The Future Of Private Security In Rayleigh

Monday night I attended Rayleigh Town Council, Full Council meeting. It was slightly more interesting than usual as some new ideas were put forward and one noteworthy item was that of the private security that the Council recently trialled before Christmas.

The reception of ‘part-time, private security’ has been met with mixed reaction from the public and traders alike (contrary to what some Councillors want to believe). Whilst mainly older residents have commented how it makes them feel safe, some traders have criticised the decision as it makes the town appear to be ‘rough’ and ‘unattractive’ – this was always going to be a conudrum for the Council.

It would be fair to say that the security company has spent time dealing with Anti Social Behaviour (mainly by juveniles) and trying to tackle begging and homelessness if only to gain some intelligence on these matters that can be passed to the appropriate authorities.

Being asked for one’s view on the effectiveness and whether there should be a continuance of such a service (which obviously comes at a cost to Rayleigh residents) is a difficult view to take. I addressed the Council with a view that the private security could simply be trying to tackle a problem which could continue and even escalate if we do not address the ‘root cause’ – ASB by juveniles isn’t anything new and was around when I was a kid. However, I do appreciate that we can’t afford to be soft on the issue (give ’em an inch and they take a mile) and as such my colleague, Cllr Stanley suggested patrols were stepped up as the problem doesn’t simply only occur on a Saturday. We’d also like to see patrols extended to King George V playing field especially as we have been made aware that a large knife was recently found in the grounds!

There was some further debate on the issues surrounding the matter and unfortunately, the can was kicked down the road until some more details could be obtained from security companies in terms of how the Council could procure their services and what level of engagement they can offer. Until then, the patrols are suspended.

How Can We Help The High Street

*Update - I've received a 'request' to modify this post from Rochford District Council Strategic Director, I will leave you the reader to draw your own conclusions why I have received this request, but I am pretty certain it's not for the reasons alluded to!

From: "Angela Hutchings" <[email protected]>
Sent: 31 December 2018 14:38
To: "Rayleigh Town" <[email protected]>
Cc: "Daniel Kudla" <[email protected]>, "Shaun Scrutton" <[email protected]>
Subject: Corrections to website post required

Dear Kerry I have today noticed the post (screen shot below) on Cllr Newport’s website which states that colleagues from RDC will be attending a meeting at Rayleigh Town Council to “present their strategy for helping our struggling retailers and their vision of our High Street”. This is not the case. The invitation came from you to RDC (myself and my Econ Dev colleague Dan Kudla will be attending) to discuss concerns which the TC has about its High Street and for us to share some ideas. The text of your email is copied below in red for ease of reference.

Hi Rayleigh Town Council is concerned about businesses in the town centre as a number are up for sale and shops often become cafes and restaurants or remain empty for a while.  It would be good if we work together to try to come up with any ideas or a strategy to preserve our High Street.  We know that this is a nationwide issue and we are more fortunate that some other town centres but we need to help businesses as much as we can as Councils. Would a representative from the Economic Development Team like to come to one of our Full Council meetings to discuss this?  

I shall be grateful if you will please ask Cllr Newport to amend his website as I am concerned that it is setting expectations for members of the public which will not be met on the night. Many thanks, Angela

In Rayleigh, we can be reasonably proud of our High St, but we can not be 'asleep at wheel'. We're in uncertain times for our High St and I don't think we can afford to be complacent of its ongoing success. 

I've recently spoken to many local small business owners in Rayleigh, who are equally as worried about the future of the High Street, after all, this is their livelihoods. With many businesses 'quietly' up for sale and empty retail units we have to do something before it's too late. Drawing on these informal discussions I've put forward to Rayleigh Town Council, that an invite should be extended to Rochford District Councils economic development team (which they've accepted) to present to the Town Council their strategy* ideas for helping our struggling retailers and their vision of our High Street. 

This doesn't just fall to one council or another, this needs community involvement. The retailers want you to shop in our town, but they too need to provide the services and products you want - so it's an all round effort that's required. 

I'm looking for members of the local community to get in touch with me and put forward their ideas and questions so I can ask Rochford District Council on their behalf and hopefully together we can boost our local trade. 

The meeting will be held on 25th February at 7.30pm at the Town Council offices.

Like him or loathe him Mike Ashley talks about the future of the High Street

Rayleigh Loses its CCTV

As new data protection laws come into force, GDPR, one service that Rayleigh Town Council was responsible for has now been ‘decommissioned’

CCTV in our town centre has been all but removed due to the new legislation that would have put demands on the resources of the Town council. Other organisations such as the Chamber of Trade have not as yet asked to take over responsibility.

Many might say our town needs CCTV, but it could be argued with such low levels of crime, coupled with the fact that all licensed premises have their own CCTV as part of their licence conditions, there is no justification to the public purse that CCTV continued to operate in the town centre.

Exclusive First Look at Crown Hill New Public Toilets

Long time readers on the Rayleigh public toilet saga will know that I’m no superfan of the decisions made around the new toilets for the town centre. I’ve baulked at the cost of the Rochford District Councils £365,000 toilet project along with many residents and the cost shifting to Rayleigh Town Council.

The new toilets for Crown Hill are of a modular nature and have been constructed offsite. Here’s an exclusive first look at what you will see when they are finally installed.

Residents will have to wait though to test out the new facilities as there has been a delay due to an ‘oversight’ that the road will need to be closed for a crane to lift them into place and telephone lines moved….. just a slight oversight!

Social Media Silence

Rochford DIstrict Council has decided that it's time the Social Media Policy for Members gets an update. What does this mean for us Councillors? Well, if you don't use social media then probably, not a lot. For those of us that are more 'connected' the amended policy raises all sorts of problems. The first of those being that you are not allowed to criticise the council - wtf???

How are we expected to be opposition if we are not allowed to criticise decisions? Now we have another evolving problem.... Rayleigh Town Council in their ( perhaps lack of) wisdom have decided to recommend to adopt the, as yet unadopted, new version of the District Councils social media policy. Phew it's all a bit much but you would think these two councils were 'joined at the hip' with their policies and decision making processes. If they get any closer I'm sure they will morph into one council!! Perhaps the issue is as one Councillor regularly comments on, that half of the Town Council (myself included) are also District Councillors and the lines are just too blurred?

The 'media' have picked up on this and today opposition Councillors John Mason & Neil Hookway were invited on to BBC Essex to discuss the 'little problem' - I'm sure there's going to be a antidote for this disease that is spreading through Councils across the country which is trying to hinder democracy and May can't come soon enough!

Grumpy Christmas & Rayleigh Lights Switch On

Hello, Grumpy Christmas here! Yes, your resident District & Town Council has been out today with lot’s of other volunteers preparing for the ‘Rayleigh Lights Switch On!’

Chilly, isn’t the word for it, with a flurry of snow and temperatures of 3 degrees and falling, lot’s of volunteers prepared to make the night special for the families with little ones.

As my ‘little ones’ are not so little now, it takes more than a twinkle of lights to entertain them so this year we decided to stay at home with our Horlicks for the big switch on.

I won’t mention the lack of an ice rink (as Scrooge put a stop to that!) other activities that may have tempted them out into the cold and I’m sure everyone with children of primary school age children will have a lovely time waving their glowy, flashy stick things around as they stand around trying to keep warm. I’m afraid though for Grumpy Christmas he’s seen the light and unfortunately has been unable to deliver a Christmas wish for the supporters of this petition.

An Icy Subject

Remember my efforts in vain on this? Well for reasons unbeknown to me, the idea of an ice skating rink in Rayleigh town centre was vetoed by some members of Rayleigh Town Council. Of course, in Council’s everything must be passed with a ‘majority’ vote and we (the lib dems) do not hold such a majority. I’ve been told before that the Town Council is not about politics, it’s about the residents.

Today when visiting Basildon town centre, I was pleased to see children enjoying themselves on their (free) ice rink. It only costs £1 to park for 3 hours and there didn’t seem to be any congestion!!

So if you want to take the kids out for a bit of fun pop down to Basildon or Lakeside where they both have ice rinks for the seasonal shopping period.

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