Have your say on Essex County Council’s budget priorities
Residents and businesses have the opportunity to tell Essex County Council about their priorities for spending in the next financial year through an online budget consultation.
The insights gained from the survey will be used to help inform thinking as the Council develops its spending plans for 2020/21.
Every year ECC spends around £2 billion on essential services for the people of Essex such as social care, highways and education. However for every £1 the County Council received five years ago from government to fund these services, only 37p is received today. More and more people that live in the county are accessing and using ECC services, but costs are also increasing.
Leader of the Council, Cllr David Finch, said: “Our effectiveness as a Council was confirmed last week when for the second year running, Essex was named in the top ten most productive councils by the consultants Impower.
“But year on year, the money we receive from Government has been reducing, meaning that we have to make very important and sometimes difficult decisions on where we spend it, and where we could make savings. We are also affected by factors such as inflation and the National Living Wage in the same way all large employers are.
“That is why we are consulting with residents and local businessesin Essex, to find out what their priorities are. We have already had to make over £370m of savings over the past five years, so it really is important to gather the views and ideas from residents and businesses before the planning process begins.”
The consultation can be accessed here:https://consultations.essex.gov.uk/rci/budget-consultation-2020/
Community Information Day
A Community Information Day is being held at the Braintree Museum on Thursday 28th November. The aim of the event is to showcase and promote many of the services available in Braintree District for older people, including those living with dementia and their carers and those at risk of loneliness and social isolation.
The event is free to enter and more details of the venue and timings can be found here.
Braintree's Essex Energy Switch
This scheme is designed to help residents get a better deal on their gas and electricity bills. See here for full details.
Local Plan Update
Braintree District’s Local Plan was submitted to the Planning Inspector in October 2017 and public hearings were held in January and May 2018 to consider Section 1 of the Plan.
This Strategic Section 1 Plan is also shared with two other North Essex Authorities, Colchester Borough and Tendring District Councils, and examines policies for local developments in North Essex, including proposals for three new Garden Communities.
In June 2018 the Planning Inspector agreed that 716 homes needed to be built in Braintree District each year until 2033. However, he considered that the Section 1 Plan, as submitted, was not sound and needed significantly more work, particularly in relation to the Garden Communities, which the three NEAs felt were the best solution to protecting existing towns and villages against urban sprawl.
The NEAs agreed to act in concert to carry out the further work required on the evidence base and a sustainability appraisal and then submit their revised strategic proposals for the Inspector’s examination.
In December 2018 a pause in the planning process was announced to enable this work to take place.
During the early part of this year the NEAs undertook another sustainability appraisal, produced more documents for the evidence base and made suggestions for additional Local Plan amendments.
After consideration by BDC these changes were put forward for public consultation before being resubmitted to the Planning Inspector.
The consultation period closed on the 30th September.
Online information on the amendments and changes can be found at www.braintree.gov.uk/NEAtechS1. The same information, together with copies of the consultation documents, is available in local libraries.
After this public consultation a report for the NEAs will be produced, detailing the Inspector’s conclusions and recommendations and including any further modifications required for the Local Plan. Another public consultation will then be needed before the Inspector’s report is completed.
Section 2 of the Local Plan, which only contains site specific policies/allocations for Braintree District, remains with the Planning Inspectorate – it will only be considered once Section 1 has progressed.
Extended GP Surgery Hours
It is now possible to get an evening or weekend appointment with a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional at one of six NHS Extended Access Hubs across Essex, including the Elizabeth Courtauld Surgery in Halstead. Further information about where the Extended Access Hubs are located, their opening times and how to book an appointment can be found in the NHS Information Leaflet here.
Braintree District Council's Corporate Strategy Consultation
What do you think Braintree District Council's priorities should be during the next four years?
It is now consulting on its Corporate Strategy for 2020-2024 and residents have a chance to say what they think its focus should be over the next four years.
It’s important that BDC meets the needs of the district and addresses some of the challenges that communities and businesses are facing; everyone taking part in this consultation will be part of making that happen.
The survey can be found at www.braintree.gov.uk/cs2020-24
Concessionary Bus Pass Consultation - Park and Ride Services
Essex County Council was consulting on the use of older persons' bus passes on County Council run Park and Ride services in Essex.
It was also consulting on making a reduced charge for people using the disability-based bus pass before 9am on these services.
The consultation period finished on 31st July.
Please note: neither of these proposals will affect the use of bus passes on normal local bus services.
Parish Council Maintains Foundation Status
Great Maplestead Parish Council has maintained its Foundation Level status in the Local Council Award Scheme, an accreditation that will remain current for the four-year duration of the next Council.
This accolade is a significant endorsement not only of the Council’s best working practices but also of the high standards that it has succeeded in achieving.
The Scheme’s panel were particularly complimentary about the Council’s website, how active the village appears to be and how all their Foundation Level standards were fully met. Their verdict: "This application demonstrated all round competence and professionalism. No hesitation in recommending renewal of Foundation level. A comprehensive coverage of village life."
Needless to say, this puts the Council in an excellent position ahead of the forthcoming elections, since anybody becoming a new Councillor can be sure they will be joining a team that delivers properly recognised and effective Parish governance.
Parish Council Election – May 2019
On Thursday 2nd May all the Council's seven seats were offered for election – the existing Councillors remained in post until the 6th May, when they officially retired and the new Council came into office.
The election results for the seven Parish Councillor postions can be found here.
A new District Councillor was also elected on 2nd May - the result of this ballot can be found here.
Braintree Council's Statement of Community Involvement
Braintree District Council published its revised Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) for public consultation.
This document explains how the Council will involve local people in planning – setting out who and how it will engage with residents and stakeholders. This engagement will include public consultation of the Local Plan, Neighbourhood Plan and Supplementary Planning Documents, making comments on planning applications and how the Council will assist Neighbourhood Planning areas or forums.
The current SCI was adopted in 2013. Sections on how the Council intends to carry out Local Plan and Planning Application consultations, and the level of support it gives Neighbourhood Planning, have been updated. These updates take into account changes in Government regulations and communications technology.
The document can be found on the Council’s website at www.braintree.gov.uk/ConsultLP and is also available to view at the Council’s offices at Causeway House in Braintree.
The consultation period closed on Monday 11th March at 5pm.
Braintree Council's Community Transport Scheme
Community Transport has been in operation for 20 years and is a service dedicated to providing subsidised transport to non-profit making groups and individuals within Braintree District. It can provide ad hoc, one-off or regular transport using minibuses or cars:
Minibus Scheme for Group Hire
Five fully accessible 12-seater minibuses are available, either with a driver or on a self-drive basis. Annual membership is £25, with a mileage rate of £1.50/mile (the minimum fare is £35). So a local trip of under 20 miles would cost just £35.
Groups can use the service for visits to places of interest (seaside/stately homes), ad hoc/weekly shopping trips, pub lunch outings etc.
Multiple buses may be hired and can be used for trips anywhere in the UK.
Social Car Scheme for Individual Hire
Cars are available with a driver Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 5.00pm. Annual membership is £20, and trips cost £3.50 up to5 miles one way or £7.00 return. The service can be used for access to the local community and services, shopping, keeping health-related doctor or hospital appointments, social outings or visits to friends and family.
Passengers can be taken to and from anywhere within Braintree District – the exceptions are for hospital visits in Chelmsford and Colchester, where a drop-off service only is available.
Dial-A-Ride Scheme for Individual Wheelchair Users
For people who use mobility aids, need to travel in their wheelchair, or cannot get into a car, a specially-equipped minibus with a tail lift and low access steps is available, under similar terms to the Social Car Scheme.
E-mail any questions you may have about the scheme to: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 01376 557 883.
Further details are available at: www.braintree.gov.uk/communitytransport
Braintree, Halstead & Witham Citizens Advice
From 14th January there have been changes to the way in which to contact Citizens Advice - the new arrangements are detailed here.
DaRT F315 Bus Service - Timetable Changes
Following further customer feedback, there are some more timetable changes to the F315 bus service between Halstead and Sudbury.
Full details of the revised service and the Winter 2018/19 timetable can be found here.
Essex Library Services Strategy (2019-2024)
Cllr Susan Barker, Cabinet Member for Customer and Corporate Services at Essex County Council, launched a survey to enable Essex residents to help make decisions about the future of Essex Library Services.
ECC recognises that library services play a unique and valued role in society but, in the last five years, library use in Essex has slumped: book loans have almost halved and fewer than one in five residents use libraries. The current service therefore needs to change to fit the way people live now and in the future.
Earlier in the year residents were asked for their views on their library service. As a result, a set of proposals has been developed, which are set out in a five-year plan draft strategy document.
This draft strategy outlines a service that:
• Keeps books and reading at the heart of the library service offer
• Embraces digital technology and e-library services
• Has a smaller number of libraries that better meet community needs
• Works in partnership with communities to run library services.
Essex County Council need to run a library service that is viable and relevant to people’s lives. The strategy proposals therefore include some significant changes to the current service, which is why ECC are seeking residents’ views.
More information about the proposals can be found at: www.essex.gov.uk/libraries-consultation.
During the consultation period ECC also held information drop-ins at local libraries, providing further opportunities for residents to ask questions, complete the consultation survey and find out more.
The consultation period closed at midnight on Wednesday 20th February.
All the consultation responses will be analysed and the findings published on the consultation website. These will also be available on request for those without internet access. Any proposed changes resulting from the consultation will be considered when the strategy plan is finalised in summer 2019.
Essex Fire & Rescue Plan
Roger Hirst, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex launched a survey asking the people of Essex for their views on the priorities to be included in the county’s first ever Fire and Rescue Plan, which is needed to:
- ensure that people stay safe
- reduce the number who are killed or seriously injured
- minimise the damage to property and businesses.
The plan is being developed with input from groups and individuals who work in, alongside and with Essex County Fire and Rescue Service. The aim of the survey was to make sure that the priorities being proposed reflect what the people of Essex expect from this service.
The Plan will run from 2019 to 2024 and will be the basis on which the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service will be held to account for its performance. The document will mirror the Police and Crime Plan, which sets the priorities for policing in Essex.
The survey closed at midnight on Tuesday January 15th 2019.
Local Plan Update
Braintree District’s Local Plan was submitted to the Planning Inspector in October 2017 and public hearings were held in January and May 2018 to consider the first part of the Plan.
The Strategic Section 1 is shared with Colchester Borough and Tendring District Councils and contains 10 strategic policies for developments in North Essex, as well as proposals to create three new Garden Communities.
In June 2018 the Planning Inspector agreed that 716 homes needed to be built in Braintree District each year until 2033. However, he also said that the current plan was not sound and needed more work, particularly in relation to the Garden Communities.
After considering the Inspector’s letter the three local authorities have agreed to work together to gather further evidence – this is considered to be the best approach for Braintree District in order to protect existing towns and villages from urban sprawl.
This new evidence, along with any consequent changes to the Local Plan, will be considered at a BDC meeting before being put out for more public consultation and then consideration by the Inspector.
The next step is to agree a timetable for this work, which will be advised in due course.
Section 2 of the Plan, which only contains site specific policies/allocations for Braintree District, remains with the Planning Inspectorate – it will only be considered once Section 1 has progressed.
The two-part document can be viewed by clicking the links below:
- Section 1 – Strategic Plan for North Essex, including the proposed Garden Communities
- Section 2– Policies, maps and sites for development, housing, employment and regeneration within Braintree District
Downloadable versions of the Local Plan and its appendices, can be found at: https://www.braintree.gov.uk/publicationdraftlp
For any questions, or for further information, contact: Emma Goodings, Head of Economic Development and Planning Policy, BDC, Causeway House, Bocking End, Braintree, CM7 9HB. Phone: 01376 552 525 Ext 2511 or e-mail: email@example.com
Community Policing Team Changes
A consequence of the formation of Braintree’s Community Policing Team (CPT) in 2015 was a reduction in the number of community officers and a withdrawal of ‘beat officers’ from some local areas.
This means that local residents tend not to know who their local officers are – and the Community Policing Team is, in many cases, a faceless entity.
Since taking charge in February 2018, Inspector Colin Cox’s priorities have been to change how the local police interact with the public, encouraging greater community engagement and increasing the number of Police Officers on the Community Policing Team.
CPT numbers remain small but, in order to give residents the best possible service, Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) have now been allocated specific local areas of responsibility.
This has been done to help officers develop a culture of ownership and pride in their area, so improving their relationship with residents. This change to their way of working will also enable officers quickly to identify, and get an early understanding of, local issues and direct people towards the most suitable agency for the best help.
The local Community Officers with responsibility for the Halstead area, which includes The Maplesteads, are:
PC 3655 Craig Wheeler e-mail: Craig.Wheeler@essex.pnn.police.uk
PC 2613 Andy Pilgrim e-mail: Andy.Pilgrim@essex.pnn.police.uk
PC 2457 Paul Norman e-mail: Paul.Norman@essex.pnn.police.uk
PCSO 70714 John Thorne e-mail: John.Thorne@essex.pnn.police.uk
PCSO 70955 Joanne Cooper e-mail: Joanne.Cooper@essex.pnn.police.uk
These officers are the initial points of contact for any community concerns.
The CPT’s e-mail address – BraintreeandUttlesfordCPT@essex.pnn.police.uk – is monitored daily and residents with any questions or concerns can also use it to contact Inspector Cox or members of his team.
And remember: only call 999 for emergencies; for non-urgent enquiries call 101
Data Protection – Making Sure Your Information is Safe
With the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into law in May 2018, Great Maplestead Parish Council – as a publically-accountable body which has access to, and makes use of, your personal data – must now seek positive consents for how it uses new data in order to keep in touch.
If you have previously consented to receive information about the Council's activities, regular Meeting Agendas, Minutes, the Maplestead Magna Carta and, exceptionally, any urgent community information, the Council is permitted to continue to send you such information because there is a ‘legitimate interest’ in you continuing to receive it. You may, of course, opt out of receiving any information by advising the Clerk of your change of consent.
Each Parishioner who has not already consented to receiving information from the Council will however need to complete, sign and return a new Data Protection Consent Form, which can be downloaded here, in order to provide the necessary consents required by the GDPR. Completed forms can either be returned to the Clerk electronically or in hard copy form, or you can e-mail your acceptance of the consent form terms to the Clerk.
Full details of how the Council must in future protect and be responsible for any personal data it holds, as well as your improved rights with regard to how they are used, is contained in the Council’s Privacy Notice, which can be read here.
Changes to Essex Library Services
As a result of the Public Consultation carried out by Essex County Council at the end of 2017, Library Services across the County are now being rationalised.
This unfortunately means that, as of the 2nd April 2018, the Mobile Library no longer serves Great Maplestead; the average number of customers during its fortnightly visits latterly were fewer than one...
Further details of the Library Service changes can be found here.
Essex Energy Switch
Essex County Council is continuing its backing for a collective energy switching scheme for residents and small businesses who want to economise by cutting their gas and electricity bills.
Essex Energy Switch is a completely free, easy, safe and secure way to cut your energy bills without the frustration of having to spend time comparing prices and tariffs on various energy comparison websites.
Visit www.essex.gov.uk/energyswitch to find out more information about Essex Energy Switch, how it works and how you can benefit.
Illegal Pedlar Activity
Essex Police and Neighbourhood Watch are warning residents about reports of illegal door-to-door salesmen targetting towns across the county. More information about these pedlars is contained here. Anyone suspecting that this activity is happing in their locality is being encouraged to report it to the police by calling 101.
Community Governance Review
Braintree District Council was required to review the overall governance of all Town and Parish Councils within the District.
The review focused on:
- The appropriateness of present Town/Parish boundaries
- The numbers of Town/Parish Councillors
- Town/Parish Council names and any warding agreements
The consultation is now closed but you can find out more, and view comments, at www.braintree.gov.uk/cgr.
Essex Village of the Year Competiton 2017
Great Maplestead won a Merit Award in the 2017 Essex Village of the Year Competition, promoted by the Rural Community Council of Essex.
The Certificate was presented to the Parish Council at the RCCE AGM held at Chelmsford City Racecourse on 5th July 2017.
This is the third year running that the village has won in this competition, having gained a Merit Award in 2015 and a Class Winner's Award in 2016.
Braintree's 'Tell Me More' Initiative
Residents and businesses in Braintree District can now sign up and subscribe to a new e-mail update service on various topics of their choice, ranging from refuse recycling and street cleaning to planning news, health and well-being tips, events, job vacancies or emergency alerts.
There will also be an e-mail newsletter especially for businesses in the district.
Life-Saving Defibrillator installed at the Village Hall
Great Maplestead Parish Council, with help from a Department of Health funding programme, has acquired a Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) and taken delivery of a Call Push Rescue (CPR) training kit provided by the British Heart Foundation.
Knowledge of the correct use of the defibrillator, and the proper administration of CPR, is essential to successfully help someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest – quick action is the key to survival in such an emergency.
In 2017 the Council organised two, free, Community Training Sessions to enable as many parishioners as possible to become potential life-savers.
If you were unable to attend these training sessions but would like more information about use of the defibrillator and carrying out CPR, please go to: https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/how-to-save-a-life/how-to-do-cpr.
Community Information Leaflet
Following discussions with parishioners, the Parish Council has produced this Community Information leaflet, containing details of – and showing how people can access – the different services, amenities and activities provided in, and by, the community. A copy was distributed to every household in the Parish in May 2017.
The leaflet is a compact, convenient centralised source of information, which it is hoped will be of benefit both to existing residents and newcomers to the village. It also includes details about whom to contact with regard to community help for residents; for information about the availability of more informal assistance we would suggest contacting either of the Church Wardens, or the Parish Clerk.
For reasons of space, the leaflet – which will be updated as and when there are any major changes to its content – can only highlight some of the Parish’s many services, activities and amenities; more details about all of these, and many others, can be found on this website.
The Council would welcome any comments/suggestions to help improve the usefulness of future editions.
According to Essex Police and the North East Essex Badger Group there has been a recent increase in badger persecution locally. Details of how to deal with outbreaks can be found here.
Power Cut 105 - A New Number to Call in an Emergency...
WHAT IS 105?
105 is a new three-digit number you can call to report or get information about electrical power cuts. You can also call 105 with any welfare concerns related to a power cut, or if you are concerned about the safety of over or underground electricity cables or substations.
105 is free of charge and will put you through to your electricity network operator – you can call 105 from most landlines and mobile phones. Launched in September 2016, 105 is available throughout England, Scotland and Wales.
The website powercut105.com will also provide you with information and direct you to your power network operator.
WHY IS IT BEING INTRODUCED?
People often don’t know who to call to report, or get updates about, power cuts, with many wrongly calling the energy supply companies they pay their bills to.
105 aims to solve this problem, providing you with an easy-to-remember number that will put you straight through to your local electricity network operator. This is particularly important when there is bad weather, as severe storms can cause major disruption to electricity supply to homes and businesses.
105 is just one of the ways you can contact your network operator, who can still be contacted directly either by phone on their 0800 number or via their website – most can be reached through social media too.
WHO IS BEHIND 105?
105 is jointly funded by the electricity network operators, who are the companies that manage and maintain the underground cables, overhead lines and substations that bring electricity into homes and businesses.
There are several electricity network operators – the larger ones each cover a different region within Great Britain. Wherever you live, 105 will put you through to the right network operator.
105 IS SUPPORTED BY THE GOVERNMENT
“British families and businesses need to know where to turn if they find themselves without power during severe weather or other incidents. Having a single three-digit number cuts through the confusion and puts people in touch with the information they need, when they need it”.
Rt Hon Amber Rudd
Former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
Essex Village of the Year Competiton 2016
Great Maplestead won the Class Award for villages of 400 inhabitants or fewer in the 2016 Essex Village of the Year Competition, promoted by the Rural Community Council of Essex.
The Certificate was presented to the Parish Council, along with a cheque for £150, at the RCCE AGM held at Chelmsford City Racecourse on 6th July 2016.
Scuppering the Scammers
Fraudsters and other scammers are increasingly targeting vulnerable people by phone or e-mail in their efforts to obtain personal information such as bank and credit card details. Unfortunately, because many of the scams are so plausible, many people fall for them with sometimes devastating consequences. Information about the most common scams, and how to guard against and avoid becoming a victim of them can be found here.
Dog Walkers can help cut crime...
Essex Police have instigated Dog Watch, an initiative whereby dog walkers can sign up to become the eyes and ears of their community in a bid to reduce local crime. Details can be found here.
Lost or Stolen Dog?
There have been a number of recent cases of dogs being either lost or, more probably, stolen in the local area. Essex Police have therefore issued some useful guidance and advice on the matter.
Essex Best Kept Village Competiton 2015
Great Maplestead won a Merit Award in the 2015 Essex Best Kept Village Competition, promoted by the Rural Community Council of Essex.
The Certificate was presented to the Parish Council on 8th July 2015 and will be displayed in the Village Hall.
Supefast Wireless Broadband (up to 32Mb upload & download) for residential and business use has been available in Great Maplestead since 15th April 2015. More information about the service, and how to join it, can be found here.
Great Maplestead Parish Council was awarded the new Foundation Level of the Local Council Award Scheme - click here to read more.