DELAYS to the £3m redevelopment of Brentwood High Street
have been blasted – on the eve of a major policy summit.
A key campaigner has accused planners of being “slower than
And he claims that the scheme has rumbled on for so long –
more than five years – that the public has lost interest.
Save Brentwood Action Group secretary Gerry Bender said: “A
nice picture of a tortoise would sum it up. In fact a tortoise
would probably move faster.
“It is slow – incredibly slow. In Romford they have built a
new hospital, knocked the old one down and built seven blocks
of flats in less time than it has taken us to get a junction
improvement, traffic calming measures and the other High Street
Mr Bender aired his views as the first signs of real
progress came to fruition:
●A demolition notice has been served on the Sir Charles
Napier pub to allow for a new slip road.
●And Brentwood council is poised to establish a new steering
group to help speed up the improvements as part of a longer
At the annual meeting of Brentwood Town Centre Partnership
last week, highways officers from Essex County Council and
Brentwood council said the scheme was progressing through its
final legal stages.
They also revealed they were close to completing the final
designs which will be shown to stakeholders at a meeting at
Brentwood Town Hall on Thursday June 26.
But Mr Bender says the improvements have been so long in
coming that residents have lost all enthusiasm.
He said: “They said it is taking so long because of the
legal thing. But wouldn't you have thought the acquisition of
rights would have happened at the beginning of the process
rather than at the end?
“I think what has held it up is a complex issue. There have
been a lot of personnel changes at Brentwood council. With our
new relationship with the county council and sharing Joanna
Killian as a chief executive, you would have thought that she
would have seen this as a high priority. If we haven't got the
ear of the county council then Brentwood's chief executive and
Essex's chief executive have a communication problem!
“I think the enthusiasm of local people has waned because of
the length of time this has taken.
“If it were all completed tomorrow Brentwood would be a
significantly improved town geared up for the future.”
ECC yesterday said plans for the Charles Napier junction and
High Street improvement were at an “advanced stage”.
ECC cabinet member for highways and transportation Cllr
Norman Hume added: “The scheme is currently progressing through
its final legal stages and it is hoped all outstanding issues
will be resolved soon.
“ECC are continuing to work with the local community and all
stakeholders are being kept continually informed.
“The scheme will include pedestrian friendly features,
divert much of the current traffic away from the existing High
Street and significantly improve the street scene.”
EDITOR'S COMMENT: p26