Highways Update

Residents will have noticed a lot of activity over the last week around the front of the development as large sections of footpaths have been replaced. The footpaths were not of an acceptable standard for Essex Highways due to an excessive number of joins, damage from vehicles and issues where there are connections to services.

To avoid further problems Bellway have elected to replace the entire length of the sections that have thus far been ‘patched up’. These works should be completed imminently.

Work is also due to start on the buff coloured tarmac path in Niblick Green that leads to the boundary with Beaulieu to repair some of the large cracks that have appeared. The paths throughout the central open space between Eagle Rise & Aqua Verde will also be surfaced at the same time. This work is due to start on Thursday 1st August however it is weather dependent.

There will be some disruption to the area and you may therefore need to use one of the other bridle path links to access the play park and path to Beaulieu whilst the work is being undertaken.

There are still also many areas across the development where general remedial work is required. A number of issues including uneven surfaces, gaps between block paving, areas where water is pooling and excessive weed growth are being addressed across the site. Bellway are now working to a final deadline of 31st August to have all works completed ready for sign off by Essex Highways.

I undertook a walk-around with a Bellway representative on Monday 29th July who was well aware of absolutely everything that requires attention. As such, and unless there is a significant new problem that is identified, on-going issues in relation to general highways snagging do not need to be logged via the CRCG website as the RMC, POD Management and Bellway are fully aware of them and the overall situation will be continue to be monitored closely.

Andrew Wright
Channels Residents Community Group

Broomfield Parish Council

Dear Residents,

As our part of the wider Channels development currently still sits within the Broomfield Parish (see information here which explains why), I recently met with officers from Broomfield Parish Council with a view to deriving some local benefit for the proportion of Council Tax that we pay each year.

I met with both the Chair and Parish Clerk and both were very open to consider how Parish funds could be used to enhance our community. Initial suggestions include a community notice board, benches for our green spaces and a defibrillator, all of which residents have suggested/requested at some time over the last year.

The Chair also noted that the Parish Council still has vacancies and that he would welcome engagement from Channels residents by either applying to be co-opted as Councillors or by involvement in one of the three key sub-committees (Village Amenities, Finance and Planning) for which members do not need to be Councillors.

If you are interested in getting involved with Broomfield Parish, either via becoming a Councillor or through working with one of the sub-committees, do get in touch with the Parish Clerk:

Michael Letch
01245 441660

It would be great to have residents involved with both Broomfield and Little Waltham Parish Councils whilst we are still waiting for our final destination to be confirmed and at the end of the day, we are all neighbouring communities that can work together.

Andrew Wright
Channels Residents Community Group

Parish Boundary Petition

Dear Residents,

You will recall that a number of you signed a petition a few months ago to invoke a Community Governance Review with a view to requesting an amendment to existing Parish Boundaries. The purpose of the review was to ensure that the Bellway phases of Channels would form part of the Little Waltham Parish (along with the rest of the Channels development) rather than Broomfield which is where we currently sit.

Unfortunately we are still struggling to finalise a petition that meets the necessary conditions to invoke the review. An update can be found here which fully explains the history and the issues encountered. This is worth a read for both those new to the development and for those who have signed the petition and are wondering why the process is taking so long!

In short, we need a minimum of 14 additional signatures from residents that must be registered local electors. If you would like to sign the petition and have not yet done so, please complete the form below and someone will be round with a clipboard and a pen 🙂

Information submitted via the above form will be held only for the purpose of knowing who to contact and when in relation to the Community Governance Review Petition.

Highways Update

As residents will be aware, our roads are not in a particularly good state and whilst many of the roads are only a few months old, they look more like they have been built for over 10 years. We have sunken drains, sunken paving, damaged and poorly laid paving, pooling of water, weed growth and general poor workmanship.

We have been pushing Bellway for months about this and despite being promised snagging action plans, we have only received the odd brief verbal update and no evidence of any tangible corrective action.

In early June we made available to both Bellway and our City Councillor (from a planning perspective), a large set of photo examples which were representative (although not exhaustive) of the issues we are facing. In our opinion the ‘finish’ of the roads is absolutely unacceptable and not to the required standard for a new development such as Channels.

Bellway no longer have anyone full time on site and we have serious concerns that we will end up in the middle of protracted arguments between them and Highways whilst our roads are left in a sorry state. We have asked our City Councillor to support in pushing Bellway to appropriately comply with planning requirements and to finish the development to an acceptable standard and the City Council are keeping a watching brief on how things are progressing.

You will have probably noticed that there are sporadic remedial highways works being undertaken across the development and we have been advised that Bellway are currently reviewing all remaining works with Barcon in advance of walking the site with the Essex Highways Clerk of Works. This is an important milestone as it will flag any further action required to meet Highways adoptable standards.

The intention from Bellway remains to obtain sign off from Essex Highways by the end of July/beginning of August however given the extent of the issues that we picked up versus the current rate of remedial works being undertaken, it is very unlikely this deadline will be met.

It is important to note that at present Bellway are wholly responsible for all highways including repairs, upkeep and general maintenance and we will continue to push them, with the support of the City Council, to ensure our roads are of the requisite standard and in line with planning requirements.

Andrew Wright
Channels Residents Community Group

Community News

Channels Summer Event
As you may recall, we have been working with Channels Estates to facilitate a joint summer event for residents. The recent ‘Summer Fest’ event that Channels ran was a great success however it did highlight some unforeseen issues, primarily that visitors (and playing children) were wandering around the wedding garden whilst wedding events were taking place.

As such whilst we will work with Channels on the coordination of events where possible over the coming year, it has been agreed that until further works are completed to formalise the boundaries between the Village Green and the Bar/Wedding areas, it would not be practical to host community events on the Village Green.

We are therefore looking to hold a late summer event, probably early September, on our own area of land (between Eagle Rise & Aqua Verde). Those residents that have offered help have been contacted to get the ball rolling again however if anyone else wants to get involved, simply fill in the form here and someone will be in touch!

Nursery Site Update
We have been advised that whilst contractual discussions are taking place with a company that wants to take on the Nursery site, there are a number of legal issues to be resolved and as such it is unlikely that any building work will commence for another 12 months. On this basis Bellway will prepare the area so that it is left as managed grassland with a ‘paddock’ fence around the perimeter to prevent access.

Community Micro Grant Funding
An application, led by Melanie Williamson, has been made for a community micro grant to support a programme of community activity throughout 2019/20. The grant on this occasion will assist in supporting the purchase of a marquee to support delivery of community hosted activities around the development. This will form part of a wider proposed project to enable Channels to evolve from merely a location with lots of new houses to an all-inclusive, vibrant community (keep an eye out for more news on this).

Neighbourhood Watch
Steve Leverett, Chelmsford Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator, attended the Little Waltham Parish Council Meeting on 4th July to raise awareness of the benefits from belonging to a local Neighbourhood Watch. Don’t forget that we have a local scheme running and you can find more about it and the benefits of getting involved here. For those that have not yet signed up, you can do so here. Our NHW Co-ordinator (John Buckberry) will bring you a window sticker and you will receive useful updates via e-mail.

Broomfield Parish Council Links
As you will be aware, the Bellway phases of Channels currently sit within the Broomfield Parish which receives a not insignificant sum of money each year from our Council Tax. The majority of the Bellway phase has been here for well over 2 years and yet we have seen no local benefit. We have made contact with Broomfield Parish Council to ask whether there is potentially any access to funding that we could use for our locality.

Examples could include the installation of benches placed at strategic locations around the development, perhaps some small items of public art (much like the little wood carvings across Beaulieu) and to assist in funding our summer event as part of the work to develop the local community.

Progress is slow however we will continue to pursue the possibilities that may be open to us with Broomfield Parish Council until such time that we finally become part of the Little Waltham Parish.

As always, sign up to follow the website and encourage all your neighbours to do the same and you will kept up to date with everything that is happening in and around your community 🙂

Andrew Wright
Channels Residents Community Group

Managing Agent Update

Further to the update posted on 12th June 2019, RMC Directors have now formally appointed POD Management to undertake day to day management, grounds maintenance and company secretarial services at Eagle Rise and Aqua Verde.

POD Management has a significant amount of mobilisation work to undertake over the course of the next month and require a formal point of liaison on a day to day basis. As such an interim RMC Director has been appointed, in line the company Articles of Association, to work with them and to instruct DJC where necessary to facilitate a smooth handover.

It is important to note that the interim director appointment is a temporary measure to ensure there is appropriate oversight in relation to mobilisation and handover. The appointee will automatically stand down when the formal process of wider director appointments takes place and the individual will need to put themselves forward in line with that process at the appropriate time.

Andrew Wright, who is a prominent member of the Channels Residents Community Group and who has worked closely with RMC Directors over the last year on both management of DJC and procurement of POD Management, has been duly appointed as an interim Director.

Residents will receive a letter from RMC Directors in due course formally confirming everything that has been posted via this website in relation to procurement of the new managing agent and residents will also start receiving correspondence from POD Management over the coming weeks as handover from DJC takes place.

Further information & updates will be posted via this website as mobilisation progresses so please do sign up to receive notification of updates and also encourage anyone that has not yet signed up to do so as we are aware that not everyone is a member, nor wants to be a member, of the Bellway at Channels Facebook Group.

Bellway at Channels is about to enter a new era! 🙂

Private Roads

Many residents may not realise that there are a couple of private roads on the development, the maintenance and upkeep of which are the responsibility of those that occupy the properties in these areas.

As such access is restricted and in particular the turning head at the end of Niblick Green (see image below) should not be used for general parking.

Signs are due to be installed imminently to make clear which areas should be considered as private access and once this has taken place, the areas of note will be confirmed via the website and/or the Facebook Group.

Landscaping Preparation

Please note that a large area of land (shown in the images below) is currently being prepared prior to handover to the RMC. We have pushed Bellway hard recently to ensure that the land is prepared to the requisite standard and this has led to the delivery and laying of new topsoil before seeding of the grass takes place. Frequent watering will be undertaken over the coming weeks to ensure the grass can become established.

The area needs to be free from any form of human traffic and as such residents (and anyone else) should refrain from walking or cycling over it at any time.

Bellway will be leaving the site imminently and once the land is deemed to have been prepared appropriately, it will be handed over to the RMC and new managing agent (once formally appointed).

It is important to note that from the point of handover to the RMC, any further remedial work required to ensure the land can be maintained in line with the agreed Grounds Maintenance Specification will be at the expense of residents via the annual service charge.

It is therefore in our interests to ensure that the area is left to become established so that it can be enjoyed by all in the future!

New Road Markings

As you will be aware, all of the roads around the development have now been fully surfaced. Bellway needs to lay road markings in line with Highways requirements and the work to complete this is planned for Monday 1st July 2019.

There is likely to be some disruption to traffic during the day however this will be managed by the ground working team still on site at Channels. The areas to be road lined are as follows:

  • Completion of double yellows to the road nearest the permanent Bus Stop.
  • Permanent Bus Stop boundaries.
  • Roads/Junctions nearest the temporary Bus Stop.
  • Main road back to the Channels Drive roundabout.

It is likely that some of the priorities at junctions will be changed to accommodate the new bus route (which is also due to go live on Monday 1st July) so please take extra care for the first few days while you familiarise yourselves with any changes.

New Managing Agent

Please find some important information in relation to the procurement of a new managing agent to replace DJC.

Although all residents will receive this information formally from RMC Directors, as the partnership with DJC has just over one month left to run it was felt that residents should know the position at the earliest opportunity.