Last Night’s West Area Committee

About 20 to 30 members of the public attended. The venue was good; so was the coffee.

Some of the public questions were as follows:

* Whether a rep from town council would be nominated to trustees of Dutch Cottage – this is expected to happen shortly
* The new recycling plans are good but what is being done to discourage plastic carrier bags (from onlinefocus regularAlison Mayor) – recycling team to respond at next meeting
* What is happening about the dog survey – Cabinet deciding tomorrow after reviewing results of survey
* Would the Council consider offering a place on the Cabinet to the oppostion as this is the case elsewhere such as in Basildon (from Alison Mayor) – the answer was NO – the council has an agreed system.
* Why should children have to put up with graffitti for years compared to graffitti on street furniture and a site visit to see the standard of cleanliness is suggested for the whole of Pearson Farm Estate (Janet Warner, resident from Sweyne Park ward )- an inspection of the area will be arranged
* What is happening to secure the long term future of the Grange Community Centre (Janet Warner ) – not answered directly
* It is rumoured the no 3 bus is ceasing at the end of the month. Can you confirm – will get back at the next meeting
* As of today why is there no police record of an accident in Rawreth Lane when I and others witnessed it and the young person was taken to hospital in an ambulance (From Rawreth parish Councillor Rita Coombs)-answer will come at the next meeting (Two Conservative Councillors got very heated at this point!)
* What is being done about the broken trees and increase in rubbish around the Rayleigh Leisure Centre – will report back at next meeting
* Pedestrians have been soaked by standing water when it rains on Rawreth Lane, what can be done – Highways will investigate, gulleys may need checking

Highways had very little of significance to say. Re Watery Lane the officers now intend to enforce and prosecute HGV vehicles using the route illegally –
The RAVS Chairman gave a long talk on the work of the organisation. Supportive words came from Cllr Humphries and somewhat persistent requests for information on salaries of staff came from Cllr Peter Webster.

The air quality report was presented with more technical jargon then we normally get. Caused quite a lot of “interesting” questions from some councillors who were possibly a tiny bit out of their depth.

Main spotlight issue was the announcement of major gas pipe replacement works to last a year and to affect 55km of pipeline in Rayleigh. The work will affect any property with cast iron pipes to their property or with the same in the street. Each house to be affected by work for up to 2 weeks with 1 metre width holes dug outside each affected property for smaller pipes to be laid inside the existing ones. Each affected house will need to be visited by a Corgi gas engineer to have their equipment “re commissioned” after the alterations.

Finally, a success for Jackie Dillnutt . She raised the issue of grafitti in playgrounds only being cleared up every three years. (She had been told before the meeting that there was no money from the successful lottery bid to fund this policy change. But she wanted the other councillors to be made aware in public and not have the issue forgotten.)

The end result was a vote (with no opposition) which referred the policy to the cabinet. We think this is the first time this has happened at a West Area Committee so far. We’ll see what the cabinet says on this – but we take grafitti seriously and won’t let the issue rest.

  • Well if the question of the Grange Community Centre was not answered specifically and nor was the question of a proposal of 500 homes being built in that vicinity, we all know what that probably means? I seem to remember some Councillors stating that closure of the centre is not what the council wanted, what about a further comment now! Also the owners of the land behind the Community Centre, I believe, is a large energy company, not too far away from the centre. I hope I am wrong because if not this might have already been agreed in principle! We need clear answers from the council and not political answers, those answers that give a specific answer to a specific question, such as has a proposal been received to build houses on that land. Please Rochford Council, don’t treat the people who put you where you are like idiots! We can soon remove you.

  • As you say Mike it is possible to remove elected councillors, but what about employees of RDC who do not perform to the expectations that ratepayers expect?

  • Hi Christine, I believe the way to get employees of RDC perform as they should is through the elected Councillors. Lets say if all dissatisfied residents voted the current councillors out (barring the good one’s of course and there are a few of them) and elected Councillors who worked for their ward residents rather than for their political party or career then you would see an improvement, or if the current Councillors felt they were going to get voted out, things would change. Please dont think that I am knocking all of the RDC employees, I know personally that there are some excellent people who work for the council and they should get the praise they deserve. My big concern, as always is why do we have a Planning department that seems to work in the 19th century! All we are asking is for up to date housing figures and the best they can deliver, when published, will be figures up to March 2007. How does the planning department think that they can focus on the present when they are always at least 9 months behind the rest of the world? The world has changed for all of us, RDC Planning Department is not an exception. There is a councillor,I believe, who oversees the department so why are we still running this way? One other point is that residents do not seem to be able to get specific answers to specific questions. You might call it political speak, I think there must be courses for learning how to not answer questions.

  • Hi Chris, hope you are on the mend now.

    I have e-mailed John Bostock direct to get some specific answers to question regarding the Grange CC and the surrounding land. I have asked John, if the land behind the Grange or in the surrounding area has been proposed for development and if the company I believe owns this land actually does. I have also asked if any of this land is greenbelt land. I have also asked for information re the Grange Community Centre itself. I am preparing for the worst scenario because if 500 homes are earmarked for this land we will be in for a real fight.I have also asked when we can expect the housing figures, upto March 2007.

    I know I am right in thinking there are local elections this year and are they to be held, by any chance, before the next round of consutations regarding devalopment?????

    If they are it makes you wonder if the the Council want to get nicely voted back in before the bad news comes out. Well I dont think that any of us are that stupid, we want answers before the elections!

    I am sure John will get answers, he seems one of those RDC salaried emplyees who actually does respect the ratepayers.

  • Hi Mike, I’m feeling a bit below par still, but starting to get back to normal.

    I believe the consultation process will probably start just after the elections are over (though I’m not 100 percent sure!)

  • Thanks Chris, I believe you are right, therefore we need answers on these issues before the Councillors are up for re-election and not to give us promises that they know they would not be able to keep.I know not all of our councillors are like this but……

  • There is an interesting article in Tonight’s Echo which explains how Castle Point council have had a reshuffle on their committees to include recently elected Labour councillor Brian Wilson. If Basildon and Castle Point Tories can make room for opposition councillors on committees why can not those of Rochford.

  • I have had a reply from John Bostock regarding the Grange Community Centre, and the development proposed within the vicinity of the the centre. These answers are from Shaun Scrutton, Head of Planning and Transportation, RDC.
    Mike,

    I have consulted the Head of Planning and Transportation (Shaun Scrutton) on the questions.

    In terms of your first email Shaun advises as follows:-

    1. Houses in the vicinity of the Grange Community Centre – no sites for residential development were suggested in the vicinity of the centre as a result of the ‘call for sites’ in 2007.
    2. It is not anticipated there will be any change to the community centre.
    3. The housing figures were published in the Council’s Annual Monitoring Report issued in December 2007 – a copy of the document can be downloaded from the evidence base pages linked to the LDF on the Council’s website.

    In terms of the question below Shaun advises that:-

    All the land to the west of Little Wheatley Chase is currently shown as green belt on the adopted local plan proposals map. In addition some land is identified as public open space. The local plan proposals map can be viewed on the Council’s website.

    Regards,

    John

    The assumption from this is that no suggestion, consultation or discussion has taken place with the RDC planning and Transportation department either within the 2007 call for sites or outside of this this RDC initiative, for residential development. I have asked for confirmation of this and I am awaiting a reply from the Planning and Transportation department of RDC. But it appears from RDC that up to now, there has been no suggestion of development within this area.

  • Regarding the Grange Community Centre – allowing houses there would be so controversial that the inititative for this (if it ever happened) would need to come from councillors rather than officers. Officers at the moment have NO mandate to look at this…

    I don’t think the council would dare touch a successful community centre, but if the pressures of a new lease became too much…..

    I remember what happended to the sports and social club that was near the Mill…..

    The Conservatives are talking about 550 houses in ‘SW Rayleigh’, we still don’t know where they mean.