Category Archives for Uncategorized

Concerns Grow Over Possible Travellers Site On Eastwood Rd

Residents have received a seemingly anonymous letter through their letterboxes ‘alerting’ them to the possible travellers site on Eastwood Rd.

Travelers sites can be a very emotive subject, however, putting the fact the Council are legally required to provide travellers pitches, I think in this case questions really should be asked as to why despite a site allocation in 2014 (P82, GT1), Michelins Farm, why has it never been delivered? Now that central government policy has changed it could be that this site (GT1) will never be delivered.

I can’t fathom a reason, as to why the site wasn’t delivered – money, nope there’s plenty of that in the Councils coffers (£9m in reserves), compulsory purchase the land and the job is done, after all it’s been unoccupied for sometime.

Elsewhere in the District, hundreds of thousands of pounds has been wiped off the value of residents homes, where the Council has allowed, by means of its inaction, illegal sites to ‘pop up’ and then further down the line been granted permission by the Government planning inspector due to a failure of the Council to provide the sites needed.

It all seems to be very clear to me – this anguish by residents has been caused by Conservative Rochford District Councils long term failure to act.

This could be a very uncomfortable situation for Cllr Ward, who lives in the ward and is the Portfolio Holder for Planning who is ultimately responsible for the situation.

I wouldn’t want that angry mob knocking on my door!

The meeting will be held on 31st January 2019 to discuss the Gypsy and Travellers Issues Paper

Calling All Future Councillors

This week I’ve received a letter from NALC (National Association of Local Councils). One item in the letter writes about ‘Strengthening and promoting local democracy’

You might remember I briefly wrote last year about why I’m not average and the NALC goes on to write in it’s letter this year about one of it’s priorities

One of my personal priorities is to see more people from all backgrounds getting involved in the work of local councils and is why I set up our Diversity Commission. The findings of its first ever councillor census survey make for challenging reading:
• the average age of a local councillor is 61
• 25% have served for more than 10 years
• 60% are men
• just 11% are aged under 45
This is why this year’s local elections in many parts of the country provide a timely, in fact crucial, opportunity to address this.
One statistic I was particularly struck by in our survey was 80% of local councillors would recommend becoming a councillor.

Our own Lib Dem Councillor, Cllr Craig Cannell, is probably the youngest Councillor on the Council, but he brings with him a refreshing change. In his career, he works to help develop the future vision of a Global manufacturer and he brings his enthusiasm and alternative view to the table as a Councillor.

I believe we need to see some diversity on the Council and would love to see more people putting themselves forward. Despite what some existing Councillors might say – it doesn’t have to overwhelm your life and we need desperately need a more balanced representation of our community.

The Future Of Private Security In Rayleigh

Monday night I attended Rayleigh Town Council, Full Council meeting. It was slightly more interesting than usual as some new ideas were put forward and one noteworthy item was that of the private security that the Council recently trialled before Christmas.

The reception of ‘part-time, private security’ has been met with mixed reaction from the public and traders alike (contrary to what some Councillors want to believe). Whilst mainly older residents have commented how it makes them feel safe, some traders have criticised the decision as it makes the town appear to be ‘rough’ and ‘unattractive’ – this was always going to be a conudrum for the Council.

It would be fair to say that the security company has spent time dealing with Anti Social Behaviour (mainly by juveniles) and trying to tackle begging and homelessness if only to gain some intelligence on these matters that can be passed to the appropriate authorities.

Being asked for one’s view on the effectiveness and whether there should be a continuance of such a service (which obviously comes at a cost to Rayleigh residents) is a difficult view to take. I addressed the Council with a view that the private security could simply be trying to tackle a problem which could continue and even escalate if we do not address the ‘root cause’ – ASB by juveniles isn’t anything new and was around when I was a kid. However, I do appreciate that we can’t afford to be soft on the issue (give ’em an inch and they take a mile) and as such my colleague, Cllr Stanley suggested patrols were stepped up as the problem doesn’t simply only occur on a Saturday. We’d also like to see patrols extended to King George V playing field especially as we have been made aware that a large knife was recently found in the grounds!

There was some further debate on the issues surrounding the matter and unfortunately, the can was kicked down the road until some more details could be obtained from security companies in terms of how the Council could procure their services and what level of engagement they can offer. Until then, the patrols are suspended.

Read All About It!!!!!

Occasionally, I get to celebrate a success and I’ve been doing just that since the by-election in Downhall & Rawreth. Our candidate, Craig Cannell, was elected with a huge vote share of 77%. My joy, not one of beating the Tories (which is high on my list) but also that we have a Councillor that I think will do great things for his residents. He’s young, intelligent and cares about local issues. I hope that he will help us ‘connect’ with our younger residents too and show them that politics doesn’t have to be boring. Here’s to a new era….

Check out our election report here