move to use local suppliers who were able to offer competitive rates over national companies. Costs have been significantly reduced.
I’m currently on a working party to look at the Business Continuity Planning of the Town Council, after it was recognised that the District Council had handled their recent and protracted IT disasters very poorly.
Although last year I retired from the planning committee, I still follow the work of the planning committee closely and have made recommendations, which have been adopted by the Council to reduce the work of the planning committee and also to hold the District Council (who are responsible for planning) to account on matters such as travellers.
I have proactively been trying to publicise the work of the Town Council and made recommendations (which have now been implemented) to add additional notice boards around the wards.
If there are any local issues that you would like to see the Town Council tackle please feel free to get in touch with me
Watching 'Question Time' this week, it was a surprise to see not just one, but two of my friends from school in the audience! Here they both are. The first one is one of my hand waving, best friends for over 30 years - whatever he does you can always feel the passion, a true Welshman!
Comedian, Russell Howard discusses why buying a house is so hard, it’d be even funnier if it wasn’t so true!
WARNING THIS VIDEO IS FOR OVER 18’s
Unfortunately I’ve recently had to visit hospitals in Essex and Kent for various reasons. Whilst travelling to local hospitals might be feasible by public transport, travelling to Kent by public transport isn’t the easiest, so inevitably we’ve traveled by car. Hit by expensive car parking charges, sometimes I wish we were more like Wales (except from the rain) – free prescriptions & now free parking at ALL their hospitals.
All NHS hospital car parking charges scrapped in Wales http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-45347166
I’ve been passionate about our High St’s for as long as I can remember. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been involved in business. When I see changes proposed for own High St in Rayleigh, sometimes good, sometime bad, it unnerves me a little. I speak to some of the retailers and they express their concerns and I really wish the Council was a more actively engaged with them, but from where I sit, I don’t see any real development of our High St.
This week our main website onlineFOCUS reports the most recent planning applications for several units in our High St. If successful, would ‘wipe out’ 3 retail spaces and potentially remove another existing business from our High St.
If you want to see our High St thrive, I urge you to head over and have a read. Please remember to comment on the councils website too!
It’s fair to say the IT systems at RDC during my tenure as a District Councillor, were at best flaky and at worst a disaster. So much so that the Council used it as an excuse to ‘rerun’ a development committee meeting and some members even set up a task group to try and find out what the hell was going on. With a massive overspend on the IT budget, some £600k+ you would hope that things would be a little more ‘stable’ by now.
Well, it seems that is wishful thinking as the council has announced today that they have cancelled the development committee meeting scheduled for this coming Thursday citing IT problems yet again. Their internal IT systems spend time down than up, some staff have now resorted to slate and smoke signals to communicate!
I’ve written to the Managing Director at RDC to ask when they actually think this whole sorry mess will be sorted out. I personally believe they are out of their depth and a lot of costly mistakes have been made and continue to be made.
When I hear back, I’ll update this post further
As new data protection laws come into force, GDPR, one service that Rayleigh Town Council was responsible for has now been ‘decommissioned’
CCTV in our town centre has been all but removed due to the new legislation that would have put demands on the resources of the Town council. Other organisations such as the Chamber of Trade have not as yet asked to take over responsibility.
Many might say our town needs CCTV, but it could be argued with such low levels of crime, coupled with the fact that all licensed premises have their own CCTV as part of their licence conditions, there is no justification to the public purse that CCTV continued to operate in the town centre.