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Our Offer

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How we will interact with residents and other groups for the benefit of the town and improve open government

Our Aims
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Our Achievements

What SWFCTA candidates have achieved over the past 4 years

Our Record
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An overview of what has happened over the past 4 years and our commitment to oppose any future development on the 'Green Necklace'

Our Aims
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How we would influence the way Council money is spent for the benefit of the Town's residents

Our Aims

Election News


Cllr. Bentley joined some other town councillors down at Eyott's Sailing Club on Wednesday 22nd March. Alan Brunning had invited us to check out the sea defences the Town Council helped finance. The tide was high and we could see how it was working a treat. The club had stayed dry all winter, well, from seawater anyway!

While there Cllr. Bentley noticed footpath South Woodham Ferrers 35 was covered in water at high tide. The part which was underwater was the diverted footpath next to the borrow dyke. Even though the seawater drained away fairly quickly it left behind a muddy mess which walkers might not be keen to traverse, although it looks like some bikes had tried to make it through previously. Once the elections are over we will try once again to find out what plans Essex County Council have for this public right of way. It is part of the Essex Coastal Footpath and the England Coast Path so should be available for ramblers to walk all year round. If we are serious about attracting more leisure use and business within the town we need to be solving this kind of problem.


18th March. We were treated to a 2-page discourse from one of the Tory candidates for Chelmsford City Council in this week's Focus. We'd like to take a little time to compare what was written with reality as sometimes there is a gap between the two when that information is designed to discredit others.

To start, let's look at his sentence, "The flag that aligns most to my personal values, and the flag that I truly believe will deliver the best local government outcome for our town of South Woodham Ferrers, is for a Conservative City Council to be returned in Chelmsford." Of course this depends what you think is the best outcome for our residents. Looking back over the past decade or two of Conservative rule in the City and Borough Councils we are not convinced there is much evidence of the Tories doing anything for SWF.

So, what does Councillor O'Brien think Tories do better? We could find not a single thing listed on either page. All we saw was criticism of the LibDems. No ideas, and a lot of misinformation.

Referring to the whips planted on City Council land alongside Creekview Road, Cllr. O'Brien claims that 95% have died. This compares with the claim by the LibDems that 65% had survived. Having monitored the site from time to time, our view is that the actual figure is somewhere between the two. The claim that this, "was against local residential wishes," is also a matter of debate. It may have been against some residents' wishes but some residents were very pleased with the planting. We would probably agree that it could have been managed better and that contractors used a glyphosate weedkiller to supress weeds between the whips on two separate occasions. Not something the LibDems should be proud of. This chemical is a bee-killer so not at all ecologically friendly!

Having sat alongside Cllr. O'Brien in numerous Town Council meetings we are a little surprised with his recent conversion to the old Woodham Against Growth position where he states, "just under 1250 new homes being dumped on our community." Last time I looked this was part of the Tory Chelmsford Local Plan! He continues by asserting that these housing plans have NO new infrastructure, and then lists some new infrastructure but misses out a lot of other things that will be provided through the new development. Where we are in agreement is the uncertainty over the sewage treatment negotiations with the water companies and the likely ineffectiveness of the junction improvements to cope with future volumes of traffic. However, we are still waiting for the Conservative Essex County Council to commit to providing a primary school on the site.

Cllr. O'Brien also criticises the cycleways and footpaths in the town. Unfortunately, any state of disrepair would be down to Conservative Essex County Council. However, we dispute the claim that they are overgrown. The City Council's Highways Rangers have done a great job keeping them tidy in recent years. A shame that his Tory colleagues in Essex County Council recently voted to remove their funding.

Cllr. O'Brien's swipe at the LibDems' undersupply of social and affordable housing (20% instead of 35%) is largely historic, stemming from developments agreed by the previous Tory administration. From our understanding the figures are increasing as newer developments are built out.

And finally, he attempts to blame the City Council for what's going on in Maldon District and the extra pressure it is creating and will create on our transport and other infrastructure. We agree there will be consequences if Maldon allows developments where its Options consultation has indicated. However, this is a matter for the Highways Authority, the Education Authority (both Tory controlled), the NHS and Maldon District Council to sort out.


Future councillors will be able to complete and submit their forms online after this May's election. The form will go live once the elction results are in. Councillors will still be able to fill in a paper form and return it as in previous years. There is an annotated version of the form for councillors to refer to, which should help them complete it accurately.

Any future SWF Town Council member who would like to be involved in the work of the Governance Committee will see that there are at least 2 places available. The positions will be re-advertised after the election.

It is expected that all councillors who have not yet done training on the code of conduct will do this along with new members soon after their acceptance of office. This is mandatory training and members who do not attend would be in breach of the Code. However, every effort will be made to accommodate those who cannot make a specific course date/time. It is expected that councillors will need to update their training every 4 years.


At the February 28th meeting of the Chelmsford Policy Board members were told that the next stage of the Local Plan (LP) review would not begin until early 2024. The reasons given were the overrun of the Regulation 18 Consultation and proximity to the Purdah period in the run up to Chelmsford City Council's elections on May 4th. More importantly, the new National Planning Policy attached to the Government's Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill should be getting the King's Assent this year. This will materially affect the LP review and the Council's officers have decided to take the sensible approach and factor the new Bill's changes into the next consultation stage and the Council's preferred option.

The fact that 4 out of 5 options the Liberal Democrat Council put forward include building 500 more houses north of the current development boundary shows how out of touch with SWF public opinion they are. And, let's not forget that the Conservative devised Local Plan was to build around 1000 houses and that turned out to be around 1200 under the LibDems. Our party were vociferous in opposing this inflated figure and in the lack of road, health, sewage and education provision for the new development. We will continue to call for these things and for proper integration with the existing town. Furthermore we will oppose any development on land outside the current development boundary.