Article: Oct 14, 2020
Many more new houses in Chelmsford; less public input into planning applications; less infrastructure investment and fewer affordable homes. These could be consequences of changes to the planning system proposed by the Government, and Chelmsford City Council has expressed opposition.
The City Council approved its response to the Government's 'Planning for the Future' White Paper at the Policy Board on Thursday 1 October.
Article: Sep 17, 2020
Boats could get access to the centre of Chelmsford for the first time in many decades, following a decision of the Lib Dem led Chelmsford City Council's Cabinet on Tuesday 8 September. Councillors agreed to commission a detailed feasibility study into replacing flood gates to the east of the city centre and adding lock-gates. This would allow boats to pass further west, up the rivers Chelmer and Can.
If found to be feasible, replacing the automatic flood defence gates and adding a lock should allow the whole stretch of the River Chelmer from the Heybridge Basin through Chelmsford to be navigated. Currently boats cannot navigate any further than the weir gates, situated near the Essex Record Office.
The automatic gates were built during the 1960s and are mainly used to retain water in the river by the city centre. Without them, water levels would be very low and even non-existent in some parts each Summer. They are currently operated by the Environment Agency (EA) however, the EA has indicated that it can no longer justify the continued maintenance of the gates.
Cabinet Member for Greener and Safer Chelmsford, Councillor Rose Moore, said, "Improving our waterways is a key objective in the Council's new 'Our Chelmsford, Our Plan' and I am delighted that we are delivering on that objective. The City Council's Waterways Working Group is promoting this plan as one way to improve and encourage the varied use of the city's waterways and adjacent paths and open spaces, and we want to engage the wider waterway user community.
"One of the key aims of the Working Group has been finding ways to enable navigation to the upper Chelmer. I am pleased that Cabinet has now agreed to develop these studies further."
Lib Dem Leader of Chelmsford City Council, Cllr Stephen Robinson, said, "Enabling boats to access central Chelmsford's waterways has long been an aspiration for many of us. There are still a number of further steps to take before this becomes reality. However, this full feasibility survey will enable the Council to assess the viability, design solution and full costs, before deciding whether the scheme should be taken forward. This is a positive step forward and we look forward to seeing the detailed feasibility study
Article: Aug 2, 2020
Yellow lines have been painted on the corners of Roxwell Avenue. Sightlines were blocked by parked cars.
Ann Davidson, Leonora Ashley and Stephen Robinson had some emails about it 18 months ago; we spoke to the residents; they got a petition up and Stephen put it in to the South Essex Parking Partnership.
Article: Jul 31, 2020
More Chelmsford businesses that are suffering a significant fall in income due to coronavirus, can now apply for a grant. Chelmsford City Council has launched a third and final round of Discretionary Business Support Grants.
The policy has been revised to bring additional businesses into scope and will increase the funding grants, on top of the £31 million that has already been paid out. Previous applicants do not need to apply again, as the Council will look at all applications to see if businesses qualify under the new terms of the scheme.
Article: Jul 23, 2020
At a meeting of the whole Council at Chelmsford City Council on 22 July, Liberal Democrats voted for a motion to take a stand against racism.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Cllr. Stephen Robinson, said, "Recent events show, sadly, that racism is still widespread and actions, not just words, are needed. The City Council is committed to being actively anti-racist and will encourage the rest of our community to act with us to ensure all residents of Chelmsford are afforded the same respect.
Article: Jul 20, 2020
The plan for 800+ houses on Warren Farm, Writtle (West Chelmsford) has been referred back for the transport elements to be reassessed on sustainability grounds.
The Chelmsford Policy Board heard from the local Lib Dem Councillor, Stephen Robinson, who spoke on behalf of himself and Cllrs. Lee Ashley and Ann Davidson. You can watch what he said here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xye1Ics5tQc at 46 minutes in. Other speakers making similar points were from Chignal Estate Residents.
Article: Jul 20, 2020
Trees, shrubs and hedges are overhanging pavements and causing a hazard to pedestrians, especially those with mobility or sight issues. Cllr Stephen Robinson has received a number of such reports in the last few weeks. Cllr. Robinson recently challenged the Essex County Council Cabinet Member on the Essex Highways policy for cutting back vegetation overhanging the highway from adjacent, non-highway land.
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."
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."
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
Article: Jun 15, 2020
An anti-racism action group is being set up for Chelmsford, chaired by the Mayor, Cllr Jude Deakin. The Mayor will shortly convene a meeting of relevant local community representatives to draw up a list of actions to ensure that the Council's pledges on diversity and equality are being met.
The Council's action group will have input from the Council's Diversity Champion Cllr Lee Ashley and Cabinet Deputy Cllr Smita Rajesh and the support of Council Leader Stephen Robinson and Deputy Leader Marie Goldman.
Article: Jun 11, 2020
Residents to the west of Chelmsford have been given extra opportunities to comment on development planned for Roxwell Road, Writtle. Local Liberal Democrat Councillors Stephen Robinson, Ann Davidson and Lee Ashley have ensured a range of consultation opportunities are now available.
A revised masterplan for the development has been published for consultation. The local councillors have ensured that a leaflet is being addressed and sent to 4,000 houses near the site; residents can discuss any concerns by phone or video conference with planning officers, and an online meeting will be arranged for local residents' groups. None of this would have happened if the Conservatives were still in charge of Chelmsford City Council.
Article: Jun 6, 2020
Some roads in the centre of Chelmsford are to be made one-way, in order to make more space for cycling and walking, with changes rolling out from next Monday, 8th June.
Commented Lib Dem Leader Cllr. Stephen Robinson, "For over a year, the Lib Dem leaders of Chelmsford City Council have been pressing ahead with plans for a greener, safer and better-connected city. This crisis gives us a unique chance to support changes to travel habits on a permanent basis.
Article: May 28, 2020
The new Chelmsford Local Plan gives the Council more powers to address the climate emergency and housing crisis, both of which the City Council prioritised after the election in 2019. It was adopted by the City Council on 27th May at a special online meeting. Watch the meeting on YouTube.
Said Lib Dem Leader Stephen Robinson, "We will demand that developers provide for jobs, shops, open space and supporting infrastructure, not just new homes - all met in a sustainable manner.
Article: May 6, 2020
Chelmsford will commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day this Friday at 2.55pm, in a virtual ceremony hosted by the City Council. It will bring people from Chelmsford together to mark the occasion, on this unusual Bank Holiday.
The Mayor of Chelmsford, Councillor Bob Massey, will lead the broadcast, which will be shown on the Council's Facebook page (@ChelmsCouncil) at 2.55pm. The video will have all the usual key elements of a civic commemoration - but with people filmed at home and sharing footage of performances given before the national lockdown started.
Article: Apr 30, 2020
Chelmsford City Council has created a new online survey designed to gain a greater understanding of how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting local businesses. The information gathered will help the Council and its partners to identify any specific local business support needs and ensure that resources and help are more effectively targeted in their recovery plans.
The survey is open to all businesses who operate in Chelmsford and can be found on the Council's website at www.chelmsford.gov.uk/business-recovery-survey/
Leader of Chelmsford City Council, Councillor Stephen Robinson, said "We are very aware of the pressure on businesses and the uncertainty they are facing as a result of the coronavirus. We encourage all businesses to complete the survey and share with us how they have been affected and what support they need in the short, medium and long-term. By completing the survey, you will help us target our support so we can assist businesses in navigating through these difficult times and plan for the future."
He added, "I also encourage all eligible businesses that have not yet applied for a grant to submit their application via our website without delay so as not to miss out on the funding. We will continue doing all we can to support our local businesses through this crisis."
Cabinet Deputy for the Economy and Small Business, Councillor Martin Bracken, said "We are committed to supporting local businesses through this crisis. We encourage all businesses to take part in the survey which will provide us with important insights so we can determine how to best help local companies. Jobs, investment and growth are critical to the wellbeing of the city so it is important we do everything we can to protect businesses from the worst impacts of the coronavirus and help prepare them for the recovery."
So far, over 1,900 Chelmsford businesses have been sent grants by Chelmsford City Council to support them in the current crisis. More grants are being paid out every day, and the City Council wants to encourage any eligible businesses to apply if they have not done so.
Businesses in the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors with a rateable value of up to £51,000 can apply for a grant. Depending on their rateable value, the grant is either £10,000 or £25,000. Small businesses in any sector with a rateable value up to £15,000, that pay little or no rates due to small business rate relief or rural rate relief, could benefit from £10,000 to help meet their ongoing costs.
The Government provided Chelmsford City Council with £31 million to deliver two grant funding schemes to support for local businesses. With over £25 million already awarded, there is still £6 million to be claimed.
Eligible businesses that have not yet applied for a grant can still apply - at www.chelmsford.gov.uk/business/coronavirus-help-and-guidance-for-businesses-and-employers/application-business-support-grant. Letters reminding businesses to apply have also been sent to local businesses.
The very latest information and guidance for businesses and employers can be found on the Council's website at www.chelmsford.gov.uk/business/coronavirus-guidance-for-businesses-and-employers. That includes details of which businesses are eligible and gives a link to the grants application form.
The Chelmsford Business Recovery Survey can be found at www.chelmsford.gov.uk/business-recovery-survey/. Responders' contact details will not be shared and no individual businesses will be identified in any published data.
To keep up-to-date with the latest news and announcements from Chelmsford City Council, please sign up to there 'City News' mailing list at www.chelmsford.gov.uk/mailinglist.
Article: Apr 22, 2020
More than two hundred local people have volunteered alongside Chelmsford City Council staff to help bring food, medicine and phone conversation to vulnerable residents across Chelmsford - and they're already making a big difference.
Chelmsford City Council and Chelmsford Voluntary Service (CVS) are part of a countywide operation to bring assistance to vulnerable people who are self-isolating. Those who are staying at home and who are in need can call the Essex Welfare Service on 0300 303 9988 to request anything from advice and a chat with someone over the phone to essential supplies or help with looking after their pets. Requests are then fielded to local volunteers, and a new Chelmsford Community Response Hub, to carry out practical tasks such as collecting grocery shopping and picking up prescriptions.
Article: Apr 20, 2020
To support the local economy over 1,400 Chelmsford businesses have been sent grants by Chelmsford City Council to support them in the current crisis. More grants are being paid out every day, and the City Council wants to encourage any eligible businesses to apply if they have not done so.
The grants are for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, with a rateable value under £51,000. Depending on the size of their business, they can apply for a cash grant of £10,000 or £25,000. Small businesses that pay little or no business rates could benefit from £10,000 to help meet their ongoing costs.
The Government provided Chelmsford City Council with £31 million to deliver two grant funding schemes to support for local businesses. With over £19 million already awarded, there is still £12 million to be claimed.
Eligible businesses that have not yet applied for a grant can still apply - at https://www.chelmsford.gov.uk/business/coronavirus-help-and-guidance-for-businesses-and-employers/application-business-support-grant/ The City Council will also be sending them reminder letters.
Councillor Stephen Robinson, Leader of Chelmsford City Council, said: "We hope that these grants have helped businesses during a very stressful time. We recognise the importance of supporting local businesses, and council officers are working tirelessly to process the many applications as quickly as possible.
"I encourage all eligible businesses that have not yet applied to submit their application via the website without delay so as not to miss out on the funding. We will continue doing all we can to support our local businesses through this crisis."
The very latest information and guidance for businesses and employers can be found on the Council's website: https://www.chelmsford.gov.uk/business/coronavirus-guidance-for-businesses-and-employers. That includes details of which businesses are eligible and gives a link to the grants application form.
Article: Apr 9, 2020
Residents are being urged not to put themselves - and others - in danger over Easter Bank Holiday weekend. Leaders from public sector and voluntary organisations in Chelmsford have joined together to make the plea.
Coronavirus has already killed 7,097 people across the UK. It can be spread through the air when people cough or sneeze. Evidence also suggests that it can live on surfaces for some time, which makes it easier to get infected. So staying home keeps us safe. Each time we leave our homes, we risk transferring the virus to somebody else or bringing it home with us to our loved ones. For many, any illness is mild, but for some it results in hospitalisation and, for a few, even death.
The law states that people can only leave their homes if they have a reasonable excuse. This can include: to buy essential supplies, for medical needs, for exercise near your home, to help others in need, or to get to work if you can't work from home. Driving long distances to exercise e.g. to beauty spots is not a reasonable excuse, neither is meeting up with anyone you don't live with. Police have powers to enforce these rules.
Councillor Stephen Robinson, Leader of Chelmsford City Council, said, "This Easter we all have to focus on the fight against the coronavirus. Every time we distance ourselves from others, we are helping to stop the virus spreading. Touching things that others touch, or visiting people you don't live with, could kill. Our normal Bank Holiday activity of going out and seeing friends and family will have to wait.
"Outdoor exercise is important for mental and physical health, so our fantastic parks remain open. But Chelmsford residents need to continue to use them responsibly, observing social distancing guidelines. When the pandemic is over, we can all be relieved that we did the right thing and stayed at home."
Assistant Chief Constable Paul Wells, of Essex Police, said: "I'd like to thank the residents of Essex who are sticking to the government guidelines. By staying home, you're not only saving our NHS and protecting the health of other key workers, like our officers, but you're also acting in the best interests of your loved ones and the most vulnerable in our communities. Our officers are continuing their work to protect and serve the people of Essex. Please do us proud by staying in this Bank Holiday."
Article: Apr 9, 2020
Coronavirus: Chelmsford Council taskforce to coordinate support for vulnerable
Chelmsford City Council is backing volunteers who want to help the city's vulnerable residents in the current crisis. The Council has set up a taskforce to ensure strong links between council services, the voluntary sector, and the wider community.
Article: Apr 7, 2020
Below is an open letter written by the Council's Liberal Democrat Leader Stephen Robinson and its Chief Executive Nick Eveleigh.
Coronavirus: Letter to Chelmsford businesses
Dear Chelmsford business,
We wanted to let you know that Chelmsford City Council is backing Chelmsford businesses and recognises the great challenges you face.
We appreciate that this is a very difficult period for you and we want to reassure all businesses that we are working closely with our partners, both local and national, to provide advice, guidance and targeted support to ensure that our businesses get the right help at the right time.
At Chelmsford City Council we are:
- suspending business rate direct debits so that no payment is taken from businesses that benefit from the 12-month business rates holiday announced by the government
- applying the 100% discount for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for 12-months automatically and will write to you shortly with a revised bill.
- speaking to the Chelmsford Business Board and engaging with Chelmsford businesses and business networks about the support needed and understanding how we can facilitate that support.
- issuing parking dispensations to park within Chelmsford, to any food delivery service.
- sending regular communications to our businesses via e-bulletins and ensuring our webpages are up-to-date so that you receive timely business support information and advice.
We have received further guidance on the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund available for some businesses, announced by the Government. We are working as quickly as possible to set up processes to make these grants available.
The business advice service, delivered in partnership with Colbea, is now also available online. To book a slot visit colbea.co.uk/business-advice-chelmsford/
In addition, the government has announced a number of measures to support local businesses across the country.
This is what the Government is doing:
- HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, enabling businesses to continue paying part of their employees' salary for those employees who would otherwise have been laid off.
- The Government have deferred VAT and Income Tax payments.
- Statutory Sick Pay will be available from day one, and if your business employs fewer than 250 people, the Statutory Sick Pay will be refunded in full by the government.
- A new Business Interruption Loan Scheme delivered by the British Business Bank will support small and medium sized business to access bank lending and overdrafts. The scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value.
- The Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies under the new COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility.
- Support for businesses with outstanding tax liabilities can call the HMRC's dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559 and may be eligible to receive support through HMRC's Time To Pay service.
The situation is constantly changing, with new advice and guidance being issued daily. Please do regularly check this page for the most up-to-date information, guidance and support. Please also share the link with your colleagues, networks and contacts.
We know that the impact of COVID-19 will be enormous for many of our businesses. We will need to work together to get through this and to ensure our business community is able to recover together. Chelmsford's business community has always stood out for being strong, resilient, and diverse; today these traits are more important than ever.
We are here to support you as much as we can.
Please do make contact with our Business Rates Team if we can help in any way (firstname.lastname@example.org / 01245 606805).
With very best wishes,
Stephen Robinson, Leader of the Council
Nick Eveleigh, Chief Executive
Thursday 26 March 2020.
Article: Apr 5, 2020
Volunteers are swinging into united action to help Chelmsford residents in need during the coronavirus pandemic.
Chelmsford City Council and the Chelmsford Voluntary Service are working together with local people to provide a complete package of support for anyone who is particularly isolated or in difficulty. The organisations are part of Essex Community Shield, the countywide effort to get supplies, advice and aid to those who need it most.
Article: Mar 20, 2020
In light of the global situation and following the closure of Chelmsford City Theatres, Chelmsford City Council has closed its sports and leisure centres, museums and the Hylands House buildings with immediate effect - but essential services are still running as normal.
All four leisure centres* are closed from the end of Friday 20 March. All direct debits for Wellness, Swim School, Skate School, Sports School and Patch memberships will be automatically frozen during the closure and members will be given advance notice when the centres re-open. Anyone who has booked a course, party or other activity will be refunded automatically.
Article: Mar 17, 2020
Chelmsford City Council is closely monitoring the coronavirus situation and the scientific advice and guidance from the Government.
Plans are in place to make sure essential services can continue during this time for the benefit of our residents. The Council is carrying out extra cleaning across all City Council sites and taking other steps in services to minimise the risk of the virus spreading.
Article: Mar 6, 2020
174,000 new trees over the next 10 years, hundreds of affordable homes, tackling rough sleeping and much more. Chelmsford City Council under Lib Dem leadership has passed a budget that delivers a greener, safer, fairer and better connected Chelmsford.
At the recent Full Council meeting in Chelmsford, Councillors backed the Lib Dem budget proposed by Cllr Chris Davidson and seconded by Cllr Stephen Robinson. Cllr Davidson explained that the budget would deliver on the Liberal Democrat manifesto from the 2019 elections. The prudent borrowing that he proposed would enable the council to put homeless families in proper housing AND save local taxpayers cash that is being spent on unsuitable temporary accomodation.
Article: Mar 3, 2020
Chelmsford Council will use its new Local Plan to deliver more infrastructure to go with the coming development, genuinely affordable housing, and to ensure that development is really sustainable. That was the pledge by the Lib Dem Leader of Chelmsford City Council, Councillor Stephen Robinson as the new Local Plan received the 'seal of approval' from central Government.
Article: Feb 14, 2020
The Lib Dem led Chelmsford City Council has retained the prestigious Investors in People (IiP) Gold accreditation for the eleventh year running, demonstrating their continued commitment to high performance through good people management.
Investors in People lead the drive for better leadership and better workplaces. They assess thousands of organisations every three years to lead, support and manage people well, for sustainable results. This achievement is not just about being a great place to work, but it shows that the Council's staff have the strong focus and determination to continue to deliver the high-quality, value for money services that its residents deserve.
Article: Feb 6, 2020
Chelmsford now has a plan of action to address the climate and ecological emergency that it declared last summer. This was adopted at the City Council Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 28 January.
In July 2019, the Liberal Democrats led Chelmsford City Council pledged to reduce its own carbon emissions to net-zero by 2030 and to lead in encouraging others to do the same. Over the past six months, Councillors and officers have been conducting research, investigating and reviewing the organisation's existing processes, equipment and premises to determine where improvements could be made.
Article: Jan 30, 2020
Chelmsford will be greener, safer, fairer and better connected under ambitious plans agreed by the Liberal Democrat led City Council. On 22nd January the Council approved 'Our Chelmsford, Our Plan' - the Council's aims for the coming years.
The Plan outlines the Council's new priorities under four themes:
Article: Dec 13, 2019
The Liberal Democrats in Chelmsford saw their vote share more than double in yesterday's election, as they were reconfirmed as the main challenger to the Conservatives.
- Conservative 55% - up 2%
- Lib Dem 25% - up 13%
- Labour 18% - down 12%
Commented Candidate Marie Goldman, "I'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone in Chelmsford who placed their trust in me and the Lib Dems yesterday by voting for us. Some people are long-time liberal voters, some were just lending us their vote, and some had switched to vote for us from another party for the very first time.