Chris Black got the answers to his questions at full council tonight:
1. Were all the council fees and charges for 2009/10 agreed by the relevant portfolio holders before January 27th?
2. Does the council have a list of landowners (i.e. freeholders) for Rayleigh Town Centre ?
The actual answers from the council were quite long, but both of them were basically ‘no’. Even though a portfolio holder is the councillor responsible for a particular service, any increases in chargs aren’t discussed with him or her before they go to full council for approval.
And the district council doesn’t have any kind of list at all about who owns Rayleigh Town Centre. In an age when we have CCTV for everyone going into particular Essex pubs, and the council has the powers to tap phones, apparently it’s not easy to find out who owns our town centres!
Chris made the point that if we are serious about improving or maintaining Rayleigh Town Centre in any way, we should be preparing a list, even an incomplete one.
The Rayleigh & District Chamber of Trade (which includes Hullbridge) does not hold a list of landlords and neither is there a definitive list of business tenants & believe this is also this case for the other Chambers of Hockley & Rochford.
Quite often the owners are faceless developers or individuals that prefer to remain anonomous & who have no interest in the well being of the area.
The Chambers are often asked who owns the premises & are not informed when new tenants are enquiring or whether a change of use has been requested.
Should the local Parish & Town Councils be more involved in the process?
Business’s & shops shape the profile of the community and are important to the popularity/prosperity of the area.