Gambling with our Council Tax

Watching the activities of the District Council from the perspective of the Town Council here in Chipping Bonhunt we can only hope that the games they are playing in the high stakes casino of commercial property investment will not leave us all in penury if there is a major recession.

Even at the best of times commercial property is a pretty high risk investment. Yes, you can make great returns when times are good and the economy is booming, but come a recession then all bets are off.

We just hope those District Councillors promoting this investment have a mitigation plan in place to cope with an economic downturn.

Bowing Down to Royale-ty

So now Royale Homes have secured planning consent from the District Council for their development on Sandean Road. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again!

Everybody apart from the great and the good on the District Council can see this development is on the wrong side of Chipping Bonhunt. The promise of a relief road (which doesn’t run all the way round the south of the town) is rather hollow as it appears the first section of road that it links to is not built to the right standard and won’t cope with the traffic that will eventually be fed onto it!

Friends no more?

It seems the fate of Chipping School (formerly the Friends School) in Chipping Bonhunt is heading for a very sad end.

Having failed to find an educational provider that could take on the school, the administrators have sold the site and buildings to a developer. We await their plans with trepidation. What a shame the government didn’t have the imagination to buy the site in order to meet the growing need for school places in North Essex. In one simple move, the needs of the next decade could have been provided for.

Let’s hope that something can be salvaged for the local community: the sports facilities and playing fields are a very important local resource.

A Right Royale Mess

Well, here we go again!

Despite being refused planning consent and damning criticism from an Inspector at appeal, the Royale Homes development on Sandean Road has raised its head again.

Local residents must wonder what you have to do to stop a scheme which everybody can see is on the wrong side of Chipping Bonhunt and will just add yet more traffic onto already overloaded roads. There are already proposals for enough homes around the town, but like Dracula this proposal keeps returning from the dead.

Following our example

Members of Parliament appear to have finally bitten the bullet and decided to move forward with plans to leave the Houses of Parliament for a period so that they can be properly refurbished. The buildings are in a disgraceful state and at risk of being destroyed by fire or suffering another type of catastrophic event (don’t ask about the sewage pumps!).

Of course, in Chipping Bonhunt we bit the bullet a few years ago and took urgently needed action to refurbish our Town Hall after years of prevarication and neglect. Perhaps the MPs were inspired by our example. Where Chipping Bonhunt leads, the Members of Parliament follow!

Happy New Year

On behalf of everyone at Chipping Bonhunt Town Council, let me wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.

There is no doubt that the main issue for 2018 will, once again, be where to build all the new housing and what impact it will have on Chipping Bonhunt and the surrounding area.

I have made one new year’s resolution: to post blogs on a more frequent basis. So, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this and other local issues in the months ahead.

Tobias Gibson

Town Clerk

A long wait

Looks like the trains have been delayed again at Castle Lofts Station: clearly these passengers have been waiting quite a long time!

Audley End Station Halloween

Transports of Delight

The District Council covering Chipping Bonhunt has finally published the Transport Study that is meant to inform the Local Plan (and what an on going saga that is!). Nobody here is surprised to discover that it basically says the town cannot take anymore traffic unless there is a very significant investment in new roads. As far we can see, nobody is offering to make this investment.

So, once again the question is where to build the new homes that the government is demanding.

The transport study states that the appraisals that have been undertaken identify three locations that would be preferable for new garden communities “having regard to link capacity impacts, accessibility and sustainable transport.”

One of these, Great Lionsbridge, is noted as having good access to the Strategic Road Network, is accessible to jobs , accessible to walking and cycling facilities and is close to a rail station.”

Is that the answer?


The County Set?

So, tomorrow is County Council election day. It’s been rather eclipsed by Theresa May’s calling of the General Election. However, here in Chipping Bonhunt the interest centres on whether the candidate from RANT (Residents Against New Towns) will once again defeat the Conservative as they did four years ago.  Also, how will the other parties do this time round?  We all wait with bated breath!

First priority for whoever wins: Please get Essex to fix the potholes!!!

Chaucer would be at home

Walking around Chipping Bonhunt one feels that Chaucer would increasingly feel at home. Some of our roads are deteriorating so much that that they’ll soon be little more than dusty earthen tracks.

What is Essex County Council doing? Clearly they’re not sorting our roads. If they don’t tackle some of the pot holes soon there’ll be some very serious accidents.

The undiscovered jewel of North Essex