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.


Tesco Warley Hill – parking chaos update

tesco shuts evry little storeI’m sure everyone has been delayed on Warley Hill by the parking problems caused by the new store….we gave you an update in August on a number of things we were trying to do including the introduction of double yellow lines.

This is now being progressed and a consultation is currently underway (see the signs on Warley Hill).  This probably explains it best:

The South Essex Parking Partnership (Borough of Brentwood)

(On Street Parking and Waiting Restrictions)

(Amendment No.19) Order 201*


Since the opening of the Tesco store in Warley Hill, Brentwood Councillors have received complaints that vehicles are parking outside the store causing congestion and traffic flow issues, along with reduced sight lines when vehicles exit Tesco car park. Warley Hill, on the east side of the road outside the Tesco store, is subject to a prohibition of waiting from Monday to Saturday between the hours of 9am to 6pm. The request from Brentwood Borough Councillors is to replace the current restriction with a prohibition of waiting at all times (double yellow lines) so that enforcement can be carried out at all times. It is acknowledged that some vehicles park on the current restriction during the prohibited time and take a chance that they will not receive a penalty charge notice. However, it is generally agreed that double yellow lines are more respected and may reduce the amount of vehicles parked in contravention.

The proposed Order will better facilitate the passage of traffic using the road and improve sight lines, at all times, for vehicles exiting Tesco’s car park; which will avoid danger to persons or other traffic using the road and for preventing the likelihood of any such danger arising.

This is a transcript of the order that lets you know what to do if you wish to support or object the proposals, the deadline is 6th February:

The South Essex Parking Partnership (Borough of Brentwood) (On Street Parking and Waiting Restrictions) (Amendment No.19) Order 201*

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Chelmsford City Council acting on behalf of the South Essex Parking Partnership in exercise of the delegated powers of the traffic authority Essex County Council granted under an agreement dated 31 March 2011 (and subsequently varied by Deed of Variation on 15th June 2011 and 27 July 2012) proposes to make the above Order under Sections 1(1), 2 (1) to (3), 4(1), 4(2) and Parts III and IV of Schedule 9 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

Effect of the Order: To revoke the ‘No Waiting Mon-Sat 9am-6pm’ waiting restriction and substitute with ‘No Waiting At Any Time’ waiting restriction on the following length of Warley Hill in the Borough of Brentwood: 

East Side from a point 15 metres north of its junction with Woodman Road in a northerly direction for a distance of 119 metres

This Order will be incorporated into The Borough of Brentwood (On-Street Parking and Waiting Restrictions) Order No.131 by substituting Area Code plan S51 Rev15 to Rev16.

A copy of the proposed Order, of the plans of the restrictions, and of the Order to be amended together with a copy of this Notice and a Statement of Reasons for proposing the Order are available in the Civic Reception, Civic Centre, Chelmsford CM1 1JE and Brentwood Borough Council, Town Hall, Ingrave Road, Brentwood CM15 8AY where they may be inspected during normal office hours, or online at www.chelmsford.gov.uk.

If you wish to object to the proposed Order or write in support of it you should either send an e-mail to trafficreg@chelmsford.gov.uk or write to the undersigned stating the reasons for your objection or support by 6th February 2015

Dated: 15th January 2015


Working with residents in Firsgrove Crescent


It was gloomy, rainy and we even had snow but Cllr Newberry and I also had a very professional, friendly and fruitful meeting on Saturday morning!  We met the group from Firsgrove Crescent in Vaughan Williams Way to study the wooded area behind their homes.  The problem was that the council, with every good intention, had started to clear this woodland but this is the screen for these residents from the substantial Clements Park development.

We agreed in the end that they would prefer to maintain it themselves, calling off the council for all but essential maintenance.  There’s pocket money to be earnt here for the kids in that road!

This is a council administration – The Accord – that listens to its residents and we were happy to make that happen.

Securing a future for Hopefield (we hope)

leona lewis supports hopefield@Hopefield_Essex

I have called an urgent meeting of my Community Committee on Tuesday 27th January 2015 at 6.45pm with one agenda item – making Hopefield Animal Sanctuary a Community Asset.  It is a public meeting at the Town Hall so please come along and show your support for Hopefield and this important step in protecting it.  The agenda will be published HERE on Monday.

I was on Phoenix FM today talking about it.  Our vision in the Lib Dems, headed by Cllr Barry Aspinell, is to expand and enhance Hopefield to make it a tourist attraction and one of the first steps is to protect it as a Community Asset.  This means that Tesco would not be able to sell the land without telling Hopefield and we would then have six months to raise the funds (you can give them a head start by making a donation here).

The other issue surrounding Hopefield is the fact that it is an identified site in the consultation on the future of Brentwood.  I would like to see this site rejected as a potential development site and we need you to let us know if you agree with us.  Have your say HERE.

Cllr Aspinell would like to see the land changed to recreation and Hopefield also want this – you can sign the petition HERE.

So, a recap for all Hopefield lovers:

1. Attend the meeting at the Town Hall on 27/01 at 6.45pm OR watch the webcast OR write to me in support.

2. Complete the consultation having your say on the Hopefield land and how it should be designated.

3. Sign the petition

4. Join the Hopefield Facebook site- https://www.facebook.com/hopefieldsanctuary?fref=ts or follow them on Twitter @Hopefield_Essex

5. Donate!


Planning recommendations week ending 16th January 2015


In #Brentwoodwest this week there is an application in Crescent Road:

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


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 26 January 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.


Boutique Cinema – it can be done in William Hunter Way

Cafe Kitchen

Genesis-neon 320x230Six years ago, I suggested that a small, boutique cinema would be perfect for Brentwood – and the Tories laughed at me and continued with their horrible monstrosity until it finally died last year.

On Monday, the William Hunter Working Group had the pleasure of hearing that this CAN work and proved it by giving us a virtual tour of the Genes in Mile End.

I could have kissed him!

We councillors, especially Cllr Morrissey and me, were so excited we looked the cinema up on our phones (this is a pretty informal meeting) and were delighted to hear of things like new films, classic films, blankets on your knees and posh pie and mash!

Further investigation showed the marvellous offer of marmalade sandwiches to accompany a morning showing of Paddington!

This is what Brentwood needs and residents seemed to agree…to the point where you could almost reach out and touch the excitement and enthusiasm in the room.



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.

16 Westwood Avenue: appeal against refusal

I have received a letter telling me that the applicant has appealed against the refusal of the development at 16 Westwood Avenue.  As I recall, this was recommended for refusal by officers and was duly refused.

The council will, of course, defend its position strongly and there have been previous refusals on this site.

If you wish to make your views known you can do so by writing to The Planning Inspectorate, Room3/09, Eagle Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6PN or by writing to the council.  The reference is H1515/A/14/2228457.  Three copies must be sent and the deadline is 23rd January 2015.

I hope the planning inspector holds up all the objections made so far.

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 meeting – Monday 5th Jan 2015

whw sign

Everyone is invited along to the latest meeting of the William Hunter Way working group meeting tomorrow (Monday) to discuss the future of Brentwood.  I am proud to be part of this group as we have advanced this project significantly in six months and are now in a position to move forward having extensively consulted the people of Brentwood through a borough wide consultation (something the LibDems were calling for back in 2006).  The results of this consultation are HERE.

Now, there are still concerns about any potential development from those close to the site and I have gone on record to say that I am still not wildly enthusiastic about the introduction of a cinema BUT I am elected to represent the people, not force my views on to you so, with the benefit of robust information from the people of Brentwood West and beyond I will vote according to their wishes.  In a nutshell, if a proposal is not right for Brentwood…I just won’t support it but, if it is, then I look forward to seeing a great development in our town that will make us sustainable for the future.

But anyway, do come along and discuss it with us tomorrow – it’s usually an enjoyable meeting!