Planning applications 20 to 27 September 2015


Pastoral Way parking survey

pastoral way

If you live in Clements Park, this survey is to help you!

I have been advised by residents that parking around the Beechwood Surgery is still a problem.

In order to even start discussions on increased restrictions, I need to know, and have evidence of, local opinion.  Therefore I have set up a very short survey just to see what you think.

You can access it here.

Planning applications 14 to 19 September 2015


This week, there are new applications in Kavanaghs Terrace and Vaughan Williams Way:

Please get in touch if I can help with any of these.

Drain Cover in St James Road

St James Road drain coverResponse received from Essex Council over this broken drain cover!  Are we finally getting somewhere?

Dear Cllr Chilvers

 I refer to your online report received on 03 August 2015 regarding a drain cover on St James Road, Brentwood.

 Your enquiry has been reviewed and will require further investigation. We are currently awaiting information from Highways and you will receive a full response as soon as this information is received.

Planning applications – 1 to 13th September 2015


This month, I spy applications in St James Road and London Road.  I have already sent in my objection to the St James Road application on the grounds of overdevelopment, overpopulation and lack of parking:

Please do get in touch if I can help with this or anything else.


Planning Applications – August 2015


This month, I spy applications in Kavanaghs Road, Selwood Road, Honeypot Lane, Firsgrove Crescent and London Road.

Please get in touch if you want to discuss these any further.

My view: All Women Carriages

Brentwood Gazette’s soapbox this week asked what your local councillors thought of Jeremy Corbyn’s comment of introducing all women carriages on trains.  Cllr Aspinell asked me to do this, and here’s my response:

First of all, I feel it worth clarifying that Jeremy Corbyn didn’t say this is what he would do, but that he would ask women what they want (fair enough).
But why just women?  It’s not the 1950s, women are able to hold their own against men and this segregation takes us back to an unequal society where we are perceived as feeble little creatures unable to cope and it’s not the answer. There’s surely many more options to consider.
I’d also put in a pitch for the majority of men who are just decent individuals going about their business with no intention to harm or abuse anyone. Further, doesn’t this put a question mark over those women who choose not to use such?
Consider the case of a good friend of mine who was severely abused trying to board a train in her electric wheelchair.  Her abuser? A fellow woman verbally attacking her for the inconvenience caused by her disability and the vehicle getting in her way. So, of course, perfectly entitled to travel in the same “female only” carriage and continue her attacks for the entire journey. 
People are vulnerable for things other than their gender: disability, a little too much to drink, feeling unwell or just scared whilst travelling for a myriad of reasons. Instead, similar to the night safety buses employed in some big cities, why not consider a monitored safety carriage for everyone who needs it?
Or how about we look out for each other a bit more and speak up or raise the alarm if needed?

LA Fitness

la fitnessI have been contacted by a fair number of people regarding the closure of LA Fitness and the fact that this is to be turned in to a 24-hour gym with all other facilities stripped out.

Now, this isn’t in my ward but of course many Brentwood West residents will be members, two of my friends included who have used the gym extensively over the last couple of years and are quite upset to find it will go.

You might also be interested to know that this is just two minutes from my front door and, therefore, I am concerned about the parking in the local area.

But, as it is not my ward, I thought it  best I share the words of Cllr Jill Hubbard, Lib Dem councillor for Warley who has done a sterling job and manage to get a stay of closure:


Dear Reader,
You’ve received this e-mail because you’ve previously contacted me about the take-over of LA Fitness by Pure Gym. This is just a quick update.
I have visited and spoken to Ray, the manager of LA Fitness and on the face of it, as you know, nothing much can be done, as this is a business move which as local authority BBc has no influence over.
However, I understand that the Brenwood branch of LAF has been one of the most profitable for them although the brand overall has lost money. 
Many people have E-mailed the CEO of Pure Gym to try and persuade him to keep the gym as it is but that’s not their business model. Unfortunately some of these e-mails have been quite aggressive & abusive but one long-term member has had several telephone conversations with the CEO who sounds like a reasonable guy. He has said he would be open to another franchise purchasing the club from Pure Gym in light of the strength of local feeling. He would be open to a reasonable offer and has agreed to stay the start of the work for four weeks. Another option would be that members purchase the club but that would be quite complicated and involve far more of the responsibility of day to day running, upkeep & staff salaries. If there are any members used to running businesses who’d be prepared to take this on then that may be a way forward but currently the one valiant member is e-mailing/ writing phoning other health Clubs to see if he can drum up interest from them.
The CEO said between £1million – £2 million butt hat is far more than the premises is worth as it stands and it’s doubtful the business could realistically be valued at that price.
Another aspect I’m looking into is who is the landlord (BBC?) of the building, as apparently he (or that body) has been reluctant to agree to any internal changes in the past. Pure Gym plan to practically gut the internal fabric so this may also be a lever we have.
Advice I’ve received from the Planning Department is copied below. My questions have been answered in blue:
1.    Is Planning aware of the proposed changes and does Pure Gym need planning permission for any of their proposed works and/or changes to capacity and/or all day operation?
· Response:  Council records indicate that the opening hours are restricted to 6.30-22.00 (Mon-Fri) and 9.00-22.00 (weekends and holidays).  If the hours are to change then the owners will need to submit a planning application to vary these times.
· The works that you have described are internal and provided there is no material change of use away from the gym, increasing the number of users does not require planning permission.
2. Given that Pure Gym intends to increase the membership significantly and may well operate 24/7, there are likely to be significant parking problems in the area and possible late night disturbances affecting residents. What can the Council do to anticipate such problems and ensure that Pure Gym isn’t trying to expand beyond the capacity of the adjacent car park and streets? Should residents be consulted for such changes?
· Response: From a planning perspective, there is no restriction on the number of members but presumably for safety reasons there is a finite number of users that can use the gym at any one time;  providing 24/7 opening hours does not necessarily result in the need to expand the capacity of the car park, it may even spread the number of vehicle movements across a longer period of time resulting in fewer vehicle movements between the current opening hours.   If an application is submitted to vary the opening hours application is where an objective assessment can be made on the car park capacity and travel /parking arrangements.
I have also learned that there is a meeting and photo call at the gym on Monday 17th at 3pm.  Might be worth attending.


Tories say NO to Westwood Avenue 20mph limit

Westwood avenue replaced signFor the last couple of years, we have been working with residents to get a 20mph zone implemented.  We had done all the surveys, met all the criteria and we were looking forward to its implementation.

I am appalled and astonished, frankly, to tell you that Tory councillor Rodney Bass (the same fella who turned off your street lights and won’t fix our potholes) has rejected the scheme, giving no good reason.  This has also been backed up by Tory Cllr Ann Naylor who said, in an email to David Kendall that she would not even allow it to be discussed on Brentwood’s Local Highways Panel (on which we both sit!).

David said of this news: “I am stunned and very disappointed to hear this news. We were under the impression the 20mph zone was going to be installed before Christmas so to hear now at this late stage it has been rejected by the Cabinet Member Cllr Rodney Bass is a kick in the teeth to me my Borough Council colleagues and local residents”

We have a few options here and we need to show support for the scheme.  David has asked for a meeting with Cllr Bass for an explanation and I intend to raise the matter at the next full council meeting in September,

I have also set up a petition HERE that I need you to sign to show the public support for this.

It may also be worth writing to Cllr Rodney Bass yourself.  Unfortunately,Cllr Bass has a tendency to throw resident letters in the bin I would suggest you use this facility to ensure your email is logged by officers.

New planning applications 18-30 July 2015

buildingThis week, I spy applications in Crescent Road and Westwood Avenue:

Please get in touch if you want to discuss these any further.