To the Town Council Office! …on Monday evening for the monthly Wivenhoe Town Council meeting. Scheduled for a 7:30pm start, but as we know, the new Madam Mayor runs a tight ship.
It turns out that kick off took place slightly earlier. Time and tide wait for no man. Or even bored blogger or The Almighty (not interchangeable…)
The very good Rev Erwin Lammens was already updating WTC with *possible* plans to open up St Mary’s to the community, and to offer a much needed open space for local groups.
A specialist architect has been commissioned to carry out a feasibility study into the possibility of providing a meeting space for community use. Historical and emotive sensibilities are being considered.
Let thy words be few.
Which hopefully was also the case for the remainder of the WTC monthly. Those Euro 2012 referees run a similar time keeping schedule to that of Madam Mayor.
Let’s kick off with the news that WTC has a new councillor.
A big hellooooo! to a well known name around the town in David Henley. That will be Cllr David Henley, Sir. Good luck with planning, penny pinching [steady] and POTHOLES.
You could write an entire hyperlocal blog about the subject. Which actually isn’t a bad idea. A daily post of a hyperlocal POTHOLE, handily geotagged [YEAH] and with the functionality to report it online to our friends from Highways at Essex County Council.
Alternatively just join the rallying call from Cllr Bob Needham, who is keen to start a POTHOLE Revolution [of sorts] right here in Wivenhoe:
“Wivenhoe is the poor relation when it comes to potholes in the county. Anchor Hill and outside The Flag are particularly suffering. I was expecting an answer from Cllr Julie Young tonight [the Labour County councillor wasn't at the meeting.]
This has gone on for far too long. It is time for action. We have had to put up with this for three months. It’s not good enough.”
Madam Mayor chipped in:
“I couldn’t agree more.”
Cllr Needham continued:
“We have been abandoned. We now need to kick up a fuss and start a campaign to correct this situation.”
It wasn’t quite the politicisation of POTHOLES, but Cllr Mark Cory, the LibDem borough councillor for the Cross ward, also answered the rallying call:
“I whole-heartedly agree. The pothole outside The Flag has now been filled in with bricks and rubble – this tells you how deep it has become. I have sent an email today about it. The pothole was marked up for action four months ago. There has been no action.”
Putting POTHOLES to one side, so to speak, and Cllr Cory also updated over the great Wivenhoe Turn Off:
“We are now entering a consultation about the turning off of street lights between midnight and 5am. This will take place in the autumn of 2012. There is scope in the consultation for certain areas to be excluded, such as where nightclubs are located.”
Lively though some of the boozers around the town have become, it’s hardly a Leicester Square Hippodrome hyperlocal moment.
But wait! What’s this?
“The University could be categorised as being a nightclub, so there is scope for Colchester Road to remain lit up with street lights.”
The University could be categorsied as being many things, often depicted with the tabloid style light bulb being turned off.
Tune in, turn on, drop out, etc.
Cllr Cory concluded by confirming:
“I have put forward the recommendation to the Local Planning Committee that the St John Ambulance Building is now put back on the Wivenhoe Townscape Forum list.
Cllr Andrea Vaughan of WTC saw Cllr Cory’s St John [oooh] and raised the stakes with her Millfields:
“I would also like the land opposite Millfields to be reconsidered for the Townscape Forum. We don’t understand why it can’t now be considered.”
And whaddya know – up pops the charming Village Green Guru in Cllr Cyril Liddy, the Quay ward representative at Colchester Borough Council:
“What is most significant is that the developer has now withdrawn interest. I will bring the matter forward with Essex County Council and see if we can press ahead with the village green status.”
The Millfields land is a little sensitive. Technically owned by Elmstead Parish Council, gifted to the people of Wivenhoe, and just about within the boundary. WTC resolved on Monday evening to diplomatically meet with that other lot over in Elmstead to try and conclude the matter.
Planning – Cllr Vaughan raised the issue of a gate that has appeared in the plans for Ten Acres:
“This has been sneaked in. Can Cllr Liddy please call this application in to the Planning Committee? If allowed, it will cause obvious traffic issues.”
The Village Green Guru agreed to take on the added Gate Keeper status.
Nice one Cyril, etc.
Taylor Wimpey – this gets slightly tricky…
A change to residential use for the retail units down at Cook’s has been suggested by the developer.
Cllr Vaughan stated:
“I don’t think that this is what the public wants. We supported the initial application, but the borough thought that the parking provision was not adequate for a retail development. Therefore the developer now wants to sell the space as residential, and not retail.”
The Taylor Wimpey parking argument appears about as watertight as some of the rotting hulls that line the muddy banks of the Colne, when you consider that WTC is about to… open up a car park right by the flood barrier.
Ah, beep beep – a timely reminder:
Cllr Kevin Read confirmed:
“Work on the car park has now started. We are looking at parking meters and putting together a business plan. The dingy park is also under construction. This will provide fourteen spaces. For the first three years, priority will be for Cook’s residents. The four fisherman in the dry dock have been sent letters to sign about their new legal use.”
So progress down by the waterfront.
As for the new Health Centre?
…added Cllr Neil Lodge.
Which wasn’t the case for the randy stag beetles of Wivenhoe. The Wivenhoe Working Wood Party – or www as the hyperlocal digerati have declared it – has successfully built a stag beetle hotel [blimey] on the edges of the wood down at the KGV.
Cllr Asa Aldis is a man who knows all about the birds and the bees. Or even the stag beetles:
“The stag beetles have arrived and are copulating. We have found a male abdomen that has been chewed off by a randy female.”
Which is a bit like the life of a bored blogger back at base.
Slightly more serious was the update from the Community Opportunities Group. The issue here is with the police houses along the High Street, and the possibility of the Right to Buy for any tenants. Which would be a little unfortunate, seeing as though WTC has tied its mast to the High Street having bought the houses with the long-term view of redeveloping the site.
The good Town Clerk confirmed that there is a get out clause:
“Any residents have the Right to Buy after five years of living in the houses. Demolition notices can be served though.”
Which sorts defeats the object – talk about biting / bulldozing the hand that feeds.
Just behind the police houses and the Jubilee events at the KGV have been considered a huge success by many within the town. Over a year in planning, Cllr Needham updated with the post-party progress:
“It was an incredibly busy day, but very enjoyable. The range of activities drew in the crowds that we wanted. We had a superb amount of help from many volunteers. I would like to congratulate everyone who got involved and rolled their sleeves up. The £2,000 borrowed from Finance looks safe.”
The Jubilee feel good factor was also touched upon by Cllr Kraft whilst updating with her Mayoral activities for the month:
“Many people have approached me and said how much they enjoyed the activities. We should now consider if we could make the sports day, the dog show, the teddy bear trail and all the other activities take place each year.”
Which was more or less the spirit that could be seen at the KGV on the day – not so much Jubilee flag waving, but a genuine community day. The Queen should declare a Wivenhoe Bank Holiday for the first week in June from now on.
Plus don’t forget the May Fair celebrations the week before. The Neighbourhood Watch group certainly didn’t, with the Wivenhoe May Fair being one of the three main items discussed at the recent meeting.
Cllr Ian Endean updated:
“It was noted that the May Fair this year had much better organisation, as well as a very positive policy towards alcohol control. Elsewhere and potholes dominate. We also talked about Speed Watch. Thirty speeding motorists have recently been logged along Rectory Hill. One of these was traveling at 53mph. Speed Watch will continue in Wivenhoe, although we still need more volunteers.”
But back to May Fair, and it emerged that the licence for the KGV *may* soon become available once again. Clarification was called for. The question went out around the top table asking that *if* the KGV licence were up for grabs, would WTC like to explore the possibilities of taking control once again?
A unanimous YES.
And that was the first half played out, a quick break and back for more of the same.
Or maybe not.
The second half of the football was calling, but the remaining items at WTC were to be debated behind closed doors.
A red card, and back to base.
No cold shower either.