A NEW partnership will give Rochford Council more money and new powers to tackle flooding and highways issues in the district.

Essex County Council has agreed to give the district council control over work to fix flooding and maintain verges and signs, so money can be spent more efficiently.

The collaboration follows talks between Rochford Council’s deputy leader Keith Hudson, who is also on the local highways panel, Rodney Bass, county councillor responsible for highways and county commissioner for highways Paul Bird.

The move should give district councillors a more direct say in how the district’s annual £427,808 highways budget is spent.

It could allow more schemes to stop flooding in places such as Watery Lane, Hullbridge, which suffered serious problems last year.

Mr Hudson said: “The talks will see a considerable sum of money introduced into the local highways panel to assist the funding of roadside verge maintenance and dealing with drainage problems.

“I’d like to thank Mr Bass for his innovative approach to his transportation portfolio and the support he has given this district.”

Essex is covered by 12 local highways panels, on which district and county councillors sit together.

They set priorities for small-scale local road schemes affecting traffic management and road safety.

Rochford’s panel succeeded in getting six road improvement schemes, worth a total of £114,900, funded by County Hall last month.

Mr Bass is hoping other districts follow Rochford and set up similar partnerships.

He said: “This initiative gives Rochford’s panel greater spending power to significantly enhance its neighbourhoods.

“People in Rochford should notice an improvement in their local community as a result.”