• Infrastructure, Housing and the ‘Outsiders’

    As landowners eye the potential rewards for putting forward their land for development, we are still faced with a lack of infrastructure to accommodate further housing needs.

    Have we been blind to the ‘unlocking’ of land in here in the Rochford District with ‘bigger’ infrastructure investments taking place right beneath our noses? Crossrail is due to commence in December 2018 and there are the second Dartford Crossing plans.

    These major infrastructure projects have the potential to unlock our District to people who can’t afford to live in London but want to be able to get from ‘A to B’ in reasonable times. Will this put further strain on the supply of ‘affordable housing’ and is this a challenge our ‘local’ residents will now face as they try to compete for the same properties?

    Some might argue that this competition already exists and I would agree to a lesser degree, but we could see a further deluge of ‘outsiders’ coming into our areas. Our housing policies must be robust to ensure that those who already live in our district are not priced out.

    Will our district be able to cope with this housing crisis in the years to come? This is something that we need to work hard on to ensure that the District prospers for all.

     

  • 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?

  • 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!

     

    screenshot_2016-12-10-19-45-45

  • 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!

     

  • Rayleigh West Flood Alleviation Scheme Consultation

    On the 19th October 2016, Essex County Council are holding a public consultation for residents in ‘Rayleigh West’. They are proposing changes to the bunds on Sweyne Park School’s playing fields and changes to the pond in Sweyne Park. There are hoping that this will help alleviate the risk of flooding downstream. So if you’ve been flooded or think your property is at risk then please go along and see what the proposals are.

    Rayleigh West Flood Alleviation Consultation

    Rayleigh West Flood Alleviation Consultation

  • Infrastructure first before mass development – it’s almost common sense…

    Today the Echo News reports that campaigners are asking Basildon council to force developers to provide the infrastructure to support the homes before any development is commenced. Surely this is almost common sense?

    Asking developers to put their hand in their pocket is truly shocking, and even before they’ve seen any return on their investment but surely this is what entrepreneurship is all about? If they argue their business plan won’t support this type of development then perhaps they will have to look at reducing the profits they expect to return to their shareholders.