Make a point of visiting us weekly!        Tell a friend about us. Local  Rochford District         “News from RDC - February” Rochford District Council,  South Street,  Rochford. 01702  546366 Talk to Rochford Life by E-mail or ring us on 0786 342 7294

21 February: £2 million award to release public land for new Essex homes

More than £2 million has been awarded to a number of Essex-based schemes that will help address housing needs across the county.

Essex Housing, the housing development arm hosted within Essex County Council but operating on behalf of all public sector partners across Essex, has secured £1.94 million from the Government’s Land Release Fund which helps councils release unused or surplus land and property for housing. 

The Government set up the national fund to mitigate the risk that surplus assets in public ownership drift into disrepair or lay empty and help to enable and accelerate the housing development potential of the sites. Essex Housing has been working pro-actively with public sector bodies in Essex since 2016 to ensure the maximum benefit is realised from these assets in terms of their potential to deliver much needed housing, job growth, regeneration and operating efficiencies to a range of public service providers. The schemes include:

Chelmsfordsite clearance and demolition of the surplus element of the former St Peter’s College site and enabling works at the Moulsham Lodge site in Chelmsford

Maldon – site enabling works at The Friary – the vacant former adult community learning college

Rochford – demolition of the vacant former adult community learning college located at Rocheway, The Freight House site and enabling works for surplus Rochford District Council offices.

16 February:  £1 million secured for greener Essex buses

Buses in Essex are set to become greener and more eco-friendly after Essex County Council secured more than a million pounds in grant funding from the Government.  Essex County Council has today (Monday) announced £1,072,500 secured from The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ ‘Clean Bus Technology Fund’.

The money will be used to retrofit 60 buses across the county with devices to reduce vehicle emissions. It was secured through a joint bid with Colchester Borough Council, Rochford District Council and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.

The successful bid was put together with help from Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Rochford District Council and Colchester Borough Council.

Essex is one of just 20 local authorities in the country to have secured funding and is now looking to upgrade buses as soon as possible.

Some of the first buses expected to benefit from the upgrades will be in Colchester where commercial and Park and Ride services will be improved.  A number of bus services which run along the A127 corridor, where air quality issues have been identified, are also set to benefit from the funding.

8 February: Council completes first ‘Safe at Home’ Grant for Resident in Rayleigh

Rochford District Council have awarded their first ‘Safe at Home’ grant to a resident in Rayleigh.

Joyce Bright and her daughter and carer Gail applied for the grant to make adaptions around her home to assist with improving her living conditions.  The ‘Safe at Home’ grant was launched last year and was made available to support local residents living in their home with a dementia diagnosis.

Those affected by dementia can apply for the ‘Safe at Home’ grant, which can be up to £1000, to make improvements to their homes. The grant, which is funded through Public Health, is designed to help residents and their carers, cope with the challenges of living with the condition.  The grant paid for replacing Joyce’s carpet in her bedroom with laminate flooring which eliminated trip hazards, installation of a sensor light in the hallway so that she can access rooms safely, as well as other fixtures.

Gail was very complimentary of the grant and how much it has made a difference to her and her mother. She said: “Applying for this grant was surprisingly quick and easy. When I initially heard of the grant I was apprehensive about how much paper work there would be but it was just one form.  The council was extremely helpful throughout the whole process and were able to make recommendations that would help my mother around the home. I would strongly recommend anyone who cares for someone with Alzheimer’s and Dementia to apply for this grant as it really does make a great difference, my mother feels much more confident around her home.”

Residents who would like to apply for the grant will need to complete a simple application form accompanied with a letter from their GP or Health Specialist confirming a diagnosis. 

For more information on the grant or to apply please call 01702 318061 or email

8 February: 100th Anniversary of the Commonwealth – Costume Designing Competition!

A Costume Designing Competition is being held by the Chairman of Rochford District Council, to find a local child to represent the district during a special service at Chelmsford Cathedral marking the 100th Anniversary of the Commonwealth.

To enter the competition, entrants should design and make a costume and banner linked to a Commonwealth country, then submit photographs of their creations.

The Chairman of Rochford District Council, Cllr Mrs Lesley Butcher, will choose her favourite design, and the designer and their family will be invited to attend the service at Chelmsford Cathedral on Sunday, April 29, 2018.

Cllr Mrs Lesley Butcher said: “The Lord Lieutenant of Essex has asked me to nominate a child to attend this special service with their family, and participate in a lively procession of children from all across Essex wearing the national dress of Commonwealth countries - therefore I am holding this competition to find the child with the best costume to represent our district. With 53 Commonwealth countries, there’s plenty to choose from, and I look forward to receiving your creative designs!”

Entry forms are available at and should be submitted with photographs to by 9am on Monday, March 5, 2018.

5 February: Community pulls together to help those in need

The local community has come together in Rochford to seek to help those living in food poverty in the area.

With food poverty being on the rise in the UK, many households or individuals are unable to regularly obtain a nutritious affordable meal, so a number of local churches are working together with the community to offer two separate provisions in the town that will give out free meals to those who need them.

The free meals will be running on a pilot basis for the next few months at:

 Hawkwell Baptist Church, Rectory Road, Rochford on a Saturday morning, between 10.00 -11.00.

 Rochford Methodist church, North Street, Rochford on a Wednesday lunchtime, between 12.00 - 1.00.

Volunteers have come from a number of local churches and the wider community have been supported in setting up this project by Rochford District Council. Those that use the service will also have the opportunity to refer any concerns that they may have to other local agencies.
Rochford District Council’s Portfolio Holder for the Community , Cllr Mike Webb said "In Rochford we know that, through no fault of their own, some individuals and families are struggling to make ends meet. This is a welcome response from the church and the community to seek to help those in need in a very practical way, by providing free meals".

1 February: South Essex Councils form joint association to work together like never before

A ‘game-changing’ association of south Essex councils has been formed with the signing of a memorandum of understanding.

The Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA) consists of Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Essex County, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea, and Thurrock Councils.

All seven councils have recognised the need to work across borders on strategic issues such as infrastructure, planning and growth. Leaders and Chief Executives agreed in June 2017 to develop a joint ‘place vision’ for the region up to 2050 that will show how south Essex is a dynamic, modern place providing the conditions for people, communities and businesses to prosper.

Alongside this, some key aims of ASELA will be to transform transport connectivity, open up spaces for housing, business and leisure development through a spatial strategy and shape local labour & skill markets.

The Leader of Rochford District Council, Cllr Terry Cutmore says: “This really is momentous for all of us.  We have agreed to work together like never before and for the good of south Essex. Although local decision making will never be lost, we will work collectively and across our local authority borders, as we are clear that our region’s potential is greater than the sum of its parts.  Our potential as a place is huge, our collective size and scope is as big as many large city areas in the UK, and our strategic assets can compete with other areas in the UK and globally. Our greater south Essex ambition will support our collaboration and deliver the impact we need by working with Government.  This isn’t about producing some words or bits of paper – this is about genuine partnership and collaboration and being a real voice for the region, fighting for the infrastructure and funding south Essex needs to deliver on the exciting economic opportunities we have now and will have in the future.”

Next steps for the group include publishing a ‘statement of intent’ explaining work that has already taken place and a forward plan of work, and developing an engagement plan.

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