Brentwood Community Fund

Yesterday, we opened applications for bids to the new Brentwood Community Fund.

We’ve made £50k available for community groups, organisations and individuals who are looking for some funding to get a new idea off the ground that will benefit the local area and fellow residents.

Up to £3,500 per project is available and we’ve already had significant interest in the last 24 hours!

Bids are invited for initiatives that will benefit local causes and projects that will support and improve the quality of life for Brentwood residents and tackle the issues that they think are important.

So, if you would like to find out more, drop me a line at Louise.Mckinlay@Brentwood.gov.uk or check out the information on the Council’s website at www.brentwood.gov.uk/index.php?cid=2089

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Neighbourhood Action Teams Visit Hutton North

The new Neighbourhood Action Teams started in the borough around 3 weeks ago and today they pay their first visit to Hutton North.

The new team is made up of 4 recruits who provide extra resources to those already in place at the depot, to help keep Brentwood looking beautiful.

They are spending two days in the ward, before returning for a full week in August.

The idea behind the NAT is that local people and councillors decide on the work that they do. From speaking to residents and doing a walk around the Long Ridings area, I have identified work for them.

Firstly, they will be helping to smarten up the footpath from Queenswood Avenue to the Hutton Industrial Estate. As you’ll see from the photos, the weeds have become overgrown and the bushes are hanging down.

Secondly, I have asked that they spend time at the Hutton Community Centre finishing off some of the grounds work that the volunteers didn’t get round to tackling on the action day, which took place this weekend.

Thirdly, they will be tidying up the woodland walk from Woodland Avenue to Hawksmoor Green.

Finally, there is a broken fence next to the karate club in Hutton Poplars, which will be removed and the area tidied up.

During the walk about, I also identified a number of issues in need of attention and some of these have already been dealt with in the last few days. For example, fly tipping by the Woodland Avenue garages has been removed, graffiti has been dealt with and a broken bicycle sign has been straightened up and repainted.

If you have any other ideas for work that you would like done in August, when the team returns for a full week, please do drop me a line.

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Hutton Community Centre Action Day

Yesterday, I joined over 30 volunteers and fellow Conservative councillors at the Hutton Community Centre Action Day.

The day was organised by the Council and the working group, who were keen to see the local community get involved in the project.

For those familiar with the site, you will know that it is in need of attention and a revamp. Yesterday’s efforts were the first stage in transforming it back in to a community centre that we can all be proud of.

It was great to see so many people from across the different groups and organisations play a part. In giving up their free time, local residents helped to make a real difference to the future of the Centre.

Broken equipment and waste were removed from the building, litter was collected, smashed glass swept up and overgrown weeds removed. A huge skip full was piled high! I have received a number of positive comments from local residents who are thrilled with the result of the yesterday’s tidy up and who are extremely positive about the future of the Centre.

The next stage of the project will see the working group discuss proposals for the site and review the architect drawings. Over the last few weeks, site meetings have taken place with groups, interested in using the facilities, to assess their needs and the drawings for the required works will be based on this.

A public meeting is scheduled for the 27th June at 7pm in the hall of Hutton All Saints Primary School, where details will be shared with those present.

If you are interested in the project and plans for the centre, do come along and see the detail. This is an exciting opportunity, which will see the site once again, restored to its former glory so as it can rightfully become a real hub of the community again.

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Mountnessing Traveller Incursion

Last night, travellers arrived in Mountnessing setting up an unauthorised camp.

The Council was quick to respond and we had officers on site, along with the Deputy Leader of the Council.

I notified the police of their arrival and they also paid a visit to the site.

The Council applied to the High Court for an injunction and also sought a repossession order for the land. At 6pm this evening, both of these were served. In addition, the police have published a notice giving the travellers until 10am tomorrow to leave, after which they will take legal action to remove them.

Thank you to all concerned for their efforts. Most of today has been spent discussing the matter with legal advisors and encouraging those with the powers to act, to do so.

I hope tomorrow sees the situation brought to a sensible conclusion and the site returned in good, working order. This has caused a lot of upset to the local community and they shouldn’t have to put up with this intrusion.

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Crossrail Update – Battle Won Against CPO

I’d like to thank everyone who signed our petition against Crossrail’s proposals to compulsory purchase Friars Avenue Carpark.

We’ve collected in excess of 2,000 signatures and following discussions with Crossrail’s Chairman by both our MP, the RT. Hon Eric Pickles and myself, I am pleased to report that they have agreed to drop the CPO plans and revert to the 2008 agreement, that will see them lease a section of the carpark for the duration of the works.

We are in further discussions with them about car parking more generally and I met with trade representatives only yesterday on the matter, as we seek to find space for more parking in the area.

We are also pressing Crossrail to present their plans for the works, outlining the timescale and detail of their proposed needs, so we may then share with local residents and businesses.

For now, the first hurdle of the proposed CPO has been overcome, making it clear to Crossrail that Shenfield deserves better. We’ll keep on fighting and will keep you informed as we learn more.

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Coram Green – New Parking Spaces

I am thrilled to see the extra carparking spaces in place at Coram Green.

This is the second phase of the project, which has come about as a result of me working closely with residents and securing the necessary Council funding to build them.

18 months ago, the first round of additional spaces were introduced around the green. This proved to be a big success, not only in providing more parking but also, in helping to clean up the area by reducing the problem of churned up grass and mud.

The end result is that there are more spaces, the green ambience of the area is still protected and residents are happy.

This is a small success, but one which will have a very positive impact locally!

The parking challenge for residents in such areas, where the greens are in place, is not unique. Indeed, we have also provided funding for additional spaces to be created in Pilgrims Hatch, where they have a similar problem. Money is tight and I can make no promises of a quick resolution. Any scheme would need to be planned and budgeted for and would involve working with the utility companies, but if you live in an area where extra spaces could be made available and would ease a problem, please do get in touch and we’ll have a chat and see what can be done. It ‘s certainly made a real difference here.

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Crossrail Update

Around 10 days ago, we launched our petition to save Friars Avenue Car park from compulsory purchase by Crossrail.

Backed by our MP, Eric Pickles, over a thousand signatures have been gathered, showing the depth of feeling by local residents.

Last week, I spoke to the Chairman of Crossrail about the matter and raised the many concerns regarding the proposals and the way that Crossrail have gone about the discussions – ie: they never mentioned it, ahead of us receiving the letter outlining their CPO intentions, despite meeting with Eric Pickles and myself just a few weeks ago!

Crossrail have started the CPO process ahead of formal powers expiring in July. I understand that they have therefore, contacted all relevant Councils with the same CPO request.

Since requesting clarification, we have received a letter from them, confirming that their ‘intention’ is only to use the carpark during the construction period and that they hope to return it to the Council once completed.

This ‘intention’ is clearly better than a CPO. However, the threat of compulsory purchase cannot not be ruled out and assumed to no longer be relevant. To be clear, Crossrail has formally notified and started the CPO process. If they feel the need to CPO the carpark, this will allow them to do so. As such, the Council will robustly be fighting to retain control and ownership of the carpark.

If you haven’t already done so, please do sign the petition – your Conservative representatives will ensure that the local community’s voice is heard loudly and clearly at Crossrail. Ultimately, we would like to see Crossrail withdraw the CPO request.

We will also be asking Crossrail to have a sensible conversation with the Council about the use of the carparks during the construction phase. We need to be looking at the impact in both the short and long term to protect local residents and businesses alike. To date, very little information has been forthcoming from them and we are asking for clarification and detail as soon as possible to allow businesses and the Council to plan appropriately.

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Conservatives Oppose Crossrail Car Park Purchase

I have this morning, issued the following statement regarding notification from Crossrail that they wish to compulsory purchase Friars Avenue carpark in Shenfield.

I will be bringing the item to my the Strategy and Policy Board meeting on the 22nd May for a decision on the formal response from the Council and ahead of then, I am meeting with local ward councillors on Monday to discuss, but the position of local Conservatives is clear: We do not support the plans, which would have a detrimental impact on local businesses and residents.

Statement:

Conservatives in Shenfield are opposing a proposal by Crossrail to compulsory purchase the Friar’s Avenue car park.

A petition, showing the Conservatives’ firm stance against the idea, was launched this morning stating:

“We the undersigned, oppose Crossrail’s proposal to compulsory purchase Friars Avenue carpark. We believe such action would have a detrimental impact on our town, the local economy and would adversely affect shoppers and residents of Shenfield.”

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-friars-avenue-carpark/

Cllr Louise McKinlay, Leader of Brentwood Borough Council, and Conservative ward member for Hutton North said:

“Although Crossrail will bring many benefits to Shenfield in the long term, this is a short-sighted proposal which would be bad for residents, shoppers and businesses in the area. Conservatives will be circulating a petition against allowing the compulsory purchase of the car park and hope local people will sign the petition and join us is fighting this all the way. I’m very disappointed in the way Crossrail have dealt with this. Despite a recent meeting with the Chief Executive of Crossrail, our MP, Rt Hon Eric Pickles and myself, no mention was made of their intention. This is simply not acceptable, when it affects so many people and businesses.”

Please show your support for our local residents and retailers and help to keep Shenfield the vibrant place that it is, by going on line today and signing the petition.

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Countryside and Sensory Garden Volunteers

I had the pleasure this morning of meeting with both our countryside volunteers and those who give up their time to do work in the sensory garden, in Warley.

It was great to thank them first hand for all their efforts and explain how our new Neighbourhood Action Teams will be able to support them and the work that they do.

The countryside volunteers are a group of 30 in number, who go out each Wednesday to work on a woodland or conservation project in the Borough. In my own ward, they have done some great work and really made a difference, so I know how valuable they are.

I took the chance to speak to a number of people involved and was particularly impressed by the sheer dedication and commitment of the volunteers, most of whom go out whatever the weather or the time of year!

I’ll be paying the sensory garden a visit shortly to see them in action and to give a hand. If you haven’t been to the garden, do go down there. They are based in King George’s Park, near the skatepark. It is a lovely place for some peace and quiet or to read a book etc and you’ll see the benefits of the group’s handiwork.

Thank you to both groups for all that you do and the difference it makes – you deserve recognition!

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Hutton Community Centre: Plans Progressing Well

Plans for the future of Hutton Community Centre are progressing well.

Installation of the much needed security fencing started last week and the first parts are now up. Once finished, it will close off the area and help to keep it tidy. I have also arranged for a litter pick to be done this week, to remove the rubbish and flytipping that is around the side of the centre.

In parallel to the fencing work being ordered, manufactured and erected, we have been talking to individuals and community groups along with people from local schools, who are interested in using the centre.

A working group, made up of representatives from across the community and the council has been established and there are 5 dates in the diary for us to work through the detail for hall users and to agree on the work that is needed to bring the centre back up to use, so as we can make the most of the facility. It has already been agreed that the centre will not be for any one exclusive group but must be for multi-use, if it is to become a 'hub of Hutton' once again.

This is proving to be an exciting project and one which has great potential for the future of the area. I have been inundated with messages of support and interest for the work the Council is doing and the £165k investment we are making. I am still receiving emails from local groups, wanting to use the facility.

From youth and homework clubs to sports associations of all types, use by the local primary school, local tenants' and residents' groups, the list is endless.

If you would like to be part of the exciting project, please do get in touch!

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