Amenity Areas (Councillor Steady)

Bayard Recreation Ground – updated lease being prepared for the Cricket Club, schedule of works for the practise facility refurbishment being formulated.

The Lozenge and Gravel Field ideas exchanged with Councillor Court, communications and youth CCC, on highlighting both areas.

Ventrac Machine:-

Report on Ventrac demo by Terry Hamilton, Grounds Manager:-

The machine demonstration was better than expected, first we cleared some sand off the promenade with a blade, this can be tilted to different angles and made light work of seaweed and sand, designed for moving snow.

The power sweeper was in my words unbelievable, it  moved 4” deep sand with ease, it cleared a section of path in 15mins that would have taken all morning using a shovel and broom, needless to say leaving a lot of hard work behind, whilst the clearance was taken place three members of the public comment on what a good job it was doing, later hen I went back to take a photo a disabled person thanked us for making access easier.  There is a H&S aspect, this machine is safer on sloped and wet surfaces.  

We moved to Bayard Recreation ground for the cutting, demo again this went better than expected the rotary deck cut the grass to a level nearly as good as our cylinder mowers, better it cut the stalk heads off the grass which the cylinder struggles to cut.

It has many different attachment’s, one off high interest was a salt spreader this could be used on the town footpaths etc.

I feel it would be a great investment we should look at taking the current offer,  part exchange  for one of our Ransomes mowers at present we could get upward of  £ 2000, the price we have now will go up by next year. 

The following are comments made by Councillors, and the response:-

Comments made

Response

Cost of machine to be used to buy extra persons hours to enable the work to be done by hand, this would save emissions and provide work to a local person.

Staff costs come from revenue budget, depending on how we handle costs will come from capital budget.  Emissions of the ventrac meets the London emission standard.  

Financial contribution from Tendring / Essex.

We already cut for ECC and receive a contribution of £624.00 per year.  We cut for TDC for no charge, this is historical as it dates back to the time when Brightlingsea in Bloom entered national competitions, so the decision was taken for the town council to cut areas in Church Road as TDC could not cut as regular as we did.  This arrangements give a good impression on the entry to our town.

Having spent time with Terry, it sounds like a good investment, if only for the sand sweeping and salt spreading abilities for disabled access.

Positive comments from residents when demo was taking place, and after.

We should get one of these if Terry thinks it is the right thing to do, especially being able to spread salt quickly and easily.  I am pretty sure this would be a massive benefit to many residents.  I also like the way it is a very visible asset.   

Please refer to Terry’s report.

I love the look and the abilities of the Ventrac, but am still conscious we would be doing the job TDC and ECC should be doing.  We should take into consideration the extra time Terry would need to spend on these projects, and would this mean we would have to consider extra staff.  Would TDC agree to pay us to do their job.  

As above re TDC/ECC so cutting areas already in work schedule so no extra time or staff needed as it stands.

A very impressive demonstration of a useful and versatile machine.  Want and need – do we really need one?  If we purchased it would become a beneficial tool in the council machinery armoury.  We have managed to date, could we manage for a while without it?  I have read Terry’s report and do not think he needs this machine now.  I think it would be a good plan to buy the machine if the second part can be agreed – which is can we afford, is this a priority and is it budgeted for.

As of 31.3.21, we had £124,000 in the Town Development Fund which was created to cover such issues as this.  It is not specifically budgeted for but a replacement policy is in place for the next financial year.  Please see suggested funding ideas below.

Financial Costs:-

Quotation received from Upsons Mowers Ltd, total cost £39,999 plus VAT.  This price is held while the machine is in stock.

A new Ransome would cost £60,000 or £12,000 for a reconditioned machine, incurring a service fee of £3,500, which compares to £500 for the Ventrac, so over 10 years we would save £30,000 in service costs.

Price already gone up by 10% = £44,000.00.

April 2022 the price is going up 15% = £50,600.00.

Suggested funding ideas:

  • Public Works and Loan Board – £50,000 over 10 years at 1.36% = include extra attachment.
  • Pay back £5,126 per annum in ½ yearly payments.
  • Total interest paid over the 10 years is £3,824.

Or payment from the Town Development Fund or to carry on with existing replacement policy.

Lido (Councillor Barry)

The Lido has been open for just over three weeks since 21st June and despite the hugely unseasonal weather has done very well in terms of managing new systems and coping with Covid requirements. The adult only swims in the early mornings and evenings have proved popular and the sessional booking system appears to be receiving good support from the public.  Manager Nicki Martin has produced a great group of young lifeguards and overall the Lido is now providing employment for six young people in the café and ten lifeguards in the pool itself.  The water quality and plant room are being overseen on a part time basis by Neil Ballard who is providing technical support on site.

The Lido had a visit from MP Bernard Jenkin on Saturday 3rd July, and received very positive feedback regarding the restoration work and flood resilience measures that had been undertaken.  It is hoped that the weather improves for the school holidays when there will be longer hours of opening and a cautious approach to the relaxation of Covid precautions.  The Lido is a safe environment and it aims to maintain that presentation with appropriate amendments to capacity and numbers on site/in the pool.

Tourism and Communication (Councillors Chasney and Court)

Communication

  • Work done on draft for Town Council branded emergency weather messaging notices for free placements on mbcg’s screens around town.
  • Meeting between GC/MC about digital communications strategy involving bringing emails in-house giving an opportunity for a more efficient/coherent on-brand email strategy.
  • Started looking at draft website for upcoming redesign brief and how the Council can control & grow more of its communication opportunities with resident and visiting audience groups.
  • Mock ups and project pricing done for the Hard.

Tourism

  • MC’s family rented the council beach hut, could be a big tourism asset.
  • MC visited the Lido and Museum visit to familiarise myself with both tourism assets.
  • Mock ups and project pricing done for Hard (crossover with Comms).
  • Started thinking about tourism survey.

Welfare (Councillor Chapman)

Councillor Court and I attended the Adult Mental Health aware day on Monday 5th July.  In August there will be an Alzheimer’s  awareness course to be held at the council office for all councillors and staff.

Western Promenade (Councillor Steady)

  • Pawsons insurance claim up from £37,500 to £41,538 plus £62,000 from TDC = £103,538. Grant application for £10,000 being submitted.
  • Skate Park grant application for £10,000 being submitted, for remedial work.
  • Lakeside Campsite Trying to ascertain the planning and licensing issues.
  • Basketball Court Gofundme page up and running, target of £2,500, £945 @ 12th July. This includes £545 from past Mayors fundraising.
  • Defibrillators planned for the TDC Batemans Toilets and the Sailing Club.
  • Meeting with Councillors Morgan and Court on how we get better communication of what our offering is.
  • Progress being made regarding the sluice gate, my thanks to Cllr Barry for leading on this.
  • Beach Hut first hiring by Councillor Court – please see below Councillor Court’s comments:-

“I think there is a lot of potential for the beach hut both as a revenue generator and as an overall asset for the town. It could also be a great story in terms of how the council rescued a derelict beach hut and is turning it around.  If I was an outsider reviewing the rental for £20 I would probably give it 3 out of 5 as it is very bare, but I think it would be easy to push this up to a 4 or 5 with a bit of planning and without spending too much money.

This is the TV programme I was talking about (filmed at Walton I think): BBC iPlayer – Interior Design Masters with Alan Carr – Series 2: Episode 5 

The contestants in that programme had a thousand pounds to spend, but even just a few bits of MDF to create some internal seating/shelving/worktops etc., some vinyl flooring and a lick of paint would really lift it up and make it very marketable, and from a Tourism & Communications perspectives I can see us being able to do a lot with it on the website.

I think Councillor Morgan’s idea of having a competition to design the hut is a very good one and I can see that working.  The prize of a weekend of hire would mean it wouldn’t cost us anything to run.

So overall I think it could be absolutely fantastic and could be a huge asset for the Town, but I think we need to make it look more marketable than it is before we can expect people to be happy spending £30 per day on it over the summer.”

Youth and Services for  Children (Councillors Hawkins and Court)

Whilst fact finding on what already exists for children and young people of the town I have found the following activities/groups that already exist.

  • 4 Youth group (Tower St) – self funding
  • Scouts/cubs groups
  • Church lads and girls group
  • Toddler and baby groups
  • Beach school
  • Sailing and Yacht club cadets
  • Regent Rovers(?) football teams
  • Holiday sports clubs at the school gym
  • Skate park & basket ball court

This is not an exhaustive list and if anyone would like to draw our attention to other groups/activities we would very much like to hear about them.

We see an opportunity to use the website & an email newsletter strategy as a way to give parents and young people the information they need/want/expect from their council when it comes to things to do at various ages 0-18 and other resources to help with raising a child or being a teenager etc.  We feel this should be backed up with more signage around town to direct people to this digital hub and we will look in to formulating a comms strategy for the Youth Services side of things over the coming weeks.

Councillor Court and I both feel that children up to the age of 11/12 are currently quite well catered for, though there may be some gaps depending on the young persons likes/dislikes. However we are open to ideas that may open opportunities for young people under this age.

We feel it would be an idea to focus some attention and support on young people from the age of 14-20, because, despite some groups catering for them, there is a poor uptake of any activities in this age range.

This age range can often be perceived as more “troublesome” by the public, both residents and visitors to the town. This is partly because they are more autonomous and, more importantly, because they are more visible due to the fact that they gather in groups in public spaces. Their perception is also that there is nothing else for them to do.

As some of you know Jean Howard had been offering a drop-in group at the community centre, and, though there were some complaints about the young people making noise and visiting the Co-op, the take-up seems to have been quite good and many young people seemed to have enjoyed their space.  She was able to help fund this through the YMCA, who also provided trained youth workers to attend the sessions and even provided games consoles for the evenings. We would like to move this idea on and suggest a change of venue to make it even more attractive to young people by providing the evenings as a “cafe” where they can come and meet up, sit and chill, have music, snacks and drinks to buy (biscuits, juice & tea/coffee would be free).  We would like to suggest the Lido cafe as a venue as it is close to the skate park, beach and basketball court but away from the residential area of the town. A DBS checked adult would be present at all times alongside the youth workers (so that they can chat with vulnerable young people at any time) to keep an eye on matters and, to begin with, run the cafe. To begin with we would recommend one evening a week, between the times of 7-10p.m.

Another by-product of having the cafe at the Lido is that there will be a responsible adult in close proximity to the Western promenade which should help discourage anti-social behaviour in this area,

Another initiative I would like to suggest is to support the BBC Radio 2 Big Bee Challenge. They ran a competition to design a Bee friendly garden for children between the ages of 6 and 10. We could do the same thing (maybe for a larger age range?) and the winning design could be made somewhere in the town. It will be low financial outlay but will promote understanding of how gardens can promote pollinators.

Lastly, I, along with Councillor Maltby, have completed the first day of the Good Councillor course and found it very helpful and enlightening.  I would recommend it to anyone new to the role and am looking forward to the 2nd day.

Tendring District Council Reports: 

Councillor Barry

I attended a full scrutiny committee meeting on 5th July following an informal training event on 23rd June.  The committee looked in particular at the use and disbursement of S106 money and queried the process of applying, allocation and utilization of monies.  There is currently approx. 3 million in the  overall pot with Brightlingsea contributing  around 125k – there is an ongoing debate about the allocation of monies and I asked a number of questions by way of clarification.

The three ward Councillors were due to meet Ian Taylor from TDC on Wednesday 30th June to discuss seafront issues, particularly renovation of shelters.  This meeting was cancelled at short notice and despite our best efforts we have not been able to rearrange it.

Following the visit from Bernard Jenkin MP when I raised the issue of the broken sluice and its impact on dealing with flooding, he contacted the TDC Chief Executive and things have started to move.  I had an immediate response with a pledge to sort it out as soon as possible.

We have requested a more focused meeting with the Chief Executive as once again, service from officers appears to be promising more than it is delivering.

Councillor Chapman

Friday 25th June – Cabinet

Tuesday 29th – Local Plan meeting

Thursday 1st July – H/R  policies

Wednesday 7th July – Human Resources and Council Tax meeting.  Update on Social Media Policy.

Monday 12th July – Group Leaders meeting with Ian Davidson 

Tuesday 13th July – Full Council meeting

Councillor Steady

28/7 – Attended Community Leadership Committee to formulate work programme for the next year.

LOCAL HIGHWAYS PANEL 

Mill Street action at last on traffic survey?

Bellfield Avenue – To follow up a previous suggestion of turning the grassed pavement area into parking/passing areas.  Reasoning is it’s a main bus route and due to not being maintained  regularly, tidies up rather than leave grass cuttings all over the road and pavements.  Hopefully this can be incorporated into long overdue repairs, as acknowledged, for deterioration over 20 years.

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Essex County Council is responsible for highways in and around Brightlingsea. Report potholes directly here.

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Site designed and maintained by Big Red Web Design. Webmaster.