The worst petition in the world ever…..

Let me present you with one of the best comedies you have seen…really it is just comedy gold!  This petition is so bad that two members of the Tories walked out of the meeting before it was even voted on – and it was their petition!  One of those even denied signing it when they had AND were in the Brentwood Gazette photo call!

To quote planning chair Cllr Phil Baker: “Not only can you not run the council properly, you can’t even put a petition together!”

WATCH HERE (should start at 3h09m)

But let me explain:

  • For nothing other than pure and overt political reasons, Cllr Louise McKinlay (former – thank goodness – leader of the council) put together a petition called “Hands off our green spaces”.  Neither Cllr McKinlay or her deputy Cllr Roger Hirst were at the meeting.
  • This was an attempt to mislead the people of Brentwood over the local development plan and trying to pretend that we – The Accord – are desperate to build on the green belt.  The irony is that we have lost count of the number of green belt applications the Tories approved for the ten years they were in and that weeks prior to this they were planning to build 1500 homes on the green belt in West Horndon.
  • This petition was aimed at only Hutton and rural areas – obviously they just don’t care about the town centre area such as Brentwood West where we really can not handle much more development.  A crass political stunt.
  • The petition referred to the “Lib/Lab coalition” – that doesn’t exist.  The Accord is made up of three parties and an independent member.  Factually incorrect again.
  • The petition was worded wrongly – it spoke not of the green belt but the “green spaces” so where are we going to build the 5500 homes we must build?  They clearly want to say no to every single development across the borough (ironic given that they wanted a green belt refusal recommendation overturned an hour earlier).  That’s not helpful for those who wish to extend their homes.
  • The Tories had a complete lack of understanding talking of “degrees of green belt”.  This is made up.  It is either green belt or it is not.
  • During the debate, Cllr Henwood refused to confirm that she was a member of the Tories and stormed out of the meeting shouting at the chair (the second of the night)
  • Infantile language was used in the petition that was, frankly, insulting to residents and the signatures were illegally gained as the wording was factually incorrect.
  • The petition was so bad that even the three Tories were left at the meeting (after two had stormed out) didn’t support it at the vote!
  • The petition was illegal according to the petition rules introduced by the Tories last year.

This is so embarrassing – and they ran the council for ten years up until May.  Please Brentwood, don’t lose faith and vote the inept Tories back in in May.  We are taking Brentwood forward and being honest and open with you as we go.

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.

Tower Hill murder latest: Our email to residents

Murder in Tower Hill, Brentwood West, Saturday 27th September 2014 at 7pm

To read of any murder is shocking, but to have it happen here on our doorstep is very upsetting indeed.  The three of us would like residents who live in the area, especially around Tower Hill, Weald Road and Sir Francis Way, to know they have our support and that we are here for them if they need us.  It is, without doubt, a time to come together as a community.

Essex Police have now confirmed that this is an isolated incident – possibly drug-dealing related – and they have asked us, via this email list, to give you reassurance that this was rare and doesn’t seem to be a random attack or in any way connected to Brentwood’s night time economy.  They can say no more to us at this time.

However, detectives are appealing for anyone with any information – no matter how insignificant it may seem – to contact the police on 101.  The full press release from the police is here.

We thank Essex Police for keeping us informed of the latest on this case and assure residents that we are thinking of them, especially those who are in the midst of a crime scene but again, as we have been asked to do, reassure you that this looks to be an isolated incident in our town.

Please do call us if we can help with this or any other problem.

Karen, David & John
Your Brentwood West Lib Dem Councillors

Around Brentwood West

West 8 (masefield court)

Published in our September 2014 newsletter, this is our usual ward round up:

  • Karen and John have £1000 to spend on ward projects – please get in touch with your ideas!!!
  • Tower Hill/Weald Road alleyway is being tidied and the Accord are looking to make a decision over its ongoing maintenance.
  • Karen is keen to find sites for Community Orchards for foraging and education – do you know of anywhere?
  • Anti social behaviour in the Railway Square/St James Road/Fairfield Road area should be reported on Telephone number 101 as the call centre staff have been warned about their rowdiness.
  • We were sorry to see Bennetts window in the High Street smashed – John is working with Jane Bennett & the police on this.
  • The unbelievably bright light at the station car park has been reported by Karen and, thankfully, switched off of late!
  • The green in Vaughan Williams Way is also being dealt with by The Accord – the Tories just brushed this issue under the carpet!
  • The green atWharf Road is unkempt and Karen has asked the council to insist the developers deal with this. Rubbish is also being cleared from the area.
  • Japanese Knotweed has been reported in various locations and the council is dealing with the problem, along with Railtrack.
  • Karen is working with Homesteads residents on the possibility it could be made a Conservation Area for its centenary next year.
  • An application for an 8-person home of multiple occupancy (with six people sharing one toilet) in Pennyfields has been refused after Karen referred it to committee.
  • Various locations are having problems with people not clearing up after their dogs – please let Karen know where so warning notices can be put up.
  • Karen & John are looking to meet with the council about the state of the grounds at Tower Court that are not being maintained well.

William Hunter Way Consultation

From our September 2014 newsletter:

Every single home in Brentwood is to receive a consultation paper about the future of the town centre following the Tories failed project.
Karen, who is on the WHW Working Party, said:
“I guarantee that this consultation is genuine. Following the unpleasant development the Tories wanted to foist upon us we know have a blank sheet of paper and the opportunity to get what the majority of residents want. Please, please, either fill it in online or complete the paper version and get it back to the council.


Cllr David Kendall on The Politics Show

Cllr David Kendall on The Politics Show

Cllr David Kendall reports back (published in our September 2015 newsletter):

  • Westwood Avenue – Speed Survey: After I made representations at cabinet level, Highways have agreed to do another speed survey. I have insisted that the speed wires are installed on the straight section of the road rather than the bends as they were last time.
  • Brentwood High Street: I have called for urgent repairs to be done to the road/speed tables and sections of pavement particularly around Wilsons Corner. I have been told that many of these repairs don’t meet the maintenance criteria so I am now pushing for changes to made to the criteria. How many local residents have to fall over before the Tories realise action needs to be taken? It was only five years ago that the Tories spent £7million refurbishing the High Street. Sadly they don’t seem to be prepared to pay the money to maintain it.
  • Planned Pothole Repairs: Firsgrove Crescent, Firsgrove Road, West Park Hill & Westwood Avenue will be repaired following work by Karen, John and me.
  • Street Lights – our fight continues: I recently tabled a motion at County Hall calling for Brentwood and other local authorities to be given the money to hold a referendum on the part night lighting scheme that has plunged large parts of our Borough into darkness between the hours of 12 – 5am every night. Residents have never been consulted on the issue and we wanted them to have the opportunity to express their views for or against. Surprise surprise the Tories voted against and the motion was lost but we will keep fighting your corner on this very important issue.
  • Bollards at Boardman House, Rollason Way: Residents have reported that the installation of these have made a real difference to the access and egress into the car park – it’s great to work together and achieve something!
  • Brentwood Station – disability parking & access: I am fighting to get more parking for those with disabilities at the station. At present the only disabled parking is in the NCP but I’m trying to get some more spaces near the cab office and platform 4. A new lift is planned for platform 4 in Spring 2015.
  • Pedestrian Crossing – Warley Hill: I am trying to get another pedestrian crossing on Warley Hill near to Junction Road. The opening of the new Tesco Express store has led to more residents wanting to cross this busy road and I want to try and make it as safe as possible. Highways officers will be conducting a pedestrian crossing survey and if the numbers crossing meet the criteria then I will try and push the proposal forward.
  • Rollason Way parking consultation: It’s sad to see that not enough residents responded to the survey for any sort of parking restrictions to be installed. This is the second survey and a project that’s been worked on for three years but, it can’t go any further without resident support.
  • Honeypot Lane parking: Following a long campaign by local residents supported by their councillors, a decision will soon be made on providing more town centre parking for staff at the BT offices that will hopefully improve the parking issues in Honeypot Lane, Kavanaghs Road and surrounding roads. I hope to have a positive update soon.
  • Diary Dates: Business Event – 2pm-6pm on Wed 29 October at Hutton Poplars Hall, Hutton. Brentwood Bus & Rail Users Association AGM – 10am on Saturday 15 November at the Town Hall.

Let’s keep our vulnerable residents safe

From our September 2014 newsletter:

A new Keep Safe scheme aims to provide assistance to those who may be in trouble or distressed when they are out, need a bit of help if they have lost their purse or bus ticket or don’t know where they are. Venues in Brentwood are signing up to be ‘Safe Havens’ where people can go to for some help. It means that local businesses will display a sign and be able to help those who need it.
Cllr John Newberry said: “Safeguarding and protecting vulnerable people is vital and is a priority for us. The Keep Safe scheme gives reassurance to people that there is somewhere safe to go if they need help.”