Essex Library Services Strategy (2019-2024)
Cllr Susan Barker, Cabinet Member for Customer and Corporate Services at Essex County Council, has 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, and the consultation survey completed, at: www.essex.gov.uk/libraries-consultation.
The survey can be completed either as an individual or on behalf of an organisation. Printed copies and EasyRead versions can be obtained from a local library or by calling 0345 603 7639.
During the consultation period ECC will also be holding information drop-ins at local libraries, providing a further opportunity for residents to ask questions, complete the consultation survey and find out more.
The deadline for completing the survey is midnight on Wednesday 20th February 2019.
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 has 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 is 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 can be found, and filled in on-line, at:
Hard copies of the survey are also available on request, either by:
- Phone: 01245 291600
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Post: PFCC for Essex, Kelvedon Park, London Road, Rivenhall, Witham, Essex, CM8 3HB
The survey closes 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
Paying More for Policing – Your Opinion was Being Sought…
Do you want to see an improved Police Service in Essex? And are you willing to pay more Council Tax to provide it? Those were questions being asked in a survey by Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex.
Essex residents’ opinions were being sought about increasing resources for Essex Police and also policing priorities for the county.
Funding for Essex Police comes from two sources – central Government and local Council Tax. Taking these two funding sources into account, Essex Police receives the second lowest funding per resident of any police force in the country and has one of the lowest Council Tax precepts for policing. Next year (2019) the police are also expecting significant additional costs from increases in police officer pay, higher insurance costs and changes to police officer pensions. There will also be costs as a result of extending the police’s Airwave radio system due to delays in the roll out of the National Emergency Services Communication Programme.
Roger Hirst said: “I want to provide the best possible policing service, which is what the people of Essex rightly deserve. Increasing investment will help the Chief Constable deliver this. I am working hard to lobby the Government but we cannot yet know the scale of any increase in central Government funding. I can of course raise the policing precept. Before I do that I wanted to know what people thoiught.”
In 2017 Mr Hirst carried out a similar survey, which received more than 5,000 responses. Approximately two thirds of the people who answered (65%) said they would be prepared to see the police element of local Council Tax increased by more than two per cent, so that more money could be made available for policing in Essex. More than half were prepared to pay up to £20 more per year.
Mr Hirst said: “In light of the results from last year’s survey, I raised the policing element of the Council Tax by up to £12, or £1 a month, for a Band D property. (The Band D Council Tax amount for policing in Essex for 2018/19 is £169.02 per year). This increase, together with the £450 million in police funding secured nationally from the Government last year, allowed Essex Police to recruit 150 more frontline officers, bringing the total amount of Essex Police officers to at least 3,000. These additional officers are being recruited and trained and will be arriving in local communities by February 2019.”
The survey was an opportunity for residents to have their opinions about paying more for policing taken into account as part of the decision making process. It could be filled in online at: http://www.essex.pfcc.police.uk/policing-precept-survey-2018/.
The survey went live on Tuesday November 6th but closed at midnight on Tuesday November 27th.
Note: The survey only reflected the policing element of the Council Tax precept and not the precept relating to Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.
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.
DaRT F315 Bus Service - Timetable Changes
Following customer feedback, a couple of timetable changes to the F315 bus service between Halstead and Sudbury were effective from 12th February 2018.
The first bus from Halstead now leaves at 7.30am to enable customers to more comfortably link with Sudbury trains to London, while the last bus leaves Sudbury a quarter of an hour earlier, at 7.15pm, in order to reduce waiting time on the bus.
Full details of the service and the new timetable 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.