Essex Forest Initiative

Essex Forest Initiative

I’m delighted to be able to share that I’m one of the lucky recipients of the Essex Forest Initiative’s (EFI) Councillors’ Tree Giveaway 🌳

Established in 2019, the EFI has been planting trees across Essex, exceeding its targets for the first three years with a whopping 241,560 trees already in the ground.

This initiative is not just about reaching our net-zero goals by 2050, but also about making a positive impact on biodiversity and air quality in our beautiful county.

Last week, I received ten native trees, with stakes and protective sleeves, from my Essex County Council colleague, Cllr. Peter Schweir.

These have been delivered to South Woodham Ferrers Town Council, who will be planting them at our Town’s Garden of Remembrance.

Flooding on Hullbridge Road

A number of residents contacted me recently regarding flooding during heavy rain, on Hullbridge Road, adjacent to the Village Hall.

It’s taken quite a few emails to badger Essex Highways, but one resident emailed me the other day to report that Essex Highways were ‘jetting’ the drains.

Jetting the drains at Hullbridge Road

Let’s hope this solves the problem.

Cllr. Bob Massey.

New ‘Sea Wall’ steps at Marsh Farm Country Park

I was pleased to see that Essex County Council have installed two new sets of steps at Marsh Farm Country Park; one near the viewing point at Hawbush Creek and one near what the Park Runners refer to as “Bob’s Hill”.

The Locality Grant I was allowed by Essex County Council to improve local facilities funded these and, along with the two sets of steps my grant funded at Saltcoats last year, should improve access to the sea wall for residents.

Steps at Hawbush Creek, Marsh Fram Country Park

Steps at Hawbush Creek

Steps at "Bob's Hill", Marsh Fram Country Park

Steps at “Bob’s Hill”

Potholes (yet again)

I make no apologies for writing about potholes again, they affect any of us who drive and were a topic of contention at the City Council elections last May. Some serving Lib-Dem councillors failed to report potholes for repair and then pointed a finger of blame at the Conservative-controlled County Council.

As I wrote last week, I highlighted the potholes on the B1418 on the ‘S’ bend heading up to Woodham Ferrers to Essex Highways and was pleased to see multiple markings on the road indicating that works were planned.


Image from Google Street View

I was delighted to see, as I drove to Chelmsford this morning (August 2nd), that the road has been extensively repaired; the potholes at each end of the ‘S’ bend, the numerous smaller holes through the bend, the massive pothole at the junction of Workhouse Lane and even the pothole on the left heading up towards St Mary’s church.

This isn’t – as some have suggested – an attempt to ‘curry favour’ with the electorate; this is a mechanism where residents – through their elected representatives – can identify the potholes that cause them the most grief, and prioritise their repair.

And I’m pleased to be able to report that it seems to work.

There will be another opportunity to prioritise potholes in October; maybe the local Taxpayers Association councillors will deign to take part in the process.



Potholes (again)

It’s been a couple of months since the May elections, and the City Council is settling down to business as usual. Councillors have been appointed to the various committees overseeing the City Council’s running.

At Essex County Council has started another round of its ‘Member Led Potholes Scheme’ where each County Councillor is able to identify up to eighteen potholes in their area for priority treatment.

Essex Highways Highlights

I posted a request on Facebook for residents to make representations and also asked all the South Woodham Ferrers Town Councillors to identify potholes in their wards.

Only three – Peter Ferry, Lisa Kelly, and Darren Thompson took the time to respond, so I can only presume that the roads are not as bad as in other parts of our County.

Nothing, interestingly, from the local Council Taxpayers Association representatives who have declared their intention to “HOLDING THE PARTIES WHO RUN OUR TOWN TO ACCOUNT!” (their capitals), again I can only presume that there are no potholes in Woodville Ward.

Residents had already identified potholes in Benbow Drive to me, so I’ve reported those, those identified by our Town Councillors, and the potholes on the ‘S’ bend on the B1418 towards Woodham Ferrers.

Update – On July 18th I waas driving towards Chelmsford on the B1418 and saw a highways engineer highlighting multiple potholes – beyond those I reported – inclding some that had previously only received temporary repairs. It remains to be seen if Essex Highways treat the potholes with more than white aerosol, but fingers crossed! 

Early next month, Essex Highways plans to resurface the Inchbonnie Road stretch between Ferrers Road and Clements Green Lane.

Clements Green Lane itself is scheduled for resurfacing this financial year; the problems with the road surface are defined as ‘delamination’ and so cannot be treated by the County’s pothole teams.

There will be a second round of the scheme in October, so I will be asking for another eighteen potholes again nearer that time.

Bob Massey
Representing the residents of Chetwood & Collingwood Ward at Chelmsford City Council, and South Woodham Ferrers at Essex County Council.

Post Election ’23

After a fractious City Council election campaign, it’s time to contemplate the result.

Firstly, thank you to each and every one of the 707 residents who voted for me (I also voted for myself).

I will – with Ashley John and Malcolm Sismey – continue to fully represent you, and the other residents of Chetwood and Collingwood Ward at Chelmsford City Council.

Congratulations to Murrough O’Brien on his election as a Conservative councillor representing the residents of Elmwood and Woodville Ward, and also to Donna Eley and Terry Sherlock who will be representing those residents as Liberal Democrats.

To Keith Bentley, Tricia Hughes and Ian Roberts, who have represented residents over the past four years – twenty years in the case of Tricia Hughes – thank you for your service.

It is, of course, frustrating to us that Chelmsford has returned a Liberal Democrat City Council, we elected Conservative City Councillors will continue to hold them to account when their policies are found wanting.

Once again, thank you for your support.

Bob Massey
Representing the residents of Chetwood & Collingwood Ward at Chelmsford City Council.

The truth about Potholes

Understandably, when talking to you, the poor state of our roads, pavements and problems with potholes are a major concern.

Roads and footpaths are the responsibility of Essex County Council, and last year they set up a scheme to enable their Essex County Councillors to report potholes in their areas to target repairs. My fellow Conservative County Councillors have used this on residents’ behalf, although some report fewer than others.

You can report road, footpath and lighting issues using the County Council’s ‘Track-It’ website: 

As the County Councillor representing South Woodham Ferrers, residents often contact me to report potholes, and I make a point of asking my fellow Town Councillors to identify priority faults.

It really helps if the report includes a reference number from the ‘Track-It’ website, and, ideally, the location of the fault using ‘What 3 Words’ as that provides a specific location.

But that is not enough. A Conservative City Council will do more to tackle the problem.

The Local Election on the 4th May 2023 is about what Chelmsford City Councillors can do for you.

Unlike the Liberal Democrats, who wrongly claim they can, Conservatives cannot promise to mend the roads but they can strongly influence what goes on. Conservative City Councillors will help you report the issues, and they will follow these up.

Essex County Council have rercruited an additional 12 ‘gangs’ to repair potholes, but these can only be properly repaired when it is dry ,and March and April have been among the wettest months ever recorded in Essex.

Cllr Bob Massey
Essex County Council



The political parties in SWF

As we approach next month’s City Council’s election, it’s interesting to see the differences between the political parties.

Our local Taxpayers Alliance, who have supported the Lib-Dems throughout the last four years, seem to be claiming credit for anything that has been done locally.

Of course our Town’s last Liberal Councillor was Ian Roberts, no surprises there.

Their policy for the next four years seems to be that they will be pressurising the City Council to ensure that dog poo bins are emptied promptly.

Taxpayers Dog Poo Policy
That’s all well and good, but seriously?

The Lib Dems seem to be confusing and conflating National and County Council issues, pointing at potholes or bemoaning the state of the NHS. None of which the City Council has any influence over, but I guess it distracts from the Lib-Dems profligate spending in Chelmsford in the last four years.

Four million pounds on planting trees that, for the most part, died?

Nearly four million upgrading the lobby, bar and café at the Civic Theatre?

During a financial crisis? Seriously?

Oh, and let’s introduce parking fees at Hylands House, at a time when the Government was encouraging people to get out and exercise more.

And then raise crematorium fees by twice the rate of inflation, during the height of the pandemic.

Will they charge us for collecting brown bins next?

Chelmsford deserves better, can we afford another four years of their spending?

The Conservatives, in opposition, have cautioned the Lib-Dems throughout their spending sprees, but they’ve ignored us and continued to spend the reserves built up during sixteen years of Conservative administration.

If elected, a new Conservative administration would scrap the Hylands parking fees for Chelmsford’s and South Woodham’s residents.

And we will not charge for brown bin collections.

We will not waste your money.

Meet the candidates

You may have seen Murrough O’Brien’s letter in a recent edition of The Focus where he confirms that he will be standing with the Conservatives in the upcoming City Council elections.

We know you are all busy people, so, if we happen to miss you on the doorstep or out and about, we understand. You’re either commuting, working from home, or just getting on with your lives, and you probably wouldn’t welcome strangers interrupting whatever you’re doing.

That said, you may have issues you’d like to discuss with us, so if you aren’t able to catch us around town, at the Park Run or wherever, we’ll be at Club Woodham on the evening of March 30th between 7pm and 9pm, later if necessary.

You would be more than welcome to join us and raise your concerns. I can attest that the coffee in Club Woodham is excellent, and you’ll be supporting a local business as well.

We look forward to meeting you.

Cllr. Bob Massey
South Woodham Conservatives