An introduction from Cllr Butland, Leader of Braintree District Council
While we are still responding to the very real challenges that were created by the pandemic, we are now also focusing on delivering the key things needed to give the Braintree District the best chance to recover as quickly as possible.
Last year we set out our Bouncing Back Together Plan which focuses on the things that matter over the next 18 months – connecting people and places, enhancing our environment, supporting our communities, promoting prosperity and delivering and innovating.
We are working hard to ensure we give our residents and businesses the help and support they need.
We know climate change is a topic that matters to most. The council is committed to doing everything it can locally to tackle the climate emergency and make the district carbon neutral as far as possible by 2030.
Our Braintree District is filled with many individuals, businesses and community groups doing their bit to help our local environment.
I am proud to be from and part of Braintree District. Our communities have united to be there for one another and through hope, experience and this community spirit, I have no doubt that we will recover and bounce back stronger. And always remember that the council is here to help, whatever the situation.
Councillor Graham Butland
Leader of Braintree District Council
Getting back into communities
We’ve enjoyed meeting and visiting our communities across the district over the past year.
We took part in 16 different community events across the district, speaking to over 500 of you, working with partners including Essex Police, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, United in Kind, Eastlight Community Housing Association and Community360.
We were also joined by our Covid ambassadors who helped give out the latest Covid advice and hundreds of free testing kits.
You talked to us about your personal concerns and we directed you to local organisations and provided advice about everything from caring for loved ones, access to community fridges, volunteering and community transport.
We are planning our community events for 2022 so if you would like an event in your area or have an event you’d like us to attend, please contact us at email@example.com
Councillor Community Grants
In 2022, we are continuing the Councillor Community Grant Scheme which enables more organisations and groups to apply for funding to support local projects and initiatives that will benefit the people of the Braintree District.
We must act now to tackle climate change and it’s down to every individual to do their bit. Small changes can create a big impact.
We declared a Climate Change Emergency in July 2019 and announced a target to be carbon neutral as a Council as far as practical by 2030, as well as supporting local communities to reduce the impacts of climate change across the Braintree District.
EV electric charging points
To grow our district’s local electric vehicle charging network and infrastructure is one of the key priorities for Transport in our Climate Change Strategy 2021-30.
We have installed 48 charging points across a number of our council-owned car parks, leisure centres and council buildings.
We’ve also worked with private companies such as Gridserve, who opened the UK’s first Electric Forecourt in Braintree, for drivers to recharge their vehicles. We have future plans in progress to introduce more locations.
Through our planning process, we are supporting the government’s commitment to install EV charging points in residential and commercial new build projects.
Many agree the £1.54m spent every year keeping our district clean and tidy could be better spent elsewhere.
The accumulation of litter can start with a single wrapper, a takeaway cup, or even a cigarette butt.
As well as council staff, did you know across our district there are over 350 Green Heart Champion local volunteers of all ages, who work tirelessly to help keep our district’s streets, parks and open spaces free of litter that other people have thoughtlessly dropped?
If you are passionate about where you live, why not volunteer? You can give as much or as little time as you like and we can supply you with litter-picking kits.
Tackling climate change starts with lots of small steps and, by doing it together, will make a big difference to help protect our planet.
Schools from across the Braintree District have been creating art masterpieces showcasing how they feel about climate change, as part of a partnership with Braintree District Cultural Education Partnership and us (Braintree District Council).
Town centres and high streets are a vital part of our communities – which is why we continue to revitalise and rejuvenate them, starting with Braintree town centre.
Our investment into the Victoria Square development has helped create a vibrant and attractive space - bringing new businesses into the area, creating more jobs and providing residents with affordable homes, services and health facilities.
Pedestrianising the town centre has ensured a new safer, flexible and social space with updated street furniture and trees, creating opportunities for more events and markets to encourage more people to visit.
We’re bringing forward an exciting package of improvements to Witham and Halstead later on this year including improved signage, modernised street furniture, paving repairs and more – all to create a more attractive and functional environment.
Our town centres have never been more important and we are keen to support the social and economic recovery of them all as we bounce back stronger.
Street markets reap huge success
We’re bringing back our popular Braintree Street Markets this year, a monthly market in the heart of Braintree town centre with an emphasis on high quality good food, drinks, gifts, homeware and an all-around buzzing atmosphere with small independent businesses.
We are working with stakeholders in Witham and Halstead to bring more events to these town centres too.
A £2.5 million centre of excellence for construction innovation, set to create more than 100 new jobs, has opened for business.
The modern building, consisting of a technology suite, exhibition space and conference facilities, is home to a team offering business support to firms connected to the construction industry.
The project is in receipt of funds from the European Regional Development Fund.
“Our investment into this flagship centre shows how we are playing our part in growing businesses, supporting the local economy and creating jobs.” Cllr Tom Cunningham, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth
Local Plans are the local guide to what can be built where and which land is protected. They determine the future pattern of housing, employment and retail development and shape infrastructure requirements. They also contain the policies used in the determination of planning applications.
Braintree District’s Local Plan Section 1 was adopted in February 2021 and is now going through the process to adopt Section 2.
Back in December we ran a consultation on the main modifications to Section 2 set out by the Planning Inspector in order to make the plan legally sound. This closed in January 2022 and we currently await feedback from the Inspector, which hopefully allows us to adopt both plans.
We deliver over 100 services for £3.65 per week. Here’s some of what we delivered last year…
Helped 135 people adapt their homes through Disabled Facility Grants
Dealt with 152,297 enquiries (by phone, email and online) into our Customer Service Centre
8,312,680 refuse & recycling collections
782 fly tips cleared
Emptying of 178,406 litter and dog bins
Prevented more than 250 households from becoming homeless
Received and validated 3,698 planning applications
Strengthening our communities
Park improvements and our cycling strategy.
This past year we have carried out a number of improvements to parks throughout the district including Braintree and Bocking Public Gardens, Bramble Road in Witham, Albert Moss Playing Field in Rivenhall and the community centre play area in Great Notley. We also introduced a sensory playground in Halstead Public Gardens. All have been updated to be more accessible to children with disabilities.
Upcoming this year are improvements to Acorn Avenue in Braintree, Church Street in Bocking, De Vere Road in Earls Colne and Shaw Road in Witham.
Our Cycling Strategy
The purpose of the Cycling Strategy is to help make cycling and walking in the Braintree District safer, more convenient and desirable. This is for all ages and abilities, whether for work, school or leisure. We want to create a better connected network of high quality cycling and walking routes.
To achieve this we will be working with stakeholders, including the highways authority and new developers to provide appropriate walking and cycling facilities.
We recognise that cycling and walking are important in supporting better physical and mental health, and reducing our impact on the environment, as well as congestion on our roads.