Funding Opportunity – Princes Countryside Fund

The Prince’s Countryside Fund provides more than £1m in grants each year to projects across the UK. There are grants of up to £50,000 available for innovative projects that will provide a lasting legacy to the individuals and communities they seek to benefit.

It recognises that rural communities face a range of challenges. One way in which we help grassroots organisations overcome these is through our grant programme.

The Prince’s Countryside Fund seek applications to support activity that results in a long-term positive impact on rural communities by helping the people that live and work in the countryside. The grant programme currently aims to tackle the following key rural issues:

  1. Developing thriving rural communities by improving service provision in rural areas.
  2. Transforming rural livelihoods by supporting rural enterprise and farming businesses.
  3. Creating the farmers of the future by providing training opportunities for young people and unemployed people.

Open for applications until midnight on 13th April 2016.

(photo credit: The Princes Countryside Fund)

Consultation on review of Essex Parking Standards, Design and Good Practice 2016

Essex County Council is seeking your views on the proposed changes to the Essex Parking Standards, Design and Good Practice.  This review of the Essex Parking Standards is to update it in light of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012) and at the same time take the opportunity to address some issues which have come to light as the policies and standards have been applied over the last few years.  It is however an interim review, as to make any fundamental changes requires a robust evidence base and this is not yet available as only a few developments have been built to the new standards and are operational.

A Strategic Environmental Assessment and Sustainability Appraisal of the reviewed Parking Standards has also been undertaken and this is also out to consultation.

How do I comment?

The draft documents are available for consultation for six weeks until Friday 13th May 2016 through the Essex Insight portal which can be accessed via the link below

Consultation on review of Essex Parking Standards, Design and Good Practice 2016

The website includes copies of both documents, a summary of the key changes and a short questionnaire asking for your views on the changes.  You can respond directly online at our website by using the link above.

If you are not able to access the questionnaire please call Customer Services on 0345 7430430 who will be able to provide a mediated service.  The documents are also available in alternative formats, if required please email –

ECC Strategic Development Team

(photo credit: Peter Miller Flickr)

Railway Station Footbridge Reopens

After months of hard work, negotiations, consultation, frustrating delays and behind the scenes talks, the Great Bentley Transport Minister is pleased to announce that the footbridge at Great Bentley Station reopened at 09:00 Sunday 3 March 2016. It is understood that there is still some 2/3 weeks of residual painting to complete, nevertheless the bridge will be open. This will enable the village and car parking to return to normal life and allow commuters to have an extra 10 minutes in bed!

Transport Minister

(photo credit: Parish Magazine)


It is that time of year again when we start preparing to take part in the Best Kept Village Competition organised through the Rural Community Council of Essex. This year the Parish Council, with Cllr Pippa Drew leading, is preparing for the “Clean for the Queen” event.

You can read in the Parish Magazine how Pippa has been busy encouraging village organisations to take part in the event, with a view to ensuring that we all try to keep the village litter free and tidy throughout the coming months in preparation for when the judges arrive to make their assessments for the Best Kept Village award during May and June.

Previously, the Shops, Doctors Surgery, Pharmacy, School and Businesses have all taken up the challenge and played their part in making the village successful. If you could please help again this year, it would be greatly appreciated. We know the dog walkers are always very helpful with picking up litter all year round which is also greatly appreciated. It would be great if we could once again win the Best Kept Village in our group.

If you do see large amounts of litter and/or fly tipping, could you please contact the Village Caretaker, Bobby McWilliams Tel. 01206 250732.

(photo credit: denisbin, flickr)




Well, it has to be said that there was a brilliant turn out for the village clean up event on 16th April, despite it being a decidedly chilly start to the day. More than 40 people gathered in the Village Hall car park to collect equipment and be allocated an area of the village. The Scouts, Cubs and Explorers were out in force, and many other village groups were represented including the Guides, Friends of the Green, the Conservation Group, the Bentley Green Players, the Conservatives and Protect Great Bentley. There were individual residents from the village joining-in, in pairs or teams and with so many people, each area allocated was quite manageable.

The Brownies did a great job in the Cricket Club, serving refreshments and home made cakes to everyone.

Unsurprisingly, the largest collection came from the verges along Plough Road, with the removal of a countless number of tin cans, bottles, mugs, food wrappers, car wing mirror parts and even a car suspension spring.

Luckily the rain held off until the afternoon, by which time everybody was tucked up in their homes again, hopefully suitably proud of a job well done. We managed to fill Bobby’s trailer with our purple bags of rubbish, and he will be disposing of this (responsibly!) for us.

Cllr Pippa Drew would like to say a huge thanks to everyone who joined in, including those who baked cakes, lent equipment, and helped with the organisation.

(photo credit: Pippa Drew)

Important Changes to the Local Bus Service Network in Essex

From the 10th April 2016 there will be important changes to many of the routes, timetables and service numbers of bus services in Essex.

Passengers, particularly those using the bus to go to school or work, are strongly recommended to check for the revisions using the National Traveline Service, available at: shortly before undertaking their journey, so that they are aware of any changes that have been made.

The majority of dedicated school contract services, which are not open for use by the general public will not be affected.

(photo credit:  jpodgorski1)

Bags of Help grant funding

Tesco Bags of Help programme will support thousands of projects each year. It will fund capital projects that provide community benefit that do not charge for access.

The grants programme will be open to organisations such as: voluntary/community organisations, registered charities, health bodies, Parish/Town councils, social enterprises, Community Interest Companies, schools, hospices, community councils, local authorities and housing organisations.  Other not-for-profit organisations might also be eligible. Read more.

(photo credit: Bags of Help programme)

TDC Local Plan Newsletter Number 6, March 2016

TDC Planning Services has published its Local Plan Newsletter Number 6, March 2016. Read more.

The Local Plan Committee scheduled to be held on 10th March has been cancelled. The next meeting will now be held on Tuesday 12th April 2016 at Weeley Council Offices. Please see the TDC website for further information

(photo credit: Kamil Porembiński, flickr)

The importance of rural volunteers

From providing services in your local community to doing whatever is required to help out, understanding the social value of volunteering is now finding its way onto the policy agenda. What traditional and newer measurement approaches are emerging and what do they mean for rural communities? Jessica Sellick investigates for the Rural Services Network. Read more

(photo credit: Kevin Dooley, flickr)

Work to repair the A120 between Braintree and Coggeshall

Highways England is organising work to repair the road surface of the A120 at two sites – at the junction with Colne Road/B1024 (north of Coggeshall) overnight on Monday 21 March, and at the junction with Hollies Road/Bridge Hall Road between Bradwell and the A131 at Braintree overnight on Tuesday 22 March. Works will take place between 20:00 and 06:00 and may result in delays for local road users and through traffic.

To stay informed about all the latest major roadworks happening near you, visit to register for the latest alerts. If you have any enquiries please contact the Highways England Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000, or by e-mail to
(photo credit: David Howard, flikr)