Town Council In-Person Meetings Resume

Tonight was the first Rayleigh Town Council meeting of 2021 and we are back in person! Adorning masks and a new venue, The Sweyne Park School. We have moved venue due to the 2m rule and there being absolutely no chance of us being able to socially distance at Rayleigh Town Councils official home in King George V Pavillion. Nice to see campaigners at the door with their ‘Save the Mill Hall’ banners, this issue isn’t going away!

The evening opened with a pleasant speech from outgoing Chairman Cllr June Lumley. It was nice that Lib Dem Councillor Ron Oatham was thanked for his work on the Town Council, along with ex Lib Dem Chris Lumley and other ex-members. Cllr June Lumley made an important point to conclude her speech that Rayleigh Town Council is there to serve the residents of Rayleigh and not the District Council – an important message that all in the room should take heed of. An appropriate venue to make such a statement as an important lesson should be learnt! Remains to be seen, if they will listen or will they fail to make the grade?

The evening went fairly smoothly with the Conservative appointed Chairman and Vice-Chairman being put in position (rather them than me!) and the business on the agenda was underway.

Committees, sub committees and working groups had been proposed by an unknown force and there were amendments to those memberships which weren’t particulary contentious. I did ask for the terms of reference to help new members understand what exactly these committees do (there are some that don’t do very much), which we now understand could be a little on the ‘light’ side – very unexpected.

Cllr Bruce Smart put forward an item for the agenda of a memorial for all those affected by COVID. Seems like a good idea to me, others disagree but then surely this pandemic is going to be one of the most notable periods in many of our lives? Council agreed to put forward suggestions within a 4 week period. I asked that residents were somehow involved in the process as it’s their town, their money and for everyone? We shall see…

The next item on the agenda was to discuss ideas to spend Government funding to encourage residents back to the High Street. I did ask if Cllr Ian Ward could tell us if this information was going to end up with the economic recovery working group at RDC but he refused to answer, citing that tonight Matthew, he was a Town Councillor. Normally dual hatted members have a chameleon state when it comes to matters affecting the District Council, but clearly tonight, the conditions weren’t right for this.
I did manage to curb my sarcasm and didn’t mention that perhaps working public toilets would be a move in the right direction to attract visitors into the town!

Other items on the agenda was flowers and stuff like that. The full Rayleigh Town Council agenda can be found here

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About the author 

James Newport

Essex County Councillor for Rayleigh North, Rochford District Councillor for Downhall & Rawreth and Rayleigh Town Councillor for Sweyne.

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