A New Vision for Essex Libraries.

Residents across Essex now have an opportunity to influence Essex County Council’s draft vision for its Library Service.

'Everyone’s Library Service 2022-2026 Draft Plan' has just been published and some of its commitments include helping children and adults improve their literacy, encouraging people to enjoy reading for pleasure and increasing the range of online resources available to library users.

The plan also commits to keeping all 74 libraries in Essex open, with new investment in training and development for library staff.

It also sets out three key aims for the next four years and details how these will be achieved:

1     Library Service and Literacy

      • Books, e-books, digital and online.
      • Supporting children to be school ready and helping adults to improve their literacy.
      • Building people’s confidence in reading.
      • Nurturing people’s love for books.

2     Infrastructure and Communications

      • Improving the Library infrastructure (buildings and IT).
      • Creating welcoming, accessible places that also provide more opportunities for communities to use.
      • Thinking of new ways to communicate and engage with residents so they know what is on offer.

3     Supporting our communities and levelling up

      • Making sure all residents have the same access to the support and skills they need to achieve their aspirations, regardless of where they live in the county.
      • Improving opportunities for everyone, locally and countywide.
      • Encouraging new users and thinking of new ways to attract them.

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community, Equality, Partnerships and Performance, Cllr Louise McKinlay says: “We want to give residents a Library Service that everyone can be proud of – one that will enhance lives and help communities to thrive. The draft plan sets out how we aim to do this.

“We don’t want to just rebuild to where we were before the pandemic, we want to go further and create a Library Service that is modern, vibrant and sustainable, with improved access, better facilities and providing more opportunities for local people. Libraries are a key tool to help us to deliver our Levelling Up agenda right across Essex.

“However, before any decisions are made, we want to hear what residents think of the proposals in the draft plan. This is an opportunity to help mould what libraries in Essex will look like in the future and I encourage people to make their views known so these can be considered before the plan is finalised.”

It is important that people give their views on the proposals; you can do so either online, in person at one of the engagement events being planned for early next year or by phone via ECC’s customer service centre: 0345 603 7633.

The draft plan and survey can be found at

The consultation period ends at 1.00pm on 21st January 2022.


Green Homes Grant Scheme

A Green Homes Grant could make your home more energy efficient and save you money this winter.

This scheme is a UK Government funded initiative, supporting local projects to make energy-saving home improvements, helping to reduce household fuel bills, make homes warmer and lower carbon emissions.

How much is the grant?

Grants of up to £10,000 are available for the installation of energy efficiency measures e.g. insulation, double glazing, heating systems and solar panels.

Who can benefit from the scheme and is it free?

The grant is available for both owner-occupied and rented properties. For owner-occupied properties, the grant will cover the full costs of any work. For rented properties, landlords must contribute a minimum of 33% towards the cost of the work (maximum grant for landlords is £5000).

To be eligible, a household must have an annual income of less than £30,000 or an annual income of less than £20,000 after housing costs (mortgage/rent & council tax) with a property EPC banding of between D – G.

How is the service delivered and accessed?

Warmworks is the Managing Agent who will be delivering the scheme in Essex and supporting residents’ access to this funding. Following a property survey at a convenient time, by a qualified Warmworks surveyor, an improvements package that is individually designed for each household will be recommended.

Such improvements could include insulation, double/triple glazing, hot water tank insulation, new thermostats and more.

What’s the next step?

To find out if you can benefit from this scheme, complete the survey at:

Or call 0808 196 8255

If you have any queries please contact


Evolve – a new service to support Essex residents into employment and training

Essex residents who are unemployed, or whose employment and training prospects have been affected by COVID-19, can now receive one-to-one support thanks to a new service called Evolve.

Evolve provides free and personalised support to residents via an adviser who can help with employment, training and personal development opportunities. The service, funded by Essex County Council and delivered in partnership with Essex Adult Community Learning and Enable East, is available until the end of March 2022.

When facing a career change it can be difficult to know where to start. Evolve offers free information and advice from a team of highly experienced advisers across the county to help residents navigate their way. Advisers can refer residents to local services, social groups, wellbeing and mental health recovery courses and employment and training opportunities.

You can contact the Evolve team by e-mailing to book an appointment with an adviser either over the phone, by video call or in person.

To find out more about Evolve, e-mail


A12 Chelmsford to A120 Widening

Supplementary Design Consultation – 9 November to 19 December 2021

Braintree District Council has launched its Supplementary Design Consultation on National Highway’s proposed A12 Chelmsford to A120 widening scheme.

Following the Statutory Consultation which took place during the summer, the feedback received during has been considered and further design work undertaken. This Supplementary Design Consultation presents the results of that work.

The Consultation will run for almost 6 weeks, from:

Tuesday 9 November to Sunday 19 December 2021

To find out more about the proposals, visit the Highways England website. On the consultation page you will find a virtual exhibition, the consultation brochure, maps and environmental information. You will also see details of the on-line drop-in events, pick-up points and drop-in public information events.

Hard copies of the brochure and USB memory sticks will be available from the pick-up points from Thursday 11 November.

You can respond to the consultation either:

  • On-line, via the response form at
  • By downloading and completing the consultation response form available from the pick-up points listed in the brochure or on the website and returning it to FREEPOST A12 WIDENING
  • By e-mailing your response to:
  • Or by writing a response and sending it to: FREEPOST A12 WIDENING

To obtain an accessible version of the brochure (such as in a language other than English, in large text or braille), e-mail or call 0300 123 5000


Recycling glass bottles and jars just got simpler!

Effective immediately, different colours of glass bottles and jars can be mixed when they are put into the Playing Field car park glass recycling facility – clear and coloured bottles or jars can now go into any of the recycling bins…

Glass colour-sorting will be undertaken by BDC’s glass re-processor, so pre-separating bottles and jars by colour and putting them into different recycling bins is no longer necessary.

This change will allow more glass to be recycled by freeing-up unused bottle bank capacity, something that is apparently needed due to an increase in the volume of glass being deposited since last year’s lockdown.

It will also make BDC’s glass collection more efficient – using single-section collector vehicles will allow more glass to be collected every fortnight.

Over the next few weeks the bottle bank will be updated with new bin stickers – but there’s no need to wait, using any recycling bin for any colour glass can start right now!


New website to help find suitable residential and nursing care homes for older people in Essex

Essex County Council, working in partnership with the NHS, has launched a new website to help people find a suitable care home for themselves or a loved one.

The new website is

Essex Care Search can be used to find residential, nursing, dementia or respite care home vacancies for older people within the county. You can search for vacancies by location, cost, type of care and facilities in the care home.

The site has detailed information on all the homes that are registered, including contact details, CQC ratings and photographs.

Whether you are looking for short term care, longer term care, a central location with specialist room features, or an en-suite bedroom in a home by the coast, Essex Care Search can help you to find a care provider.

Cllr John Spence, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “Enabling residents to have access to a choice of quality care facilities in every part of the county is a key objective for us. We hope this new website will make that access still easier”.

Guidance and an easy step by step video to guide you through the website, can be found here.


Proposed Mobile Phone Mast Installation - Update.

After discounting a site on land adjacent to Toldish Hall Road as suitable, Telefónica is now in the process of carrying out a pre-planning consultation about now installing their radio base station (otherwise known as a mobile phone mast) on land adjacent to Little Lodge Farm on the border of Great and Little Maplestead.

The company has determined that a mast in this location will help in providing a better mobile phone service, particularly in respect of 5G and associated data services, and also allow the roll-out of smart energy metering access to customers in this area of Braintree District.

The proposed installation now comprises a 25m (75ft) mast (10m taller than previously planned) housing 3 antennas, 2 dish antennas, four radio equipment cabinets and an associated meter cabinet within a fenced compound located in the field next to the bridleway at the end of Little Lodge Lane. The location and detailed site plans can be viewed here.

As this new pre-planning consultation still affects residents of Great Maplestead, the Council considered it at its Parish Council Meeting on Wednesday 26th May, where it was decided to support Little Maplestead Parish Council's objection to the location and go with its suggested alternative site.

Further Update:

The prior approval for planning permission for this mast was refused by Braintree District Council on 22nd September 2021 because certain requirements of the application, which had been highlighted by both Parish Councils, had not been met. The detailed reasons for the refusal can be found in the decision document here.


Road Closure Information

Various local road closures to accomodate Essex CC's pothole patching programme, County Broadband's fibre-optic cable installation and Anglia Water mains repairs are being planned from time to time. Actual dates and restriction times for such operations are posted on boards in the vicinity of the work around the appropriate dates.

To get an overview of what closures are imminently planned or are currently in force within the parish, go to and drag/zoom the map to show the village. Then click the drop-down at the top right of the page and select ‘Next Two Weeks’. Clicking on the map’s roadworks signs will then give the dates of, and the reasons for, each closure.


Gosfield & Greenstead Green Ward Annual Report 2021

The Annual Report for the Braintree District Ward that includes Great Maplestead has now been issued and can be read here.


The Local Plan: Section 1 Adopted 

Braintree District Council, at the meeting of its Full Council on Monday 22nd February 2021, formally adopted the Braintree District Local Plan 2013-2033 Section 1 North Essex Authorities Shared Strategic Section 1 Plan.

The Section 1 Plan was prepared jointly by BDCColchester Borough Council and Tendring District Council – the local planning authorities (LPAs) collectively known as the North Essex Authorities (NEAs) – from the first part of each authority’s respective Local Plan.

The Section 1 Plan is designed to:

  • Articulate a spatial portrait of the North Essex area, including its main settlements and strategic infrastructure, as a framework for accommodating future planning growth;
  • Provide a strategic vision for how planning growth in North Essex will be realised;
  • Set strategic objectives and policies for key growth topics;
  • Set out the numbers of additional homes and jobs across the area that will be needed during the period to 2033.

For Braintree the Section 1 Plan includes Policy SP4, which requires a minimum of 14,320 new homes to be built over the period 2013 to 2033, an average of 716 new homes per year. Through Policy SP5, the Section 1 Plan also sets out employment land requirements for Braintree of between 20.9 and 43.3 hectares for the Plan period.

Following examination by an independent Planning Inspector, the Final Report on the Section 1 Plan was received by BDC and the other NEAs on 10th December 2020. This confirmed that, subject to the Inspector’s recommended main modifications, which have been agreed by the Council and incorporated into the adopted document, the Section 1 Plan meets the legal requirements of the national planning system and the tests of soundness contained within national planning policy, allowing it to proceed to formal adoption.

Adoption of the Section 1 Plan by BDC has the effect of replacing, in part, a number of the strategic policies contained within the Braintree District Core Strategy 2011 (adopted September 2011).

The Core Strategy (2011) and Local Plan Review (2005) will be replaced in full once Section 2 of the Local Plan, which contains further specific local policies and proposals applicable to the Braintree District only, is formally adopted.

Section 2 is currently subject to an examination by inspectors appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

The Section 1 Plan and its appendices, the Sustainability Appraisal (and addendum) and the Planning Inspector’s report are all available to view online at


Notice about the Village Playing Field

Following the illegal trespass by travellers on Saturday 13th June 2020, improving the existing security of the Village Playing Field was a priority that demanded a quick response from the Parish Council, so it consulted with the appropriate authorities, the police, other local councils and the school to ensure the continued future protection of the site. 

On the Sunday morning the Council were already considering various solutions, consulting with and taking advice from experts familiar with the positives and negatives of alternative security arrangements and also looking at some of the more effective measures used in neighbouring parishes. 

As a result the Council, under its COVID-19 Emergency Standing Orders and with the help of a small team of willing volunteers, was able to put into place enhanced security measures for the playing field on Friday 19th June, less than a week after the trespass.

PF 1 PF 2 PF 3 PF 4

Whilst these new security measures were the quickest, most effective interim arrangement to install, they have also been designed – and are intended to remain – a permanent feature. The implementation of these measures does not, however, preclude further security enhancements being investigated, considered or added should that be thought necessary in future. 

In carrying out this action the Council took into full account the need to ensure that parishioners and the school can continue to enjoy unfettered pedestrian and disabled access to the Playing Field, a precious village amenity, whilst the car park remains freely available for use by the school, visitors to the village and the community as a whole.


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.


Rural Crime

Rural Crime PosterRural crime is on the rise, but you can help Braintree District Council prevent its spread. If you have any information about a rural crime, or have seen something you think is suspicious, you can provide your information - 100% anonymously - to BDC's rural crime hotline, powered by @CrimestoppersUK, by calling 0800 783 0137. Alternatively, you may visit and make your report there.


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

BDCWhat 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


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.


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: or telephone: 01376 557 883.

Further details are available at: 


Braintree, Halstead & Witham Citizens Advice

From 14th January 2019 there have been changes to the way in which to contact Citizens Advice - the new arrangements are detailed here.


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:

PC 2613 Andy Pilgrim            e-mail:

PC 2457 Paul Norman            e-mail:

PCSO 70714 John Thorne       e-mail:

PCSO 70955 Joanne Cooper   e-mail:

These officers are the initial points of contact for any community concerns.

The CPT’s e-mail address – – 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.


Essex Energy Switch

Essex County Council is continuing its backing for a collective energy switching Energy Switchscheme 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 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.


Essex Village of the Year Competiton 2017

EVotY Award 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

Tell Me More

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 Defibrillatorprogramme, 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:


Community Information Leaflet

CI LeafletFollowing 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.


Badger Bothering

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...

Power Cut 105

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 will also provide you with information and direct you to your power network operator.



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.



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.



“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.

 Essex Village of the Year Award 2016         Essex VotY Letter

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

Essex Best Kept Village 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.



 Great Maplestead Parish Council was awarded the new Foundation Level of the Local Council Award Scheme - click here to read more.