St Osyth Parish Council
Chairman’s Report September 2021 (November Issue of St Osyth News)
Directional Sign to St Osyth on the B1027
Some of you may well have noticed the rather sad looking sign pointing the way into the village at Colchester Road. The Parish Council requested that it be painted. However, when the painters began work, they found that the wood on the post was in poor condition and possibly it was time, they suggested for a replacement!
That sign is one of the old coach signs and if it is replaced it will be with a metal one, which seems more than a little sad. So we are going to see if we can do some restoring of the central post, which may give it a few more years of life. TDC have said that they will replace the directional signs. It would be a shame to lose one of the old signs, there aren’t many left.
Just as we are very careful that the old street signs with the wording in red at the top ‘Parish of St Osyth’ are repainted very carefully.
The Seat on Bar Corner (the crossroads)
Whilst on the subject of preserving some of our historic signs, we have been asked what is going to happen with the seat on Bar Corner.
If you remember, it was quite badly damaged in an incident with a couple of cars. The insurance company will pay for the repair, not a new seat! There is wonderful photographic evidence of the seat being there some hundred years ago with the gentlemen of the village sitting and smoking their pipes observing the residents and cars go by!
The Parish Council have a concern about putting the seat back in its original position as encouraging anyone to sit there with the amount of traffic these days does not seem very responsible. However, we recognise that once again, the seat is part of the village’s social history, so it will be repaired and will probably join the other seats opposite the Priory.
This time however, it will have a plaque on it recording that the seat is a replica of one which has been on Bar Corner for some hundred years.
The photograph under my report shows the gentlemen of the village sitting on the original seat possibly sometime after, we think, 1927 when the Priory wall was moved back to widen the road.
Now to more up to date matters!
I have chased Highways about the Consultation Letter which is to go to businesses and residents in the centre of the village. I thought it would have been sent by now! But no! I am informed that the design for the alterations to the crossroads is now with the Road Safety Audit Team. They have to look at the proposals to ensure that Highways do not install anything that has the potential to cause any safety concerns. While understanding the necessity for this, it just means that time is ticking by; everything seems to take so long. Patience was never one of my virtues!
Damaged Footway on Mill Street
Many will have noticed that yet again the footway outside ‘The Curve’ in Mill Steet has been damaged as it was obviously used as part of a turning point for a heavy lorry. It was damaged last year/earlier this year and took Highways forever, or so it seemed to repair it.
This time the footway is so badly damaged that no one can walk on it and people will have to walk into the road. We have put a large cone on the top to warn people, but it is not good. The damage was reported to me by a concerned resident on Friday 24th September, the same day, it was reported to Essex Highways. We have had an acknowledgement, but no action, so yesterday I reported it to our County Councillor. Hopefully he can verbally tell them (we have to do it by email) how extremely dangerous it is, as people are being forced to walk into the road.
We wait and see.
The Pavilion on Cowley Park
There are probably a number of residents who walk in the park and have really wondered what is happening with the Pavilion.
I wrote a couple of months ago informing you that we were, because of the fragile state of the exterior, going to put up cladding on the building.
We had taken advice, went out to three contractors, all of whom had worked for the Parish Council previously and chosen one which stated, apart from agreeing the specification, that the installation of the cladding would be project managed.
This did not happen – the cladding went up and the consequence was and is that it was quite definitely not up to the standard required by the Parish Council and has had to be removed.
We have a meeting with the contractors on Tuesday 12th October and a way forward has to be agreed. It has been both a disappointing and worrying time. As a PC we are very aware of our responsibility for getting the best value for money for the residents, so hard decisions will have to be made.
Detritus on Pavements and Footways
Hopefully readers of this Report will have noticed some improvement in the quality of cleaning of the pavements and footways in the centre of the village. I have observed an improvement, but there is still a way to go!
By the time you read this Report our summer blooms will have been removed and the violas and pansies will be on show.
Very grateful thanks have to be given to Richard Vigus who has looked after and watered the hanging baskets next to the village sign opposite the Priory and to Andy Booth and the Naglotech staff, who have ensured that the time clock on the watering system is behaving! Thanks too go to John our contractor and to Cllrs Alma Blockley and Julie Ward, Neil our Clerk, Martin our Finance Manager and Julia Smith who have done the summer planting and watering in the planters both in the village and Point Clear.
Thanks also go to Don Snell and his grandson who have kept the watering going in the planter at the crossroads at Chisbon Heath.
To everyone, we the Parish Council and residents, do say a big thank you as it is their efforts and those of our sponsors which have made our village a more attractive place in which to walk and enjoy during the summer months.
With best wishes,
August 2021 October issue of St Osyth News
The Removal of Ragwort
At the beginning of August some residents may have been driving in the area of the Clacton entrance to the village and spotted two elderly grey haired people pulling tall yellow plants from the triangle! We were removing ragwort and although we know and acknowledge that the plant supports many species of insects and is food for the cinnabar moth in particular, ragwort has the capacity to spread alarmingly quickly. For this reason we were removing it as this small triangular piece of land is home to two rare species of plant- wild clary and lesser calamint and leaving the ragwort to seed could very much affect the survival of the two plants.
Over the past ten years and with the guidance of David Gollifer from Essex Wildlife Trust, the PC have been very careful about when this area is cut so that the plants can seed and spread naturally.
David tells us that this small triangle of land now supports the highest number of plants of wild clary and calamint in the Tendring District; something for us to be proud of.
A New Councillor
We are very pleased to welcome Gary Coe as a Councillor. He has been a Councillor before, works in finance and has two children who attend St Osyth Primary School. We very much welcome him again and look forward to the contribution he will make to the Parish Council.
Caravan Transporters in the Village
A number of months ago I wrote in my Report giving you information about when laden caravan transporters can travel through the Village.
The current policy from Essex Police is that movements WILL NOT take place during the following peak periods –
- Monday – Friday 0700 – 0900 hours
- Monday – Friday 1630 – 1900 hours
Nor should there be more than two loads travelling together.
Recently a resident spotted two laden caravan transporters going through the centre of the village at 1700 hours. We wrote to the holiday parks at St Osyth beach and firmly reminded them of the rules and received a reply from a director of Park Holidays informing us that the restrictions would be observed and apologising.
Would you believe it, two weeks later a laden transporter again went through at 1700 hours! This time thanks to CCTV we have the number of the vehicle and a letter will be going to Park Holidays and Essex Police.
Do let the office know (821447) if a laden transporter goes through outside permitted hours. Thank you.
Over hanging Trees and Shrubs
Elsewhere in the magazine there is a notice requesting that residents check the growth that trees and shrubs in their gardens may have put on in this very exceptional year. The weather conditions have certainly encouraged growth like no other year. For this reason, now that we are out of the season when it would not be lawful to cut vegetation where birds may be nesting, it would be sensible to check the permitted heights of shrubs and trees which may be overhanging pavements/footways.
The notice does give helpful advice about measurements, so please check, especially where brambles may have made an unexpected sudden appearance!
Should you need any help or advice, do ring the office 821447.
Helpful Advice from Essex Highways
One of the positive spin offs of the meetings the Parish Council and Essex Highways have done in connection with the crossroads, is that we now know some of the officers much better. It was because of this that we requested a meeting with our Highway Liaison Officer.
Every year the PC Highways Working Party identify areas which need attention in our Village – not pot holes, these are reported as they appear – but under the system now operating with EH, we are never sure where to direct our queries to for attention. The meeting with our Liaison Officer was very helpful and we are now better informed.
One of the areas we do get numerous complaints and concerns about are street drains. Some of our Councillors are going to walk the main roads and identify those which really do need attention. However, if you have a drain near your home that needs ‘flushing’ please let the office know (821447) and we will produce a list for EH and with the assistance of Cllr Alan Goggin we hopefully will be successful in getting them properly operational again.
Consultation Letters re the Crossroad
Shortly a letter will be going to residents and businesses which are situated near the Crossroads, to inform them of the proposal to introduce traffic calming measures at the Crossroads (Bar Corner) in St Osyth.
Comments are being invited and reviewed by Essex Highways, after which the proposals will be formally advertised enabling all interested parties to comment further. As you will see it is a fairly lengthy process! Hopefully and all being well, we should have the cushions in position this side of Christmas – ever the optimist!
The good thing is the cushions are moveable so should it be decided that they need moving to be more effective and efficient, it can be done.
Detritus on our pavements and footways
In last month’s Report I wrote about the Village looking untidy with tall dead weeds, fly tipping, gutters needing to be cleaned and detritus on the footways in the centre of the village. Much was organised by officers of TDC at the PC’s request and our contractors to try and clean the Conservation Area and we are very grateful to them all.
I also requested a meeting with an Officer of TDC about the long term cleanliness of the Village as the detritus on some of the pavements is not acceptable. It is interesting to note that the centre of the village is meant to be swept daily and there is a rota for every street to have its pavements swept, some weekly and some slightly longer. It really was a productive meeting with many photographs taken. Hopefully by the time you read this Report, action will have been taken and that will be good.
The Wild Flower Area
I wrote about the wild flower area in the Cemetery last month and just to report that many flowers are still there, but others are going to seed. The whole area is being left so that the seeds will germinate. The area will then be cut back, the flower stems removed and next year we will have wild flowers again in the cemetery, which will hopefully give pleasure to many.
Best wishes to you all,
Report July 2021 (September Issue of St Osyth News)
Well as I write at the beginning of August, we are certainly having some very unusual weather. However, I do hope that you are still able to enjoy the summer with the current lifting of restrictions. I arrived home safely from my travels only to have to go into self-isolation for 10 days having talked to someone for 5-10 minutes, who 3 days later informed me that they had Covid! The positive of this was, it gave me the opportunity to catch up on work needing doing!
Temporary Phone Mast in Point Clear
We had a number of concerned enquiries about a mast that suddenly appeared in a field in Point Clear. We wrote to the owner of the field and subsequently received an email from the director of the firm who installed it for Telefonica UK. We were assured that it is temporary and is due to be removed in October 2021.
Should you want more information, please call the Parish Office 821447. Neil will be happy to fill you in.
A Village Tidy
The village has certainly not had a ‘good look’ for a while, so this week, requests have been made to various departments of TDC. The Parish Council asked that –
- Litter and weeds be removed from the Public Toilets
- Weeds be sprayed in front of the Colchester Road Priory Wall
- Detritus be swept off the footways in the centre of the village which is our conservation area
- Beach Road be cleared of litter
- Fly tipping be dealt with in the centre of the village
- The overgrown hedges and vegetation on footways be dealt with
- Gutters to be cleared alongside the pavements
The response from TDC has been very positive and we are grateful. Equally as a Parish Council we have ensured that –
- All our bus shelters have been cleaned and some of the litter bins
- That the grass is cut before it becomes unsightly
- Dead weeds have been removed
- Areas swept in Church Square as there are no pavements and weeds removed
Hopefully the village will look very much better by the time you read the Report – I live in hope!
Repairing and Restoring the Pavilion
Again, by the time the September magazine is delivered, work will have started on the pavilion. A great deal of thought, discussion and planning has gone into what is the most effective and efficient way to deal with the very fragile state of the exterior of the building.
The Parish Council very much hope that when all the cladding is on, the repairs and painting completed, the pavilion will be a building that will both look and be an asset to the village. It is possibly long overdue and we are so pleased that government grants, rent and the annual grant from the PC has made it possible.
I wrote at length in last months magazine about the design and planning for the crossroads. One reader did comment to me their disappointment that more couldn’t have been done to improve the pedestrian safety around The Hoy. Councillors and the staff share his view. To be fair, Highways Engineers did try a number of designs but it remains the case that any alterations have to be compliant with Highways regulations and none could be found.
However, there is a glimmer of hope as changes are being made to the Highway Code by giving priority to cyclists and walkers. We wait and see how these might impact. Certainly these changes will be discussed with the Highway Engineers when they meet the Councillors on 11th August.
Cricket Bat Plantation
This plantation has been mentioned a few times in my Reports; it is situated next to the brook at the bottom of Spring Road. We were gifted it by Essex County Council in 2011 with the information that the cricket bat trees will bring the PC an income when sold off in 2020 of about £2000.
In the event when we enquired in 2017 of their sale value, we were informed that they had no value as they had not grown straight! Not what we wanted to hear at all!
We now have a plantation of elms and cricket bat trees, some of which are of a height and state that require felling, particularly as the plantation is frequently under water. The contractors are felling/coppicing 10 trees, 2 of which could be a potential danger to houses.
Some of the cord logs will be removed, the rest stacked neatly as habitat piles. The wood chips will make a habitat for grass snakes as they like to nest in it. Some piles of brushings will be left as habitats for hedgehogs, invertebrates or anything that needs shelter. So a good wildlife use will be put to the trees that have to be felled.
The Wild Flower Area and the Old Graves
The Parish Council as part of the Appraisal visit, did go to look at the area in the old part of the cemetery (this is to the right as you enter). The Cemetery Committee tended a small area to a good tilth so wild flower seeds could be sown in the early summer.
Although it is relatively small, the colour of the wild flowers really lights up that section of the cemetery. More importantly the number of insects that we saw feeding on the nectar from the flowers was really rewarding, the whole area was alive with butterflies and bees.
The intention is to sow a similar area in the spring of 2022.
While we were there we looked at the headstone and grave we had recently discovered hidden between two yew trees for Sir John Johnson, who owned the Priory in the 19th century. He did much by both restoring the Priory and the restoration of the Chancel in the Church. His tombstone is quite stunning and particularly so now as it has been cleaned by Richard Barlow, our very grateful thanks to him. It stands near the grave of the Reverend Langley Watts, Vicar of St Osyth whose young daughter was adopted by Sir John Johnson. After his death she married Dr Arthur Cowley in 1914 and gifted the land now named Cowley Park, to commemorate the loss of 55 men from the village during World War 1.
Again, near these graves is a vault in which both the daughters of William Frederick Nassau, Earl of Rochford who owned the Priory in the early part of the 19th century, are buried. It is in a very fragile state but some of the lettering is still visible.
As may be seen, visiting the older part of the Parish Council cemetery for a walk could be a very interesting and enjoyable experience.
Best wishes to you all,
St. Osyth Parish Council
Chairman’s Report – June (August 2021 Issue of St Osyth News)
I am at the present time of writing many hundreds of miles away from St Osyth. International travel is not to be recommended at the moment; it is enormously stressful, both in the preparation to travel and the arrival at the destination! However, I am here on Granny childcare duties and it is so good to see the family after 16 long months, so it is making it all worthwhile.
Weeds in the Village
I began last month’s Report with writing about the weeds which were everywhere in our village – footpaths, the pavements and in the crevices. Combined with the weeds, we then had two weeks when the Parish Council’s contractor, who cuts some of the grass in the village, and TDC who cuts the remainder, simply were overwhelmed with its growth. I have never seen any village looking so unkempt; it was really sad to see.
However, before I left the weeds were finally sprayed and all the grass was cut. Hopefully now both the Parish Council’s contractor and TDC will keep up with the growth of the grass and our village can once again look as we expect it to look, cared for and attractive for both residents and visitors.
The Colchester Road Entrance and Painting in the Village
Some may have noticed that the bed with the enormous rocks at the entrance to the village is looking so very much better. This is because it is being cared for and maintained by a volunteer gardener. We are really grateful to Katie who has undertaken to do this, so our thanks go to her.
Keeping the two entrances to the village looking welcoming and attractive is something the Parish Council endeavours to do. It is one of the main reasons we asked that the old coach directional sign should be painted. Unfortunately, when the painters from TDC started the preparation work it was discovered that much of the wood was rotten.
We are hoping it can be replaced, like for like, as it is part of the village’s social history. Meanwhile many other items around the village have been painted, this was long overdue, so it was good to see them finally being done. Thanks to TDC for organising the painting of the bollards and the barriers and for ECC for footing the bill.
Cowley Park Pavilion
Regular readers of this Report will know that until 4 years ago Cowley Park, not the play equipment section, was run by a volunteers Management Committee. Unfortunately, when they stepped down, despite many invitations there were no volunteer to form a Committee. Therefore, the Parish Council, as the Residual Trustees had to undertake the management of the remainder of the Park as well as the play area.
Our main concern apart from the financial aspect of running the Park was the Pavilion. It is an old building which has had two extensions in its time and was very much showing its age. The exterior was our main concern, the rendering we knew was in a fragile state.
We initially had hoped to just replace some of the loose render and paint the building. However, three different contractors all informed us this was not a sensible option as the render over the entire building was in a fragile state and should be replaced.
We took further advice and there were two options suggested to us:
- The removal of all the existing rendering and the exterior then to be re-rendered and painted.
- The removal of the existing rendering and to put cladding on the pavilion walls.
(NB. There is a difference between composite cladding and hardiboard and this was reflected in the price.)
To facilitate the Councillors making an informed decision about not only the exterior of the Pavilion but also the interior, a Consultation Paper was written. This set out what needs to be done to maintain and preserve a building, which is part of our village, and which for the foreseeable future, will be the home ground for Elmden Rovers Youth Football Teams.
Costs were included in the Consultation Paper and the Councillors met on site to discuss the way forward, initially with the exterior of the building. Sad to say one of the factors to be considered was the necessity for the easy removal of any graffiti.
Discussion took place supported by information from Ken, our Community Warden and Neil our Clerk. It was finally decided that the Parish Council would accept the quotation from Kendall’s and that a composite cladding would be used on the exterior of the Pavilion.
The cost of this is £21,784.00. The Parish Council are in receipt of two government grants, one of £10,000.00, the other of £3,908.00. These together with the rent we are currently receiving from the Elmden Rovers and the annual grant made to Cowley Park from the Parish Council means we can now move forward positively. There will be a five-year plan to repair and restore the Pavilion beginning with the exterior of the building.
Following my last report in the magazine, a site meeting was held on 18th June with:
David Gollop and Tom Eng – Essex Highways
Ben Cook – Independent Highways Consultant who carried out the Crossroads Feasibility Study for the Parish Council.
Adrian Carden – Essex Highways Safety Officer
Cllr. Alan Goggin – ECC
Speed cushions had already been suggested and accepted for all four roads leading to the crossroads. Our meeting that morning was to discuss a possible improvement to pedestrian safety particularly around the Hoy. It had been suggested that there could be an increase of 90 cm to that footway.
However, it was made very clear at the meeting by Essex Highways, that it was accepted that the crossroads were non-compliant in current highway regulations due to historical factors. But that any alterations in terms of carriageway or footway at the crossroads, even on the grounds of what could be considered safety improvements, would result in the crossroads being ruled as non-compliant. Therefore, it would lay Essex Highways open to being sued should there be an accident as a result of an improvement.
For instance, it had been established that the maximum possible width we could extend The Hoy corner to was 90 cm. To be compliant it has to be 1.2m and even at 90 cm, wider buggies and mobility scooters could not use it safely and it would be ruled as non-compliant.
Currently the design and this is what will go out to Consultation to businesses and those residents who live near the Crossroads will be:
- Four cushions at the approach to the crossroads from both The Bury and Colchester Road.
- Two cushions at the approach to crossroads in Spring Road and Clacton Road.
- Improved road markings using a specialist paint which can last up to 5 years.
- Six-inch-high kerb stones outside the butchers and down to Stone Alley to deter parking.
- There is to be signage warning motorists that there may be pedestrians in the road.
As a Parish Council it is not all that we had hoped for when the Feasibility Study was commissioned. We do however understand and realise that the options for our crossroads because of the necessity for Highway compliance are massively limited. The planned improvement and alterations are certainly a positive way forward. We should remind ourselves that they are the first major safety improvements to our crossroads after nearly sixty years of discussion!
The Parish Council with Essex Highways will be revisiting and evaluating the alterations in 2022. Meanwhile it is to be hoped that after the Consultation, the speed cushions, which are moveable so positioning can be altered, can be placed as soon as possible at the crossroads.
Let us hope for a major improvement in the weather, something akin to the lovely summer which we all really need.
With best wishes to you all,
Chairman’s Report July 21 Issue of St Osyth News
I began last week’s Report with informing you that as the law now stands, the Parish Council had to return to holding physical meetings as from 7th May.
This we did in the main part of the Village Hall on 20th May. It was really good to be able to see one another again however, as we were sitting at tables 2m apart, being able to hear in the large hall became quite an issue! We are looking to see how this might be overcome for the June meeting!
Weeds in the Village
As I am sure many of you have noticed, how could you not, the weeds growing on the footpaths, the pavements and everywhere where there is a crevice, are now reaching alarming heights. The combination of rain and warmth is doing its worst. Unfortunately, there is little the PC can do, as it is the responsibility of Tendring District Council and weed spraying does not begin until June 1st. I have written to TDC and requested that our village is sprayed as soon as possible as the conservation area in particular is looking unsightly and uncared for. It is definitely a ‘look’ we do not want to have.
In the past weeks Councillors Alma Blockley, Julie Ward and myself with the help of John Savage have been busy choosing plants and then planting all the containers around the village. Given a few weeks they will really begin to make a difference to the village scene. By the time you read the magazine the hanging baskets will be up too and certainly will make the centre of the village an attractive place to be. Thank you to the organisations and residents who have offered to sponsor them.
The Coffin Path or Path to the Cemetery (Dog Fouling)
The Parish Councillors and the staff would endorse everything which the writer of the letter ‘Do you love your Village’ said in the May magazine. He called the Coffin Path ‘Poo Alley’ and he is absolutely right. Walking along this otherwise delightful footpath is not a pleasant experience because of irresponsible and thoughtless dog owners who are not picking up after their dogs.
The Parish Council has yet again had to request TDC to bring their machine to clear the dog mess that has been left by these owners. It should be pointed out that this service is paid for from our Council Tax. If some dog owners were more responsible it would not be needed.
The PC has put up large notices encouraging residents to report any instances they see to the Clerk 821447. Perhaps if they have a fine £80 they might remember to clear up after their dogs.
Please do report any that you see with a description of the owner and the type of dog.
St Osyth Beach Holiday Park and the Martello Tower
For those residents who have followed my reports in the past few months, the news is not satisfactory at all. Despite assurances from the Director of Park Holidays that there would be no through traffic from holidaymakers or others from the St Osyth Beach Holiday Park to the Martello Tower in Jaywick, it is happening. We have informed the Head of Planning at TDC and an Enforcement Notice has been issued. We will be monitoring the situation with TDC but meanwhile the PC feel very frustrated on behalf of our residents that although we have done all we can to ensure that the new bridge is not open to the general public it and is causing yet more traffic to use our crossroads.
Footways and Pavement Repairs in Spring Road
After years of making requests that repairs are done to the really poor and narrow footways in Spring Road, finally they have been done.
However, this work was not done without incident as the repairs and timekeeping of the crew initially was far from satisfactory and thanks to a vigilant resident was reported to Essex Highways. Another crew was dispatched and the repairs were completed to a good standard. Although the footways do look a little like a patchwork quilt, they are now safe and we are grateful that our repeated requests have been heeded. Thank you to Essex Highways.
In March an email was sent to all Parish and Town Councils by Michael Talbot, Cabinet Member for the Environment inviting them to consider what they might do in light of the District Council’s Climate Change Policy.
In April this email was discussed at our Ordinary Meeting and Councillors were invited to send in their suggestions of what might be done to support TDC’s policy. This they did and their suggestions were listed under three categories:
- Items which the Council itself could consider doing.
- Items which could be encouraged within the Parish, possibly via our Church Magazine.
- Items which although outside the control of the PC would affect climate change.
The issue was debated at Council and it was agreed that for our June meeting all the information required for that meeting would be sent electronically. The clerk will then display the minutes, the planning applications, reports and images on the screen. The only paper which will be used would be for the agenda which each Councillor will have a copy of for the meeting.
The Council has also requested Mr Tim Clarke attends a PC meeting and talks us through the TDC Climate Change Policy and gives us practical examples of how both as a Council and as residents we can help to effect change.
We will keep you informed.
A further meeting was held on 25th May with members of Essex Highways, Alan Goggin for Essex CC, and Ben Cook from BMSL Consulting Ltd, to discuss designs to enable pedestrians and those pushing buggies and using mobility scooters to walk around The Hoy corner in comparative safety. We think there is a possibility of a resolution but as was pointed out by Ben Cook, improvements to one area of the crossroads would possibly be at the detriment of another. It is now recognised that the crossroads which is described as a staggered junction with a bend is never going to be compliant with Highway Regulations, but there may need to be a trade off in order to ensure pedestrian safety.
Another meeting is to be held shortly but this time with the Head of the Safety Team for ECC. It will be an on site meeting. It was pointed out to all those who attended the meeting on the 25th that any design put forward by the engineering team for the crossroads has to go before the Essex Safety Team and they could on safety grounds refuse to let it go forward. Hence the Head of the Essex Safety Team will be attending the meeting in June, as whatever design is put forward for consideration we want to ensure that it will have the agreement of the Essex Safety Team.
Hopefully a positive update in the August Magazine.
With best wishes for a good summer to you all,
Chairman’s Report June Issue
May was an interesting month for meetings. As I informed you in my last Report, the Government were not prepared to give Parliamentary time to allow primary legislation to pass into law the continued use of Zoom/Teams for Council Meetings. This discussion was challenged in the High Court, however the application to allow remote meetings to continue was dismissed. Therefore, all Councils must return to holding physical meetings as from 7th May.
This means that the Parish Council has now to return to using the Village Hall for the meeting on 20th May. We will be in the main hall, socially distanced, wearing masks and having carried out hand sanitising and any other measures which are considered necessary to keep Councillors, staff and members of the public who want to attend, safe.
It will be our first meeting actually together, since March 2020. I am very much looking forward to it. Chairing a meeting on Zoom has had its challenges!
Although the PC remain delighted that we have £30,000 of funding now allocated for improvements to the crossroads, the design shown to Councillors did unfortunately fall short of our requirement that there should be safety improvements for both drivers and pedestrians.
The Engineering team had focused only on driver safety. We therefore requested that they revisited the scheme again. This they have done, but have told us that it is not possible to widen the footway around The Hoy because of the layout of the junction. This as you may imagine, was not what the PC wanted to hear and although it was explained at length why it could not be done, we requested a meeting with EH’s Design Manager, their Highway Liaison Officer and Ben Cook who carried out the Feasibility Study for the PC in 2019.
The meeting was held on 5th May, it was constructive with several avenues additionally explored. More work is to be done by the Engineering Team and we meet again at the end of May. It may be that we put the speed cushions down for this summer which would at least would be a plus in moving forward with the some of the safety aspects of the crossroads, but we want it to be safe for pedestrians too.
St Osyth Beach in Martello Tower, Jaywick
Having shared with you last month the information given by the director of Park Holidays that the bridge between the two parks would not be open for general use by the public. It was something of an enormous shock to read that this may well not be the case.
I received an email from a vigilant resident who directed me to the Park Holidays website for the Martello Beach which clearly states:
‘Please note that the new reception and entrance to Martello Beach is via St Osyth Beach Holiday Park’
We immediately wrote to the director of Park Holidays informing him that:
‘The wording on your website and the advice offered by your enquirers now seems to contradict the assurance given by you on 4th February’.
The PC has asked for a further assurance that the wording on their website:
‘is an error which will be rectified as a degree of urgency’.
We have requested a reply by our May meeting. Hopefully, it will be rectified immediately as Park Holidays are currently breaking the conditions of their planning permission too. We will keep you informed.
We have been really dismayed that some of the flowers in the planters have been severely affected by the snow and hard frosts that we have been experiencing up to the present time. It has been disappointing that we have had to remove so many dead plants. Particularly as we know having visited nurseries and been informed that all plants that are being grown are a fortnight behind this year.
However, planning is well ahead for the summer months and thank you to the organisations, clubs and residents that are sponsoring the hanging baskets this year.
Cemetery Update – The Wild Flower Corner Patch!
The sowing of the wild flower seeds has now been done. The bed has been covered to prevent the resident rabbits from having a field day and wonder of wonders, since the sowing we have had nearly 15mm of rain!
However, we have purchased a hose as regular watering may well be the order of the day in the next few months.
If you are visiting the cemetery do go and have a look. The Notice Board will inform you of the flowers we may expect to see!
Earlier in the year, via the Member led Repair Programme, the PC was invited to identify some of the potholes which we wanted repaired. This sounds a simple enough request, but the detail required by Essex Highways is considerable.
The expectation of course is that they would want to know the location, but Neil on the form which he had to fill in had to:
- Describe the nature of the defect ie. Size, single hole or a number of holes.
- Inform EH if the road defect is outside or close to premises that have a higher risk.
- List any other useful information which would be helpful to the planning of EH.
- Date of initial report of pothole to EH.
- Photos were requested too!
Neil reported 11 potholes and the spreadsheet he sent was impressive. I am happy to report that within the last month they have all been dealt with, some have emergency fillings. However, we will ensure that EH are informed should they show that they are breaking up.
It is a good initiative and the PC are pleased that Cllr. Alan Goggin encouraged us to participate.
Every spring the Councillors are given a list of street signs near to where they live and requested to report on their condition – whether they require cleaning, repairing or replacing. This we all do and Alan Howard, TDC Ranger is then asked to look at those which need attention, with a view to dealing with them during the ensuing months. This organisation has been carried out for the past ten years or so. I think it is fair to hope that now we have the cleanest and hopefully the smartest street signs in the Tendring District!
If we have missed any, do let us know.
Hopefully when you receive this report life will have more of a degree of normality. Let us hope so.
With very best wishes to you all,
Chairman’s Report May 2021
I was very surprised at how much I had written in the Parish Magazine last month! It will be shorter for May as I have nearly caught up with passing on information to you all!
One of the reasons we have managed to achieve so much in the past year is that all Council meetings have been held via Zoom. We have been informed that the Government will no longer enable this to happen, as from May 7th it will require ‘primary legislation’ to pass it into law and there is no time in the legislative programme! Not too sure what will happen, but I wonder if from 7th May we would be allowed to meet in the Village Hall? In the main hall we could maintain 2m distance, but until we all feel safe it would be better to keep using Zoom. We wait to see what happens when the Government is taken to the High Court on 21st April.
Snow and Beach Road
As Neil, our clerk said, we have achieved a small victory! Beach Road is not salted when it snows, but it is a bus route, so under ECC regulations it should be salted. After the recent snowy weather, the Parish Council wrote to Essex County Council pointing this out and in future when we have ice and snow Beach Road will be salted, which is very sensible and needed.
St Osyth Beach and Martello Bay Holiday Parks
During recent months a number of residents have expressed their concern at press reports and information by word of mouth of the construction of the bridge between the two holiday parks, one in St Osyth and the other in Jaywick.
The Parish Council were equally concerned as rumour had it that all holiday traffic to both parks would be via St Osyth. We wrote to Park Holidays and requested clarification and information on the purpose and connectivity of the bridge.
The following is the reply from the Commercial Director:
“The main point to note, is that the bridge is not a public highway and it will not be open to general use by the public. It has been designed primarily, to afford better linkage between St Osyth and Martello Holiday Parks for Operational Management purposes and will help to offset local site traffic (vehicular and pedestrian), which would otherwise have to travel around the local roads to reach either park – repositioning of caravans, access to the proposed new clubhouse and pool facilities on Martello and so forth. We already have measures in place at the entrance to both parks, via a barrier operated system, which is controlled by the holiday park management”.
Neil our clerk wrote again seeking additional information about the rumour that the Jaywick entrance would be closed and all vehicular traffic would be via St Osyth. The reply was as follows:
“To clarify the operational nature of the bridge, both entrances would be kept open and there is no plan by the company to redirect traffic or deliveries to either park”
The letter concluded:
“I hope that this provides the necessary comfort to the Parish Council and residents of St Osyth”.
The answer to this of course is what actually happens this season and the next. We will wait and see.
I know I wrote about these in last months report, but I do mean it when I say, we report any pothole that we see or is reported to us, to Essex County Council. It is their responsibility to do the repairs not the Parish Council’s or Tendring District Council’s, our role is the reporting of them. We share everyone’s frustration that the repair of many of them take so long.
Equally the repair of the footway at the bottom of Mill Street remains waiting and people continue having to walk into the road. Both the PC and Councillor Alan Goggin have done everything in their power to have it repaired, but it remains looking a dreadful mess and a safety hazard.
Happy to Chat Bench
A really nice bench made by a local company Harps Corp team, erected by contractors DWH and paid for by ECC, at the request of Councillor Alan Goggin has been put on the Green overlooking Point Clear Bay. It is really a lovely spot at which to sit and hopefully will be enjoyed by many in the forthcoming months.
It is called a ‘Happy to Chat’ bench as it came from an idea a number of years ago, that often people are very happy when sitting on a bench to chat to those who share it with them or to say hello as they pass by. There are now hundreds of such benches around the County now and locally there is one at both Thorrington and Brightlingsea.
We do hope the bench is put to good use and encourages people both to sit and chat.
Many of our residents and visitors who come to the cemetery will know that there is an area just to the right as you enter, that is left for the grass to grow as it provides habitats for invertebrates, insects and birds.
In years past there were wild flowers growing in this area, but in recent times they have been less and less and it was felt that action was needed.
So this year the Cemetery Committee decided to cultivate a small area and sow it with wild flower seeds which are nectar food for the bees and butterflies. This has now been done and we wait with baited breath to see what grows and which insects we attract. The noticeboard will shortly show photographs of the wild flowers we are hoping will appear! I should add that growing wild flowers from seed is not always easy, but we have taken care so hopefully it will be an area that will attract insects, look attractive and is enjoyed by those visiting our cemetery.
In preparation for this years Annual Parish Report, I re-read the Report I wrote in 2018/19 (there was not one last year) and noted that I wrote that we wanted the crossroads to be safe for both drivers and pedestrians. This remains our focus and intent.
In our meeting last month, we saw the design for the crossroads via a shared screen – the wonders of technology!!
We noted that the proposed scheme:
- Had speed cushions on all four approaches to the crossroads.
- That there was a repositioning of some of the existing road markings.
- There was additional lighting on the Bury (opposite St Osyth Butchers).
- The installation of 6” kerb stones outside and down from St Osyth Butchers.
- The removal of an existing parking space in Clacton Road (to accommodate one of the cushions).
- The possible installation of bollards in Spring Road opposite the Premier Store.
While the councillors saw much to commend in the scheme, concern was expressed though at the omission of any form of pedestrian safety in the vicinity of The Hoy. The Feasibility Study had carefully considered how this might be achieved and the PC have requested that it is revisited with some urgency.
We can assure you that the final design and scheme will go to Public Consultation, so residents will be able to see what is proposed and make comments. Although we now have the funding we are not there just yet, but we are well on the way to hopefully a safer crossroads for everyone.
With best wishes to you all,
Published in the April Issue of St Osyth News
Welcome back to you all, it is good to be reporting again after three long months. However, quite where to begin is the problem – a great deal has happened and continues to happen.
The Parish Council Office is still, on advice, officially closed, but staff are continuing to work as normal. The Councillors continue to hold Committee Meetings, Working Party Meetings and of course full Parish Council Meetings via Zoom. It is fair to say in this Pandemic year we have not stopped doing all we can to support and help the village community.
I do feel that although it was an age ago, I want to say a warm thank you to everyone in that particularly uncertain period, who went the ‘extra mile’ to lift people’s spirits to still make it a special time.
- The PC staff ensured that Christmas lights were all on in the village from the beginning of December.
- We had two Christmas trees – one outside the Village Hall donated by L&K Funeral Directors and the other opposite the Priory on our Green, donated by GCS Alarms. Paul Dewing, Steve Cole and Barry Comer from the Village Hall and the Parish Council Staff ensured that they were safely upright and the lights were on.
- Church Square, and in particular the Churchyard lifted the spirits and thanks go to Philip Smith and Robert Simeon for all their planning and work to ensure that the lights announced it was indeed Christmas!
- Our thanks to the shops and businesses who decorated and lit their premises. The idea came from Martin Walsh, Finance Officer of the PC, and the judging was done by Alan Goggin, our County Councillor.
- Special thanks to Peter and Jennifer Tidy who with their friends and carefully observing all the safety restrictions, ensured that all those who wanted to remember a loved one had the opportunity to hang a Message Angel on the tree in the Churchyard.
Thank you to them all.
A New Noticeboard
Many people have commented on the new noticeboard which the Parish Council now share with the Village Hall. It looks really good and was made for us by a local firm – the Harps Corp Team. Paving slabs will be laid in front of it for ease of reading. We had planned to place the Noticeboard nearer the pavement but discovered utilities were in position there, so hence Plan B!
The ‘New’ Entrance to the Cemetery
I am calling it ‘new’ although it has in fact been in use for nearly 20 years! However, major improvements have been made to the entrance so that it is safer for drivers when exiting on to Clay Lane. The car park too has had a facelift as tonnes of pea grit were laid and spread by Parish Council staff, John Savage and James Handscombe. It is a fitting entrance now to our cemetery.
The masses of daffodils and snowdrops everywhere make it a special place to both visit and walk in at the present time and hopefully may well still be there at Easter.
The local Highways panel for the Tendring District met on 18th March. It is this body of ECC Councillors and Essex Highways staff who meet and decide the funding for future highway projects for 2021/22 and our crossroads scheme is on the agenda. If you remember, the Parish Council paid for a Feasibility Study to be carried out a year ago looking for solutions to support both pedestrian and driver safety at the Crossroads. Several possibilities came from this. The Parish Council then worked with Essex Highways to consider a design integrating them . To ensure the design was progressed, the Parish Council contributed £10,000 to ensure that the design phase of the crossroads was completed in preparation for the March 2021 meeting. Hopefully it will meet with a very favourable response and we know it will be fully supported by our County Councillor Alan Goggin who has worked with the Parish Council throughout.
22nd March 2021: Success. There is now funding for the Crossroads! Wonderful!
We continue to chase the repair of potholes in the village. One of the initiatives by Essex County Council was that if we identified the potholes and gave an exact location of each one they would be repaired. This was done with alacrity by Neil, our Clerk some time ago, but to date nothing has been done. We can only think that the recent events ie. snow/ice and Covid have forestalled their intention to have all the potholes repaired by 31st March 2021.
This is possibly an opportune moment to assure you that the Parish Council and Councillor Alan Goggin have done everything they can to get the broken up pavement repaired at the bottom of Mill Street outside The Curve. That the pavement still remains unsafe for pedestrians to walk on and is fenced off, so that walking into the road is a necessity, does not speak well of Essex Highways and their priorities. Hopefully it will be repaired in the forthcoming weeks.
Many of us continue to be shocked at the amount of litter that is dropped in the village, along our section of the B1027, St Johns Road, Beach Road and Chisbon Heath.
We do have some very public spirited residents who litter pick, the PC employs a contractor who carries out litter picking duties and Tendring District Council has a regular rota when picking up litter is done. In spite of all of these efforts on the part of people and organisations, there is still the unnecessary sight of litter in so many places.
The Parish Council is putting up notices in the two laybys along the B1027, as despite larger litter bins being installed at our request by TDC, there is a mass of litter.
Possibly when restrictions are lifted we should have a mass litter pick. Suggestions of how to encourage people to use bins or take litter home would be welcomed.
Priory Meadow Play Area
One of the few benefits of having new housing in the village is that each developer has to make a financial contribution, dependent on the number of bedrooms in each new house (£850 a bedroom), in what is called a Section 106 Agreement with Tendring District Council.
Parish and Town Councils can then apply to TDC to use this money for the provision of play equipment.
Shortly St Osyth PC will be in the position to provide another piece of equipment at Priory Meadow from Section 106 contributions. It will be a basket swing similar to the one in Cowley Park. This play area is now very well used, which is excellent as it means the children on the east side of the village now have somewhere safe to play and do not have to pass over the crossroads to access Cowley Park.
- We will also be providing another litter bin at Priory Meadow.
More thanks are also due to those who helped to keep our main roads clear and where possible our footways and pavements.
This time when the snow fell we were in the very fortunate position of having local farmers Robert and Mick Simeon who had been contracted to keep the main roads in and out of the village clear by ECC. After the chaos of the effects of snow 2/3 years ago, the PC requested that ECC had designated contractors who could carry out snow clearance in the village. They agreed and Robert and Mick were able to get into action immediately with their snow ploughs which was excellent.
Our thanks to them and to the many residents, shop and business premises who cleared pavements and footways and put salt down to keep people safe when walking.
Thank you to our Community Warden Ken Belcher and John Savage who kept Point Clear Road, Clacton Road, part of Spring Road and Mill Street cleared. This all helped to ensure that we were kept as safe as possible when venturing out into the snow.
There is more to share with you, but at the risk of taking up too much space, I will wait until next month. Hopefully by then we will be moving further out of lockdown and be on the way to some degree of normality!
Keep safe and best wishes to you all,
Published in the December 20/January 21 issue of St Osyth News
Like so many of us, I really do find it difficult to believe that five months on and we are in lockdown again. However, it is a different lockdown and it is not as draconian as the last one. The Parish Council and the Church, if you remember, organised both the delivery of groceries and prescriptions for the full twelve weeks, because we had residents who were both elderly and vulnerable.
When we stepped back from doing this in June, every household that we had delivered to received a letter via Royal Mail informing them which supermarkets were delivering groceries and their telephone numbers etc. We also had established from Head Office in Nottingham that Boots would deliver prescriptions for free.
We contacted TDC in the first week of November for an updated list of supermarket deliveries and these are now on the Parish Council and Church websites. Hopefully any residents who have difficulties will have kind neighbours or will get in touch with us.
Appeal Inquiry St Johns Road
The owners of St Johns Road Nursery are appealing against the decision by TDC to refuse the application to build 196 houses and 8 units on the Nursery site. The Parish Council has been active too in refusing this application. Our main grounds for concern has been the average daily traffic flows along St Johns Road. As we all know it is one of the two main routes in and out of Clacton-on-Sea.
Together with this in recent years, the other proposed developments which have been agreed, could mean that we will see up to 1173 houses and 62 holiday units being built. This would see a significant increase in traffic along St Johns Road as based on a minimum of one vehicle per property, this would have a detrimental impact on all motorists, especially those wanting to turn into the developments where improved junctions are unfortunately not deemed necessary by Essex Highways,
Our Clerk Neil will be speaking on behalf of TDC and our residents at the Inquiry. He will be cross-examined by the QC for the owners of St Johns Road Nursery. The enquiry is on 24th November.
Litter on the B1027
During the recent lockdown and since with more people walking, a number of residents have expressed concerns about the amount of litter in the two laybys on the B1027. Neil and I had a long conversation with Jon Hamlett, who is the Manager for the Operations Department of TDC, about what could be done. It was agreed that both laybys should have all the vegetation cut back, all the old litter removed and new more imposing litter bins installed. This has now been done. Hopefully those parking and using the laybys will now use the litter bins and keep this stretch of the B1027 tidy and litter free. We can but hope! Meanwhile, thank you to TDC.
Letter to Residents Point Clear Bay
I am waiting to hear from the Management of The Orchards to agree the contents of the proposed letter. Again they are busy with the lockdown and closing the Park for the winter, but I will chase and hopefully by the time this magazine is with you, the letter will have been delivered!
Christmas Trees and Christmas Lights
The Parish Council has been busy with more plans to light up our village this Christmas. The Village Hall is planning to have a tree outside on the grass and L&K Funeral Directors have agreed to sponsor it. We are putting a tree on the Village Green, opposite the Priory and behind the planters, this is being sponsored by GCS Fire and Security Systems. Thank you to both of the sponsors.
More lighting will go up above the shops and businesses and if they are happy to participate, their window space could be decorated too.
If any residents would like to join in by decorating their windows it would add to the Spirit of Christmas, which hopefully we will be feeling by then. There will be no prizes for doing this, it will just be a way of giving fun and enjoyment to us all.
We are planning that all the lighting, above the shops and businesses and on the trees, will be turned on during the evening of December 2nd. An Auspicious Date.
Where to begin? Much has happened and decisions made in the past weeks.
Going back some months, many of you will remember, the Parish Council commissioned an independent Feasibility Study seeking a solution which would improve the safety for both pedestrians and drivers using the crossroads. This was completed and Essex Highways accepted the findings and the suggestions made, this was a big step forward.
The next stage in the process of moving it forward was the design stage. This has to be done by Essex Highways and under normal circumstances the funding for this has to come from the Local Highways Panel for the Tendring District.
Cllr. Alan Goggin ECC, established for us, that all the budget for 2020/21 had been allocated and that there were no further funds available, so the design phase could not be met from the LHP budget. The earliest we could make a case for funding the design phase was 2021/22.
The realisation was that we knew that although Cllr. Alan Goggin would make a good case for funding the design phase to the LHP, it would be well into 2021/22 before it would be progressed. We would then have to wait until 2022/23 to make a bid for funding the full design and the outcome of this unfortunately cannot be guaranteed.
It was then decided by the PC, with a unanimous vote, that we would meet the cost of the design phase. The unexpected grant of £10,000 from the Government would be used as the initial contribution of the £15,000 needed and this was accepted by Essex Highways.
This now means that the design phase can begin. The initial process potentially takes up to 6 weeks, during which the following actions will be undertaken:
The Engineer will visit the site.
The Engineer will receive copies of any surveys conducted, in addition to a copy of the Feasibility Report, prepared and completed by Ben Cook.
The Engineer will be provided with ‘stats’ and will look at any utilities in the vicinity of the crossroads.
The Engineer will conduct a Road Safety Audit; and
A Construction Operative (Site Supervisor) will visit the crossroads to conduct a build ability review.
If all these issues are successfully completed, the process moves on to the full design phase.
We are planning with Essex Highways that both the design phase and full design will be completed by February 2021, so that the scheme would be ready to be put before the Local Highways Panel for funding in 2021/22.
As you can see, a great deal will be happening in the next months and much will depend on the initial inspection of the utilities under the crossroads. It will reveal whether the whole scheme is possible. Fortunately, this is generally achieved within the first £3000. The real hope is that by meeting the cost, we can move forward our planning for the safety of the crossroads by a year; this is long overdue.
The End of a Year
It is salutary to think that we are close to the end of a year and it has been a year like no other that any of us have ever lived through. We have to but hope that 2021 proves to be good for all of us; that we enjoy good health both physically and mentally and that we enjoy and appreciate all the more the things that possibly, until this year, we took for granted.
May it be a Happy Christmas for us all,
Published in November 2020 Parish Magazine
Security on Cowley Park
The Parish Council is now employing a security firm to patrol Cowley Park during the evenings and at night. Over the years there has been vandalism particularly with the Pavilion, which costs both the PC and the Council taxpayer money. In doing this we are employing the same firm who patrol the premises of the Village Hall, so the cost is reasonable for us both.
In having a security firm we would hope that people climbing on the pavilion roof, damaging both the metal and wooden fences and the skate park equipment could become a thing of the past. The firm will be giving a report to the Council every month.
Some residents have expressed concern at the appearance of the oak tree near the pavilion in Cowley Park. We understand their concern, but we were becoming very worried about the health and consequentially the safety of the tree with the high winds we have been having.
We requested that the Principal Tree Officer of Tendring District Council looked at it and advised us. This he very kindly did and we appointed a local tree firm to carry out the work which he recommended.
We would agree that the tree does look sad, but having followed the advice, we are hopeful that it will recover and be an attractive addition to the village scene.
The Cricket Bat Plantation
I suspect that many readers on seeing that heading will wonder where it is and the answer is at the bottom of Spring Road, beside the brook next to the bridge.
A number of years ago it was given to the PC by Essex County Council with the expectation and promise that the cricket bat trees could be felled in 2020 with a financial reward of £2000. Unfortunately the PC has been informed that they are now not suitable for cricket bats and the access to the site is very problematic for removal of wood, so therefore the trees remain standing and unwanted.
A number of branches from the trees are now very close to the overhead wires, so again we have taken advice and some of the trees will have to be felled. The dangers of any of them falling or touching the wires is a major concern.
One thing has become very clear, trees are a responsibility which has to be taken seriously. We are currently considering where we can plant trees to join with the Essex Forest Initiative. Many factors will be considered and it will be an item for discussion during our December PC meeting.
A piece of really good news is that Elmdon Rovers Youth Football Club have made a move to Cowley Park. They train in the evenings of Tuesday, Thursday and Friday each week and matches are on a Sunday.
Elsewhere in the magazine, Andy Bruce their Media Officer has written an article giving more information. We are really delighted to welcome them to Cowley Park, it is good to see the pitches being played on a regular basis by the young people. Many of our residents have commented very positively about the move.
The St Osyth Football Club and the Elmdon Rovers are working together and it is excellent that the Park and the Pavilion are being well used for sport activities.
It is the time of year when the PC begin planning again in some detail for the next financial year 2021 and the subsequent two years.
Meetings are held by the committee and working parties, this year via Zoom, and reports are prepared by the Councillors who have responsibility for litter bins, planters and bench seats. Really all the items that we as a PC are responsible for or have an interest in.
It is also the time when we look at the progress of what we agreed should be actioned during the current financial year. We have been pleasantly surprised at how much we have achieved as the pandemic has not been conducive for moving things forward!
However, one issue we re going to have to move forward with is the exterior of the Pavilion at Cowley Park. It is in a very poor state and needs major work. A number of suggestions have been made and these will be discussed in the forthcoming months.
Point Clear Bay
A meeting was planned over three weeks ago between myself, Cllr Mandy Kelly and members of the management of The Orchards. It was agreed that it would be useful to have a definitive map of Point Clear Bay to show ownership of the Bay prior to the meeting.
In one paragraph of the previous item about the Management Plan I wrote that the pandemic had not been conducive to moving things forward. Well this certainly applies to the Land Registry, as it has taken them over 3 weeks to produce a map of Point Clear Bay and during that time, thinking it was coming, we planned and cancelled three meetings!
However, the map is now in our possession and a meeting is to take place at The Orchards on 14th October, the agenda includes a number of concerns raised by the residents.
I am afraid that the letter which was written well over a month ago and was of course to be discussed, may well be a thing of the past and a new letter will hopefully be written and circulated.
An update in December!
Christmas Lights and Decorations in the Village
This year we are in the happy state of having Christmas lights up and ready for the festive season. They are above all the shops in Spring Road and Clacton Road, this is thanks to Paul Dewing of GCS Systems and the Business Association. It will be particularly good to see them up this year, we need some normality for our own physical and mental wellbeing.
It has been suggested by Martin Walsh, the Parish Council Responsible Finance Officer, that this year the PC give a prize for the best decorated shop/business. This idea has been enthusiastically endorsed by the Councillors, so watch this space for the invitation which will be in the December magazine. It possibly could be extended further to houses within the centre of the village too. It would provide a good piece of fun and enjoyment for us all, as what for most of us at this time is a rather uncertain future.
As my Mother-in-law used to say, “we will be brought through!”
Chairman’s Report – (published in the October Magazine)
Like many others I have been thinking and saying, “Just where did August go?”.
The past months in so many ways have gone quickly; the experience has been quite surreal and now it seems Autumn is almost upon us. However, as I write at the beginning of September the weather is really very pleasant, so long may it last!
During August we received the information from Tendring District Council that we might qualify for the Small Busines Rate Relief. This was introduced by the Government as one of a number of measures to assist small businesses, organisations and charities who would be affected by Covid 19 because of a loss of ability to generate income.
The Parish Council applied first of all for Cowley Park, as we are the residual trustees, and discovered we were indeed eligible and qualified for Business Rate Relief. We subsequently received the good news that we would receive £10,000. The Parish Council also applied for Business Rate Relief and again we qualified so received the same amount. Both totally unexpected but very welcome.
Vacancy for a Parish Councillor
Elsewhere in the magazine there is an advertisement for a Parish Councillor. We have a vacancy and would welcome residents applying, who like all of us on the Parish Council, want to help residents and want to make our village a better and pleasanter place in which to live.
If you are interested please do talk to other Councillors, their names and telephone numbers are available on noticeboards outside the Village Hall, Dumont Hall and in Chisbon Heath, opposite the Blue Sari. Councillor details are also on the council website www.stosyth.gov.uk We look forward to hearing from you.
Zip Wire at Priory Meadow
We are very pleased to report that the newly installed zip wire is being very well used and enjoyed by the young. We wait to hear about the Parish Council grant application for a basket swing. All the equipment is being placed towards the bottom of Priory Meadow, so hopefully is not too much of an intrusion to residents.
Unfortunately, we do have some young members who are mining underneath the metal fence which separates Priory Meadow from the Cricket Bat Plantation! It has destabilised one of the heavy metal posts which now has to be concreted in again. We are putting up a notice warning the young that for Health and Safety reasons there is no admittance to the Cricket Bat Plantation. Let us hope they read and take note!
I wrote in my last Report that a check has been done by Councillors on all our street signs and subsequently agreed with Alan Howard of Tendring District Council. One sign which gave us pause for thought was Nassau Road, as it is one of the old village street signs with “Parish of St Osyth” written in small red letters at the top. We have a number in the centre of the village. I think they are rather special, and no way do we want them replaced. Nassau Road sign though had been bent and the supporting legs needed replacing. The sign itself certainly needed quite a lot of TLC if it were to remain. Alan Howard, Ken our Community Warden and I all looked at it and agreed that it would be a shame to lose it, but the cost of straightening the sign and painting it would be prohibitive. Ken volunteered to remove the sign and give it the necessary TLC. Alan then said he would organise a steel frame of the appropriate size to fit the sign. So, it now all goes forward. One of our old signs will be restored and fitted into the new frame. A big thank you to Ken, our Community Warden and to Alan Howard of Tendring District Council.
The Planter in the Memorial Garden – the Cemetery
Some residents may remember a number of years ago the Parish Council had a Memorial Wall built in the Memorial Garden in the Cemetery. Relatives and friends can then buy a plaque which is mounted onto a brick in the wall commemorating their loved one.
Earlier this year the Cemetery Committee decided that a wooden planter should be placed in front of the wall for those who wanted to place fresh flowers near to their plaque. The photograph beneath shows its position. Should you want to put flowers in a vase in memory, then please do use it.
Point Clear Bay
In my Report last month, I shared with you concerns that the residents have who live in the Bay.
Shortly a letter is to be put on the Parish Council website which will give more information about ways forward.
However, the Parish Council has also been supporting residents who live along Footpath 29 who have had a very difficult time with motor bikes being ridden along this footpath. We are, with the Footpath Officer for Essex Highways, looking at barriers which enable those who are on mobility scooters or pushing double buggies to pass through, but will impede those on motorbikes. There is such a barrier, so it is now a question of Essex Highways funding it. Hopefully, this will be possible. We will keep you posted.
Saying Thank you.
At the end of August, Angie retired from working in the Village Hall after many many years of service. She has long been a stalwart with the Parish Council staff, always ready to help and go that extra mile. We are enormously grateful to her for the contribution she had made to the smooth running of our office. She will be much missed, so a big thank-you to her from the Parish Council and the Staff.
Angie, enjoy your well-earned retirement.
It is sad to report that some of the planters and the hanging baskets are being emptied and taken down earlier than usual this year. They have been buffeted by the winds and are looking some-what sad. Hopefully, next summer will be less windy. Actually, hopefully next summer will be just normal!
Chairman’s Report – (published in September Magazine)
The Lockdown Magazine
I do hope that you enjoyed the Special Edition Lockdown Magazine. Many people have commented on how good it was to catch up on many things that had happened during lockdown. Certainly, it emphasised the kindness shown by many people during this extraordinary time in our lives.
St. Osyth Seal
Many months ago, at an St. Osyth Historical Society meeting the Seal of the Priory at St. Osyth was being discussed. Cllr. John White informed us that the original is at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, he discovered it during a visit with his daughter.
Since then, I have been in touch with the Collections and Archives Department at Alnwick. They have informed us that the seal is held within the collection assembled by the 3rd Duke of Northumberland beginning in 1826. The current owners date the seal from the 8th century, but evidence suggests it could be 12th or even 13th century.
St. Osyth Church purchased an image of the seal and the matrix at the beginning of 2020 Nigel Jeskin, Curator of the St. Osyth Museum has enlarged them and they are now framed and hanging in our Church. They are very interesting. Do pop in to have a look.
Pavement resurfacing in Manfield Gardens
Many of you will remember that last year the Parish Council joined a scheme led by Essex Highways whereby we were given an amount of money £2913.14 to spend on urgent repairs in our village. We opted to do pavement repairs in Darcy Road and by adding an additional amount of money, managed to complete these and carry on to Manfield Gardens. This year we are continuing with much needed pavement repairs in this area. So hopefully soon it will be much safer to walk along Manfield Gardens pavements.
With the gift of £10,000.00 from Hutleys St. Osyth Beach Trust, by the time you receive this magazine the aerial runway will have been installed and used by the young in our Parish – this is really good. We now have two pieces of equipment on Priory Meadow which should facilitate keeping the children safe who live on the east side of the crossroads.
We have applied for a grant for a basket swing too but will not know whether we have been successful until later in the year.
The Photograph taken in 1954 of the Crossroads
Some readers may remember an article in the August magazine about the crossroads as John Stiff had found a newspaper article referring to how dangerous they were in 1954.
There was a photograph showing the crossroads at that time, as I thought you might be interested to see how the crossroads looked 70 years ago, it is below my Report!
I do promise you the Parish Council is doing everything possible to progress the recommendations made in the Feasibility Study carried out for us in 2019.
Street Signs and Tidying the Cemetery
Councillors have been very busy this month, checking street signs for damage, suggesting replacement and cleaning those that are dirty. Any signs which were in a poor state were inspected by Tendring District Council, with me in attendance, and then a replacement or painting order is agreed. The system works well.
There was a work party too of Councillors who spent time cutting brambles, removing dead flowers and generally tidying the cemetery. Another work party is planned for later in August.
All these things help the village look cared for and managed.
Point Clear Bay
A number of residents who live in Point Clear Bay have expressed their concern about various issues relating to the Bay.
In May 2018, a meeting was initiated by the then manager of the Orchards Holiday Park, inviting residents to meet him and discuss what could be done to improve the whole area of the Bay. Suggestions made by those present included: –
- Improving the street lighting
- Repairing the roads
- Providing more dog bins
- Providing additional parking
- maintenance of the greensward
It was a productive meeting and many of those attending felt that it was ‘new beginnings’. As a result of the meeting a Steering Group of residents was set up which it was planned would meet with the management of the Orchards. For reasons which were not entirely clear after an initial meeting, nothing was progressed except the installation of a solar streetlight.
However, the current concerns have been shared with the Manager and Health and Safety Officer of the Orchards and from both, there is a real will to move things forward again. Money is an issue after this difficult season, but there are things which can be achieved.
“Where there is a will, there is a way” and that is what we will work towards.
Another thing which happened during and just after lockdown is the launch of the St. Osyth Museum website, it is now up and running. It really is extremely good, so easy to navigate around and full of interesting information about our village.
Do spare some time to investigate it further, it really is worth a very good look –
Many thanks to Nigel Jeskins for all his hard work in producing it.
Using Cowley Park and Priory Meadow
The Parish Council is delighted that local organisations are using Cowley Park for their activities. Under Government Guidelines, if they are carried out under the auspices of the Parish Council groups of thirty, including the instructor, can run outdoor classes. A Risk Assessment has to be provided which has to address the current guidance as to the prevention measures which have to be put in place.
It is good to see Cowley Park being used. Please contact Neil on 01255 821447 if your organisation would like to use Cowley Park or Priory Meadow.
Chairman’s Report – August 2020 Issue of the Parish Magazine
It is difficult top know how to begin a report covering three of the most traumatic months in our nation’s history. The word unprecedented has been used so much in these three months and as we reflect on our lives during that time, it is almost as though it was different people living through it.
However, it was all of us and really it began with the notification of lockdown and the publishing of the April magazine with the orange cover. This, as you will know was used to inform residents who were vulnerable, of the support which was available to them organised by the Parish Council and the Church. More will be written about this in another article in the magazine. Suffice it to say that during the lockdown there were 705 prescriptions delivered and 894 deliveries of groceries. Many, many thanks got to the volunteers who made it happen.
The Parish Council Continued Working
Although the Parish Council office had to be closed, the staff were working from home and the Councillors were active.
We were probably one of the first Parish Councils to have a conference system in use, this was later changed to Zoom. It is so much easier to have meetings when you can see one another!
We have held three General Meetings of the Parish Council; all the Committees and Working Parties have had meetings and we have used it for small group meetings as was necessary. It is a fantastic piece of technology which has enabled us to progress with all the matters that affect our Parish.
So that this Report does not become like Volume 3 of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, I will try to give a synopsis of things achieved and dealt with during lockdown!
The Play Areas – Cowley, Priory Meadow and Dumont
Both Cowley and Priory Meadow have had to remain open as we cannot actually close them, but notices were posted on each piece of equipment warning adults and children of the risks being taken if it was used.
Tow pieces of equipment have been repaired at Cowley Park, the basket swing and the aerial runway – this has had a new platform and new safety matting.
Hutley’s St. Osyth Beach Trust has given us £10,000 for an aerial runway to be installed at Priory Meadow. We are really very grateful for this extremely generous gift. It is now on order and we are hoping for delivery in August.
Essex County Council Devolution Scheme
It is running again this year. We are spending the £2913.14 allocated to us on improving footways and pavements in St. Osyth and are continuing to repair Manfield Garden pavements.
Councillors are asked annually to check a list of 5 or 6 street signs allocated to them to see if the need cleaning, repairing or replacing. This is happening rather later than usual, but it is being done. Tendring District Council are the asked to repair or replace as necessary. The Parish Council organise the cleaning!
Resurfacing Colchester Road, The Bury and part of Mill Street
This has finally been achieved, it has taken a lot of reminders! As you will have noticed part of the Bury and Colchester Road has not been resurfaced, as it is hoped that the improvements to the crossroads will become part of next year’s budget we are hoping!
The Toilets in Church Square
During the lockdown these were given a makeover and there is new sanitary ware in both sets of toilets and they have been repainted. They are also now open so that is all good. See photo on Page 30 of the magazine.
Filling the Planters ready for the Summer
This was a considerable challenge, as usually in March/April, Councillors Blockley, Ward and myself are visiting Nurseries to order plants for display during the summer months. As we were only allowed during this period of lockdown essential travel, it meant visiting nurseries was out of the question. So, all the ordering from three different nurseries was done by telephone.
It was an anxious time, as we kept hearing of the shortage of plants plus if we were able to get what we ordered, would we be able to travel and get them and then actually plants them? However, it was all fine, the plants were there, and the restrictions were lifted sufficiently for us to get busy planting.
We were also fortunate that the hanging baskets were sponsored by organisations and residents and they have added to the street scene in Clacton Road, the Village Hall and Dumont Hall.
Last autumn we had planned and built into the budget replacing the little garden underneath the village sign opposite the Priory. We decided to put in ‘up the pole’ baskets and again as these needed some considerable planning, it was fortunate that the poles were able to be made, then dug in and the plinth repaired around the sign when restrictions were being lifted. The baskets look really good and we are so pleased to have them and again they were very generously sponsored.
All in all, the village is a welcoming place now we are coming out of lockdown. It has been a strange time. But hopefully one of the abiding memories will be the acts of kindness from so many people during this period of our lives to help and support others.
On the 14th June I wrote a piece for the Church Pew Sheet called “So many Acts of Kindness in Our Time.” And to finish my Report I would like to share it with you.
- At the beginning of Lockdown a resident having read that the Parish Council and the Church were going to deliver groceries and prescriptions, emailed us to say if money was needed to cover expenses, she and her husband were happy to help. What a very kind thought and gesture.
- Over 30 volunteers have been actively involved in organising and delivering prescriptions to the elderly and vulnerable in the village to date-
- 779 deliveries of groceries (comprising of 1948 bags/boxes)
- 645 prescriptions delivered
- What a total and a commitment by all these people
- Many of our Church family have been ringing people on a weekly or fortnightly basis just to check that they were coping and whether help is needed. Again, an act of kindness.
- Others have been putting their skills to very good use by making scrubs for the NHS.
- Last, but by no means least, are the two friends who have set up, in the phon box opposite the Priory, a free larder of food for those in need. What has been so very kind is not only their generosity but the number of people who have popped along and put additional items of food in the phone box larder.
- The two friends regularly go and check it, ensure everything is tidy, that items are organised and if necessary, top up for people to take if they need.
- The kindness shown in organising it and all the people who are giving food, and continue to do so, is really exceptional.
All of us having read these acts of kindness and there are many more, know that in St.Osyth, during this difficult and unprecedented time, the reserves of human kindness have not run dry.
We have much to be thankful for.
To finish this article, I would like on behalf of all the Councillors to say a warm thank-you to the Parish staff who during this time have all ‘gone the extra mile’. They have been brilliant in rising to every challenge that has been asked of them. We as a Council and as a village owe them a great debt of gratitude.
Thanks too to the Councillors, many of whom have been able to support the initiative by actively helping in the organisation and delivery of groceries and prescriptions.
We are indeed a very fortunate village to have a group of people all of whom are committed to the well-being of its residents.
Chairman’s Report – (APRIL ISSUE OF ST OSYTH NEWS)
WRITTEN BEFORE THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK
What a month it was weather wise – from one day to another it was different. However, although the wind and rain were remarkably trying, it was little compared to those in other parts of the country, and I think we all recognised this.
The bed underneath the Village signs on The Bury is being replaced. We are planning to have self-watering hanging baskets on poles each side of the sign. Richard and Margaret Vigus have very kindly maintained and planted it for a number of years now and our thanks do go to them. We think the new arrangement will look really attractive during the summer months.
Christmas Lights – Preparation for December 2020!
We recently had a meeting with Paul Hamilton who runs the Burger Van, Neil Young of The Hoy and Paul Dewing of GCS Alarms to discuss extending the Christmas lights in the conservation area in the Village. Planning early will ensure that the lights are in place and ready to be switched on, on December 1st.
Our planning has been greatly helped by a gift of £300 from St. Osyth Gun Club. When giving the Parish Council the gift, they asked that it be used for the benefit of the community. We had so many positive remarks about the Christmas lights in 2019, that extending them and possibly having a tree too seems a very good way of using their financial gift. On behalf of the village our thanks to them.
Resurfacing Darcy Road.
One eagle eyed Councillor, Ray French spotted new coloured spray paint along Darcy Road recently. We all know that the red spray paint marked where the pavement repairs were to be, but purple spray paint? Our concern was that it could be another utility of even B.T. Broadband planning to dig up the pavement just as it was to be resurfaced or even afterwards!
However, we enquired of Essex Highways and were assured that the new coloured spray paint was identifying where the services were prior to them digging ready for the resurfacing. As I write I understand resurfacing has been completed.
St. Osyth Cricket Club.
The Parish Council have to very sadly inform you that on the 26th February it was proposed at the Annual General Meeting of the St. Osyth Cricket Club that the Club dissolves itself.
As Mark Shuttleworth, who has with his brother Nick, run the club for many years informed us.
The history of all cricket clubs is one of highs and lows, stops and starts. “The history of the St. Osyth Cricket Club can be traced back to 1754 although there have undoubtedly been times over that period when cricket was not played. Cricket did not get going again after the war until 1951 and there was a three-season gap when no cricket was played between 1966 and 1968!”
It is sad for the village as seeing cricket being played on Cowley Park is one of the summer sights we all enjoy. But there are no longer sufficient players to make a team.
The Parish Council has yet to make a decision on what to do with the ‘square’ It would be good if visiting teams looking for a field would use it, but possibly the cost of hiring would be prohibitive. Mark informs us that since 2000 the Club has spent £64,000 on maintaining the square to league standard.
Decisions will have to be made in the near future, as the Parish Council now has all the assets of St. Osyth Cricket Club transferred to them on the 28th February. We then assume the full responsibility of managing the whole of Cowley Park.
Our grateful thanks to Mark and Nick for the many years of service that they have given to the Club.
Housing Development along St. John’s Road
As many of you know the proposed development on the St. John’s Nursery site of 195 houses and 8 business units along St. John’s Road was refused by the Planning Committee of Tendring District Council, much to the relief of the Parish Council.
Our main concern was that Essex Highways did not raise any objectives to the planning application. They appeared to completely not take into account that the access and egress to the development is a basic junction and nothing more. Which means, that the lack of a filter lane into the development could potentially lead to a build up of traffic from the east and of course as we all know considerable inconvenience.
However, of equal concern to the Parish Council is what seems to be the failure of Essex Highways Development Team to consider the impact of multiple developments along St. John’s Road which occur within a short distance of each other.
There are currently five live planning applications within a distance of approximately 806 metres along St. John’s Road. All of the traffic from these developments could possibly, on a daily basis, mean that upwards of 1500 – 2000 vehicles exiting onto St. Johns Road within 806 metres of each other.
We have now written to Essex Highways stating that it appears to be common practice for them to consider applications in isolation of each other. We have requested, in the strongest possible terms, that the Development Management Team always consider the context of a new planning application and its proximity to those planning applications already granted. In the case of St. John’s Road, the impact on the area of the additional vehicles is very likely to adversely affect residents and road users.
The Speed Watch Team recently had information that during 2019, the group carried out 22 monitoring sessions. This resulted in 215 warning letters being sent to offenders and a total of 17 were second time offenders.
I wrote about a possible closure of the above due to dog owners blatantly ignoring the now three signs which state at the entrance that “No Dogs” are allowed in the area.
The Parish Council at the meeting in February decided that it should be closed for a period, hopefully to reinforce strongly the message that the Dumont Play Area is a place for young children and their carers only.
With best wishes,
St. Osyth Parish Council
February 2020 (March Issue of St Osyth News)
The Application for 195 houses and 9 commercial units along St. John’s Road has been refused by the Tendring District Council Planning Committee. The proposed site is on what was St. John’s Nursery. The Parish Council held a special Planning Meeting on 28th January so that our views could be put before the Tendring District Council Planning Committee. We had a number of objections ranging from an over development of the site, to the design being out of character in a rural setting. But our main concern for the residents of St. Osyth Parish was the fact that there was but one single point of access to and egress from the site onto St. John’s Road; and that this entrance is but 110 metres east from the proposed access to 950 houses on land at Rouses Farm!
The increase in and the impact of traffic from these two developments using St. John’s Road could generate in some 2000 additional vehicles using the B1027 on a daily basis, 52 weeks of a year! And this was without taking into account the traffic generated from the thousands of visitors in the summer to Clacton on Sea.
Our Vice Chairman Councillor Alma Blockley met the Tendring District Council Planning Committee on the St. John’s Nursery site and explained our concerns to them on the morning of the 12th February during their site visit. Subsequently I was allowed to address them at their evening meeting at Weeley explaining the Parish Council’s strong opposition to the proposed development.
The Planning Committee’s views were the same as ours, and that of a resident from St. John’s Road who spoke and ultimately decided to recommend refusal of the proposed development. We all breathed a sigh of relief, but now wait to see whether the developer goes to appeal.
I did smile though when after the Planning Committee had recommended refusal, a resident of St. John’s Road, who attended the meeting, whispered to me.
“I do feel now that the increase in my Council Tax having become part of St. Osyth Parish has been worth it!” A satisfactory ending to the evening!
The Causeway Railings and other things!
At long last the railings on the Causeway have been completed – our persistence has paid off!
On another note it has been interesting to see the lake without water as it had been drained to allow the water at high tide to flow in.
St. Osyth and Point Clear have not suffered too much from the recent stormy weekends. We do feel for the Brightlingsea residents though, some of whom have lost their beach huts and also the volunteers who have seen all their hard work in reinstating the Lido ruined by the flooding. Thanks go to Tom South who runs Absolute Tree Services, who at no cost cleared fallen trees from the footpaths and one in Dumont Avenue which had fallen on two cars! It was good of Tom and we are grateful to him.
The Parish Council is sad to have to report that as from the beginning of March, we are closing Dumont Playground for a period of time.
Despite THREE notices on the gate stating “No Dogs in the Play area” there are a number of owners who persistently take their dogs in and allow them to roam. This is a play area specifically set aside for young children and the presence of dogs is not acceptable for many obvious reasons.
A notice will be displayed stating that due to improper use there will be a temporary closure. It is sad when people blatantly ignore a request which is for the benefit of our very young residents.
The Feasibility Study of the Crossroads
Regular readers of my Report will know that the Parish Council commissioned a Feasibility study of the crossroads in 2019. We wanted all available options to be identified and considered. The remit we gave to Ben Cook of BMJC Consulting Limited was that we were looking both to make the crossroads safer for pedestrians and to ensure that drivers would have to approach the crossroads with caution.
Ben came back to the Parish Council in December 2019 and the following options in his Feasibility Study were discussed:-
Option 1 – Mini-Roundabout –
Discounted on two grounds. It would not address our concerns over pedestrian safety. There was insufficient room on the crossroads.
Option 2 – Traffic Signals –
Discounted on the grounds that four-way traffic signals would result in significant waiting times, of at least 3½ minutes, while traffic negotiated the crossroads.
Option 3 – Squareabout – Discounted:
Discounted on the basis that the asymmetric design of the crossroads would not lend itself to a physical ‘Squareabout’, but Councillors agreed that the concept of having vehicles on all four approaches to the crossroads ‘stop’ prior to negotiating the junction was worth pursuing.
Option 4 – Junction Realignment – to be considered further
This necessitated the footway around the Hoy being moved over in Clacton Road and the central line in Spring Road be repositioned in order that the footway around the Hoy could be widened down to the beginning of the Spar Stores.
The central white line in Spring Road having been repositioned would be equidistant between the two footways. In order for this to happen the pavement outside Jerry’s the Butchers would be made narrower and 6” high kerbstones would be put in place to discourage people from parking on the narrower pavement and the double yellow lines!
Option 5 – Road Layout Changes – Discounted
This would give priority to vehicles coming from The Bury and Clacton Road, rather than Spring Road and Colchester Road. It was discounted as it would not address the issue of speed and would do nothing for the safety of pedestrians.
Option 6 – Traffic Calming – for further consideration.
This option entailed raising the whole of the junction area at the centre of the crossroads and would act as a physical deterrent when approaching the crossroads.
There would be ‘STOP’ signs on all junctions to the raised platform which would reduce the speed at which vehicles crossed the junction, while increasing pedestrian safety.
Subsequent to the Councillors discussing the six options, we had a meeting with Ben Cook and David Gollop, Design Manager for Essex Highways.
We all looked at the various options again and had a really good discussion with the two professionals. Having David present was extremely helpful as in wearing his Essex Highways hat, he was able to guide our thinking and be ‘on side’ in the future. It was agreed that no one single option would resolve the issues at the crossroads; but it was felt that a combination of several could. Therefore we are submitting an application to the Local Highways Panel requesting that a formal survey and design for the improvements listed below be made. This is with a view to a formal design application being submitted later this year and the improvements, if approved, to be completed in 2021, or if necessary phased over two or three years.
So it is hoped that David Gollop will survey the crossroads and then design:-
- A central raised table and raised platforms at each approach to the crossroads, which should include pedestrian crossing points.
- Improvements to the footway around the Hoy – to include raised kerbstones outside the butchers.
- The installation of a give-way sign at each approach to the crossroads.
The Parish Council has spent a significant amount of time considering the various options. We believe that with the input of knowledge and expertise of the professionals there is a possible plan for the crossroads.
We now wait to see if funding is available for a formal survey and design encompassing the options listed.
With best wishes,
January 2020 (Parish Magazine February Issue)
A very Happy and Healthy New Year to you all.
The village looked really festive over the Christmas period and the lights on the front of the shops and businesses certainly contributed to the Christmas spirit. Thanks go to St. Osyth Business Association, the Parish Council and GCS for their hard work in making it possible.
GCS did a superb job in putting up the lights and we are particularly grateful to them.
The Church looked very special with the tower, the fir tree and the Lych Gate all lit. Our thanks to Robert Simion and Philip Smith who year on year give their time to ensuring that the Church and the Churchyard send out the message of Christmas.
There is much to report on Highway issues.
First – Footway Repairs If you remember the Parish Council was involved in the Footways Repairs Initiative run by Essex County Council with the active support of County Councillor Alan Goggin, we did get all the footways repaired in Norman Close and the kerbstones in Johnson Road. An attempt was made and I use that word advisedly, to repair a section of the footway at the bottom of Mill Street. It was very poorly done. A complaint has been made, and we expect Highways to return and do it again.
The good news though is that we were invited again by Essex County Council to put forward additional footway areas for repair. We were allowed three double decker’s worth!! What we did was identify all the worn patches in Darcy Road and together with the grant of £2913,14 allocated to the Parish Council by Essex County Council, we have managed to ensure all the very worn areas will be repaired. It will look rather like a patchwork quilt, but at least the footways will be safe to walk on.
Next we begin on footways in Manfield Gardens. N.B. Mill Street has not been forgotten, we promise!
Spring Road Footways
Having written at length in both November and December magazines about the repairs being carried out elsewhere in the village, I had a rather indignant response from a resident in Spring Road!
He quite rightly pointed out that their footways had been marked up on a number of occasions and still nothing had been done. It was a very fair comment so with the writer’s agreement, I passed it onto a Senior Engineer at Essex Highways. He did apologise for the delay, and pointed out that although it was going to be a difficult site to deliver, he would try to ‘move it along as quickly as resources allow!’ I rather gather the resources are human as well as financial. I am hopeful that Spring Road footways will be completed this financial year. I will keep reminding!
I have also gently reminded Essex Highways that an area of the Causeway needs completing as it is missing concrete posts. They have now sourced these replacement posts; they are on order, so again hopefully that area will be completed too by the end of the financial year.
People driving to the beach will have seen the very worrying sight of the middle of the road opening up near the Holiday Parks. As it was only resurfaced two years ago, it is a real concern. Essex Highways have promised to deal with it is a priority. To date though no progress.
Resurfacing of Colchester Road
This is due to be done at the beginning of the new financial year, but it could be earlier. The resurfacing of the crossroads has been put on hold at the moment because of future planning re the Feasibility study. However, we have requested that if possible the resurfacing of the road in front of the Priory goes ahead, as it is in a very poor state. We wait to hear.
Recently I received some newspaper cuttings from a resident about a “Happy to Chat Bench”. They explained that a Somerset policeman launched the scheme last May in a bid to tackle loneliness among elderly people in the seaside town where he lived. He tied a sign to a bench saying “Happy to Chat? Sit here if you don’t mind stopping to say hello”.
It was a way of encouraging people to sit for a natter with someone else and has worked well. It is certainly gaining interest in the UK as well apparently as in other countries. The few people I have spoken to feel it is worth exploring further. It is now an agenda item for both the Church and Parish Council meetings this month.
If you have any thoughts on the scheme, do get in touch 01255 821447.
Point Clear Bay
Many will be aware that in 2018 the residents of eighty properties in the Bay were served with Enforcement Notices from Tendring District Council informing them that because of the flooding risk, they were not allowed to stay in their homes during the winter months of November through to the end of February
Residents of forty four of these properties appealed against this and an Inquiry was held last year. The decision by the Appeal Inspector came through just before Christmas.
Residents of twenty seven properties who could not prove that they had lived in their homes for ten years, cannot live in them during the winter months after 1st November 2021. Residents of seventeen properties were successful in proving that they had lived in their homes for over ten years. However, this did not give them any immunity and they too have to leave their homes during the winter months. If they do not do so they too will be committing a criminal offence.
The Inquiry cost Tendring District Council (and us the taxpayer) £177,957.09 but there is not any resolution for the residents, who are still left with the uncertainty of enforcement by Tendring District Council. The statement from Tendring District Council stated ‘we will be taking necessary advice and instruction’ about the Inspector’s decision.
The Feasibility Study for the Crossroads
The Parish Council received it at the beginning of December, on the 7th January, all the Parish Councillors and Essex County Councillor Alan Goggin met with Ben Cook who carried out the Feasibility Study and David Gallop, Design Manager for Essex Highways.
It was both a positive and productive meeting and we discussed all six options in the Study.
Our next step will be for the Parish Council to submit an application to the Local Highways Panel, requesting a formal survey and design for the agreed improvements, with a view to the application being submitted in 2020.
The improvements, if approved, to be completed in 2021.
I will write at greater length about the Feasibility Study and the possible options in the next Report. Suffice it to say there was real progress and hope at the January meeting.
With best wishes,
I cannot quite believe, like many others I imagine, how much rain we have had in October. We have had nearly four inches and this is the driest part of the country!
Priory Meadow Play Area
As you are aware the Parish Council is looking to put an Embankment Slide on Priory Meadow. This is now scheduled for November. We are also waiting to hear the outcome of a grant application we have made to the Community Initiatives Fund for a basket swing. In 2020, the Parish Council hopes to finance a zip wire. Priory Meadow will then have some really good pieces of equipment on which the young can play and stay close to their homes. An added bonus.
Member Led Footway Repairs
You may remember the Parish Council were invited to be involved in another initiative from Essex Highways. This time we could choose footways/pavements to be repaired up to a length of three double decker buses! Why Essex Highways couldn’t give us a sensible measurement in metres instead of that obscure way of doing it, we have no idea! However, very worn parts of Norman Close footways have been repaired. Essex Highways have done a good job. We hope to begin using the money that Essex Highways have given us (£2913.14) to repair some of the really worn pavements in Darcy Road shortly!
Councillors have been concerned for some time about the safety of the decking in front of the Pavilion. When it gets wet, it becomes very slippery and as it is a very large area, this is a justifiable concern. We have investigated a number of options from painting sand onto the boards to installing new boards with anti-slip inserts in them. Costs have ranged as you may imagine from the relatively cheap, but not necessarily effective, to the very expensive. All the Councillors were asked to attend a meeting at Cowley Park on the 30th October to consider both the site and the options. This they all did. Their unanimous decision was that the decking in its entirety should be removed and that we revert back to what was there previously. So new steps up to the pavilion will be built, there will be a hard area next to the pavilion itself and then new turf laid up to where the decking ended. The view of the Councillors was that it was a once and for all expense. We will now put the work out to tender to our local contractors.
Dumont Play Area
There are now two notices on the gate stating no dogs allowed in the play area and would you believe people are still walking their dogs in there!
There is a very kind resident who is locking and unlocking the gate, which hopefully will stop nocturnal visits. But it is difficult to know what else can be done to prevent thoughtless people from ignoring notices and then allowing their dogs to endanger children’s health.
I wrote at length in last month’s Report about the fly tipping incidents on the Warren and the allotments and the scourge that the actions of the few have on our countryside. Neil and I met Matthew Leach, at the end of October, he has been appointed by Tendring District Council to combat and deal with fly tipping. We discussed the incidents and he is going to interview the people who witnessed the fly tipping on the Warren and the person who committed the offence.
He then outlined the procedure that it to be followed now he is in post.
Within 24 hours of fly tipping being notified to Tendring District Council rubbish is inspected for identification, if any is found, the 3 stages are begun
- In the first instance when people are identified who have either been fly tipping or given their rubbish to a non-licensed carrier, they will have a visit ‘to advise’.
- In the second instance if they are caught again, they will be given a Community Protection Notice which could lead to either a fine or an appearance in court.
- In the third instance, there will be a prosecution. It all sounds like progress to us.
Let us sincerely hope that with this in place in the future fly tipping becomes a rare occurrence.
The Bury and the Crossroads
We have been informed by Essex Highways that road maintenance is to be carried out on the road in front of the Priory and at the Crossroads early in 2020. The Feasibility Study on the crossroads is due to be received by the Parish Council in the next couple of weeks. We have informed Essex Highways of this, so possibly they can work together on the improvements. Here’s hoping!
A slightly shorter report this month, hopefully it is informative and interesting.
With best wishes,
As I begin to write this report which will be in the November issue of the magazine, it hardly seems possible that another year is nearly over. Where did it go?
There are some different issues to share with you this month.
In the week beginning 16th September the Parish staff had five separate incidents of fly tipping reported to them. It culminated with one on Friday 20th September when a vehicle was seen at 11.22 am dumping rubbish behind the Vicarage on Warren Farm.
In this case it was witnessed by three residents, the vehicle dumping the rubbish was caught on CCTV at the crossroads and the vehicle registration number noted. All of this was reported to the Police on 101 and a crime reference number given.
Following this the landowner received two letters from Essex Police; the first informing him that further investigations would be carried out. The second letter informing him that Tendring District Council have primacy for fly tipping offences, and with the current demands being placed on police resources, unless there were exceptional circumstances, no further enquiries would be made and therefore their investigations will be closed! We were amazed and cross.
Our expectation was, because the evidence was all there i.e. three witnesses ready to make statements, the vehicle seen on CCTV with a number visible, that an investigation and a prosecution would follow. We all feel that until prosecutions happen, fly tipping will continue to be a scourge on the countryside
I understand that the firm who voluntarily cleared up the rubbish at the Warren, has written on Facebook. Jon Harrington is saying what the Parish Council said two years ago, when we had fly tipping in the cemetery, that house owners have to take more responsibility when paying ‘a man with van’ to take rubbish away. Their van license certifying that they can collect should be checked and that they should also see a transfer note stating where the rubbish is being taken.
It was really interesting information given by a firm that deals in house clearances; but what has to be remembered too is that while people caught fly tipping can be prosecuted the people handing over their rubbish to uncertified rubbish collectors can also be prosecuted as it is a criminal offence.
Meanwhile the Parish Council has all the evidence ready for a possible prosecution and will be writing to Tendring District Council asking for action. We will also be writing to the Police informing them that as we have all the evidence we consider that these are ‘exceptional circumstances’ as per their letter and we wait for the matter to be pursued.
Parish Council Management Plan
At this time of year the Committees and Working Parties are meeting to consider their capital expenditure for the next 2/3 years. This is put together in a Management Plan and considered by the Finance Committee, the Responsible Officer and the Clerk. Decisions are then made about the capital and revenue spending for the year 2020/2021 in particular, with planning done too for the next two years.
One initiative which is being considered is the sowing of wild flower seeds at the Clacton Road entrance to the village. We always leave the piece of land left of the entrance to Pump Hill Farm uncut. Over the years some wild flowers have been seen, but recently they have been less and less. So advice has been taken from David Gollifer, Essex Naturalists Trust and we are hoping to purchase a wild flower mix that will attract bees and butterflies. The seed will be sown, when the existing turf has been removed in the Spring 2020.
Hopefully it will be an attractive sight as people drive into the village and will support both bees and butterflies.
Dumont Play area
I am afraid that I have to report, despite a notice informing people that no dogs should be in the play area; there are those who are ignoring it and allowing their dogs to defecate and not cleaning it up. This is difficult to believe in an area which is designated as a Young Children’s Play area.
A new notice has now gone up stating ‘Positively No Dogs in the Play area’ and it is to be hoped that this is not now ignored.
- Within 48 hours of my draft report being written, three men and dogs were seen in the play area. It is both disappointing and unbelievable that people can be so thoughtless.
The Parish Council will shortly be taking up the decking in front of the Pavilion as some of the wooden planks are going rotten and it does become very slippery when wet. We have located some decking that has anti-slip inserts from a firm in Colchester. We have had good reports about it from a local business who have used it for a number of years.
We are also making further enquiries about other decking, which when treated, will be anti-slip
Graves in the Cemetery
The Cemetery in Clay Lane was opened in 1855 when it was decided that the Churchyard was full. The area to the right as you enter has a number of very old graves. With the passage of time vegetation has covered many of them, so it is difficult to see the names. A Working Party is being set up to uncover some of the graves as the people buried there are part of the social history of our village.
If you’re interested in joining the Working Party, do give Neil a ring on 01255 821447.
With best wishes,
This month I have a number of fairly brief updates on items previously discussed, but first I will begin with some important thank-you’s.
St. Osyth in Bloom
Although there are three Councillors who choose the plants and do the planting; there are a number of people who assist by helping to water them during the summer months and we are very grateful that they do this. Our thanks go to:
- The Clerk and Responsible Officer who water the hanging baskets and the display at the Village Hall.
- To Matt Ford who always helps to put the hanging baskets up along Clacton Road in front of the shops and who helped when the battery operating the water distribution failed!
- To the O’Dell family who allow us to use their water for the hanging baskets and to Andy Booth of Naglotec who keeps an eye on the plants.
- To Margaret and Richard Vigus who both supply and water the plants under the Village sign.
- To Julia Smith for providing the plants and watering the display at the Clacton road entrance.
- To John and Sandy Kemp who both supply and water the plants at Chisbon Heath.
- To John Savage who waters the flowers in the boat at the end of Mill Street and to Andy Harman from the boatyard for allowing us to use the water.
- And finally, but by no means least, to Councillors Julie Ward and Alma Blockley who have watered and fed the planters in front of the toilets, on the barriers, in front of the Priory and at Beacon Way throughout the summer.
We are very grateful to them all for the support they give so that the residents can enjoy the attractive floral displays in our village. At this point we must include the wonderful displays that we always enjoy in front of the Social Club in Church Square. Warm thanks to the Social Club who finance them and to Matt Ford who does the planting; they are so much admired.
Thanks too to the residents who by their individual efforts do make Church Square a very attractive place during the summer months.
Many of you will remember that the Parish Council is planning to install play equipment at Priory Meadow. Our reason for doing this is because a third of the children who attend our Primary School do come from the east side of the Village. It makes sense then to do this, so they can enjoy using play equipment without having to go over the crossroads.
The embankment slide is going in this month and we have a Stage 2 grant in with the Community Initiative Fund (C.I.F.) so that a basket swing can be installed hopefully in the spring. Progress is being made with the project.
Member led Footway Repair Programme
We understand from Alan Goggin, our County Councillor that an inspection is to be carried out by Essex County Highways on our request for repairs to the footways in Norman Close, Johnson Road and Rochford Road. If you remember we did suggest that these repairs should be done in the summer holidays, this is obviously not to be. However, fingers crossed that Essex County Highways do ultimately repair these pavements.
New Councillors for St. Osyth Parish Council
We are very pleased to welcome Patricia Quy and Mick Catt as our two new Councillors; we very much look forward to working with them.
Members of the Open Spaces Working Party visited Thorrington Play Area during August to look at the fitness equipment installed by their Parish Council. Thorrington Councillors were present and talked to us about why it was installed, the cost and the use that is made of it by residents.
We came away deciding to make a positive report about our visit to the Parish Council at the September meeting and recommending that we apply for a grant to Sport England.
A Toilet for Disabled People
This suggestion was made at the Annual Parish Meeting in April and was warmly applauded. Subsequently we talked to James McColl Smith of the Point Clear and St. Osyth Disabled Persons’ Club and it was agreed that the Parish Council should seek a meeting with Andy Nepean of Tendring District Council. This was done and he visited the site.
Since then Andy has come back to us to say that to “incorporate a disabled cubicle that complies with all DDA regulations will mean some structural changes to the building”. He goes on to say that as the building is in a conservation area he is not sure that Planning will be ‘too keen to change things that much.’
However, Andy is still looking at options and alternatives and I have pointed out that there is space at the rear of the building which could be used!
We are still trying, I promise.
The Roll-out of Wheelie Bins
Suffice it to say, that the month of August was remarkably difficult, both for staff in the Parish Office and for many residents.
The overflowing dog poo bins at Martin’s Farm Park have caused much consternation and rightly so. We have contacted Essex County Council on numerous occasions; they in turn have contacted the contractors Veolia to empty bins, but many are still overflowing. We as a Parish Council can do little except pass information on to Essex County Council. It is frustrating for everyone.
We do so hope that the month of September has seen a resolution with the distribution of Wheelie bins and that the overflowing bins become a thing of the past.
The Causeway Railings
Hopefully there is some success here. Having enquired yet again as to progress with the installation of new railings in the final section of the Causeway, I have been informed that this should be completed by the end of November.
If this was done and the road resurfaced on The Bury that would indeed be progress.
With best wishes to everyone.
This month a number of positives to report and one issue that is quite shocking. I will begin with the latter.
Robbery at the Cemetery
Elsewhere in the magazine you will see an advert requesting that people check the graves in the Cemetery of their loved ones to see if any ornaments, statues or flower vases have been removed.
On Saturday, 20th June we received a report that men had been seen at 5.30 am gathering up items from graves and putting them in a vehicle. The Police were informed and they visited the address where the car was registered and car boot sales in Clacton, unfortunately with no result.
The Police have informed us that now the robbery has to be ‘victim led’. This means that people have to report to them items that are missing from graves. It is because of this that the Parish Council is requesting that people check graves and report to the Police if anything is missing.
We are very grateful to some public spirited people in Tunstall Close, who first of all reported the theft and got the car registration number and then supported and kept the Parish Council informed. Thank you Wayne, Margaret and Steve. The majority of us cannot believe that people rob graves – it is quite shocking.
Footways and Pavements
The good news is that the footways in Spring Road are to be repaired in the Autumn. I contacted the Senior Engineer for Essex County Highways and he confirmed that they will be done. It is because of this information that we now do not need to use the Highways Repair Team being lent to us for three days to repair Spring Road. So we have requested that the initiative called ‘Member led footway repair programme 2019’ should focus their time on repairing pavements and kerbs in Norman Close, Johnson Road and Rochford Road. Residents will be pleased to know that we have asked that this work should be carried out in the school’s summer holidays.
Additionally, if this work is completed within the allocated time and there is still time to spare we have asked that the pavement outside The Curve in Mill Street be repaired.
It really will be interesting to see how efficient and effective this initiative is. We sincerely hope it is, as a great deal could be achieved.
The Crossroads Feasibility Study
The Highways Working Party had a meeting in July with the consultant Ben Cook to discuss the possibilities for improving the safety of the crossroads for both pedestrians and drivers.
Ben had suggested that we might invite local interested people who could contribute
to the discussion – so the Parish Council invited Jerry, who has the butcher’s shop on the crossroads and Neil from the Hoy to join us. They have first-hand experience of the incidents that happen at the crossroads. Their observations and suggestions contributed to it being a very positive and informative discussion.
We now look forward to the Feasibility Study which should be produced by October time.
By the time you read this two new councillors will have been appointed to the Parish Council which is very good news. Six people applied.
In the October magazine we are proposing to have an article giving you information and photographs about each of the Councillors, so that you do know who are representing your interests in the village. We hope that it will be helpful.
Fitness Equipment in the Village
Mrs. Dawn Skeels wrote to the Parish Council recently suggesting that as residents showed an interest in having fitness equipment, the Parish Council might like to take this further.
It was an agenda item at our last meeting and having looked at the brochures that Dawn sent to us, the Open Spaces Working Party is visiting Thorrington to look at the equipment the Parish Council had installed in February. We have requested that a member of their Parish Council is present to share with us what they did to bring the initiative to fruition.
We will keep you informed.
A final thank-you
I thanked residents in Tunstall Close for informing us about the robbery in the Cemetery earlier in my Report. I would like to say a big thank-you to Steve Pearce on behalf of us all for reporting a concern about a tree in Tunstall Close.
During the high winds of the week beginning 29th July, he rang Neil, our Clerk to report that he had heard a loud crack coming from one of the trees bordering Tunstall Close and the Bypass Road. Neil immediately reported it to Highways. A team was sent out that day and such was their concern that it was felled immediately. Our grateful thanks to Steve who possibly by his action averted what could have been a nasty accident if it had fallen across the Bypass Road.
Progress on the Layby in St. John’s Road
Colchester Parking Partnership has finally after a number of emails and phone calls put up the signs limiting the waiting to 2 hours at any one time. Great result we thought! But no, until the time of writing although there are vehicles breaking the time instruction, no tickets have been issued.
However, we are some steps nearer the Traffic Regulation Order being enforced and our persistence will we are sure payoff!
I do hope you had an enjoyable August.
With best wishes.
St Osyth Priory and Parish Trust
In the Parish Magazine there is a report and photographs of the visit by the children from St. Osyth Primary School to the Priory and how much the days were enjoyed by our young. Many people have asked since, how and why this has happened, so I am taking space in my Report to explain.
If you remember the Second Inquiry into the building of houses in the village as an enabling development was concluded at the end of the first week. Tendring District Council and the owners of the Priory then had to agree a way forward in repairing and restoring the Priory.
A Section 106 Agreement was drawn up, signed by both parties; it is a long and detailed document. One of the clauses in it relates to the St. Osyth Priory and Parish Trust – this was established by the owners in 2016.
The objectives are:-
‘The Preservation for the benefit of the public, of the buildings, monuments and land of historical, architectural or constructive interest firstly at St Osyth Priory and second St. Osyth Parish’.
Another of the clauses in the Section 106 Agreement relates to Appointments and it states that:-
‘The Owners will use all reasonable endeavours to procure that Tendring District Council together with St. Osyth Parish Council will each be invited to appoint a representative of each body to the St. Osyth Priory and Parish Trust’.
The Parish Council received a letter in June 2018 inviting us to do this and it was an agenda item at our monthly meeting. After discussion it was agreed by the Parish Council that the future interests of the village would be best served by appointing a Council member to be a Trustee. As a Councillor said: ‘it is better to be on the inside where we can affect and influence change, than on the outside’.
I agreed to be the Trustee for the Parish Council.
Ian Davidson, Chief Executive Officer for Tendring District Council has agreed to be a Trustee when the Business Plan for the Priory has been agreed and approved.
There are four other Trustees –
Andy Booth of Naglotec, Clacton Road represents the business interest in the community.
Conrad Payne, Senior Director of Strutt and Parker
Kim Lalli, Senior Partner, Wedlake Bell, LLP
Tim Sargeant, Owner of St. Osyth Priory
Helen Moore, City and Country, who is retiring as a Trustee in October.
The Trust is independent of the owners of the Priory and is committed to the following:
- Raising grants for the restoration of the Priory buildings for which it is responsible.
- Developing educational opportunities for all ages in the Priory and its Parkland.
- Working with the owners to give public access to the Priory and the Parkland.
The Trust has begun in a small way this summer. The Historical Society and the Parish Council have both had tours of the newly restored buildings with Tim Sargeant as their guide.
The planning for educational visits is now underway and these will continue in 2020 and beyond. The potential that the Priory has to offer was recognised and endorsed by many educationalists during their visits in the summer of 2018 and their views were forwarded to the Heritage Lottery Fund, to support our grant application.
Public Access to the Priory
The beginning of public access will come on September 15th when there is an invitation from the Trust and the owners to enjoy a picnic on the lawn in front of the Darcy House. Tickets will be on sale with all proceeds from the event going to St. Osyth School PTFA. These will be available from Ellacott Morris and Scott Sheen. £2.50 for an adult with children free. It promises to be a good afternoon with the opportunity to climb up the 99 steps of the Abbots Tower!
Hopefully we are now moving towards the Priory and its Parkland being used as a resource for the benefit of everyone.
Planning for the Feasibility Study
The Feasibility Study which the Parish Council has commissioned into the crossroads is underway. Ben Cook of BMJC Consulting Limited and David Gollop from Essex County Highways visited and looked at all aspects of the crossroads last Monday, considering both the traffic and the safety of pedestrians. They are to send the Parish Council a suggested framework and parameters for the Study in two weeks. We wait to see.
St. John’s Road
The Parish Council has had a number of concerns expressed to them by residents about the length of time that vehicles are parked in the two laybys. One does have a waiting restriction notice limited to two hours; the second layby has no restrictions at all.
However, when the Parish Council enquired about this, it transpired that the second layby does indeed have a Traffic Regulation Order against it and waiting should be restricted to two hours.
Colchester Parking Partnership has responsibility for the two laybys. The Parish Council contacted them and they have now put poles up in the second layby ready for notices to be attached. When these are in place, the Parish Council will be requesting that the Traffic Regulation Orders are enforced in both laybys.
The Business Association
Many of us enjoy Music on the Meadow which is held every year on Cowley Park by the Business Association. The money raised is used for the benefit of the village. They have just offered to pay for the reinstatement of the fencing which was broken by the car involved in the Police chase in June. The Parish Council has accepted gratefully as it means we do not have to make an insurance claim.
Thank you to Paul and Neil of the Association for their kind offer.
The Repair of Pavements.
Many of you will remember that the Parish Council agreed to be part of the Devolution Initiative by Essex County Council. This has meant that we are to receive £2913.14 for carrying out work that normally would be undertaken by Highways.
This year we have decided to focus on the repair of pavements, particularly those in D’arcy Road and Manfield Gardens. Some of them are in a shocking state. When the Parish Council enquired earlier in the year when they might be repaired, we were informed that Manfield Gardens is ranked 717th and D’arcy Road as 985th on the County List. So it is unlikely that funding will be available for repair for several years!
However, these two pavements are our focus and hopefully will be repaired in September by our own contractor – more information to residents later.
Spring Road Footways.
Essex County Highways have said that the footways in Spring Road are scheduled for repair this year. We are not entirely sure how much is to be repaired, so we are requesting under their “Member led footway repair programme 2019” that we have a team from Essex County Highways in for three days (that is the agreed time offered) to receive the equivalent of about ‘two double decker bus lengths of work’ They will do about 24 linear metres a day!
This is slightly belt and braces approach to ensure Spring Road footways are repaired.
The sad and concerning information about Dumont Playground does spoil the positive things that have been reported this month. Dog owners ae using the playground for the under 5s as an exercise area for their dogs; despite the fact that the notice states, “No Dogs Allowed”. Unfortunately they allow their dogs to defecate too and it is not picked up!
Despite putting notices up requesting that the playground is not used in this way, it continued. The notices were torn down. The Parish Council then took the unprecedented step of locking the playground. We did put up a notice explaining why this had been done and our apologies to those who during this period of time took children there to play.
It is now clean and open again, and is being monitored by Parish Council staff. Should anyone see people taking their dogs into the play area, do please inform the Parish Office – thank you.
The Base Youth Club
This is the name of the new Youth Club that has been started on Cowley Park. It runs on a Monday from 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm and is for the young from 11/12 years to aged 16.
The first night began with 2 youngsters’ appearing, but since then it has gone from strength to strength and in the last two weeks over 25 youngsters attended.
It is good to see a Youth Club again in the village and we are grateful to the team led by Neil of The Hoy who are supporting our young in this way. Thank you to them all.
With best wishes.
May has been a very positive month in many ways which is excellent. First and importantly all the village planters are full of flowers and the hanging baskets are up. We also have new planters in front of the toilets in Church Square. They have replaced the metal ones which were in danger of collapse and they have given us ten good years of service. The new planters do look very smart.
Many thanks to Cllrs. Julie Ward and Alma Blockley who with myself did all the planting. Thanks to Richard and Margaret Vigus who undertook the planting of the Village Sign bed and to John and Sandy Kemp who take on the responsibility for the planter at Chisbon Heath.
Grateful thanks too to those who sponsored the hanging baskets, they make an attractive difference to the village scene. With the very attractive planting in Church Square, the village is ready for the summer!
At the end of May, the Highways Working Party and Cllr. Alan Goggin, Essex County Councillor, met with David Gollop, Essex Highways Design Manager and Tom Eng, Essex County Highways Liaison Officer to discuss a way forward with the crossroads.
The Highways Working Party and the Parish Council were adamant that a holistic approach is needed, as it is not only the safety of drivers that is paramount, but that of pedestrians trying to use the narrow footways and cross the roads. David Gollop and Tom Eng accepted our suggestion that a Feasibility study should be carried out by an independent company, with input from them. In this way we feel we have the best of both worlds; the independence is important, but there will be a positive relationship with Essex County Highways who equally have concerns about the crossroads.
The current planning is for the study to be carried out and submitted to the Local Highways Panel in December, ready for it to be considered for the new funding in April 2020. We will keep you updated.
The cutting of the footpaths has begun, this as you know we organise but with a modest financial contribution from Essex County Highways. It works well and we no longer receive the myriad of complaints of a few years ago when we were totally dependent for their cutting on Essex County Highways.
Thank you to all the monitors who walk the footpaths and keep us informed. We have requested that serious action is taken over Footpath 5, as parts of it are almost permanently under water from the lake. Essex County Highways have informed us that it will cost £15,000 to rectify and they are seeking funding. Hopefully it will not be too long before we have an answer and at least it is now being considered.
The Parish Office
May has seen a great deal of activity as the four staff members prepare to move out of their present cramped accommodation into the old Snooker Room.
It is looking quite transformed and will be a very pleasant area in which to work. The present office will be a meeting room for Committees, Working Party members and for staff to meet residents when necessary.
Tendring District Council have tables for us from their Weeley Offices for this room and we are hoping for chairs! It certainly is all happening.
Opening the Priory for Educational Visits
I wrote last month of the proposed visits by local children to use the Priory as an educational resource. As the Parish Council representative on the St. Osyth Priory and Parish Trust , I have worked with the Trustees to facilitate this and it will be happening in the first week of July which is really good news.
St Osyth Primary School Reception children will enjoy a picnic in the Wilderness Garden and will be looking for the habitats of bugs and beetles and identifying them.
The Year 5 children will be looking at some of the buildings in the Priory Precinct and learning about the monastic way of life in the Middle Ages.
The Reception children from Kirby le Soken Primary School are also visiting on another day and they too will enjoy time in the Wilderness Garden.
Both schools are now planning to use the heritage of the Priory as part of their local study and planned educational activities will support this. These visits are a learning curve for the Trust as none have been undertaken before, but hopefully from the Autumn Term 2019 onwards, the opportunity to visit the Priory will be available to more schools in the Tendring area and beyond.
A very positive step forward.
Councillors Old and New
Last month saw an advertisement in the magazine for two new Councillors. I am happy to say that we have had some interest shown so hopefully we will be able to interview and then invite two of the applicants’ to join the Parish Council.
We were very sad to loose Cllr. John Kemp and Cllr. Jean Smith. Both have served the Council for over twelve years and made major contributions to the work of the Council, particularly John, who served as Vice Chairman. I was very grateful for his continual support.
Thank you to them both.
The Saga of the Running Water in Mill Street by the Causeway
I feel I need to share this saga with you, just so as to say to you all, we really do try, but it is not always easy to achieve results.
I have asked Neil to relay the saga for you to read.
We first contacted Affinity Water in mid-March. They stated that it was not their responsibility and that I should contact Anglian. Upon doing so, I was advised that it was not their responsibility as the water was clean not waste. Anglian Water advised me to contact Essex & Suffolk Water, who again stated that it was not their responsibility, and that as the water was leaking onto the highway, it was likely to be a Highways matter.
Upon contacting Highways, they informed me that it was not a matter with which they could deal and suggested that I contact Affinity Water, Anglian Water or Essex & Suffolk Water. Going through the loop again, both Anglian Water and Essex & Suffolk Water, stated that the responsibility was that of Affinity Water, who when contacted for a third time, in April, admitted that it was their responsibility, as having been tested, the water contained chlorine and was therefore deemed as clean (drinkable) water. I was advised that they would deal with the matter.
After no sign of any work, I again contacted Affinity Water, for a fourth time at the beginning of May, only to be told that they were sending someone out that day. This did not happen. When I contacted them again, for a fifth time, I was informed that they were awaiting a permit from Essex Highways and that they would be carrying out an exploratory dig to locate and repair the source of the leak.
Having contacted them again (sixth call) at the end of May, I have been advised that they do not have any pipes in that area, so are having to carry out a series of tests, which will include drilling a number of 20mm holes, in an attempt to locate the source of the leak, which may not necessarily be anywhere near the water seeping out onto Mill Street.
Well, all I can say is it is possibly not quite so bad as the Post box saga, but getting close!
With best wishes.
Chairman June 2019
This report will be somewhat shorter than usual as I have just returned from two weeks holiday, and although I seem to have hit the ground running, I am still on catch up!
Annual Parish Meeting
Just before I went on holiday, we had a very happy and positive Annual Parish Meeting on 10th April. It was an opportunity for residents to hear reports from our District Councillors, Michael Talbot and John White; our Essex County Councillor Alan Goggin and myself and to raise Parish matters of interest from those present. The joy of the evening is hearing from the organisations of the village. Each one is invited to send along a representative to give a report or to submit one to be read out by the Clerk.
In all 25 Organisations were represented and we heard of the activities and events which their members had enjoyed during the year. It is a really good evening, but quite humbling listening to the many people who so generously give much of their time to benefit members of our village community. It is with great pride that I thank them all at the end of the evening for what they are doing.
Preparation for our move into the new Parish Office
It has been a really quite exciting month as we prepare for what was once the Snooker Room, to become the main Parish Office.
- A new window has been installed
- Shutters ordered to keep the information in the Parish Office secure
- New electrics installed to run the computers etc.
- Two new desks ordered
- A lick of paint to freshen up the room
- And some new carpet tiles ordered – as to accommodate the snooker table previously, small squares had had to be cut out of eight of the existing carpet tiles. At the moment it looks a little odd!
We are going to use the existing Parish Office as a meeting room both for Councillors and the Office Staff. We are hoping to requisition some of the tables and chairs from Tendring District Council offices at Weeley, which will no longer be needed, when the staff all move into offices at the Town Hall.
We are hopeful that everything will be completed by the end of May. Needless to say, we are very much looking forward to the increased office space, especially now that Ken Belcher has joined the staff as our Community Warden.
Parish Council Elections
There has been no election for the St. Osyth Ward as instead of having eight nominations needed for the Council, there were only six. This means that in the July magazine we will be inviting residents to apply for the vacancies. Please do give some thought to applying to become a Parish Councillor. It is very rewarding to be able to contribute to making a positive difference to the village in which we all live.
The Point Clear Ward had their election while I was away and five of the six people nominated were elected.
We now await the outcome of the delayed District Council elections which are being held on the 23rd May.
When we have all thirteen Parish Councillors and our two District Councillors in place, we will take space in the Parish magazine to share with you their photographs and give information about them, as it is important that residents know who the Councillors are.
In the next four years we will endeavour to ensure that by various means you do know them. We are all here to serve the residents and being able to approach Councillors to discuss a concern could be helpful for you all.
St. Osyth Primary school children to visit the Priory
Readers of my Report will remember that a couple of months ago I wrote of the hope that some of the children would be able to make an educational visit to the Priory. In June children in Year 5 will be carrying out a Local Study which this year for the first time can include a visit to the Priory. The young in the Reception Class will be able to enjoy a Teddy Bears Picnic and be able to explore the Wilderness Garden.
I have no doubt that the visits will be much enjoyed by the children and that they will be of great educational benefit to them.
A Thank You for over 20 years of service to the Parish Council
On behalf of the Parish Council I would like to thank Colleen Peverell for all her years of service to the Council, particularly for her contribution to the footpaths, which was her special interest and responsibility. A big thank you Colleen, you will be missed and your contribution has been appreciated.
With best wishes.
Parish Council Elections May 2nd 2019
We now know that there will be no election for St Osyth Ward, six people were nominated and there are eight vacancies. It will mean that the Council after May will be looking to co-opt two further councillors.
Point Clear Ward has five vacancies and six people were nominated, so there will be an election.
Please vote on the 2nd May – it is important
District Council Elections
The election for District Council was due to be held on 2nd May, but sadly we have been informed that due to the death of one of the Candidates standing for election; a new election date will be set. We will keep you advised of the situation and offer our condolences to the family of the bereaved.
A Public Inquiry to be held beginning on 18th June 2019 – Point Clear Bay
Many of our residents may not know that in June a Public Inquiry is to be held, which it is to be hoped will finally sort out some of the anomalies which have blighted the lives of people living in Point Clear Bay. I have asked a resident who will be appearing at the Inquiry to set out for us all the history behind the fifty eight property owners being served Enforcement Notices by Tendring District Council in the recent past.
In 1969 three properties owned by the holiday camp were granted full residency for the maintenance and security staff.
In February 1989 Tendring District Council (“the Council”) issued Enforcement Notices on the residents of properties in Colne Way, Cruce Way, New Way, Norman Way and Saxon Way. The Council issued Enforcement Notices on the grounds that a planning condition was being breached. The planning condition dates back to 1959 and states that the properties can only be lived in from March to October each year.
In December 1989 a Public Inquiry was held and the Inspector made his or her decision in July 1990.
The Inspector granted five properties full residency.
Fifteen properties were granted full residency in name only for the duration of their lives.
One property was granted full residency in name only for a period of three years.
Fifty seven properties were granted residency from Friday noon to Monday noon and ten consecutive days over the Christmas period to include both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day from 1 November to 28 February.
Over the years the Council have also granted eleven Certificates of Lawful Use to the residents of properties in Colne Way, Norman Way and Saxon Way on the grounds that the properties have been lived in all year round for over ten years and without having any enforcement action served on the properties. The properties have therefore been granted full residency because they have become immune from planning law.
In 2017 and 2018 the Council issued over 70 Enforcement Notices on the residents of properties in Colne Way, Cruce Way, Norman Way and Saxon Way. The Council issued the Enforcement Notices on the grounds that a planning condition is being breached and that flooding is a major issue.
Fifty eight appeals have been lodged with the Planning Inspectorate against the service of the Enforcement Notices.
A Public Inquiry will be held at the Council’s offices in Weeley. The Inquiry will start on Tuesday 18 June 2019. The Inquiry will last for four weeks. It can take the Inspector up to twelve weeks to make her decision. All Appellants will be informed by post of the decision.
The Parish Council will be supporting the residents who have been served the enforcement notices. It is recognised that there is a flooding risk; but having listened to advice from the Environment Agency, it is felt that with modern communication it is much, much less concern than in the past. Added to which the anomalies of who has what permissions to reside in the Bay must be sorted one way or another; the current situation is not tenable or fair.
Meeting at the Orchards Holiday Park
Last year Rob Turner, the General Manager of the Holiday Park, had a meeting with the residents who live in the Bay. Over the years, communication between the Park and the residents has not always been of the best and relationships have been strained. This meeting to discuss ways forward for both parties was very positive, as a number of residents said “it is a new beginning”. The first meeting of the Steering Group, volunteers who are keen to forge better relationships with the Holiday Park, met at the beginning of April.
It was one of the most positive meetings I have had the pleasure to attend. Rob was able to inform the Group of the improvements that are to be made in the Bay. These are improvements which will improve the appearance of the Bay for both for those who are holidaying there and for the residents.
Among the issues discussed:-
- Resurfacing of Colne Way and the roads in the Park
- Off street lighting – the Steering Group were asked for their views on where the new solar columns should be placed. They undertook to produce suggestions within the week.
- Parking Bays to be introduced so that areas of the Bay which are currently ‘mud patches’ when it rains, will have a serviceable surface.
- Improvements to the Green which overlooks the sea are planned, fencing to be erected and parking spaces to be provided to keep the grass for recreational purposes free from cars.
It really was good to hear the exchange of ideas and the positive outcome to issues which have given both The Orchards Holiday Park and the residents cause for concern for a number of years. It is by working together like this that the environment will be improved for everyone. As one member of the Steering Group said “the Bay is a beautiful place to live.”
At the beginning of April ‘Welcome Packs’ were delivered to the residents of St. John’s Road and Leisureglades Park who are joining the Parish of St. Osyth. It was the initiative of St Osyth Parochial Church Council and in the Welcome Pack envelope there was information about:-
- The Church, its services and activities
- Village organisations
- Dumont Hall
- St Osyth Village Hall
- The Scouts, Cubs and Beavers
- Osyth Parish Council
The feedback has been good and we do hope that our new residents feel that there is benefit to being part of St. Osyth Parish.
The Repair of Footways and Pavements
I wrote at length in March’s magazine about the Devolution of Services by Essex County Highways and that the Parish Council, who have been asked to be part of this initiative will focus on the repair of pavements.
We are initially focussing on Manfield Gardens and Darcy Road. Possibly I should have added for those who have expressed concern over the footways in Spring Road that Essex County Highways have undertaken to repair these during this financial year. Recently I emailed to ask when this work would be carried out; to date no reply has been received but I am hopeful!
A Community Warden for St Osyth
Ken Belcher has been appointed as Community Warden for St. Osyth Parish and we very much look forward to working with him. You may well see him around the village with Neil in the forthcoming weeks as he familiarises himself with the responsibilities he now has to ensure that our Open Spaces are well maintained and safe.
Rather different topics featuring in this month’s Report; but I do hope that you will find them of interest.
With best wishes.
Previous Month’s Report
Local Council Elections
A notice has been put in the Parish Magazine informing residents that there are elections for both the Parish and District Councils on Thursday 2nd May.
The Parish Council has thirteen councillors, seven of whom represent St. Osyth and six represent Point Clear. We did not have an election in 2015 as there were not sufficient people standing for the Parish Council, this was in itself sad, as elections bring new people and new ideas onto the Council and this is good for the village.
All those who are thinking of putting themselves forward for election have to be nominated by two residents who are on the electoral register and papers have to be submitted to the Town Hall by 4.00 pm on Wednesday 3 April 2019.
The nomination papers can be collected from the Parish Office.
The Devolution of Highway Services
This is moving ever nearer and Essex County Highways are looking for a start date of 1st March.
Neil and I attended a meeting recently at Gt. Dunmow and learnt a great deal more about the initiative. Some readers may remember in the November magazine I gave a list of the services which Essex County Highways were suggesting that we assume responsibility for. We were informed at the meeting that in fact we do not have to undertake all of them (this was never mentioned before) but we can choose which services we would like to take responsibility for. With an annual budget from Essex County Highways of £2913.14p this makes the whole initiative far more attractive!
We are having a meeting of our Highways Working Party later this month and we will decide and then recommend to the Parish Council the services which we believe would benefit the residents most if we undertake their maintenance/repair. So watch this space!
Dogs and Irresponsible Owners
Many apologies for raising this yet again and we have an advert about it in the magazine. Recently a dog had defecated outside a front door in Church Square and the owner of the dog had left it there. It is difficult to imagine anyone being so irresponsible and how very unpleasant for the person whose house it was.
Equally we should remember those who are partially sighted and cannot see dog poo left on the pavements and footways by thoughtless owners. For them walking in it must be so very upsetting.
As many of you have seen the Parish Council does put up notices and red paint is sprayed on the offending pile, and both have proved effective. Please contact Neil at the Parish Office if you have concerns 821447, as we will also inform the Dog Warden of Tendring District Council, who will undertake patrol.
St. Osyth Priory and Parish Trust
The Trust was established in 2016 to undertake the repair and restoration of some of the Priory buildings. I wrote in the August magazine that the Trust had applied for a
£2.7 million grant for the repair of the Tithe Barn, the Cart Lodge and the Dairy. We heard in December that we had not been successful. The Case Officer had recommended the Trust’s application, but only seven of the 47 who had applied were given funding.
However, a meeting was held recently with The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and they were very informative about how the Trust’s bid could be strengthened and recommended that we apply again. This the Trust will do.
If you remember there is local representation on the Trust. I represent the Parish Council; Ian Davidson who is Chief Executive Officer of Tendring District Council is their representative and Andy Booth of Naglotec, Clacton Road represents the Business Community. We all believe that the repair and restoration of the Priory and the subsequent opening of it, will be enormously beneficial to both the village and the Tendring District.
With my interest in education, the Trust is planning school visits this year. St. Osyth children will probably be one of the first who will enjoy a walk through the Priory Park. I have no doubt it will be a positive and worthwhile visit.
Other events are planned for 2019 and I will write about these in a future Report.
The Parish Council’s letter to Essex County Highways
I have written a great deal in recent months about discussions with Essex County Highways concerning both the crossroads and the possibility of a mini roundabout at the Clacton Road entrance to the village. I though readers might find it interesting to read one paragraph of the letter we recently sent to a Senior Engineer at Essex County Highways as it encapsulates the approach of the Parish Council of how we want the difficulties of the crossroads to be approached and overcome.
“We would again emphasise that the Parish Council is looking for a long term solution to the problems of the crossroads with emphasis both on the safety of pedestrians and drivers. We would like to see a holistic plan agreed, although it is accepted that it may well be that it has to be phased over a period of years”.
With the mini roundabout we quoted no less than ten mini roundabouts locally where the equal flow of traffic from all three approaches is questionable. If you remember we were informed that all three approaches to a mini roundabout had to be equal!
We also quoted the five criteria from the Speed and Management Guide for Local Highways Panel Members and pointed out that we met all of them. So although we are hopefully moving forward, we know it is in only small steps! However we try!
Good wishes to you all.