Can you trust the UKIP promises?

In the election leaflet the UKIP candidate is putting around there is a statement on what they have done so far.  One of the three (yes three in a year) items says

“Spoke and voted against an increase in parking charges in Rochford District, and the abolition of the exemption for severely disabled”

For clarity severely disabled means blue badge holders.  This on the surface is fine (The Greens led the discussion on retaining the exemption for Blue Badge Holders).

However last night at the Review Committee, chaired by Michael Hoy, one of the proposals to be forward to the next Council Budget was to bring back free parking for Blue Badge Holders.  Not only did the UKIP member of the committee, Jamie Burton, vote against this they also spoke against it leaving no one in two minds where he stood, against the exemption of Blue Badge holders from charges.

Rayleigh & Wickford candidates – General Election 7 May 2015

There are six candidates putting themselves forward as prospective MP’s at the General Election which is taking place on 7 May.

The Green Party are standing a candidate for the first time in the constituency with Sarah Yapp entering politics for the first time.  As a small business owner based in Southend, but with her family coming from Hockley, she has close connections to the area and understands the problems very well and is passionate about explaining the Green Manifesto commitments which will help residents in the area ignored or who are suffering under the current coalition.

The full list of candidates is

Sarah Yapp                          GREEN

Mark Francois                    Conservative

John Hayter                        ukip

Linda Kendal                      Ind

Mike Pitt                              Lib Dem

David Hough                      Labour

Candidates for Hullbridge – Your Choice on 7 May 2015

Once again Hullbridge appears to be the most popular Ward to stand in the Rochford District Council elections with 5 candidates putting their names forward.  The ward has two Green Councillors out of the three which represent Hullbridge at District Level and this year the final Tory incumbent , Angela Hale, is up for re-election and faces a strong challenge from the Greens Stuart Wilson who is hoping to make it three out of three for the Green Party at District.

The full list is

Stuart Wilson                     GREEN

John Bull                              UKIP

Angela Hale                        Conservative

John Chaffin                       Independent

David Broimeade             Labour

Watey Lane Update

Unfortunately I do not have much of an update despite my asking for information residents have requested.  I still have no confirmed re opening date beyond the stock answer of 15/22 October.  However in the latest communication I received (an extract is below) Essex Highways have indicated that the road may be able to be opened sooner using a two-way temporary signal system, which will at least alleviate some of the traffic chaos.

Also they have confirmed that the traffic has been measured and that the queueing wasn’t bad enough to warrant additional measures to ease traffic flow.  However they managed to measure flows on the 4 September (evening) before Sweyne-Park was fully back as 3 of the years went back on the 5th, and on 5 September (morning).  This has meant they have not observed the worst of the traffic congestion

Thank you for your emails dated 4, 9 and 11 September 2014 concerning the above.
I have liaised with the Site Supervisor in relation to these issues and have been advised as follows.
In response to your email dated 4 September 2014, I can confirm that queuing traffic on the diversion route is being monitored on a regular basis. It was last monitored on the 4 September between 16:30 and 18:00 and then on the 5 September between 07:00 and 08:00.
•         This survey showed that the morning peak was slightly worse than normal, however the queues on the Hullbridge Road approaches to Rawreth Lane/Hullbridge Road roundabout were not longer than 5 minutes.
•         Based on the survey carried out on the 4 September the extensive queuing on Rawreth Lane has not worsened. The time taken to travel It from the A1245 to Rawreth Lane/Hullbridge Road Roundabout was 20 minutes, which is less that when monitored at the start of the work. This may be because the evening peak is after than the school run and is therefore unaffected.
The use of temporary traffic lights to control the movement of vehicles on the roundabout and adjustments to the signal timings have been fully investigated; but the outcome of the investigation was that any changes would add to the congestion rather that reduce it.
In response to your email dated 9 September 2014, I can confirm that the monitoring of the traffic has shown that queue lengths at this location are in the order of 20-30 minutes. However if there are other problems on the network, such as a road traffic accident or a broken down lorry, then this will lengthen the queues.
We will look to partially re-open the road, and work using two-way temporary signals as soon as this is safely possible.
 I will update everyone as soon as I have an opening date.

Hullbridge Residents to face £300 bill per child for School Transport

With effect from September 2015 Essex County Council have changed the policy on Home to School Transport for new pupils meaning parents or carers will have to pay themselves if their children go to Sweyne-Park School even though they may live over 3 miles away and would currently be entitled to free transport.  Sweyne-Park is the Catchment School for Hullbridge and currently has 248 Hullbridge children over the years 7-11.

Currently the policy is for transport to be provided, free, to any pupil attending secondary school where they live more than three miles from that school.  This policy has been changed by the Conservative Administration at Essex County Council so that free transport will only be provided to the nearest school rather than the school attended.

Originally I did not think it would affect any pupils from Hullbridge as I measured Sweyne-Park as being closer to Hullbridge than FitzWimarc.  However Essex County Council are now saying that FitzWimarc is the closer school and are insisting that anyone who does not choose to go to FitzWimarc as their first choice will have to pay for Home to School Transport.  This will apply even though Sweyne-Park is the catchment school for Hullbridge.

Therefore if you put Sweyne-Park as first choice and your child goes there you will have to pay the £300 (approximately) it costs each year for their own bus pass, or alternatively expect them to walk along Hullbridge Road or add to the current congestion and drive them yourself.

I have opposed and remain opposed to this policy and will be campaigning against it.  I will post on here proposals for how the campaign will be formulated later.

“Jobs for the boys” at Essex?

It has been announced that three Essex County Council Cabinet members have either resigned or been replaced.  Those going are Cllr Anne Naylor, Cllr Roger Walters and Cllr John Jowers.

There are now ten cabinet members and eleven deputy cabinet members but the changes really throw up some important issues.

Council Leader David Finch has a deputy cabinet member to his position which is very strange as surely that role belongs to the Deputy Leader Kevin Bentley, who himself has two deputies of his own.

With 21 members of the Conservative party now either a Cabinet Member or a Deputy exactly half of their elected members are involved in Cabinet and receiving enhanced allowances paid on top of the standard allowance for Councillors (Full Member £34,378; Deputy Member £13,374).

One further point, of the 21 Full Members or Deputy Members only 5 are women.

All positions are listed below.

Portfolio title
Cabinet Member
Deputy Cabinet Member
Cllr David Finch
Cllr Anthony Jackson
Deputy Leader and portfolio holder for Economic Growth, Infrastructure, Waste and Recycling
Cllr Kevin Bentley
Cllr Penny Channer
Cllr Malcolm Buckley
Cllr John Spence
Cllr Valerie Metcalfe
Highways and Transportation
Cllr Rodney Bass
Cllr Ray Howard
Highways Maintenance and Small Scheme Delivery
Cllr Eddie Johnson
Transformation and Corporate & Traded Services
Cllr Derrick Louis
Adult Social Care, Public Health and Wellbeing
Cllr Anne Brown
Cllr Terry Cutmore
Cllr Malcolm Maddocks
Education and lifelong learning
Cllr Ray Gooding
Cllr Sue Lissimore
Children and Families
Cllr Dick Madden
Cllr Ricki Gadsby
Libraries, Communities and Planning
Cllr Roger Hirst
Cllr Kay Twitchen
Cllr Mick Page

Planned Work to the Watery Lane Junction with Hullbridge Road

I brought up the number of accidents at this spot just under a year ago due to the number of accidents, officially (that means reported to the Police) there have been five recent accidents at the site.

At the June meeting of the Local Highways Panel the work was approved and will now be going ahead.  The actual changes will be quite small but include

  • Refresh the line markings on the road
  • Add an informal domed island at the give way marking in Watery Lane (partly to deter drivers turning right into Watery Lane from cutting across the junction)
  • Re-install a short stretch of kerbing by the pumping station to improve the carriageway definition
  • Cut back the vegetation by the pumping station
  •  Remove part of the existing hatching to highlight the turning point

Hopefully this work should make a difference to the safety of this junction.

If anyone believes that there are any other accident spots in Hullbridge/Hockley, or elsewhere in the District, please let me know as I can look into them and bring them to the Highways Panel for consideration.