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.


Ward budget news: Flowers!

With just £190 left to spend in this year’s ward budget, we approached housing to see if there was anything we could do to help our elderly residents.

I am pleased to say we have now applied to spend that money at Chichester House for hanging baskets and Victoria Court for some plants for the communal gardens.

Wad budget spend: Church tent bought for Church Youth Group

John and I have spent another £650 of our ward budget on a tent for the Kings Chase Baptist Church’s Youth Group,  This has been approved and the great thing is that this will be used for a variety of events for groups of all ages but the main reason is so that when the youth group go away, they can all eat together in a communal tent, whatever the weather!

Hardworking, conscientious council officer cares for sick father whilst continuing to diligently perform key role…

…not quite the Daily Mail headline – but then that wouldn’t sell papers would it?

A statement from Lib Dem Deputy Leader on Jo-Anne Ireland and her current working arrangements:

Dear Resident,

Today, The Mail on Sunday published an article about Brentwood Council’s Acting CEO, Jo-Anne Ireland. You may already have seen it in the newspaper. If not, you can read it here

If you read the quote from William Lloyd (Deputy Leader) before the rest of the article (it’s buried right at the end), you might see that there are two sides to this story. Miss Ireland is paying all her own expenses, so there is no additional cost to the taxpayer. As the article itself says, she has spent 8 days in Brentwood this month and 10 days in January. That works out as 50% of her time spent in the office. I can vouch for the fact that she is easily contactable via email and/or phone for the rest of the week and indeed, into the evenings and weekends.

Looking at this situation another way, we’re in a period of transition, with a new CEO starting in March. We, the Accord Administration, decided that we didn’t want to lose our most senior officer in the run up to the new CEO starting. Allowing Miss Ireland to work part of the time from Cyprus was a management decision taken to retain her essential experience and make sure we had continuity during the transition to the new CEO. This is also the time when we set the budget and, as the most senior finance officer, losing Miss Ireland would have caused a number of problems.
Miss Ireland would have stayed in Brentwood until after May this year and the transition to a new officer would have been smooth and not at all newsworthy. Unfortunately, her father had a stroke late last year. He lives on Cyprus, so her plans to move there had to be accelerated. We are fortunate that Miss Ireland has been so willing to work with us at this time. She could have resigned with immediate effect and we would then have had to recruit interim staff at a much higher cost while looking for a permanent replacement.
I hope that this gives you a different perspective on the Mail article. We were only contacted at 5pm on Friday for our comments and we rapidly came to the conclusion that the journalists were working to someone else’s agenda and weren’t interested in the broader story. Please forward this to your friends so that the other side of this story can be told.
Best wishes
Cllr Graeme Clark
on behalf of the Accord Administration

Planning recommendations week ending 6th February 2015


In #Brentwoodwest this week there is an application in Drovers Mead:

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


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 16 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.

Westwood Avenue/West Park Hill pothole

I think it was 2012 that I first reported a big-ish pothole at the junction of Westwood Avenue and West Park Hill….although I was promised it would be dealt with look at what Alison found on Sunday:



We have politely asked why it has been able to get in to this state, given it has been reported a number of times to Tory-controlled Essex County Council by your Lib Dem councillors….

One Professional Scrubber coming up!

Cllr John Newberry and I are delighted to fund a piece of equipment for South Weald Parish Hall from our ward budgets.  This will help to keep the new floor, due to be installed in April, in good condition and prolong its life.

This is a “professional scrubber” which has been requested by the hall’s committee at a cost of £1280 out of our combined budget of £2,700.

SWPH is widely used across the borough and we should be proud to have it in Brentwood West and welcome groups from all over Brentwood and beyond to enjoy it.

We still have just under £800 left and we are desperate to spend it – just get in touch with some ideas.

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 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.

Warley Hill: potential crossing

In response to a resident query, I asked Cllr Kendall for an update on the crossing for Tesco Warley Hill.  He tells me:

1) The numbers of people crossing Warley Hill meets the County criteria for having a pedestrian crossing.

2) The County officers are now looking at a location for the crossing somewhere between Lorne Road and Junction Road where the pavements are wide enough to take it.

3) following discussions I’ve had with Tesco they have agreed to contribute £20,000 towards the cost of the crossing.

4) The issue is going to hopefully be progressed at the next Brentwood Local Highways meeting on March 23rd. I am hoping to get the balance of the cost allocated from our new budget at that meeting.

Planning recommendations week ending 30th January 2015


In #Brentwoodwest this week there are applications in Copper Beeches (Warley Hill) and Belvedered Road

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


Recommended for APPROVAL


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 9 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.