• Chelmsford bypass and new station (Image from Essex County Council)
    Article: Jul 18, 2020

    Plans for a Chelmsford North East Bypass and new station are now on show, in a specially created 'virtual village hall' event, following the award of £218m of Government funding for the schemes.

    Commented Leader of Chelmsford City Council Cllr. Stephen Robinson, "We've waited decades for a new station in north east Chelmsford. This brings it a couple of steps closer but there is still some way to go. It is vital that Government gives councils the powers and resources to invest in infrastructure before, or at the same time as, new development."

  • Riverside leisure centre (Chelmsford City Council)
    Article: Jul 14, 2020

    Four leisure centres in Chelmsford will open to customers on Monday 27 July as the country enters its next phase of lockdown easing. Riverside Leisure Centre, Chelmsford Sport and Athletics Centre, South Woodham Ferrers Leisure Centre and Dovedale Sports Centre closed on 20 March along with other centres across Britain.

  • Andrews park play area opened by Mayor
    Article: Jul 14, 2020

    A new play area for Chelmsford's Andrews Park has been officially opened by the Mayor, Jude Deakin, accompanied by Councillors Stephen Robinson, Rose Moore, Chris Davidson and Simon Goldman and local residents.

    Commented Stephen Robinson, "I am delighted to see this new playground in use; it already seems very popular. There are still a number of other playgrounds in the area that need upgrading, in particular off Avon Road."

  • Flood protection
    Article: Jul 10, 2020

    Increases in flooded homes, heat-related deaths and water shortages. This is what Essex can expect if we don't act on climate change now, according to this week's meeting of the Essex Climate Action Commission.

    Members heard about the devastating impact of not taking decisive action on the climate challenge - and the importance of a twin-track approach to reduce emissions and build resilience.

  • Wind Turbine and Logo
    Article: Jul 9, 2020

    Countless families are facing serious financial hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis. More than a million people have lost their jobs and many more are worried about losing theirs in the weeks and months ahead.

    We are also facing big challenges in deep-seated inequality and the climate emergency.

    We must ensure no one is left behind.

  • Park and Ride bus to Sandon (Essex County Council)
    Article: Jul 3, 2020

    The Park & Ride service from Sandon, east of Chelmsford, and Colchester will reopen on Monday 6 July 2020; but not the Chelmer Vally site, north of Chelmsford.

    Initially they will run to a reduced timetable between 7am-7pm Monday to Saturday, but passengers are advised to check the website or Social Media before traveling for any updates or changes, which could occur due to essential operational reasons.

  • Cash (Telegraph)
    Article: Jul 2, 2020

    The latest review of Chelmsford City Council's finances reveals that the gap has now widened to £9.5 million, compared to the balanced budget that was set in February. A month ago, the gap was looking like £8.6 million, even after allowing for some funding from the Government, and it could rise further.

    The financial picture is laid out in a comprehensive report to the City Council's Cabinet meeting on 8 July. The report attempts to look at prospects for the next five years, and makes estimates in the light of the enormous blow dealt to its funding by the coronavirus pandemic.

    The pandemic has had a major impact on the finances of every local authority in the country, as cash from theatres, events, car parks, properties and leisure centres has vanished, while extra spending had to be found to help with pandemic management. The cash from these charges make up over half of the Council's total income and pays for services like emptying bins, recycling collection, street cleaning, housing the homeless and community safety.

    Councillor Stephen Robinson, Leader of Chelmsford City Council, said, "Almost 15% of the council's annual income has vanished. This huge shortfall can't easily be fixed just by 'cutting back a little' - it's a real threat to the most vital services we provide. At the start of the crisis, the Government told councils to step up to help our communities and we did - like we always do. The Government said they would do everything needed to get us through this crisis. Now they need to stick to that promise and support local councils.

    "The City Council only receives 11% of council tax and 4% of business rates, and very little Government funding in an ordinary year, so to compensate for this lack of income we will need support from the Government."

    Councillor Chris Davidson, Cabinet Member for Fairer Chelmsford, said, "Before the pandemic, Chelmsford City Council was in a relatively strong financial position, so we are better placed than some councils in other areas, who are now really struggling. We will do everything we can to mitigate the impact of this crisis on our residents and keep our most essential services running, but it is an extremely difficult situation. Without significant extra Government support, the Council may be unable to provide residents' most basic and vital services."

    Councillor Marie Goldman, Cabinet Member for Connected Chelmsford, added, "I would like to thank the wonderful residents who have shown how much they care about local services since the scale of the financial problem became clear. We have received suggestions through Facebook for raising extra funding to keep services going, from people kindly offering to litter-pick their neighbourhoods to ideas for running events during lockdown. These are difficult times for everyone and it's good to know that Chelmsford stands together in protecting the services that help our most vulnerable."

    The full agenda for the meeting has just been published at www.chelmsford.gov.uk/cabinet-meeting

  • Chelmsford High Street people (pre-Covid19)
    Article: Jun 23, 2020

    Chelmsford businesses will receive targeted support from the City Council, following a COVID-19 impact survey. 93.5% of respondents said the pandemic has negatively affected their business. Overwhelmingly, those affected say they have lost income (89%) and nearly two thirds have reported cash flow problems (63%). More than a third of this group (37%) say they face the threat of having to lay off staff.

    Chelmsford City Council's 'Business Recovery Survey' has also revealed local firms' concerns for the future. Around half of the 416 businesses responding to the survey say they are currently 'surviving' (53%), but a large number (43%) would describe their business as being in 'crisis'. Many are pessimistic about their prospects of recovery over the next 12 months, with 45% unsure whether they will still be operating in a year's time. A small proportion (2.5%) say they expect to be gone within a year.

    The Council carried out the survey to get a detailed understanding of the challenges faced by local businesses so that effective support can continue to be made available. Many businesses have already used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (56.5%), and a similar number have reported making use of a Small Business Grant (53%). Access to information, financial advice and short and longer-term capital are among the key things companies say they will need in the future.

    Councillor Martin Bracken, Cabinet Deputy for the Economy and Small Business, says this information will be crucial in designing help to keep small firms going:

    "So many of our Chelmsford businesses, like others all over the country, are fighting for survival and we must do everything we can to help. We're grateful to the hundreds of firms that have completed our survey and the Council has already been in touch with respondents to help them find appropriate advice and support.

    "We will share the results of this survey with our business support partners like BEST Growth Hub and Back to Business Essex so they too can learn from these important findings."

    Chelmsford City Council is using the results of the survey to help inform the Council's forthcoming economic renewal plan. The Council's Economic Development team is also utilising the survey to signpost businesses to resources to help businesses to move online and make better use of technology. More information for businesses can be found at www.chelmsford.gov.uk/business/

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