In mid 2001 four groups of angry and concerned residents considered joining forces to form a new pressure group to help residents in the Westborough area deal with local issues such as dumped rubbish and traffic problems.
It was decided that a resident's association might be a better way, a better method, for negotiating with the Council and it's Officers in order to improve conditions within the Ward and tackle the various issues.
In late 2001 the Hildaville Action Group, Hainault Avenue's No Yellow Lines Campaign, Local Neighbourhood Watches, Pensioner's of Westborough were joined by additional residents and dcided to pool their resources and join together to confront the varied problems. They decided to form a steering committee for a brand new pressure group; the Resident's Association of Westborough (RAW), which would deal with the probems of overdevelopmemt, parking and traffic chaos, rubbish and street lighting.
In late 2001 several meetings were held by the steering committee which was chaired by Mr Martin Terry who had some experience with Westleigh Resident's Association. Mr Alan Abbott had recommended the services of MrTerry.
In November 2001 RAW held it's inaugural meeting. Ex Lib Dem Councillor, "Big Ole" Mary Lubel and her Lib Dem "chums" turned up mob handed expecting to overwhelm RAW and parachute her in as Chairman but their underwhelming appeal lacked sufficient support from the majority of those presernt for a partisan political takeover.
Mr Peter Duncan (of Inverness Avenue) stood as the first RAW Chairman and served from November 2001 untl January 2003.
Unfortunately he became increasingly unpopular due to his brusque and pompous manner and there were moves (by committee members JG and RS) to have him replaced as RAW Chaiman. These moves were "successfully" quashed by Brenda Smith and Alan Abbott as the 2003 AGM was iminent.
In January 2003 Mr Alan Abbott (of Hainault Avenue) succeeded Mr Duncan as RAW Chairman. Mr Abbott stood down in 2005 due to ill health.
In 2005 Mr Jim Clarke (of Ronald Park Avenue) succeded Mr Abbott as RAW Chairman. Local Westborough Ward Councillor Dr Velmurugan (Ind) stood as a candidate for Southend West in the 2005 general election. Mr Clarke, a life long socialist; stood down in 2005 due to a "conflict of interests" as he anticipated difficulties and felt he could not work with Velmurugan due to the "extreme far right wing nature of his election manifesto".
In 2005 Vice Chairman Brenda Smith succeeded Mr Clarke as RAW Chairman.
In January 2005 Mr Duncan became Membership Secretary and served until January 2011. We will return to this individual; later in this text and or another article.
In 2008/2009 we "came across" the true nature of Eastwood Park Cllr Jason Luty (Con) who lived in Westborough Ward. See separate article.
In 2008/2009 we "came across" the true nature of Westborough Ward Cllr Martin Terry (Ind) who lived in Thorpe Ward. See separate article.
In early 2009 members insisted that Ward Councilliors should be excluded from attending AGM's and EGM's after numerous instances of interference from Cllr Martin Terry (Ind).
In 2010/2011 we "came across" the true natures of RAW members; David Batter (of Fleetwood Avenue) and Peter Duncan (of Inverness Avenue) who lived in Westborough Ward. See separate article.
On Wednesday 01/08/12 we stated; "RAW was founded in 2001 as a campaigning resident's association. The first three chairman encouraged excessive fraternisation with the Independent Cllrs. This grave error caused 3 problems; everyone thought we were party activists, Cllrs took credit for most of our endeavours (eg alley clearance/gating and petitions) and massive inteference in our affairs (eg in 2009 members insisted Cllrs be barred fron AGM's and EGM's). RAW now aims to be 100% apolitical and interacts with Council Officers, Portfolio Holders, MP's, Police, Lawyers and various groups. We direct RAW as a community based pressure group and are in process of merger and reorganisation. We also eagerly await new appointments for Essex Police Commissioner and Inspector of Constabulary for greater accountability and tranparency. RAW operates with strict moral and legal rules and will not tolerate unlawful behaviour".
On Thursday 09/08/12 we notified various parties including Southend Borough Council (SBC), the three Ward Councillors (Cllr Paignton-Ind, Terry-Ind and Velmurugan-Ind), David Amess MP for Southend West (Con) and Essex Police of a minor name change from RAW to RAOW 2012. We also adopted Smart System.
Since 2001 various campaigns have been undertaken by RAW/RAOW 2012. Some are listed as follows.
We successfully campaigned for the following.
1. Alley clearances.
2. Alley gating.
3. Improved lighting at the Fairfax Drive Children's playground.
4. Improved street lighting throughout the Ward.
5. Various improvements to the Prittle Brook Path Scheme (see separate article).
6. Trafic calming throughout the Ward (see separate article).
7. Two hundred plus extra parking spaces via reduction of Yellow Lines.
8. Tree planting to replace old, dead or diseased trees.
We also campaigned for the following.
1. Improved enforcement of Planing Law by SBC.
2. The installation of a public cafe, restaurant, function room and wedding venue within the
under used Chalkwell Lodge in Chalkwell Park (see petitions).
We successfully campaigned against the following.
1. Brothels including Passions at 381 Fairfax Drive, Westcliff on Sea, Essex.
2. Closure of the Springfield Drive Allotments and reuse as a massive new senior school.
3. Over development within the Ward, eg excessive coversions of houses to flats.
4. Reduction of the catchment area of Chalkwell Hall Infant's and Junior Schools.
5. A massive wind turbine and eyesore at Westborough School.
We also campaigned against the following.
1. The over development of the Barham's Timber Yard Site in Fairfax Drive, Westcliff on Sea, Essex as yet more housing. We felt the large site should have been put to better use as a
Health Centre or an annexe to the nearby Southend General Hospital or as a School
(see above; item 2 allotments).
2. Other over develpmemts within the Ward.
3. The closure of four local Post Offices at Argosy Toys (in London Road), Chalkwell Park
(in London Road), Inverness Avenue (in Fairfax Drive) and West Road (in West Road).
4. A pole dancing studio in Southbourne Grove, Westcliff on Sea, Essex opposite Chalkwell
Park's main entrance and near to Chalkwell Hall's Infant and Junior Schools.
5. The proposed closure of Westcliff Library.
6. The proposed redundancies of Westcliff Library Staff.
7. The proposed replacement of Westcliff Library Staff by unpaid "scab" volunteers in order to
retain the Library.
8. The Labour Government's cuts to the Central Government Grants (see reports).
Until 2011 RAW held annual hustings for the for the Local Council Elections but harassment by a group of expelled members made this untenable. RAW posters were continually pulled down by various individuals including WCA member Alan Grubb; aka Mr Boring. See separate article.
In 2011/2012 the Resident's Association of Westborough (RAW; founded 2001) and Westborough Resident's Association (WRA; founded 2008) began confidential discussions about a possible merger. The two groups had similar aims and objectives and their respective management committees were keen to co operate.
In 2011/2012 Westcliff Recall Society also showed an interest in joining the group.
In early 2012 the Resident's Association of Westborough (RAOW) 2012 held it's inaugural meeting after the formal merger of the Resident's Association of Westborough (RAW), Westborough Resident's Association (WRA) and Westcliff Recall Society (WRA).
More to follow.