Know Your Own Limits

7 months ago

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……

7 months ago

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

7 months ago

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

8 months ago

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?

8 months ago

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….
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……


Candidate Announced – Round 1

8 months ago

I’ve read today that one of the Lodge Ward candidates for the local elections here in the Rochford District is Richard Lambourne. He stood in 2016 and narrowly missed out winning a seat, this time around I hope he’s more successful. He standing as a Independent for Rochford District Residents.

Richard has spent a lot of time campaigning on the public toilets, Frances Cottee Lodge and the processes that the council uses. I think he will represent residents well if they place their trust in him.

Mid Essex STP

8 months ago

NHS services are being ‘reshaped’ by Mid Essex STP and they’ve been running a public consultation on the plans. In a nutshell, they want to do away with the more general model of hospital and create specialist centres. One aspect of this would mean transporting seriously ill patients between hospitals. Questions have repeatedly been asked of the STP on how exactly this would be achieved and resourced, but we are none the wiser to this day.

Rayleigh Lib Dem group has made a formal submission to the consultation raising our concerns about transportation and other issues.

If you did miss the consultation here’s more details on the STP’s proposals.

Pot Luck on Potholes

8 months ago

Today I write out of sheer frustration on the situation with our potholes on our Counties roads. There doesn’t seem like one short journey you can make on our roads when it is sheer ‘pot luck’ if you don’t inadvertently hit a pothole in the road. I know, as I’ve just been presented with a bill from the garage for nearly £200 due to part of the suspension on our car being damaged. I’m convinced this occurred during a journey along the A130, or was it the A1245, now come to think of it, it might have been the A129….mmmmm maybe it was when I was driving through the High St. You get my drift, they are everywhere!

Speaking to a local resident recently, he told me how he hit a pot hole on the Hullbridge Road and it caused his air bags to go off! Not just one but a few of them.

Well, I’ve had enough of this ‘dodge the pothole’ game, I’m writing to our County Councillors to see if they will step up and get our roads repaired. Essex Highways May have limited funds but are we getting our share? Time to find out.

Tescos – Every Parking Space Helps

8 months ago

A common complaint by many residents is the lack of parking in the Tesco's Express on London Road. You will notice that in the last week or so, work has finally begun on extending the Tesco's car park to increase the number of spaces. Plans for this extension have been around for some time (over 2 years) and I have been constantly chasing the various authorities on progress.

The redesign of the car park will see bollards installed along Vernon Avenue to stop pavement parking and an extension of the double yellows. Delivery lorries will no longer be able to exit Vernon as the car park has been redesigned to allow them to turn around and exit onto London Road in a forwards motion. 

I expect this design will not please everyone but this is a site that in my opinion, should never have been allowed planning permission. If you want more information about this application the full details are here