IMPORTANT: Car Parking Charges To Be Increased To Allow Spending On Flood Prevention?

Down Hall  Road, Rayleigh
Down Hall Road, Rayleigh

Next Tuesday 28th we have a meeting of Full Council to deal with the council budget. You can find the documents here.

The most important item is probably to increase car parking charges – and end free parking on Saturday afternoons. The proposals are:

30 minutes parking – increase from 40p to 50p
1 hour parking – increase from 80p to £1.00
2 hours – increase from £1.40 to £1.70
3 hours – increase from £2.00 to £2.40
4 hours – increase from £2.40 to £2.90
5 hours – increase from £3.00 to £3.60
Daily – no change, still £5.00

“In order to encourage the turnover of parking and make available more spaces for visitors to the town centres , it is proposed to introduce Saturday afternoon charging”.

It is estimated that this would increase income from car parking by about £180,000 per year.

Now the aim behind those who want to increase the charges is to use the money for flood prevention. To quote from the report at length (page 3.28):

10.6 During the last 6 months, the District, like other parts of the country, has experienced severe flooding which has directly affected residents, with 34 properties still uninhabitable because of flood damage last August.
10.7 A meeting is being arranged with Essex County Council, the Environment Agency and Anglian Water to consider the arrangements for setting up a Rochford Flood Committee (RFC).
10.8 There is no intention to relieve Essex County Council of their responsibilities as the lead local flood authority (LLFA).
10.9 The RFC would, in conjunction with the county, work on the implementation of the Rochford elements of the South Essex Surface Water Management Plan. The RFC will play a key part in determining expenditure on flood alleviation schemes, both larger schemes requiring investment from multiple sources, including grants from relevant bodies, but also smaller schemes that may be funded directly from Rochford’s sewers and drainage budget or under the Capital Programme.
10.10 The sewers and drainage budget currently sits under Public Health. The budget was originally established to carry out drainage maintenance work to properties over a certain age where the system served more than one property. In recent years, Anglian Water have taken responsibility for household drainage up to the boundary of the property and the budget has recently been used for small drainage works on the Council’s property. Larger drainage works are done under the Capital Programme. Some of the underspend on the budget has been set aside in the Repairs and Maintenance Reserve with £18,000 available. For this reason, a new budget for 2013/14 was not required and was taken out when the Revised Estimates were presented to December’s Council. No budget is planned for 2014/15, as the £18,000 is still available, and provides an opportunity to implement several small, but essential, flood alleviation schemes as identified by the RFC.
10.11 If Members agree the principle of a Rochford Flood Committee, the working arrangements (i.e. a full committee, sub committee or working group/forum, or advisory group reporting into the Executive) and the terms of reference will be prepared and reported to Council on 25 February 2014, taking account of the principles outlined above.

Note : The County Council have a budget for flood prevention in the County, one main source of funding is  £598,800 per year by central government.

Now, we would very much like to hear your view on this before Tuesday, before we vote.
For example :
Are you not bothered about increasing car park charges and paying on Saturday afternoons – or are you horrified?
Do you think that increasing car parking charges to pay for flood prevention is a necessary evil – or should we insist on the County and developers paying for this?
Do you simply need more information, and think that the council should provide more details before coming to a decision?

Let us know!


  1. There are a number of aspects to this, not least of which is the decline of the ‘High Street’, primarily due to Supermarkets; but I thought low cost / free parking was designed to support the local trade?.

    However a bigger issue is perhaps that we already pay
    high Council Taxes for services that are actually diminishing – why should we pay more for the basics when money is to be squandered on a High Street makeover that fewer and fewer people are apparently using.

    But the core issue is the obvious connection between more and more building (concreting over) and the inability of the infrastructure (inc; drains)to cope.
    It should be obvious to all (even RDC) that the beneficiaries (Developers) must pay for the infrastructure upgrades to cope with large scale housing developments (1000’s).

    For example – in Spain developers have to install the
    underground utilities / roads /pavements and lamp-posts BEFORE they can commence the house building. So
    if the EU is such a great idea why not here too -level playing field and all that.

    It’s a NO from me – a levy on parking to pay for basics is just an easy way for RDC.
    CHRIS – is this meeting open to the public gallery?.

  2. Have I understood this right? Having agreed property developments (creating profits for developers) and having assessed the flood risks etc as part of the planning process, RDC now want to charge residents more to deal with the result? And, at the same time, want to build more homes in the flood plain? How much more will parking charges have to increase to pay for them?

  3. Firstly I think increasing parking charges will be to the detriment of the High St. Already it is noticeable that it is often quite quiet on a Saturday compared to how it used to be. The free Saturday afternoon parking does at least encourage people to come into town. However, the recent weather and consequences of it does prove that we need some form of flood defence work done, whether this is just regular clearing and maintenance of ditches and drains or new systems. Unfortunately this work does cost.

    I think that for any new development it should be an absolute pre-requisite of planning permission that the developer installs and pays for flood defence work. This should protect not only the new development but any properties in the vicinity that could also be affected, and said flood defences should be of a very high standard to allow for future weather pattern changes.

    I feel we already pay on our Council Tax for clearing and maintenance of drains and ditches, and I suggest that RDC do what they are being paid for already in this respect. It would actually help if, when verge cutting is done, the cuttings aren’t left to blow in and block drains, which happened last year.

    I do agree with Jim, it is self evident that the more development you have on flood plain areas the more problems you will have. Seems as though even RDC may be waking up to this.

    I know it is off subject in a way, but so much of this is the Council’s own fault. Going back some years all the gardens and fields along London Road sloped down to the road and there was a drainage ditch the whole length that fed into the brook just before Old London Road. When the Council compulsorily purchased frontage to widen the road and put in the pavement the drainage ditch was done away with, and they left gardens and fields at a higher level than the pavement. Ever since then you have run off with nowhere to go except the pavement and road and it overwhelms the storm drains. Similar to this must have happened all over the place.

    The important thing is to make sure that for the future far more thought is given to where water is going to go and provision made for it before building starts. It is a cost that must be born by developers, why should the rest of us pay to keep their profit margin intact.

  4. #4 – Nicely put Christine , although it should be patently obvious to all, but with central and East Rochford Councillors ( no local knowledge) dictating our fate , your London Rd example is a typical example.

    Let us be clear , the on site utility installations ( be it drains / water /gas / electric and
    Telecom) is only the source of the overload on the existing Infrastructure – what the
    ‘Developers’ need to be paying for is upgrading the main supply and discharge facilities -typical example :-
    Both Rawreth Lane & London Road will have a pre- existing Surface Water (rain) and
    Foul Water (sewage) trunk main , probably sized and installed decades ago – based on loading at that time plus a margin for increase. Beyond that are systems to dispose of those estimated volumes ( sewage treatment etc; -in Watery Lane!!!!!!!).

    I would suggest that the previous expansion of Rayleigh ( and an ” if it ain’t broke don’t
    fix it mentality “) has already overloaded the existing systems – witness floodings.
    It applies equally to the road systems and all other Infrastructure issues ( Schools / Doctors etc;) , RDC need to think outside the box , the box being the Developers Site.

  5. Well put indeed Christine and Jim . The whole Crouch Basin needs comprehensive overhaul as it will be adversely affected not only by Rawreth East developements but also by huge increases in Basildon and the Runwell Hospital site .It is worrying that there will not be capacity at Battlesbridge for the increase run off which will have implications up stream and increasing flooding risk to long standing residents in Rayleigh and Rawreth . The river is now considerably narrower then when I was a. Boy as it has become silted up .The barge traffic before the seventies used to keep the gut way clear . There is also some raising of the saltings done in the Seventies and some other issues that some of us well aware off which may have an effect .

  6. I agree wholeheartedly with all the above!!!!
    Infrastructure ie schools, doctors, drainage etc should form part of the Planning Consent with Developers. I don’t see why we should have to pay more for less.
    Car parking is at a premium wherever you go. The car is king & people won’t walk further than they have to. Hence side roads full of cars, & gridlock in & around Rayleigh at the slightest hint of problems at the oh so familiar trouble spots!
    NO NO NO!!! to increasing charges in RDC car parks. We need to encourage people to come to Rayleigh, not send them to (FREE) out of town shopping centres.
    Whatever happened to old fashioned common sense? It seems to have left the planet along with the Dodo!

  7. Cllr Keith Hudson told me in an email that there was an idea or council is going to make the landowners to take responsibility for clearing out the ditches, e.g as in medieval times. But not all the problems stem from blocked ditches. The paving over of front gardens is going to add the this problem as homeowners are increasingly having to pave their gardens because yellow lines are being plastered over our roads, because SEPP and council can not follow the guidelines that SEPP have made for themselves and massage the figures, but that’s a different issue to this one.

    The paving of our gardens is linked in, as far as I am concerned, with the flooding we had under the Hockley bridge back in August last year, as it appears that most of the rainfall was coming from Plumberow Ave and surrounding roads, near to the station and there are not many gardens that haven’t been paved over.

    Something needs to be done and it shouldn’t be at the expense of the motorist as high parking charges will only encourage the motorist out to shopping areas where the large supermarkets don’t charge for parking!

    Higher parking charges will be the death knell of local businesses and I thought the RDC and other councils are meant to help the small businesses in the area!

  8. Have I understood this correctly ?

    In order to encourage the turnover of parking and make available more spaces for visitors to the town centres , it is proposed to introduce Saturday afternoon charging.

    Are RDC saying that to free up space we charge so that less people will want to visit the town ?

  9. Do not agree with the increase in parking fees and definitely oppose the end of Saturday afternoon free parking. How much will the extra cost of parking attendants be and has this been taken into consideration? As it was put to me by a friend, the person or persons who agree a planning consent on flood plains should be held responsible if and when any flooding takes place because of that decision.

  10. Brian @3.

    The intention seems to be to use this money for drainage improvements that are needed already, before any further development takes place. In theory it shouldn’t reduce the costs that developers will have to pay. But at the moment this proposal is so vague I still have my concerns on this.

    I am equally concerned that flood prevention is going to be like highways maintenance – the County not giving us a fair slice of the funding. And if we are doing schemes ourselves, is that going to encourage the County to spend money here, or discourage them?

    Annette @ 8, yes paved front gardens are very much an issue. Though I don’t think you have to go back to medieval times to see landowners clearing out their ditches!

    Oz @ 9 – that’s what the report says… :-/ Question is, have you ever come to Rayleigh or Hockley or Rochford on a Saturday afternoon and not be able to park? I haven’t

  11. Chris, I think there is a severe drought – of solid facts:
    – what is the money going to be used for?
    – how much will it cost?
    – how will it impact on ECC’s responsibilities?
    – how it it impact on developers’ responsibilities?
    – will the money raised be ring-fenced?
    – what will happen when the work is completed – will charges be reduced?
    Really not information to judge but feels like political opportunism to me.

  12. Elections are looming , flooding is a hot topic, so you are seeing the start of “look what we are doing about it ” , so it is both political opportunism and money grabbing,
    Oh and let’s push on with building everywhere and make it worse.
    A severe lack of joined up thinking – again.

  13. This latest idea will affect Rayleigh residents and business more than any other area. We will be the people picking up the tab again for the Councils failure to concentrate on the basic needs of the district. We must have decent water and sewage drainage before silly schemes like second clocks in the High Street. Our small shopkeepers already have enough supermarkets and and ‘out of town ‘ retailers taking their custom. To make that more likely by increasing parking charges is just wrong. How many of us already rush back to car parks instead of browsing the shops to avoid ‘theft’ by fines? Why don’t these Councillors just go and play more golf or tend their knitting instead of dreaming up new ‘plans’.

  14. Chris your # 11 –
    Does that really mean a delay in mass housing until the current flooding issues are
    resolved ? – if so that would be a major victory for common sense ( so I doubt it )……

  15. Jim, sorry to have falsely raised your hopes
    – what I meant was that the intention seems to be to use this money for drainage improvements that are needed already, to deal with existing problems. Not any potential future problems caused by further development.

  16. This is a bit like cutting your nose off to spite your face. RDC would do well to follow Wickford as the large car park at the back of the Ladygate Centre is free all day on Saturdays and everytime I have gone into Wickford the car park is full.

  17. I would like to second the comments of the mighty oz. If there are plenty of spaces on a Saturday afternoon as I have found, then chargeing may affect Saturday afternoon tradeing. Surely there must have been a reason for the free parking Saturday afternoons in the first place.

  18. Angelina – I had a look around the Rayleigh town centre car parks today at around 3 pm, and talked to a couple of business owners.

    Although there were spaces available in all the car parks , actually they were mostly or nearly full. Though today seems to have been an exceptional day. One shop said it had been as busy as December, another business said they had been as busy as Xmas Eve. I suspect that the mild weather brought people out, and that we shouldn’t base any decisions on an exceptional day.

    One business said that the free parking on Saturday afternoons was vital in stopping the town going dead in mid-afternoon.

  19. Idiots! Do they seriously believe shoppers like me will pay the extra…I would rather park down a side road and walk the 10 minutes into Rayleigh High Street. I live in Wickford and choose Rayleigh to shop as I love it so much…increasing car parking is just another tax on hard-working people…..start listening to your voters and stop making us pay for your lack of control over your own spiralling costs.

  20. Chris #19 – exactly, short term fire fighting ,when what we need is a short/medium & long term strategy-
    plan and monitored execution.

    The scale of it far out-strips any revenue from extra
    car parking, these people need professional help in order to grasp the size of the problem.

    Flooding & Pot-Holes are a multi million pound issue, all non essential spending should be suspended and re-directed for five years as a start point. In fact if a ‘business’ took over the RDC role the first move would be ‘stream-lining’ the organization /selling off unproductive assets and imposing targets to be met.

    Believe me, I spent a 50 year career, all over the world, facing up to such criteria …………

  21. Chris Black

    Could you please post a simple summary what the proposed 1.89% Council tax increase (est £133K) and the £180K from increased Parking Charges will actually be used for this coming year and year on year so that residents can see what the Conservative Administration intend to spend the increase on and why it is required without having to read the full paper?

    I have already stated that I will not support an increase in parking charges which are the equivalent of a 3% increase in Council Tax alongside an increase in Council Tax of 1.89% which has been factored into the budget making a total of 4.89%.

    So what is it actually for?

  22. Chris / John – just how do we get the conversations on here out to a wider audience,
    it is so frustrating that we ( residents) get a say only once in a blue moon at elections .
    That is not to demean this site or the efforts of you guys who try and make a difference ( but that is still a limited audience ) . I have sat through several full Council meetings now and it is obvious to me that policy is dictated by the majority Whip- for example this coming Tuesday……..
    If these % increases have now been muted you can be sure they will be sanctioned
    on Tuesday, can I suggest the next Newsletter spells out who ( by Cllr ) voted for what?.

  23. I share your frustration Jim, but it isn’t just local, this is a national problem. They come along and say I represent the XYZ party and if you elect me I will do the very best I can for the residents of this ward/constituency, and then, once elected, unless they stood as an independent they blindly follow the party whip even if every resident of their ward/constituency is against it. I make an exception for the Lib Dems locally as they don’t seem to be bound to follow Westminster at all in local matters. If you write to your MP and complain (as I have done often) you get a pretty standard cliché ridden letter that pretty much says we know best and the rest of you are too thick to realise what is really going on. Trust me I’m a Politician.

  24. Rochford council seems hell bent on destroying businesses in the high street. SHOP AT MY LOCAL the council is supposed to be promoting is a joke. Hockley has it’s fair share of empty shops, things can only get worse. Who in their right mind is going to open a new business, when there is no footfall. Customers already complain about the parking charges, just to go to the bank or post office costs. No wonder our only bank Barclays is going to cut down on their staff, with just skeleton staff and use machines. Maybe as far as Hockley is concerned ,as has been suggested by customers that there is a hidden agenda to push through the Hockley area action plan.

  25. The residents of Rayleigh want more retail outlets in the town, less fast food outlets, hair dressers, estate agents and better parking provision. Increase fees and there is more incentive to go to Lakeside.

  26. #27 – I agree Christine, the Evening Echo letters page carries that subject nightly , be it Castle Point,Basildon,Southend or Rochford. My only comfort is that there seems to be a (slow) but discernible public awakening now.
    Someone clever once said – you can fool some of the people all of the time and you can fool all of the people some of the time BUT you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

  27. Thank you for all your comments on this, I’ve found them very helpful/

    John Mason @ 25, I might have a go at a ‘simple summary’ on the budget though I don’t think it’s that simple!

  28. Chris Black @ 31

    I do not think that “a simple summary” can be produced from the MTFS Paper to be presented to Council in terms setting out how the increased Council Tax and increased Car Parking Charges will be spent. I have increased my total estimate to around £350,000 of new money which represents an almost 5% increase in Council Tax. (What will Eric Pickles make of effectively busting the 2% by a “country mile”….. even more cuts next year from the Government !!)

    Analysing the information in the MTFS Paper I could not establish how £350,000 will be spent but being less experienced than yourself (30 years) (to my 14 years) I felt that I must have missed all that information !! Hence the challenge.

    I wish you luck but I have asked the Head of Finance to produce this for me so that as a Member I am quite clear what the £350,000 is going to be spent on.

    Personally I cannot see any allocation to the Flood Prevention Committee and indeed at the Budget Away Day no budget, even the reserve of £18,000, was allocated to it pending a full statement of Terms of Reference.

    We MUST know what is to be spent on before 28 January and IF I receive the information I will email it to you.


  29. There is no way that a general tax on all residents should be used to fund the flood work by RDC, the district council’s only responsibility should be to advise and lobby, (except for their own land. The County Council, Environment Agency and Anglian Water should step up to the plate and undertake the works they are obligued to do.

    There is an element of self help as well, the ECC’s “Essex Surface Water Management Plan” clearly states

    ” Owing to the nature of surface water flooding, it’s not always possible to resolve or alleviate the problem. Householders may therefore need to install property-level protection in their home or drainage systems within the grounds of their property”

    Also I suggested on a another forum that the residents of lower/North rayleigh/Rawreth should further take matters into there own hands and organise a Working Party along the lines of that in recently in Hawkwell to clear blocked ditches and drains

  30. I have been advised today that the extra monies raised will be used as follows:

    “It will be spent on supporting the general delivery of services and allowing the authority to build up General Fund balances to a more resilient level to cope with any further cuts in local authority funding and reducing the budget gap in 2015/16 , so avoiding some cuts in services”

    No mention of flood prevention…

  31. Basically it is worded in such a general way that it actually does’nt say anything about what it will be spent on – do they employ someone to come up with meaningless explanations?.

  32. I think you will find that most people “overpay” anyway during the charging periods, I always end up paying for more time than I use just in case I go over and get a ticket.

  33. I am not sure if the Tory majority or the council Finance department have looked at whether an increase in fees will actually create more revenue, there comes a point people will be discouraged and shop elsewhere so decreasing the overall income

    There might be more drastic measures to cut costs such as abolishing the Town and Parish councils, debates such as this show how futile and ineffective they are

  34. How about spending £2+ million on all the residents as opposed to just 18 families ( the cost of the RDC proposed Traveller Site).
    £2+million would put a good dent in Flooding solutions to existing well known problems or
    sort out all the Pot-Holes.

  35. Richard ,what exactly do you mean as Parish Councils have no influence on car parking . We claim no allowances unlike District Councillors ,this Parish has no political affiliations ,unlike the majority of the district ,we are run with one very active and cost effective administrator,unlike the District with it’s many layers of management . We act hopefully as mouthpieces and in the interests of our Residents most of which we probably know .If you read our various replies to the core strategy you will find much common sense and constructive suggestions .All of which was ignored ,so do we just let RDC get on with it or will this Goverment fulfill its promise of more Localism ? I am afraid that is what is happening where Goverment is ignoring its own policies of Localism and developement on Green Field Sites ,RDC is hiding behind the Big Shadow of the Minister of Local Goverment,to justify its decisions ! Apart from that comment I agree with what you say !If you are a resident of Rawreth we are looking for new Councillors to stand for election in May ,that goes for anyone else reading this .

  36. Mr Matthews I know that The RDC budget decisions and Car Parking fees are out of your control, but I might pick up on one comment “All of which was ignored” Given that Rayleigh Town Council in particular and the various parish councils have no influence and that RDC will do whatever they want whilst a Torty controlled council then abolish them.

    I was particularily peeved that RTC seemed to have opinion no campaign to oppose this rise

  37. This increase looks like going through whatever. As a compromise how about making Saturday afternoon “Park for a Pound” irrespective of the time spent after 1.00pm. That way RDC increase revenue and people will ( hopefully ) still come to town and not need to worry about the time spent. If I do say so myself I think its a brilliant idea !!!!

  38. I suppose everyone has seen the photo opportunity in the ECHO taken by Cllr Cheryl Roe and Cllr Ian Ward in Rayleigh High Street condemning the increase and they didn’t vote against the proposal.
    [edited ]

  39. OK , just got a copy of ‘suicidal charges’ item in the Echo referred to above – had to
    read it twice to believe what these abstainers are saying, they brand the charges as suicidal but don’t vote against. How serious does it have to be for them to vote against something ?.
    Admin – is there anything in the Constitution that allows the public a vote of no confidence in serving Councillors ? , I’m serious as they are not serving the interests
    of Rayleigh or the residents.

  40. SATURDAY 11:00am ( The Mill / Clock area) -Evening Echo public photo /quote opportunity in respect of
    car parking price hike/addition…….all welcome,
    lets send a clear response to abstainers.

  41. Well done those traders that turned up Saturday morning at the mill/clock d love to have been there as a small business trading in Hockley to show my support along with other businesses at the hike in parking charges and discontinuation of Saturday afternoon free parking. Unfortunately as a small business owner , I was unable to close my business enabling me to attend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.