Kings Road HMO application refused!

I am pleased to report that this application was refused on Tuesday, unanimously, and you can see me protecting Brentwood West here.

But after the meeting, things took an unexpected turn when I spoke to the beleaguered, and most pleasant, applicant and his agent.  You see, my main objection to this one were the proposed living conditions but it seems that they were pushed in to this type of application by officers.  I’m not happy with this and have suggested we meet before they put in another application so we can look at what is right for the area.  They were warm to this idea and I hope to hear from them soon so we can get this building back in to use, to complement the area around Brentwood station.

Unless I had been actively looking at what is proposed in my ward, this would have just gone through – see I don’t wait for residents to call me, I am there working on your behalf and protecting your interests wherever I can.

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.

 

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.

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.

William Hunter Way consultation – a reminder

whw sign

 

Over the weekend, each household will receive a letter addressed to whoever is on the council tax account about the William Hunter Way consultation and here’s why…

On 1st September 2014, after the failure of the former Tory administration’s town centre development (along with eight wasted years and hundreds of thousands of pounds) the Accord administration launched a very genuine consultation – developed in consultation with local residents – that would go to every household in the borough.  It was initially launched online with a paper consultation planned to go through every door.

All was going to plan until a couple of weeks ago when we started to get calls and emails from residents to say they hadn’t received the consultation paper – what’s worse is that this was in areas very close to the site such as Wellesley Road, Weald Road, Gerrard Crescent and huge areas in Warley.

We hoped this would right itself but, with a week to go until the consultation ends in the past week we were still hearing this from our residents and a lengthy conversation on www.streetlife.com confirmed our worst fears.

On Saturday Cllr Russell Quirk, chair of the William Hunter Way Working Group (WHWWG), called an urgent meeting of this group tonight (6th October).  Councillors Quirk, Baker, Mynott, Sapwell and I met with officers at 7pm to discuss how this was going to be sorted out.

And sort it we did.

  • The deadline for the consultation is to be extended to 5th November 2014.
  • Every resident on the council tax register will now receive a letter reminding/informing them to complete this important survey
  • They will be able to complete it on line or have a survey sent to them
  • We will ask for further help from the Brentwood Gazette, Brentwood Weekly News and Phoenix FM (which may include taking out advertisements)

 

I am so pleased that we have been able to find a way to promote this consultation further at this late stage.  What’s better is that these “belt and braces” actions still keep us well within budget for the consultation project and assures residents that we have done everything we can to make sure every one of them has an opportunity to give us their views on the future of their town.

Make no mistake – this is important as it is about the long term future of the town which is why we are not taking it lightly.”

However, even with this unfortunate series of – now solved – problems, officers have confirmed that with well over 2,000 responses already this is the best response for a Brentwood resident consultation since records began.

St James Road: planning application for Place of Worship

UPDATE 08/06/14: THIS APPLICATION HAS BEEN WITHDRAWN

Just for clarity, the email Cllr Newberry and I have just sent to residents…

 

Application for a Place of Worship in St James Road 

We have just learned that there is a planning application for a place of worship in St James Road, Brentwood, at the above building that recently had permission granted for a dentist surgery.  You can see the detail of the new application here.We would like to confirm that we will be standing AGAINST this proposal on the grounds of inadequate parking and the obvious ramifications this will have for the Rollason Chase area which is crippled by a lack of parking and will only get worse if congregations are allowed.

Please note, that this is not an objection on faith grounds, but on sustainability and practical grounds.

At this stage, it is just an application.  Thank you to the “concerned resident” who distributed the leaflet (you’d think local councillors would get informed but we don’t!) for which we thank them, however this said there is no public consultation.  This is incorrect – the process allows for public consultation and this is underway and will expire on 10th June 2014.

We would advise that you start compiling your views ready to submit to the council and please copy us in so we can fully represent you.

After the consultation, the council’s planning department will make a recommendation to approve or refuse the application.  At that stage, we can refer to the committee for further debate, consultation and review and overturn this.

At this stage, we don’t know what that recommendation will be but you can rest assured that we will keep you informed.

We are happy for you to pass this information on to your neighbours and they can join our local mailing list by emailing brentwoodwest.libdems@gmail.com.

Cllr Karen Chilvers & Cllr John Newberry
Brentwood West Liberal Democrat Councillors

Where’s my polling station?

So, it’s nearly time to vote! If you don’t know where to vote on Thursday 22nd 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.

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
Junction Road Victoria 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

St James Road: Attempted Dog Theft & Assault

bichon puppy

I’ve just been alerted to a very nasty assault in St James Road and ask if all local residents can help try and trace this callous git who has seriously injured a 16-week old Bichon Frise puppy (like the image above) and its owner.  Puppy is fighting for its life, poor baby, and I really hope it will be OK.

This from Brentwood Gazette, with police contact numbers:

A woman has suffered a possible broken nose after being punched in the face by a man who tried to steal her pet dog which itself has been left in a critical condition.

The 21-year-old victim’s 14-week-old Bichon Frise has been left with life threatening injuries after being kicked so hard that its leg and hip could be broken.

The man approached the young woman on a footpath off St James Road at 6.20pm on last night before asking her what breed the puppy was.

He then grabbed hold of the lead.

The victim tried to pick her pet up and was punched in the face before the man then kicked the dog, causing it serious leg and hip injuries.

The woman managed to hold on to her dog and the man ran off.

He is described as black, aged around 30, is 6ft tall and of medium build.

He was wearing a grey bobble hat, a black-hooded jacket and black jogging bottoms.

Inspector Lee Argent, of Essex Police, said: “The suspect in this case is an extremely callous man. He tried to steal this woman’s puppy and when she fought to hold onto him he caused her some nasty injuries before kicking the dog so hard its leg and hip are believed to have been broken.

“The victim has been left extremely distraught by her experience and is devastated by the injuries caused to her pet.

“The dog is currently being assessed by a vet, but his condition is very serious.”

If anyone knows who this man is or has any other information about this attack we would urge them to call Brentwood CID on 101 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Read more: http://www.brentwoodgazette.co.uk/Pet-dog-critcal-attack-dog-knapper-punched-pet/story-20784181-detail/story.html#ixzz2vOU8Sk7u

 

Brunel House: my request is denied

Brunel heavily parked

I am sorry to say that the Tory Chair and Vice-Chair of planning (Cllr Ann Coe and Cllr Linda Golding – both up for election this year) have refused me my right to refer a planning recommendation to the Planning Committee.  The application is this one, in St James Road.

This is the email I received from officers:

Your request to refer planning application reference 14/00017/FUL Brunel House, St James Road has been reviewed by the Chair, VCh and Acting Head of Planning.  It has been concluded that due to the restricted scope for member decision on this item, it being a decision on whether or not to permit an extension of time to a condition attached to a previous decision and, in view of the very challengeable nature of a refusal, which would probably be regarded as unreasonable, the Chairman agreed yesterday that this was not appropriate for referral.

The referral has therefore not been accepted and the decision notice will be issued as recommended.

I am appalled that I have been denied the right to speak to the committee on your behalf once again (this has happened to me once before and I am not aware of it happening to any other councillor) and residents have been denied the chance to outline their issues to the committee.  I have appealed, but I suspect this will fall on deaf Tory ears.

It means that the application to extend this planning permission will be extended for another three years, taking the permission up to twelve years in length.

This does not, of course, take into account the changes in this area – the parking problems and additional homes built since 2005.  The only thing we can hope is that if it hasn’t been built in nine years, perhaps it just isn’t viable.

I am sorry everyone, I tried my best, but they will do anything to undermine me I’m afraid.

 

Planning recommendations week ending 21 February 2014

lego-house

In #Brentwoodwest this week there are applications in Burntwood and St James Road (Brunel House).

Please note these are NOT yet decisions – I am able to refer to planning committee now.

2 Burntwood – CONVERSION OF EXISTING GARDEN ROOM TO HABITABLE ACCOMMODATION AND FORMATION OF SINGLE STOREY SIDE EXTENSION

Recommended for APPROVAL

Brunel House, St James Road* – VARIATION OF CONDITION 10 OF PLANNING APPROVAL 05/00989/FUL (MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT COMPRISING FOUR AND FIVE STOREY BUILDING CONTAINING 81 RESIDENTIAL FLATS, A SIX STOREY OFFICE BUILDING (2,995 SQ.M NET INTERNAL FLOOR AREA) TOGETHER WITH ASSOCIATED CAR PARKING (COMPRISING 59 OFFICE AND 43 RESIDENTIAL CAR PARKING SPACES) AND VEHICULAR ACCESS FROM ST. JAMES ROAD AND STATION APPROACH) TO EXTEND THE PERIOD FOR THE COMPLETION OF THE OFFICE BUILDING TO ALLOW THE OFFICE ACCOMMODATION TO BE BUILT WITHIN THREE YEARS FROM THE DATE OF THE NEW PERMISSION

Recommended for APPROVAL

If you have any issues with the above officer recommendations then please get in touch with me as soon as possible. The deadline for referral is midday on Monday 3 March 2014 to refer the above item to the Planning Committee for further discussion.

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

* Please note I have already requested that Brunel House is referred to committee on the following basis:

I would like to refer the above application on the basis that it is unreasonable to keep allowing this to be renewed – planning was originally granted nine years ago and this will extend it to twelve years, although the original condition was that the office block should be completed within 18 months of the flats being completed.  This has now been exceeded by almost five years itself.
 
Furthermore, the situation in the St James Road/Rollason Way area has changed since permission was originally granted – there are hundreds more homes with subsequent parking needs than originally planned and there are immense issues with parking in the area that are unresolvable.  There is also an office block opposite (1 St James Road) that is also unoccupied, despite being completed for some years.