Public Toilets – Pt II

The public toilets issue continues with the Echo Newspaper picking up the story today.

Thanks to Echo reporter, Hsin-yi who did a wonderful job of pulling the article together from our information. As you can see from the Echo News website, the piece has gained a lot of attention from readers, who are equally as disgusted by the actions of the councils. As we remain in times of austerity and the daunting mishandled Brexit process, now is not the right time to be spending huge sums of money without proper financial justification.

This is my opinion of course, but alternatives were put forward and simply dismissed out of hand.

A Few Words from the Managing Director

A number of us local councillors run blogs in our spare time, as an aim to keep the wider public informed of our actions, intentions and views. So it is interesting to see that the MD of Rochford District Council has now decided to write a blog.

One of his first blog posts is about homelessness. A worthy topic of a blog post, however, I’m sceptical of how this will pan out and there may have been second thoughts since there have been no updates to the blog since August. As many blog writers know readership falls heavily if there are large gaps in new content.

I have mused if the move is an unusual one and how, as Managing Director, if he will be able to maintain an apolitical view on the workings & decisions of the council.

If the blog continues it will be an interesting read, and one that will be heavily scrutinised by ALL parties I’m sure.

Watch this space

Participation Not Required (By Some)

Politics can be cruel, it can be kind, but it can be disappointing too. I often have a wry smile when I attend District Council meetings. For they are the meetings when participation is not required by some it seems. The administration appear to have some voices that are not to be heard. Some faces look expressionless into the room waiting only for the crucial moment to raise an arm to make sure the votes add up. It could be that even local government is suffering the lack of participation that House of Lords is suffering

I believe I am not alone in my thinking of who votes for these Councillors that take their seat ignoring the very reason they are in the room? Perhaps Rochford District has bred a "something for nothing" culture that has gone unnoticed for too long?

Let's hope next May brings us some fresh voices and a wider debate on the future for Rochford's residents.

The Pot of Gold at the end of our Rainbow

Last nights Full District Council meeting was a long time coming for most of us opposition members. With 20 items on the agenda we were sure to be in for a long evening.

With apologies for absences from the Tory side of the chamber, this was going to get interesting! The Tory majority now is very marginal and they are particularly vulnerable to attack from the opposition. – that is of course if the ‘rainbow’ of the opposition is perfectly formed!

Well on this occasion, the ‘rainbow’ was perfectly formed and the Tories faced a night of misery in chamber. With most of their motions voted against by the opposition they were left frustrated.

Most of the ‘good stuff’ was in exempt (top secret) and this fact was kicked around the chamber for some time during the evening, as we tried to get them to remove the items from exempt so we could actually talk about it in public – Unfortunately we didn’t get to that point.

However, suffice to say by the end of the evening (11.30pm) we had found our pot of gold and walked away, our residents that much richer 🙂



The Hole Truth About Our Highways

An Audience with Essex Highways

Last night I attended an epic 2 1/2 hour briefing by Essex Highways about how they operate. (Death by Powerpoint yet again)

There is a pretty much constant complaint from residents about the poor condition of our roads in Rochford District. So it was interesting to hear for myself and Cllr Chris Stanley to hear that Essex County Council (ECC) highways report that our roads are pretty much meeting the targets. PR1 at 98%, PR2 at 99% and local roads 94% (although it was noted that they said these need some improvement)

So some statistics.

  • ECC say the Essex road network is an asset worth £10bn
  • The budget for maintaining these roads is £100m
  • Rochford District gets a £1.6m share in the budget for our roads

So it seems that the ‘road’ we were led up was that all is good – there will be potholes but some will not be fixed as any matter of urgency. Some will get repaired urgently. There is criteria – I’m not sure I fully understood although you can be sure the ones on the main carriageways will be fixed before the local roads.

One thing I did takeaway from the briefing that if you want to report potholes, lighting issues etc do it via the official ECC website as this gets fed directly into the database. Also the more people that report the problem the more likely it will gain the ‘attention’

Report Here on the official ECC website (Mobile Friendly as well I’m told)

Toilet Leaks

If you've been following the Crown Hill toilets saga. this week I have been handed 'The Masterplan' - So you know what is happening? I'm publishing the full details here which reveals the full approach and timescales to the future of the toilets.


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Toilet Plan

Money, Money, Money

Budgeting for the following financial year is undoubtedly an important year. I assume most households run some sort of budget, trying to live within their means.

I’ve recently been invited to attend the Rochford District Council ‘budget away day’. As a new councillor I was invited to the same ‘away day’ last year. After attending I wondered if it held much value for us as councillors and indeed whether it was entirely necessary to hold such a day.

On weighing up the pro’s and con’s this year I’ve decided to decline the invitation. I feel in times of austerity, with threatened closures of public toilets, cuts to children’s playgrounds and the huge costs involved in dealing with homelessness, the money could be well spent elsewhere. Now is not the time to be frivolous with the publics money. In my reasoning for not attending I have citied the former to the council and I have also stated that the council has adequate facilities to hold this ‘away day’ on its own premises that is already being paid for.

I’m pleased to report, I am not alone in my thinking and other members of the Lib Dems have declined the invitation as well.

Let’s hope the council see that their number is up on this one!


The Threat of Flooding

This week, Jaywick in Essex was evacuated. This should be a stark reminder of the real threat of flooding that we face across our district. Just a few years ago, flooding caused devastation for families in Rayleigh when their homes were flooded. Our own home too, came under threat. Although not in the news this week, Rochford District could easily be back in the news in the blink of an eye. The flood risk is severe and mother nature has no mercy to it’s victims.

So what are are Lib Dems doing?

​Lib Dem Councillor Chris Stanley has been proactively, trying to ensure that ALL ditches and drains are being maintained regularly by Essex County Council. Chris is a member of Rawreth Parish Council, whose community is constantly threatened with the fear flooding. If you spot a drain or ditch that is blocked please contact [email protected]

What other help is available?

If you are living under threat from flooding and live in Rayleigh, the Town Council operate a sandbag scheme. More details can be found in this link.

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