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.