By Coun Danielle Belton, Chairman of Rayleigh Town Council and Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group on Rochford District Council.
I AM pleased to have another opportunity to update residents on local matters relating to Council Business for our Town and District.
I am both Chairman of Rayleigh Town Council, and Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group on Rochford District Council, so well placed to provide important news on issues that affect all of us that live or work in the area.
I first stood for election to Rochford District Council in 2019, and on my very first leaflet I listed CCTV for our Town as one of my top priorities. Four years later I am pleased to finally see this coming to fruition.
A budget was made available from the previous Conservative administration some time ago, but delays at Parish and Town level saw Coun Simon Wootton, the then leader of the Council, bring the project back under the control of RDC to ensure swift delivery, furthermore he increased the community safety budget to £120,000 in an understanding of how important this issue is for residents.
Monitored CCTV will now be strategically placed around our high street in a bid to reduce crime and allow the police to act swiftly when a crime is in progress. I also hope that in the event a crime is committed, these cameras will help to bring the criminals to justice.
The Town Council are now focussing on reducing the anti social behaviour at King George V playing field. Over the summer there were a number of incidents, mainly involving teenagers and this is what we want to tackle.
Whilst there are already cameras in the area, they are old fashioned and not monitored in real time. This is something we feel we can improve on for the safety and enjoyment of everyone using the playing field, skate park and other amenities.
We have already taken some simple proactive steps to increase the visibility of the teen shelter, where many of the issues occur. By cutting back the hedges, the police can now have much better visibility of the area and can keep a close eye on what’s going on there. It has also removed a hiding place for illegal items, some of which were found by our groundsman when he started cutting the hedgerow back.
King George V playing field has had a lot of investment this year including a pétanque pitch, a table tennis table, a play area upgrade including the first fully inclusive seesaw in East Anglia and the Council are constantly looking at other improvements we can make for our residents and visitors, including better toilet facilities and cover for the picnic area.
In the new year a local contractor has agreed to repaint the play area fencing as part of their Social Value commitment, this comes at no cost to the Council, which is great news.
As the dark nights are drawing in, we want to make sure our residents feel safe.
Our newly formed Community Safety Committee on Rayleigh Town Council are looking at other ideas for Rayleigh. Members of the public are welcome to attend these meetings to raise concerns to ensure we are focussing our attention on the issues that our residents deem most important.
The police continue to be as visible as possible in key locations. Focusing patrols based on what they know, and what the community tells them.
If there is somewhere in particular that makes you feel unsafe, you can report it at: essex.police.uk/notices/street-safe/. This tool enables our local police force to target their resources to key areas. Both Rayleigh and Rochford Councils work closely with the police and this information could also help us determine if there are places around the area that might benefit from extra CCTV, lighting or other deterrents.
Last Christmas you may recall that one of our Essex County Councillors, Coun June Lumley made a budget available to have Marshalls in the high street Taxi rank throughout December.
This initiative was well received by residents, businesses and taxi drivers alike and I am pleased to confirm that it will be happening again this year, so that we can all enjoy the night time economy Rayleigh offers.
I would like to thank The Rayleigh Chamber of Trade and Pubwatch for their proactive approach to supporting this scheme.
Overall, Rayleigh remains an extremely safe place to live, work and socialise, but that doesn’t stop your Councillors wanting to continue to do what we can to make the area the best it can be.
Contact us. Email: [email protected]