August 2012

Weekly Diary for Week Commencing 30 July 2012

Wednesday 1 August

At 12.30pm the hedge in Priests Lane, Shenfield that has been the subject of many months of negotiation with Highways officers and members at County Hall was finally reduced in height to allow those resident’s in Brickfields Cottages and adjacent properties clear line of sight making their access and egress that much safer. It’s as George Peppard (The ‘A’ Team) often said ‘I like it when a plan comes together’.

Thursday 2 August

Traditionally August appears in our calendars as a meeting free month to allow Members and Officers alike to have a welcomed annual break. However with our current financial situation in both Brentwood and Essex Councils this tradition, this year has not been adhered to and 7pm found me at yet another group meeting to discuss the forthcoming policy meeting at Brentwood Council.

Monday 6 August

10am: I was present at a School Crossing Task and Finish group at County Hall. I had a particular interest in this subject matter as we were discussing the proposals by the Cabinet Member to amend our existing policy and add to it. My particular interest surrounds the removal of school crossing patrols from three of the sites in my division. Unfortunately the new policy agreed by the panel does not assist me in replacing a school crossing patrol at the Green Dragon traffic lights in Shenfield.

The officers finally stated their reasons in opposing a school crossing patrol at these lights and in fact any school crossing throughout the County where there is a push-button green man activated control, is because they believe it is in conflict with the established Highway Code. I have a particular problem with that view and believe that there are exceptions as always to blanket policy and serious consideration needs to be given to the particular problems at this location. I am pursuing an alternative means of installing a school crossing patrol and will report back further as I am not prepared give up on this site.

7pm: Brentwood Town Hall the venue for the Council’s policy deciding meeting, details of which can be found through the links to Brentwood Council website.

Tuesday 7 August

From 9am until 12pm I was visiting residents in Pilgrim Hatch regarding various housing problems. Some of these I was able to remedy today, others are more protracted but hopefully will be resolved with a positive outcome.

1pm to 2.30pm I was in negotiations with Brentwood officers and members of the Pilgrim’s Hatch Environmental Partnership at the Town Hall to discuss further involvement from the Pilgrim’s Hatch partnership in assisting the Council by way of taking on some of the responsibility in keeping grass cut and overhanging vegetation cut back. Further meetings are planned for the future.

6pm saw Graham and me back in Costa Coffee prior to a Shenfield Resident’s Environmental Partnership meeting.

Monday 13th August 2012

I was called to Highland Avenue in Brentwood North by anxious residents concerned about the cutting back of the trees in that road. Their concern was that we were cutting back too much and the trees were in danger. When I arrived I found the crew in place; the team leader directing operations was very amicable to my enquiries and assured me that the radical cutting back of these trees would not result in harming them long-term at all. I have to admit here that I was responsible for the programme being put into place as I had been badgering both Brentwood and County Councils for action to be taken in coppicing these specific trees over a period of some three years. Residents of Highland Avenue have been complaining for many years of the loss of light into their properties and the increase in their electricity bills as in some cases they have to have their kitchen and lounge lights on permanently when they are home.

Upon my visit to the road I door knocked all the houses, spoke to many residents who were delighted to see the work in progress. However, many more were concerned that the work was not drastic enough and that the pruning would only result having to have more work done next year. I spoke to the team leader who said that he had originally been asked to prune not to coppice. I then contacted the contract officer at County and after a discussion with the Brentwood open spaces Manager, we all agreed that a more judicial coppicing of these trees would be both beneficial to residents and cost effective for future maintenance to the Council.


Highland Avenue Trees

Tuesday 14 August

With the assistance of my Pilgrim’s Hatch ward colleague, Vicky Davis I visited two care homes in the Brentwood area, Dudbrook Hall and Howard Lodge. Both these residential homes had their various qualities but I have to say the setting and surrounding countryside that Dudbrook Hall residents enjoy is quite magnificent.

Thursday 23 August

7.15pm: I attended the ward meeting for the Brentwood North borough ward and was pleased that my County Councillor’s report was not needed as the secretary for Brentwood North had downloaded and printed off my activities on their behalf from this website.

Wednesday 29 August

From 10am until 4pm the Lib Dem group at County Hall met to discuss their achievements over the last year and planned for the proposals to the County Council for the coming of the county term.

Thursday 30, August

 2pm: I attended County Hall for the EDEH meeting.

6pm: I attended the Pilgrim’s Hatch Environmental Partnership.

Friday 31 August

10am: Committee Room 1 at Brentwood Borough Council, I met with the leader of the Council and various other Brentwood members to discuss the Crossrail project.

Today I received several phone calls from grateful residents in Highland Avenue to say the tree coppicing had been completed and that they could see in their properties for the first time in many, many years without artificial light. One lady who was almost in tears said she was absolutely over-joyed over the new life this has given to her apartment and that she needed to wear sun-glasses in her living room!

Residents now enjoying the light!