Twelve Wishes For Rayleigh

Chris Black
Chris Black

Somebody asked me recently ‘Why are you a councillor, what do you want to happen in Rayleigh?’ It seemed a fairly easy question to answer, but then I realised there are a whole load of things I want to see happen in our town, So here’s my personal wish-list – I’d be interested to know if other people agree.

  1. We should limit the extra housing that is coming. The District Council will have to allow about 3700 extra homes to be built in our district in the next 13 years. That’s all the way from here to Foulness Island. I am firmly against the council’s original suggestion of having 1800 of these in Rayleigh. We’ve taken the lion’s share of housebuilding for the last 20 years, the town has suffered as a result, and it’s about time we had some fairness.
  2. When developers provide land or money for new amenities, they should get built! The District Council has a pretty atrocious record at supplying new amenities, even when money or land has been provided. A new doctor’s surgery in Rayleigh? Not built, even though the developer gave the land for one and £50,000 towards building it. A pedestrian crossing in Rawreth Lane? Not built, even though the developer provided £73,000 for one. A neighbourhood centre at the Park School site? Not built yet …
  3. Sensible planning policies. When new houses do get built, they need to have adequate car parking spaces and a reasonable–sized garden. I think councillors need to look again at the ‘small print’ of our planning policies to make sure we can insist on this.
  4. More facilities for young people. This doesn’t have to be done by the District Council; sometimes private enterprise can do it. For example, the bowling alley in Hockley is a commercial venture that removed nearly all the young people hanging about on the streets there. Originally the council officers wanted to refuse it. Fortunately councillors made their own decision and voted to allow it.
  5. We need a satellite clinic of Southend Hospital. The District Council is saying that we should get a clinic like this in Rayleigh in nine years time. With the pace at which bureaucracy works, I wonder what ‘nine years’ will actually mean! This is much too slow – we should be putting pressure in the health authorities right now on this. It wouldn’t affect the work that our local GPs do, but would save people a lot of hospital trips.
  6. Get a proper swimming pool built in Rayleigh. The District Council has completely stopped thinking about this. But if we have to have some more housebuilding here, maybe that’s the new amenity we should insist on getting.
  7. Get some common sense on bus routes. One of the biggest local issues is the loss of the 24 bus along London Road. It’s been switched along Down Hall Road to Asda. Since this switch it’s often running empty. Meanwhile people often have to stand on the remaining buses along London Road. This is hitting a lot of elderly people very hard. Perhaps the easiest thing to do would be to add an extra bus every hour on the no. 25 route along London Road.
  8. Can we have some common decency with the West Rayleigh Sewage Works? Residents who live nearby are furious with the uncovered lorries carrying human sewage ‘cake’ from there.
  9. Help the High Street. Traders in our town centre have suffered a couple of blows in the last 12 months – increased car parking charges and the opening of Asda. The national economy is starting to look a bit dodgy. So I would like the council to think carefully on how it can help the Town Centre shops prosper.
  10. I think we should try a few Residents Parking Schemes. They could solve parking problems in a few areas. However for some reason the District Council seems dead against them.
  11. Have some councillors with small children. For councils to work well, you need a wide variety of councillors. However at the moment nearly all of the Rayleigh councillors are either retired, or in their fifties. So I’m very pleased that two of the Lib Dem candidates this year – Lindsay Frend and Trevor Parrett – are in their thirties and are parents of small children.
  12. And finally – when the Lib Dems ran the District Council, we came up with a very cheap way of brightening up our area. We got the council to buy some sacks of daffodil bulbs, and then the councillors ourselves planted them all over the place. So when you see daffodils on our grass verges or the edges of open spaces, that’s our work! I’d like to see the council get some more bulbs so we can do some more planting.