The Future of our High St

Running a business is no mean feat, whether that’s a one man band or an international company – I’ve had experience of them all! I’m actively involved in the day to day running of several SME’s and the time and energy commitment it HUGE!

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!

Computer Says…… Not Again!

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

Rayleigh Loses its CCTV

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.

Cleaning Up Your Air

You probably won’t be aware in our District about ‘Clean Air Day’ on the 21st June. Our council has been reluctant to promote it and despite me questioning them on their plans I’ve still not received a response. For years in our district (particularly Rayleigh) we have had illegal levels of air pollution. With little action by the Council to try to reduce it. We continue to suffer this invisible killer. If you, like me, want to take matters into your own hands here are some tips for reducing air pollution outside.

Estate Agents on the High St

Anyone that has the misfortune to deal with an Estate Agent will know where I’m coming from with this post. I’m not referencing one particular Estate Agent, but when I visited one in the last 18 months I really felt that this new show draws on some close similarities.

Showtime

It’s now time for me to sit back and watch to see how our new councillor for Sweyne Park & Grange performs over the next 4 years. Watch this space for more information as the new municipal year begins…..

 

 

Sweyne Park & Grange Has Fallen

Yesterdays election saw me lose my seat on the district council for Sweyne Park & Grange. A disappointing result for me, after 2 years of a ‘full on’ approach to my role and a huge amount of passion and dedication to the role. However, this is politics and National issues can have an effect on local elections, maybe I am just a ‘victim’ of Brexit? Who knows what happened?

There are lessons to be learned from these elections and once I have taken stock of the situation, will decide on how best to continue to represent residents. I am after all, only 42 years old and have time on my side (by the grace of god) to work my way through this and on to my next challenge.

I have been lucky to have support from my wife, my family, friends & residents who all put their faith in me. I am very grateful to all who helped me get this far, for me the journey has only just begun.

To be continued………

 

A Load of New Bollards

You might remember my post sometime ago about the ‘load of old bollards‘ outside Tesco’s Express on the London Road. Well after 2 years of ‘chasing’ this issue down the car park has been redesigned, the pavement reinstated and a few bollards replaced. However they seem to have forgotten a few! So I’ve been in touch with the District Council about these works and have now received an email from the Assistant Director in the planning department to inform me that the missing bollards will be installed by 14th May 2018. Full correspondence is below (just in case the Conservatives think they will try and dismiss my work again!!

On 1 May 2018, at 16:49, <[email protected]> <[email protected]> wrote:
Councillor Newport
 
Further to my previous correspondence, Essex Highways have informed me that they have met with the contractor and agreed and marked on site the location for the additional bollards.
 
The contractor has arranged a site revisit on 14/05/18, to complete the unfinished works in line with the approved drawings.
 
Kind regards
 
Matthew

A Little Less Conversation…

…and a little more action! The fencing at the entrance to Sweyne Park has been in a state of disrepair for sometime. We’ve finally managed to get the District Council to get this replaced and the contractors have been busy today installing new fencing. Hopefully that should help kerb some of the anti social behaviour of the bridleway. “A little more bite and a little less bark” is what the Lib Dems are all about!

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.

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