Last Thursday’s Cabinet Meeting

The latest meeting of the District Council Cabinet was on Thursday night. Here are some of the highlights:

The Press Were Watching : For the first time at a cabinet meeting we had a member of the press along – Matthew Stanton from the Yellow Advertiser. Chris Black was the only person in the seats for members of the public. Deputy Tory leader Keith Hudson was absent.

Environmental Health Spending – One of the things that cropped up in the meeting was that the District Council spends ?1,141,900 per year on environmental health. (page 7.16 of item 7 on the agenda). The cabinet were really pleased because the figure was so high and they decided to issue a press release to trumpet this.

The only trouble is, when you shout that you spend a lot on environmental health to provide a good service , it’s hard to say afterwards that you can’t deal with an environmental health issue because of the cost…

The Handyperson Service – This is a really good scheme where elderly persons on a low income or disabled persons on a low income can get cheap DIY or gardening done at a subsidised rate. The district council gives ?29,000 per year to Springboard Housing Association who employ the handypersons and gardeners and run the scheme.

Tory Cllr Michael Starke asked a good question – how low an income do you need to have to qualify for this? The answer was that, uh, the council didn’t actually know.

Having Weddings at Rayleigh Mill – we will write separately about this.

Air Pollution in Rayleigh – The cabinet discussed the report on air quality which suggested that pollution at the Rayleigh High Street/ Eastwood Road junction might be above World Health Authority Recommendations.

Now, the West Area Committee had (at Chris Black’s suggestion) asked the Cabinet to do extra testing in future at the Rayleigh High Street/Love Lane junction as well, because of the primary school nearby. However the cabinet didn’t agree to do any more testing there – the question of extra cost was mentioned (even though they spend ?1,141,900 per year on environmental health.) However it was agreed that some mathematical work be done on modelling air pollution , and that the modeling should the Love Lane junction as well.

A report should come back in January on this , at which time the cabinet will decide whether to make the town centre into an Air Quality Management Area. To see what this means in practice, look at the details of such an area in Oxford

Cllr Mavis Webster said she was going to get the County Councillor in charge of highways done to Rayleigh to have a look at the problem.

Whatever the outcome, these levels on pollution aren’t going to help the council’s strategy of making Rochford “the place of choice in the county to live , work and visit.” The tourism slogan of “Visit Rayleigh , it’s just like Oxford, at least it has similar air pollution”, doesn’t really work….