Curb Those Thoughts On Kerb Repairs

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!


Fed Up Motorists Get Nailed Again

As my brother often reminds me when I mention the cost of running a car, that it’s “the joy of motoring”, however Rayleigh residents have had no joy recently with the damage to a lot of residents tyres caused by nails left on one particular cut through. On numerous occasions, Station Cresent has had nails left in the road to purposely damage drivers tyres.

Image Courtesy of Google

It seemed the police were slow to react and the culprit has yet to be caught, however, whether the Echo’s report of it being ‘yobs’ is accurate remains unknown.

It seemed the police were slow to react and the culprit has yet to be caught, however, whether the Echo’s report of it being ‘yobs’ is accurate remains unknown.

Reported in the Echo

Essex CC Launches Best Pothole Award 2017

Essex County Council who are renown for their high standards of maintaining our county road network and making the ‘right choice’ when approving plans for new housing developments, have now launched ‘The Best Pothole Award 2017’. Entries are simply made by following this link. The winner could actually expect their chosen pothole to be repaired in a timely manner and not suffer the ongoing inconvenience of having to swerve every time they think they are about to hit it.

Good luck with your entry!

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)

The Introduction of Electric Vehicle Charging Points in Rayleigh – A Lightbulb Moment?

Part of the draft Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) references Electric Vehicles (EV’s).

Hmmm, is this a feasible alternative to our gas guzzling, fume belching vehicles I pondered? Well, there seems to be an increase in sales in the EV market, sadly though that doesn’t appear to the case in the UK. Our slow adoption might be why there are NO public charge points in Rayleigh! So unless you are at home, you are clean out of luck. Looking at ‘ZAP MAP’ the nearest public charging point is Leigh On Sea or Wickford. Whatever the urge I feel right now to come ‘clean’ – this isn’t going to work for me I’m afraid, I simply don’t think I could bear the 1hr round journey to charge my vehicle for it’s 100 mile range. Those that don’t have off street parking are left with no alternative other than to use these public charge points. Sadly, it appears this is the story of our lives here in Rayleigh, infrastructure not being in place to handle the needs of our residents. However attractive this may look I think it’s just wishful thinking by our local council. I’ll cross this one off the AQAP list for now!



Rayleigh has an Unseen Killer on the Loose!

Chances are if you like to shop in Rayleigh or dine al fresco then you're sure to have been 'touched' by Rayleigh's unseen killer. Rayleigh's killer has been active for more than 6 years with the Tory administration failing to act to bring this 'killer' into check for  more than 6 years.

Our town's 'killer' spares no one and it's estimated has claimed between in excess of 20,000 victims in the UK alone. The identity of this 'killer' is toxic nitrogen oxide. With 80% of nitrogen oxide being accounted for by vehicle emissions our constant congestion causes even more air pollution, the required action from our council is well overdue. With the majority of people taking to the private car it's worth remembering that a staggering 97% of all modern diesel cars emit more toxic nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution on the road than the official limit.

With the threat of heavy EU fines, our Tory led council has opened a public consultation into how they might reduce these harmful level's of Nitrogen Oxide that blights our town centre. They are looking for your opinion of the proposed pollution reduction schemes, such as the removal of zebra crossings and replacing them with pelican crossings, car sharing and promoting cycling and walking.

"All residents within the AQMA will receive a letter directly informing them of the consultation, as will the statutory consultees. Statutory consultees include: Essex County Council, neighbouring local authorities, Rayleigh Town Council, Rayleigh Chamber of Trade, Environment Agency, Highways England and Defra"

We are concerned that this consultation will be another demonstration of Rochford District Council's failure to communicate effectively with it's residents and has seemingly 'forgotten' the residents that prop up the local High St economy by not reaching the rest of the community with it's somewhat limited communication effort.

"Apart from consultation on the extent of the AQMA, there has been little engagement with local people in Rayleigh about the AQMA"

It's high time that this issue, that is probably one of biggest public health issues in the country, is taken seriously by our council. We can not afford to be soft on this issue. With a further reduction in acceptable levels due to come into force between 2020 and 2030 we need to take firm, swift action now.

If you want to know more about our views on air quality in Rayleigh and Rochford District please comment below.

Will the High Court Ruling on Air Pollution Have Consequences for Rochford District?

Today’s High Court ruling found the UK Government has failed to tackle illegal air pollution across the UK. What will this mean for the impending AQAP for Rayleigh? With the emphasis on the reduction of traffic congestion and traffic volumes, one wonders if and how this is achievable given the ‘pinch points’ in Rayleigh will be loaded further with more traffic from housing developments that are yet to built. Is planning policy strong enough to deal with the influx of new development? Can the council robustly enforce these strengthened policies against the ‘deep pockets’ of the developers?

Some optimism to reducing the pollution levels is given by the usage of ‘cleaner’ transportation, with a reduction in vehicle exhaust gasses.

“We need a national network of clean air zones to be in place by 2018 in cities across the UK, not just in a handful of cities. The government also needs to stop these inaccurate Modelling forecasts. Future projections of compliance need to be based on what is really coming out of the exhausts of diesel cars when driving on the road, not just the results of discredited laboratory tests.” – ClientEarth air quality lawyer Alan Andrews

What really is the answer to the congestion in our area? Would we see more pedestrians and cyclists in our area if we have the necessary safe routes or can ‘tweaks’ be made to our traffic systems to stop the build up of traffic?

I don’t have the answers and I’m not sure if the rumoured £60k price tag for traffic modelling will fix the problem either, perhaps it’s time to leave the car at home and don the face mask!

Free Face Mask with all new houses!

Free Face Mask with all new houses!


On yer bike Essex Highways!


Is Cycling the answer to Rayleigh traffic problems?

When I look at our local traffic problems, I think what a shame it is that you don’t see more families taking to the roads on bikes – then looking around Rayleigh I see that cycle lanes are either not feasible or just plain forgotten by our local highways representatives. I’m an occasional cyclist (no lycra here!) and often use my bike to nip to ASDA’s, cutting through Sweyne Park bridle track from Victoria Avenue. There is a lovely, shared footpath from the top of Priory Chase to ASDA and I’m pretty sure I could beat any vehicle that makes the same journey via the main roads. It takes me about 10 minutes to make the journey and I’m not polluting the environment or caught up in traffic.

The recent report for 47 new dwellings on London Road refers to cycle routes. I raised the point that I could not see these cycle routes around our town. In fact in some areas I struggle to see safe walking routes to be honest. I felt I was sneered at by other members for raising this and didn’t get any support but I do wonder when the last time they got on a push bike was?

I’m going to so more digging around on this subject as I think people should be encouraged to use bikes more often, but we need to make our roads more accessible for cyclists and their families.