Central Area Committee – Mostly Good News

The Central Area Committee of Rochford District Council met at Greensward College on Wednesday night. There was some interesting stuff; hopefully this post will give a flavour of the meeting….

The venue was spacious,
and the sound system worked well. About 18 members of the public turned up. The only disappointment was that only 7 District Councillors from Hockley, Hullbridge and Hawkwell turned up, out of a possible 13 or 14.

The first question from the floor was from Marlene Curtis from the British Horse Society. She asked if there had been any progress on creating a route for horses on the western side of Clements Hall . The answer was that no scheme had been drawn up in detail yet; there was an opportunity for the BHS to get involved.

There was then a report from Acting Chief Inspector Andy Parkman on “Crime and Disorder in Hawkwell , Hockley and Hullbridge”. A police researcher has recently left and had not yet been replaced, so there was not as much data available as usual, but he had the following figures for the whole district:

  • there was an improvement on both the crime figures and anti-social behaviour figures
  • the police had a target of a maximum of 69 reports of anti-social behaviour per week
  • so the target figure from the 1st April was a maximum of 2346 reports
  • there had actually been 1807
  • 450 questionnaires re anti-social behaviour had been hand-delivered to homes in the Clements Hall area
  • 65 hand been returned, which was a little disappointing
  • but most of those returned said there had been a marked improvement
  • There was then quite a long debate about Hawkwell Parish Council’s plans for a teen shelter. Hawkwell District Councillor Heather Glynn was quite critical of the District Council in apparently not making it clearer about whether it needed planning permission.

    There was then a very interesting comment from a member of Rochford District Youth Council (Lucy?) who said that she lived in Hockley and worked in the chip shop and that there were no more young people on the streets in Hockley now that the Bowling Alley had opened.

    Patrick Mckenna, the council’s environment and woodlands officer, then gave a presentation on the Cherry Orchard Country Park. There were a lot of good things happening here – 20,000 trees had already been planted to create 6 different woodland areas and there was a 330m long lake. The council was now looking to extend the park both eastwards and westwards – by compulsory purchase order if necessary. The council had already gone out to consultation on what improvements it should carry out first and had had 1500-1600 responses, 81 per cent of which were from over 45s. 62 per cent wanted a car park, 58 per cent wanted toilets. There were going to be further consultations to try to broaden the age rangs of respondents and Hullbridge District Councillor Lesley Butcher said that the Rochford District Youth Council should be consulted.

    The maintenance costs of the park are apparenently very low – Mr Mckenna said the cost was about ?4000 per year – “the key is to work with nature, not against it”.

    Finally there was discussion about the problems of lorries going down Watery Land and Beeches Road. This is actually an odd thing to be discussing at the Central Area Committee as both roads are in Rawreth. The committee decided to ask the cabinet to put some pressure on County Highways to do something, and to make it a specific agenda item for next time when County Highways were due to attend. From the audience Chris Black asked if Alistir Matthews could be invited to attend, as he was the Chairman of Rawreth Parish Council….