• Police Crime Commissioner is put in the dock by Councillors

    Last nigh Essex Police Crime Commissioner, Roger Hirst, gave a briefing to District and Parish Councillors in the Rochford District. The council chamber was fairly full (rather like Southend Police Cells! More on that later) and attended by 13 opposition members and just 9 Conservative members. 

    The presentation started with a brief slide show from Roger Hirst on the revenues received by selling off the police estates and the investment that the police have made in modern technology. I wonder what they will sell off when everything has been sold, but I'm sure someone has already thought of that.

    Members were invited to ask questions to Mr Hirst once his presentation had finished and there was plenty of those!  A usually vocal (ahemmm), Cllr Newport remained quiet throughout, as I had the insight to present my questions to the PCC prior to the meeting and which I had already had responses from Chief Inspector Westley.

    There were some interesting questions presented to the PCC and he was challenged on accusations (as the Echo reported) of the police being too busy to collect CCTV evidence from a recent crime scene. A slightly embarrassed Mr Hirst, could only accept that the police were 'guilty as charged'

    A recurring theme of Councillors went on to report to Mr Hirst that the spiraling drugs problem across the district is not being addressed. (one of the questions I had already put prior to the meeting) Concerned Parish Councillors reported how the lack of police presence in Hullbridge has seemily led to open drug dealing outside the primary school and the persistant Parish Councillor repeatedly told Mr Hirst that the lack of police presence in Hullbridge was acutely noteable. 

    CCTV evidence was another topic of conversation, as members informed Mr Hirst that there seemed to be a reluctance by police to process footage. Mr Hirst explained that the current technology that the police have means that it is cumbersome for the police to process this evidence. 

    Other challenges made to Mr Hirst were made on the 101 service and the severe delays on getting through to report crime (some references to 1hr plus), one example given the caller was asked if they could be called back and to wait until at least the next day! Again the evidence put to Mr Hirst was damning and there was little defence from Mr Hirst only that they need to do better.

    I think it was an uncomfortable evening for Mr Hirst and his defence was weak. He is clearly a 'hands up' guy and he can only be commended for admitting where there are failures - I think he has his work cut out. Will he be able to get the confidence in the police service restored any time soon? I'd be hesitant to think so. 

    If your interested to know more on how the evening went Cllr Chris Black will be reporting here

  • Poisoned Playgrounds

    There's a killer lurking outside of our children's playground across the Rochford District and residents don't currently have the comfort of knowing it's not about to get into the playgrounds. Why? there is absolutely NO air monitoring data outside of school playgrounds in the Rochford District.

    That is why the Lib Dems, Rochford Residents & Green groups have come together to carry out their own air monitoring tests. We want to know if our residents are at risk from illegal levels of air pollution. Client Earth's postcode checker does not represent our area and I'm in contact with them to get this ammended. 

    Watch the video below, it's pretty powerful stuff.

  • Autumn 2017 e-FOCUS is out!

    Our team has been out busy delivering our Focus leaflets in the Sweyne Park & Grange Ward and Down Hall & Rawerth. However, since we are a progressive party….. you can read our e-Focus (our online edition) which is available here for Sweyne Park & Grange.

  • Toilet Petition Now Live!

    Not being one to give up so easily, there is a petition now live on the council's website. You can find the petition by clicking the button below.

    With over 300 signatures already added we need a further 1200 to get a debate in full council, where Councillors will be forced to explain the logic (if there is any!) and the costs of £330k that the taxpayer will foot.

    Do you know a friend, relative or neighbour who doesn't have internet access? No bother! Some of our local businesses are holding paper petitions for people to sign. Full details below.

    Hicke​y's DIY, 9 London Rd ,Rayleigh SS6 9AX


    Ashley Knotts Barbershop, 221 London Rd, Rayleigh SS6 9DN, UK

  • Muddy Puddles

    Walking through Sweyne Park bridle track yesterday, reminded me of this Peppa Pig story. Muddy puddles were definitely to be found and I wondered how many residents are discouraged by the amount of water that this part of the track seems to hold. I wish they would level this out as it's a great cut through for the pedestrian & cyclists to get to ASDA, St Nicholas primary school & Rayleigh Leisure Centre.

    I've asked the ward Councillors to see if we can get this small part of the track maintained. In my humble opinion we need to make walking & cycling in our town more accessible to help reduce the congestion on our roads. 

    What's the problem?

  • Could a Youth Market Come to Rayleigh?

    This week whilst working I came across this innovative idea from Basildon Council. A youth market for aspiring entrepreneurs for people aged 13 to 25. What an awesome idea to find our next generation of shop keepers and small business owners. It’s a really exciting idea that this could give the younger generation a platform to showcase their ideas and talents. I’ve already been in touch with our town clerk to see if we too, could accommodate this idea in Rayleigh. I for one would love to see this happen in Rayleigh. I know there are youngsters out there just waiting to be given the chance to show their entrepreneurial side!

  • Who, Where, When & How? – My Ward Work

    Do you want to know what I’ve been up to? Here’s a map showing the ward (hard) work I’ve been carrying out. I’ll be adding more information over the course of time.

  • Survey

    Rayleigh Residents Survey 2017 is now LIVE!

    The Lib Dems are always ready to listen to the residents to find out what you think is good, bad or could do with improving. We’re launching our Residents Survey 2017 so you can tell us more. Please take 5 minutes to complete the survey.

  • Time to pull the chain on Crown Hill toilets

    There has been a great deal of discussion about the public toilets across the Rochford District. It would appear that the district council didn’t have the financial acumen to make the maintenance of the toilets cost effective in the long term. So it has now successfully had the ‘deal’ waved (voted) through by Rayleigh Town Council to ‘offload’ the financial burden. (many members of the town council are portfolio holders for the district council too!)

    With the only resistance coming from the opposition (Lib Dems and Rayleigh Independents) it would appear the Tories have managed to saddle the Town Council (and the tax payer) with a 10-year lease on the maintenance of a new block of unisex toilets next to the existing site. The costs to maintain this new block have been budgeted at £20k per year to maintain, although the council has not put the contract out to tender at the time of writing so, in fact, is unsure of costs!

    I have expressed to the council that a break clause should be put in the contract to between RTC and RDC for the lease on these toilets. In a 10 year period, the shape of the high street can dramatically change. Will there be such a demand in 5 years for public toilets when they are not used for the night time economy?

    I’m finding this deal very difficult to swallow knowing that the MAIN reason is so they (RDC) can shift this cost from their balance sheet onto the Town Council and the taxpayer is subject to possible further increases in council tax to pay for this facility.

    Personally, I’d like to flush this whole idea down the pan – we will see whether this get’s past the investment board at their next meeting

     

  • Just a quick note….

    Have been out with my fellow ward councillor this evening making sure residents who don’t have access to the internet or social media, are kept informed of what’s going on in our area. It’s good to work with  another councillor who is as equally as passionate about representing the people who elected us.

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