I attended the local Community Forum last night, in theory a great opportunity to put questions to representatives from both the local Council and Essex County Council. Representatives were also available from the Police and Health Services.
Rochford Life has posted a summary of the meeting here;
I agree that it was a pity that there was such a poor attendance from the Public. As an estimate, I reckon there were perhaps a dozen or so there at maximum. I wonder how many people were actually aware the meeting was taking place? Not everyone has the opportunity to regularly check the Council's website or read "Rochford Matters". That said, is also partly a case of public apathy?
Some of the questions raised, including by this writer, did indeed cover old ground. Issues like youth nuisance in and around the Square, and the ongoing problem of traffic queuing to park in the Square blocking traffic, particularly buses, trying to pass through.
However, the reasons that questions like these are raised repeatedly are that the Council and other bodies are not properly responding to residents' concerns. If issues are not addressed, the problems do not vanish. So, as boring as it appeared to be for some of the members of the Form panel last night, people should keep holding the Council to account. We pay our Council Tax and expect our reasonable concerns about local services to be listened to, and where possible, resolved.
Essex Highways had planned to reconfigure vehicle access to the Square so that entry and exit points were swapped around. However, for a number of reasons, this appears to have been abandoned and any solution now lies years away for re-consideration as part of the "Rochford Area Action Plan". At least this is what I was told by the Leader of the Council last night. In the short term, the Council and the Police do not seem overly concerned about the frequent traffic chaos that occurs in the area.
And don't expect any resolution to the Youth nuisance any time soon either. Because they are not committing any actual "crime" they will be allowed to congregate in as large a group as they wish, and to shout and swear as much as they like, causing grief to local residents and businesses alike.
That said, the Police did encourage anyone who felt a crime was being committed to contact them immediately. A member of the Public complained that he and his neighbours had been regularly kept awake until the early hours by gangs congregating outside their properties. Far more seriously than the usual shouting and screaming, he complained that urination in public, under age drinking, etc, was taking place. It appeared, however, that this was the first time he had raised the issue with the Police.