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  • Flood protection
    Article: Jul 10, 2020

    Increases in flooded homes, heat-related deaths and water shortages. This is what Essex can expect if we don't act on climate change now, according to this week's meeting of the Essex Climate Action Commission.

    Members heard about the devastating impact of not taking decisive action on the climate challenge - and the importance of a twin-track approach to reduce emissions and build resilience.

  • Article: Jul 10, 2020
    By Cllr Barry Aspinell
    Yesterday (July 9th) in the House of Commons David Amess, MP for Southend West, supported by Mark Francois MP for Rayleigh and Rochford, spoke with great passion against the proposals to merge essex Borough Councils.
    Amess said the proposal was "cooked up in secret by six council leaders and Chief executives without the knowledge of Essex MPs. He and Mark Francois certainly hadn't been informed nor had David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council.
  • Article: Jul 10, 2020
    By Cllr Karen Chilvers

    In 2018 I was successful in making Brentwood a 'no tolerance borough' as far as parking in disabled spaces was concerned. No ifs, no buts... if you were parked in a disabled bay without a valid blue badge you got a ticket. It was one of the highlights of my lengthy council career as this was agreed cross-party, unanimously and the result met with a round of applause - unusual for an opposition member! Having been rendered disabled by an accident in 2015, it meant a lot to me as I understood first-hand how vital these accessible and convenient spaces are.

    However, despite the initial burst of activity, in the High Street particularly, you would not now know that this was the case.

    During the High Street weekend closures, our Conservative councils of Essex and Brentwood have moved the blue badge parking to St Thomas Road. Let me put that in perspective. A disabled person on disability benefit is unlikely to be able to walk more than 50m, 20m if on high rate benefit. If lucky enough to park outside Starbucks, Boots is 30m away and it becomes possible to collect a prescription, for example, exercising some independence. From St Thomas Road, it's 292m.

    I am unsure whether our local councils don't understand or don't care, but they need to be reminded, clearly, that disability is permanent, it does not take a day off on bank holidays, during maintenance works or pandemics. I wish it would but it does not, and we need our facilities just so life can begin to be equitable.

    Cllr Karen Chilvers

    Liberal Democrat

  • Article: Jul 7, 2020
    In Leigh Times

    Carole Mulroney, Lib Dem Councillor for Leigh, Leader of Lib Dem Council group on Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and Cabinet member for Environment & Planning Development Control Committee writes in the Leigh Times.

    BEHIND every dark cloud, if you look long enough you can find a silver lining, however thin that lining may be.

  • Cash (Telegraph)
    Article: Jul 5, 2020

    The latest review of Chelmsford City Council's finances reveals that the gap has now widened to £9.5 million, compared to the balanced budget that was set in February. A month ago, the gap was looking like £8.6 million, even after allowing for some funding from the Government, and it could rise further.

    The financial picture is laid out in a comprehensive report to the City Council's Cabinet meeting on 8 July. The report attempts to look at prospects for the next five years, and makes estimates in the light of the enormous blow dealt to its funding by the coronavirus pandemic.

    The pandemic has had a major impact on the finances of every local authority in the country, as cash from theatres, events, car parks, properties and leisure centres has vanished, while extra spending had to be found to help with pandemic management. The cash from these charges make up over half of the Council's total income and pays for services like emptying bins, recycling collection, street cleaning, housing the homeless and community safety.

    Councillor Stephen Robinson, Leader of Chelmsford City Council, said, "Almost 15% of the council's annual income has vanished. This huge shortfall can't easily be fixed just by 'cutting back a little' - it's a real threat to the most vital services we provide. At the start of the crisis, the Government told councils to step up to help our communities and we did - like we always do. The Government said they would do everything needed to get us through this crisis. Now they need to stick to that promise and support local councils.

    "The City Council only receives 11% of council tax and 4% of business rates, and very little Government funding in an ordinary year, so to compensate for this lack of income we will need support from the Government."

    Councillor Chris Davidson, Cabinet Member for Fairer Chelmsford, said, "Before the pandemic, Chelmsford City Council was in a relatively strong financial position, so we are better placed than some councils in other areas, who are now really struggling. We will do everything we can to mitigate the impact of this crisis on our residents and keep our most essential services running, but it is an extremely difficult situation. Without significant extra Government support, the Council may be unable to provide residents' most basic and vital services."

    Councillor Marie Goldman, Cabinet Member for Connected Chelmsford, added, "I would like to thank the wonderful residents who have shown how much they care about local services since the scale of the financial problem became clear. We have received suggestions through Facebook for raising extra funding to keep services going, from people kindly offering to litter-pick their neighbourhoods to ideas for running events during lockdown. These are difficult times for everyone and it's good to know that Chelmsford stands together in protecting the services that help our most vulnerable."

    The full agenda for the meeting has just been published at

  • Article: Jul 3, 2020

    The Park & Ride service from Sandon, east of Chelmsford, and Colchester will reopen on Monday 6 July 2020; but not the Chelmer Vally site, north of Chelmsford.

    Initially they will run to a reduced timetable between 7am-7pm Monday to Saturday, but passengers are advised to check the website or Social Media before traveling for any updates or changes, which could occur due to essential operational reasons.

  • Article: Jul 2, 2020
    By Gary MacDonnell

    There is much speculation in the media that the Conservative Government will make moves to change the current system around Planning Permissions. The clear inference drawn from rumours, noting that nothing official has yet been forthcoming, is that getting planning consent will become an easier and quicker process tied in with drive to get Britain building again. Bringing forward key large-scale developments and infrastructure works to operate as driving force in the post Covid 19 economic recovery.

  • Article: Jun 28, 2020

    Your local Liberal Democrat Councillors have received many calls and emails from residents in Brentwood North regarding the anti-social behaviour that is taking place during the evenings in the area of William Hunter Way car park. The Council has dealt with these issues in the past, many times, with varying degrees of success.

  • Leigh & West Leigh special online Focus June/July 2020 ()
    Article: Jun 24, 2020

    Click here to read in full.

    If you enjoy reading our Focuses and would like to help with delivery, please click here to volunteer.

  • Chelmsford High Street people (pre-Covid19)
    Article: Jun 23, 2020

    Chelmsford businesses will receive targeted support from the City Council, following a COVID-19 impact survey. 93.5% of respondents said the pandemic has negatively affected their business. Overwhelmingly, those affected say they have lost income (89%) and nearly two thirds have reported cash flow problems (63%). More than a third of this group (37%) say they face the threat of having to lay off staff.

    Chelmsford City Council's 'Business Recovery Survey' has also revealed local firms' concerns for the future. Around half of the 416 businesses responding to the survey say they are currently 'surviving' (53%), but a large number (43%) would describe their business as being in 'crisis'. Many are pessimistic about their prospects of recovery over the next 12 months, with 45% unsure whether they will still be operating in a year's time. A small proportion (2.5%) say they expect to be gone within a year.

    The Council carried out the survey to get a detailed understanding of the challenges faced by local businesses so that effective support can continue to be made available. Many businesses have already used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (56.5%), and a similar number have reported making use of a Small Business Grant (53%). Access to information, financial advice and short and longer-term capital are among the key things companies say they will need in the future.

    Councillor Martin Bracken, Cabinet Deputy for the Economy and Small Business, says this information will be crucial in designing help to keep small firms going:

    "So many of our Chelmsford businesses, like others all over the country, are fighting for survival and we must do everything we can to help. We're grateful to the hundreds of firms that have completed our survey and the Council has already been in touch with respondents to help them find appropriate advice and support.

    "We will share the results of this survey with our business support partners like BEST Growth Hub and Back to Business Essex so they too can learn from these important findings."

    Chelmsford City Council is using the results of the survey to help inform the Council's forthcoming economic renewal plan. The Council's Economic Development team is also utilising the survey to signpost businesses to resources to help businesses to move online and make better use of technology. More information for businesses can be found at