The only way is up!

Well, I’ve had better election weekends (2007, 2012 and 2014) and I have had worse ones (2008 and, oh goodness, 2011) but, here I still am…fighting for what’s right, fighting for fairness and fighting for Brentwood West residents.

Alison FulcherSo, we don’t have Alison Fulcher as new Brentwood West councillor, that’s a terrible shame.  This lady is superb and she WILL make an excellent councillor and we will get her elected.  I would like to pay tribute to her wonderful campaign and her almost 1,100 votes that, in any other year, would see her elected!

Don’t underestimate this lady – she will be a councillor in Brentwood some time soon!

Although, Brentwood West, it won’t be here I am afraid, you’ve missed out on Alison.  It’s me next year and, yes, I fully intend to defend my seat on 5th May 2016!

So, with a big Tory turn out at the general election, the Tories took 11/12 seats – the only one we held was that of super popular Mayor Vicky Davies who will serve Pilgrims Hatch for another four years.  Well done Vicky!

Aside from that, the three former Brentwood First seats went Tory, Labour’s Brentwood South seat went Tory and, the most crushing blow of all, we lost Brentwood North by 32 votes and were deprived of Gavin Dadbridge as a new councillor.  I hope he will be back next year.

What’s worse, is that now the Tories have the control of Brentwood now.  So, expect:

  • Old House to go back up for sale
  • All the work we have done on the William Hunter Way development – where we finally got something residents wanted – to be thrown away and a return to a nasty development the Tories want
  • Community funding and ward budgets to be slashed (this past year, Holly Trees School, Chichester House, Victoria Court, Kings Chase Church and South Weald Parish Hall benefitted)
  • Cemetery lodges to remain out of use and empty
  • Overdevelopment and back garden grabbing
  • Resident communication to cease and an end to transparency
  • Good council staff to leave and some to be paid off….

Lucky us!

I would like to thank the 1,088 people who did come out and vote Lib Dem for Alison and, of course, John, David and I will continue to work hard for you as your local councillors.

We really did feel it was a privilege to run our town, not a right, and we will continue to represent the people to the council, not the other way around.

 

 

TWO VOTES – use them wisely!

#BrentwoodWest – you have two completely separate votes on Thursday – one for a Brentwood West councillor and one for the MP who will represent Brentwood and Ongar.  This is how it works:

– You have ONE vote to choose your MP.  It’s a white paper which lists six candidates.  They are listed here. Some of them even live in Brentwood!  I’m sure I can leave it to every news channel in the country to keep you informed about that one.

Alison Fulcher– You have ONE vote to choose your councillor to serve you from 2015 – 2019.  I would thoroughly recommend you vote for Alison FULCHER!  All the candidates are listed here and this will be the GREEN paper you receive.  If you really want to keep the Tories away from running Brentwood, then be aware it is a two-horse race, and ticking the box next to the name Alison Elizabeth FULCHER is the way forward!

If you’re thinking of voting UKIP, they couldn’t even find a candidate.

If you’re thinking of voting Labour then that would be a waste in Brentwood West and could let a Tory in.  Labour came a poor fourth last time (2014) and, tactically, if you are a Labour supporter then you have a better chance of keeping Labour in the Brentwood administration if you vote for Alison Fulcher, Lib Dem candidate.

2014 results

John NewberryNEWBERRY, Alfred John – Liberal Democrat – 624 Elected

Conservatives – 562

UKIP – 415

Labour – 217 (nowhere near with 12% of the vote!!!)

tim

Let’s be completely honest – Labour have their best chance in Brentwood South where the super clever Dr Tim Barrett is hoping to take the seat vacated by Cllr Mike Le Surf and join his extremely intelligent & jolly decent brother Cllr Gareth Barrett on Brentwood Council.  Now I do hope that Tim wins, because if he doesn’t we will get another Tory.  It also means that there’s a fairly good chance of keeping the combined non-Tory parties in power and halt their plans that would have bankrupted the council.

Plus, if Tim is as funny as Gareth, then webcasts will be worth a view!

Last year, we made a historic agreement with Labour, Brentwood First and the Independent candidate Cllr Roger Keeble. in order to take power after ten years of the Tories.  In my view, it means you get the best of all parties and the worst of none because we work together for the best of Brentwood and we modify each other’s extremes.  Although, to be fair, there’s been little disagreement and nothing really extreme at all!  For this to continue, we need Tim so, encourage your friends that live in Brentwood South to think tactically and in Brentwood West….well can I suggest you do the same if you are a Labour supporter and vote Lib Dem?  It’s your best chance to get a Labour voice in running Brentwood, overall.

I know of Brentwood West Labour members who will vote Lib Dem tactically and I know that more than one Brentwood South Lib Dem member voted for Cllr Mike Le Surf in 2007 when he was first elected to council and won by a majority of ELEVEN so it really can make a difference.

Finally, if you want to know WHY it is important for the combined Lib/Lab/Indies to run Brentwood read THIS but as a quick recap…this is what we did in TEN MONTHS – don’t let the Tories take us backwards….vote Alison in West…..and tell your friends!

  • Implemented new Christmas lights in Shenfield and Brentwood and provided free Christmas trees to Ingatestone as well as lighting the Brentwood station area with a tree and lights to welcome people to the town during the festive period.
  • Made Hopefield Animal Sanctuary, Iris Close Amenity Green and the William Hunter Way Disabled Car Park community assets, meaning they can not be sold without notice to the council and protecting them for six months.
  • Sold Warley Training Centre (derelict for 10 years) for multi-millions whilst a) providing much needed housing b) much needed social housing and c) to not only put a chunk of capital in the bank but also, IMPORTANTLY, a permanent revenue stream based on retaining 5 residential units for rental.
  • Sold Bellmead for much needed housing and, again, social housing.
  • Agreed £42,000 of community bid funding for local projects and allocated the underspend of £8,000 to ward budgets, giving each councillor £1380 (an extra £380 each) to spend in their wards.
  • Saved Old House from Tory disposal. Retaining a much loved heritage asset, returning it to its former glory after the Tories left to to rot and, once again, providing more much needed housing.
  • Town Hall: The project to save it and improve it and make it work for the tax-payer continues
  • Westbury Rd considered for homes and for retail space in order to a) revitalise the west end of the high street and b) to provide subsidised independent shops. This is another piece of prime real estate that the Tories forgot about.
  • Multi-Storey Car Park. Falling apart and stinks. Being clever about this could bring the town centre a better parking facility AND homes AND shops AND possibly a leisure use too.
  • William Hunter Way. After 9 years of Tory farce and £300k of tax payers’ money wasted, we’ve overseen the council’s most successful and engaging public consultation ever and actually listened to our residents. The steer from them is yes to a cinema (but no need to be gigantic) and yes to a better choice of shops. A huge capital and revenue gain opportunity and a means to keep Brentwood folk in Brentwood shopping rather than them going elsewhere.
  • Property acquisition fund: £10m to be set aside for property acquisitions to actually fulfil our vision of entrepreneurialism and to keep Eric Pickles’ cuts at bay.
  • Hutton Community Centre. Rescuing it from the clutches of bankruptcy by seeking community bids to run it infinitum for the benefit of the community.
  • Cemetery Lodges: Refurbishing ‘dead’ properties and earning an income from them.
  • Asset register: Actually identifying land that the council own so that we can do stuff with it.
  • Affordable Housing Sites: Identifying small parcels of land (Fielding Way, Hutton Drive) that can be developed into social housing sites and that have been ‘hidden’ for years.
  • Hallsford Bridge: Been on the market for 10 years without a sniff. Brought it to committee, listened to ward members on their wish to develop as housing but was unable to do so and therefore sold to a local business for an additional £450k that, once again, otherwise we would not have had.
  • Total approximate value of prospective CAPITAL monies gained through the Asset Panel: £5m.
  • Approximate forthcoming capital value of William Hunter Way, MSCP, Westbury Rd outcomes: £12m
  • Total approximate value of prospective REVENUE monies through the Asset Panel’s work so far: £500k per annum
  • Ensured that all residents are communicated with via a borough-wide bulletin.
  • Started a plan of action on potholes that begins with meeting with the Tory leadership at Essex County Council.
  • Started the process to give food waste bags to all residents for FREE and for a textile waste collection.
  • Discovered that the Tory administration refurbished the Hutton Community Centre despite £100,000 worth of repair work is needed to the roof…and have now ordered an emergency safety investigation…
  • Re-couped £16,000 of public money that the Conservatives failed to claim on billboard advertising revenue
  • Made sensible decisions on managing public assets to put tax payers’ money back in the bank
  • Opened up council workings in a properly transparent way removing the need for Freedom of Information requests
  • Introduced a “complaints amnesty” for staff to present current complaints for proper investigation, allowing the council to learn from mistakes made without the fear of retribution for staff
  • Restored democracy and focused decision making to the council chamber
  • Advanced the Town Hall transformation project
  • Identified multiple affordable and social housing schemes
  • Introduced a new parking scheme that is better value for residents and shoppers
    Introduced a three month night time car parking charge to balance the night and day parking charges
  • Launched investigations into monies that have been mis-spent by the previous administration
  • Begun an entrepreneurial approach to council resources to provide much needed funds for front line services
  • Informed all the staff to call Accord members by the first names rather than their official titles and opened up the door of the Leader & Deputy Leader’s office for an open and transparent way of working
  • Introduced a six-monthly staff satisfaction survey to inform the leadership of how the staff feel their contribution is recognised and how they are delivering for the people of Brentwood
  • Introduced committees that are focused on specific areas of the council meaning you get the right people making the right decisions
  • Appointed appropriate councillors (usually ward councillors) to working groups on William Hunter Way, Crossrail, Member/Officer Communications/ Members Casework, the Local Council Tax Support Scheme, IT Resilience and Business Continuity, Budget Scrutiny and the Community Safety Partnership Annual Review
  • Re-structured the senior management team to provide Brentwood with a Chief Executive once again
  • Introduced a cross-party front bench of councillors, giving you the best of everyone and the worst of no one.

 

Where’s my polling station? Where can I vote for Alison?

Alison Fulcher

So, it’s nearly time to vote for Alison Fulcher! If you don’t know where to vote on Thursday 7th May, here’s my guide:

There are four polling stations in Brentwood West, they will be on your polling card, but just in case, here’s a map for each:

Victoria Court, Victoria Road (Polling card numbers starting CA)
Holly Trees School, Vaughan Williams Way (Polling card numbers starting CB)
South Weald Parish Hall, London Road (Polling card numbers starting CC)
Baptist Church, Kings Chase (Polling card numbers starting CD)

If you are unsure which polling district you are in, need to return a postal vote on the day or have any other queries, just call me on 07774 248362.  If you have a postal vote, you can return it on the day to any of these polling stations.

I have also listed all the roads in the ward along with the polling station:

ROAD POLLING STATION
Ashford Avenue South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
Batemans Mews Holly Trees School, Vaughan Williams Way
Belvedere Road South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
Brook Road South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
Burntwood Baptist Church, Kings Chase
Chase Road Baptist Church, Kings Chase
Crescent Road Victoria Court, Victoria Road
Cromwell Road Victoria Court, Victoria Road
Deans Road Victoria Court, Victoria Road
Downsland Drive Baptist Church, Kings Chase
Drover’s Mead Holly Trees School, Vaughan Williams Way
Elm Way South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
Fairfield Road Baptist Church, Kings Chase
Fantasia Court Holly Trees School, Vaughan Williams Way
Firsgrove Crescent Victoria Court, Victoria Road
Firsgrove Road Victoria Court, Victoria Road
Gerrard Crescent Baptist Church, Kings Chase
Greensleeves Drive Holly Trees School, Vaughan Williams Way
Halfhides Victoria Court, Victoria Road
Hanover Place Holly Trees School, Vaughan Williams Way
High Street Baptist Church, Kings Chase
Hill Road South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
Hillside Walk South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
Hive Close South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
Honeypot Lane South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
Hospital Cottages Victoria Court, Victoria Road
Hubert RoadJunction Road Baptist Church, Kings ChaseVictoria Court, Victoria Road
Kavanaghs Road South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
Kavanaghs Terrace South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
Kings Chase Baptist Church, Kings Chase
Kings Road Baptist Church, Kings Chase
Kipling Close Holly Trees School, Vaughan Williams Way
La Plata Grove Baptist Church, Kings Chase
Langley Drive South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
Lark Close Holly Trees School, Vaughan Williams Way
Link Way Road South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
London Road South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
Lorne Road Victoria Court, Victoria Road
Manor Way South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
Milton Road Victoria Court, Victoria Road
Oldfields Victoria Court, Victoria Road
Osborne Heights Holly Trees School, Vaughan Williams Way
Pastoral Way Holly Trees School, Vaughan Williams Way
Pennyfields Victoria Court, Victoria Road
Potiphar Place Holly Trees School, Vaughan Williams Way
Railway Square Baptist Church, Kings Chase
Red Road Victoria Court, Victoria Road
Rhapsody Crescent Holly Trees School, Vaughan Williams Way
Rollason Way Baptist Church, Kings Chase
Selwood Road South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
Sir Francis Way Baptist Church, Kings Chase
South Weald Road South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
Spital Lane (nos 41-51) South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
St. James Road Baptist Church, Kings Chase
St. Peter’s Road Victoria Court, Victoria Road
Sussex Road Victoria Court, Victoria Road
Talbrook South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
Tallis Way Holly Trees School, Vaughan Williams Way
The Beeches Baptist Church, Kings Chase
The Chase, Cromwell Road Victoria Court, Victoria Road
The Mount Baptist Church, Kings Chase
The Terlings South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
Tower Hill Baptist Church, Kings Chase
Vaughan Williams Way Holly Trees School, Vaughan Williams Way
Victoria Road Victoria Court, Victoria Road
Wansford Close South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
Warley Hill Victoria Court, Victoria Road
Warleywoods Crescent Victoria Court, Victoria Road
Weald Close South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
Weald Road Baptist Church, Kings Chase
West Park Hill South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
Westbury Drive Baptist Church, Kings Chase
Westbury Road Baptist Church, Kings Chase
Westway South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
Westwood Avenue South Weald Parish Hall, London Road
Wharf Road Baptist Church, Kings Chase

Planning recommendations week ending 17th April 2015

lego-house

In #Brentwoodwest this week there is a recommendation in Downsland Drive:

Please note THIS IS NOT yet a decision – I am able to refer to planning committee now.

24 Downsland Drive: SINGLE STOREY REAR EXTENSION AND FIRST FLOOR SIDE EXTENSION

Recommended for REFUSAL

If you have any issues with the above officer recommendation then please get in touch with me as soon as possible. The deadline for referral is midday on Monday 27 April 2015 to refer the above item to the Planning Committee for further discussion.

For more information on the planning process, please see my advice here.

Parking Fees reduced!

 

 

one hour successParking charges to go down under the Accord Administration!

With the Lib Dems, I can’t remember a time when we weren’t fighting to make parking fees more reasonable!  Now we have done it – and the Tories voted AGAINST our plans!

We pulled this off by being fair – we introduced an overnight parking charge of £2 to capitalise on the TOWIE visitors.  This has yielded around £60,000 in income which has meant we can do the following:

  • Reduce the all day car parking fee from £10.50 to £8.00

  • Introduce a new Saturday workers fee of £4 in Westbury Road Car Park

  • Introduce a new £30 weekly charge in the William Hunter Way Car Park

This will take around ten weeks to introduce once it is advertised and consulted upon.

It is unbelievable that the Tories voted against on the basis that we hadn’t reduced it enough, despite them voting for a 117% increase in the one hour charge in 2012 (and that includes current Brentwood West Tory Cllr Will Russell, who’s up for re-election in May).

It’s also interesting to see that another Tory scaremongering activity didn’t come true.  Back in 2011, two days before I lost my seat, they put out a leaflet in Brentwood West saying that, should a night time charge be introduced then people would be forced in to the side streets to park and, therefore, we would all be wading around in “rivers of vomit”.  Yes, they put that on a leaflet and people believed it!  So, watch what they say when it comes to May’s elections!  It turns out not to be the case, so just as well no one opened up a Wellies Shop in anticipation.

 

Planning recommendations week ending 13th February 2015

lego-house

In #Brentwoodwest this week there is an application in Burntwood:

Please note THIS IS NOT yet a decision – I am able to refer to planning committee now.

9 Burntwood: SINGLE STOREY REAR EXTENSION TO INCLUDE THREE ROOFLIGHTS TO REAR.

Recommended for APPROVAL

If you have any issues with the above officer recommendation then please get in touch with me as soon as possible. The deadline for referral is midday on Monday 23 February 2015 to refer the above item to the Planning Committee for further discussion.

For more information on the planning process, please see my advice here.

Councillor candidate news

I am delighted to announce that Brentwood West resident, charity worker, carer and artist Alison Fulcher will be our candidate for the May 2015 ward councillor elections.  Alison would join County Cllr David Kendall, Cllr John Newberry and me working for local residents as your local councillor and continue the work of The Accord administration.  I am sure you will welcome her to the team.

Alison Fulcher

ALISON FULCHER 

Alison has lived within the Brentwood West ward with her family for several years, attending senior school at the Brentwood Ursuline High Convent School (1982-1989).

Alison has considerable experience within the care sector and wishes to contribute this knowledge and experience in her potential role as Councillor. Her past experience includes working alongside patient experience groups for Community Healthcare Services and Inclusion Support work for the local charity The Frontline Partnership.

Having studied Fine Arts as a mature student – Alison has combined her own Art practise with her care work experience. Alison has also supported and run Sensory Art projects, community drawing and drama workshops within schools and community venues within the local area.  Further to this experience Alison is a media representative for the national charity Gingerbread and works for a well-known Humanitarian Charity in Brentwood.

If elected Alison, following the example of the Accord, will support cross party collaboration. Listening to residents’ concerns and needs with an awareness of local business and charitable support with a keen willingness to find a solution wherever possible – her promise of relentless hard work and commitment will ensure that she is worthy of your vote and a potential Councillor for keeps.

Allison hopes are that residents will contribute their views and opinions freely as she has done and wishes to see Brentwood’s future shaped in a way that represents the community as fully as possible.

Alongside priority issues such as crime, anti-social behaviour and care in the community whilst paying close attention to the needs of local businesses Alison would also like to see the cultural needs of the community continuing to be met – believing that this is an important way of bringing together community and engaging those sometimes feeling more isolated.

Westbury Road Car Park potential development

Westbury Road tidy up westbury road car parkYou may have heard recently in the news, or perhaps from this post of mine from October, that the council is considering developing a small portion of the Westbury Road Car Park along the High Street stretch.  Well, this is still in the investigation stage and no more but, as it came up on the Asset Committee agenda on Wednesday I went along (although I am not a member of this committee and can’t vote) to, once again, put the case for Brentwood West residents.

You may want to listen to what I said, straight from the horse’s mouth, in case you hear otherwise so just click here to see me speak up for you and your area.  But, an in-a-nutshell version is that:

  • I am supportive of investigating this area for development because it is a vastly underused council asset.
  • As ward member, representing residents, I do have some concerns and, if as this progresses, I am not satisfied that this is right for the majority of residents in that area, I will happily oppose it.
  • There was a misunderstanding that there was going to e a multi-storey car park – there isn’t.
  • Things to be considered include parking, access, traffic flow in Westbury Road and High Street, congestion, times of and access of deliveries.

We are nowhere near this stage yet as this would be considered as part of any planning and this is just to keep you in the loop all the way along.  I am happy to take questions on this from residents, naturally.

 

Planning recommendations week ending 23 January 2015

lego-house

In #Brentwoodwest this week there are applications in Fairfield Road and Gerrard Crescent:

Please note THESE ARE NOT yet a decisions – I am able to refer to planning committee now.

25 GERRARD CRESCENT: THE CONSTRUCTION OF A HIP TO GABLE ROOF EXTENSION WITH DORMERS TO FRONT AND REAR, A SINGLE STOREY REAR AND SIDE EXTENSION AND A RAISED PATIO AREA.

Recommended for APPROVAL

12A FAIRFIELD ROAD: SINGLE STOREY SIDE EXTENSION

Recommended for APPROVAL

If you have any issues with the above officer recommendation then please get in touch with me as soon as possible. The deadline for referral is midday on Monday 2 February 2015 to refer the above item to the Planning Committee for further discussion.

For more information on the planning process, please see my advice here.

Brentwood’s future: The most important consultation ever

 

Today is the launch of the Strategic Growth Options Consultation – it might sound dull but it really is something you should read, consider and engage with by completing THIS response paper.

Listed in this consultation are all the sites to be considered for development because Brentwood Council is required to meet local housing needs. Evidence, from central government, suggests that need is around 360 new homes per year, or 5,500 new homes over a 15 year period. The capacity of brownfield sites in urban areas over 15 years is 2,500, some 3,000 short of total need and we have to find places to build them.

Please be absolutely clear that this is NOT necessarily where we, as the administration, WANT to develop and in some cases it would be good to see them totally and finally disregarded as sites for development.  Although many Tory councillors will say differently as they accuse of us of trying to build in your back yard.

One clear example of this is Hopefield Animal Sanctuary…over my cold, dead body (and those of Cllr Aspinell, Newberry, Carter, Quirk, Mynott, Sapwell and many more) will anyone build anything here but the Tories are now whipping up a storm and saying that that is what we want.  That’s not true.  I will be making my own very strong representations on this one and this site will, I hope, be rejected as a development site.  However, we leave this, or any inappropriate site, off the list for consideration and it is open season for any developer for fifteen years because it is left in a developmental abyss of “no status” and we cannot argue effectively against a housing proposal.

If a site has been considered and rejected as part of our local plan, that has more chance of holding up against a planning permission appeal.

The following sites are listed as Brentwood West, but you may want to look at the list for those near you that are in other wards that adjoin West (namely Brentwood North, Brentwood South, South Weald, Warley) and anything else that might be important to you:

  • Land north of Highwood Close, Brentwood
  • Land north of Highwood Close including St Georges Court, Brentwood
  • Brentwood railway station car park
  • Land at Honeypot Lane, Brentwood
  • Westbury Road Car Park, Westbury Road, Brentwood
  • Site on corner of High Street / Western Road, Brentwood (Former Napier Arms)
  • Land adjacent and rear of 207-217 Crescent Road, Brentwood
  •  18 Westbury Drive, Brentwood
  • Land at Crescent Road (open space), Brentwood
  • Victoria Court, Victoria Road, Brentwood
  • Hubert Road Industrial Estate
  • BT Offices, London Road, Brentwood
  • La Plata Grove, Brentwood
  • 14-16 Westwood Avenue, Brentwood

I also think it is worth pointing out these, in South Weald ward that are near West (but not all of them in that ward):

  • Land rear of The Bull Public House, Brook Street, Brentwood
  •  Land adjacent 50 Spital Lane, Brentwood
  • Brook Street employment area
  • Academy Place, Brook Street/Spital Lane, Brentwood

and these in Warley ward that are near West (but not all of them in that ward):

  • Former Mascalls Hospital, Mascalls Lane, Warley
  • Land adjacent to Carmel, Mascalls Lane, Warley
  • Land adjacent Hill Cottage, Warley Road, and Mill House, Mascalls Lane, Warley

Once again, please be absolutely clear these are not our intended or favoured sites – they are for consideration and we need your input so we can reject those that are just WRONG!

As an example, let’s look at 14-16 Westwood Avenue.  To my knowledge, there have been four recent attempts at putting an inappropriate development here.  There is no way I want this to be a development site so I will ensure that my feelings are known based on the work I have done with residents in Westwood Avenue.  That being done, should it be rejected as a site for development, it makes it much easier to say NO next time a greedy developer tries to build half a dozen houses there.  If it is not included – open season….we stand no chance.

My views on the other sites are varied – some may be appropriate and some certainly aren’t.  I am not here for my personal opinion though – I am here to represent you and to form a view based on weighing up the views of the people I represent.  So please let me know what you think and let me argue for you but, the most important thing you can do is to take part in this consultation and make sure you get the Brentwood you want in the future.

I am here for advice and discussion if you need me – the consultation ends on 17th February 2015.