News & Information
Mainly local news and information:
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Local Comments and Info from Vice Chair Alan James
Gas Pipe Replacement
About a year ago we had our pavements repaired and resurfaced, after being in a poor state for many years - like many other roads in our area. For more than a week a gas contractor dug up our pavements in our half of the road, with more than a dozen holes and the resulting mud everywhere. With only two days notice, we had a small leaflet put through the door stating that they were improving the gas main in our street and that we would loose our gas supply for a whole day. It gave a free phone number but after waiting some time at number eight in the queue, I gave up on it.
We decided to go out on the changeover day and have lunch out, but this may have not possible for many of our residents, who probably had a cold lunch in a cold house. Our gas came back on at 9.30pm, yes 9.30pm and our heating just managed to warm up a bit before we went to bed. We have a lot of elderly people living in our area and no arrangements were made for temporary heaters or to find out if resident had any special needs that would be effected and no inconvenience compensation.
I'm sure our pavements will not look too good when they finally finish and the holes are filled in, which are bound to sink down in time. It would appear to me that companies can dig up roads and pavements without any forward planning or control, which seems to be happening a lot lately. I would have thought that maybe Essex County Council should be in control? Surely someone must be responsible for controlling this apparent free-for-all?
Save Our Post Offices
Barclays Bank has reversed its decision to stop it's customers from making Post Office counter cash withdrawals, just two weeks after it announced that it would. Barclays now says it will continue to allow customers to use their debit cards to take cash out at Post Office counters for the next three years and so the fight goes on. The banks have now closed all of our local branches forcing many to go online and now they are looking at other ways to make money out of us. One trend is for the free to use ATMs to charge for cash withdrawals, which could be Barclays next step for taking cash out at Post Offices.
Please remember that most of your banking can now be done at any Post Office. You can pay cash and cheques, withdraw cash using a debit card, pay bills including utilities and telephone. At most Post Offices you can use a free to use ATMs to draw pensions and benefits. You can also use you Post Office for Mail, Drop & Go, Parcel Force Express Services, Foreign Currency, Travel Insurance, National Express Tickets, Savings Accounts, Lotto Tickets and Lotto Prize Payments. In larger Post Offices they also have Passport Check and Send and you can pay your Vehicle Road Tax.
Post Offices are essential for many our residents, please use them or we could loose them.
Info from Adrian Eves about Hockley crossing railings
Apparently Essex Highways ordered new barriers to match the existing, due to the poor condition of the old ones. They didn’t notice however, until they’d pulled out the old ones, that the new ones didn’t match, so they’ve had to be returned to be replaced as originally ordered. I understand that the work is marked as urgent and is down for being sorted ASAP.
The proposed Oxford Road, Rochford development by Bloor Homes will be just east of the Ashingdon Road, the Hawkwell Parish Council boundary. There is a proposed narrow entrance opposite Holt Farm Infants and Junior schools directly where children use a traffic light crossing to get to and from school. Also as far as I am aware, they want to cut down a perfectly healthy mature tree with a provisional Tree Preservation Order on it, that is outside the schools in Hawkwell Parish.
The original allocation was for 500 homes but Bloor Homes have requested to build 660, nearly a third more and a massive over-development of this area. If anything they should be building less than 500 homes but they just get greedy and maximise their profits to the detriment of residents.
The Ashingdon Road is already one of the most congested for this grade of road in the UK and now this huge additional burden will be placed on it. On top of this there will be years of construction traffic and temporary traffic lights.
Even our local Tory MP Mark Francois has stated he is against this development. I just hope Rochford District Council thinks again and turns down these plans for the sake of their residents but this doesn’t seem to be the case going by past approvals in and around Hawkwell and Hockley.
Defibrillators are devices that restore a normal heartbeat by sending an electric pulse or shock to the heart. They are used to prevent or correct an arrhythmia, a heartbeat that is uneven or that is too slow or too fast. Defibrillators can also restore the heart’s beating if the heart suddenly stops. A cardiac arrest does not discriminate between the young, elderly, female or male. Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of premature death and this occurs when the electrical rhythm that controls the heart is replaced by a chaotic disorganised electrical rhythm.
Different types of defibrillators work in different ways. Automated External Defibrillators, which are in many public spaces, were developed to save the lives of people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. There is a unit in Hockley outside Sainsbury's in Spa Road and Hawkwell Parish Council are planning to add one outside Hawkwell Baptist Church in Rectory Road, the Jet Petrol Station in Ashingdon Road and I am sure more will be added. Even untrained bystanders can use these devices in an emergency by following the instructions on the wall mounted unit. To use a defibrillator you will need to first phone 999 to get an access code to unlock the unit from the wall and then follow further instructions. Hopefully you will never need one or need to use one but it's reassuring to know they are being made available.
Westerings Primary Academy
Essex County Council have now extended the parking restrictions to include all of Hockley Rise but have not included any of the roads directly near Westerings Primary Academy. It would appear they are more concerned with preventing shoppers and commuters parking than the congestion caused by school drop off’s. I believe what they have now done may only make the school parking and drop off issue worse. I suppose the only real answer is if children walk to school like they did in the past but I can't see that happening.
I have just come across the item below on Facebook. You may remember Hockley Residents Association made donations to the Massive Club (in Eldon Way) in the past. It's sad to see it go, but I can't say that I am really surprised, as this type of operation requires a lot of support and money.
Hawkwell & Hockley Need You
All are welcome to attend our Monthly Meetings in Hockley to discuss current issues effecting Hawkwell & Hockley. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7.30pm in Greensward Academy Room GG27 of the Creative Arts Block next to the main car park.
We believe Hawkwell and Hockley is a great place to live and although nowhere can stay as it is without some changes, we only want changes that improve our area. We also support our shops and businesses for local employment and encourage visitors by checking and reporting that all local facilities are maintained to a good standard.
We may be able to help with issues you have in your area. With the restricted resources we have we cannot guarantee we will resolve your issues but we may be able to point you in the right direction. We are all volunteers and not a political organisation. You can get involved or just support us with your membership through our website www.hawkwell-hockley.co.uk
I am pleased to see that Eldon Way Industrial Estate continues to be used for business. OC Motor Repairs of Sheffield is the latest business to move onto the estate and provide additional employment for our area. They now occupy units 27, 28 and 29, the location of the proposal of flats and shops that was turned down by Rochford District Council. The units have been knocked into one and refurbished to a high standard inside and out. This means that approximately 50% of the estate has now been refurbished, pointing to a bright future for the area.
We have had a number of complaints about inconsiderate neighbours. Dogs that are put out in gardens to bark incessantly. Probably the reason the owners are not bothered by the noise is that they go out and leave them to bother their neighbours. Back garden bonfires that cause plumes of smoke to drift into neighbours windows when garden waste can now be recycled. Please think of your neighbours before you do anything that most residents would consider antisocial.
Post Office Card Accounts
I have been informed by Nick who runs the Hawkwell Parade Post Office that all Post Office Card Account customers have already or will receive a letter from the Department of Works and Pensions. The letter reads as though they have to give up their account and have their pensions / benefits paid directly in to a bank account. The letter, although sounding like their is no choice, does not in fact say they have to give up their account. As far as the Post office is concerned the Post Office Card Accounts will be reviewed officially by the government in 2020. To date all card holders who have ignored the letter have been able to continue withdrawing their benefits in a post office branch without a problem. If you are concerned please take your letter when you receive it to your local post office as they will offer further advice.
It's good to see a number of Hockley buildings have recently been renovated. It's taken a while but how nice the old bakery is now looking, it's a pity the Ironing Parla next door doesn’t look as smart. The old Spa Pump House is also looking good, joining other buildings renovated in recent times such as Stibbards, Costa, Potters, Seemore Glass and Wells Legal. Unfortunately there are still a number of buildings not looking their best such as the Spa pub and Shuhag Tandoori but these are tough times for some businesses.
There are people that don’t like UPC windows especially in older buildings or they may not be allowed as the building is listed. Often the alternative is pealing paint work and in my opinion, with windows, distressed is not a good look.
I hope something will soon be done with the recently sold Walters & Stanton to improve the look of that building located in a very prominent part of our village and now surrounded by a temporary fence. I am not against the upper floors being turned into flats but I am not happy with the proposed loss of a shop and particularly the addition of a forth floor setting a precedent for the height of future developments in Hockley.
I hope to see more buildings being improved in future, as I'm sure we all want our village to look its best to draw in those all important visitors and shoppers.
Normally new homes sell quite quickly, so why have the two new detached houses that replaced the Shadhana Indian Restaurant at 200 Main Road Hawkwell been up for sale for more that 6 months? Could it be over-development with small overlooked gardens? Could it be being located close to the main road on a sharp bend where car headlights would stream through your windows? Could it be the driveway layout and lack of garages? Could it be the shed like plastic cladding that is probably going out of fashion like stone cladding did? Maybe they have been built to a substandard build quality? Or maybe its something else? I'm sure of one thing, if the price was right, someone would buy them!
Single Occupier Discount
Did you know that if you are the only person aged 18 or over living in your property that you may be entitled to a 25% reduction in your Council Tax? Maybe you are a young person just starting a life away from parents or maybe an older person that has sadly lost a partner. No matter what your situation, if you are living alone you should be able to claim. In certain circumstances you may also be entitled to claim when more that one person lives in your property. For more information visit the Rochford District website for details a: www.rochford.gov.uk/discounts-0 .