6th November 2017

posted Nov 6, 2017, 4:17 PM by Stephen Robinson

The AGM of the North Chelmsford Community Trust is Wednesday 15th November at 7.30pm in St. Andrew's Church, Melbourne Avenue.

Not much has happened since the last AGM, as Essex CC has continued to ponder the plans for the site.

The Planning Brief for the site was consulted upon a year ago and agreed jointly between Essex CC and Chelmsford CC.

The Trustees of NCCT have met a couple of times during the year, to update each other on the limited progress and to move forward with a draft business plan for the proposed community hub. However, the bulk of the site is due to be put up for sale soon and so there may be more news before long.

I hope to see you on the 15th. The Agenda is fairly simple:

  • 2016 minutes
  • Chair's report (essentially, as above)
  • Treasurer's report
  • Election of officers / Trustees for the year ahead

Stephen Robinson
Chair, NCCT

14th September 2016

posted Oct 31, 2016, 9:28 AM by Stephen Robinson

North Chelmsford Community Trust AGM

14th September 2016, 7pm

At St Andrew’s Church, Melbourne Avenue

In attendance:

Stephen Robinson

Jude Deakin

Karen Whybro

Darren Moore

Jill Smith-Hughes

Paul Greenland

Ruth Hughes

Edith Miller

Sayed Rahman


  1. Agree minutes of previous AGM

  2. Update on council decision regarding former St. Peter’s site.

  3. Financial update

  4. Election of trustees and officers

  5. Proposed register of Writtle Wick as a community asset

  1. The minutes of NCCT’s September 2015 AGM were discussed & agreed and are available on the website at

2. Stephen Robinson described the update on council’s decisions regarding planning for the old St. Peter’s College site. Essex Education have decided that two special needs schools would be provided on the site and the rest to be sold for development.

The NCCT proposes to:

  • Gather community views on use of site according to needs

  • Consider housing, open spaces & community facilities

  • Create a credible business plan for a community hub to include space for local community, recreational facilities, changing facilities for sports associations, co-working space for local businesses, working space for charities

Stephen had agreed with Simon Carpenter (former head of St. Peters & trustee of Kids Inspire) that he could help with business plan writing. It was noted that County Cllr. John Spence had been instrumental in ensuring that the PRU did not relocate to the site. He could be a good advocate for NCCT plans.

It was agreed that NCCT’s plans could help meet community needs identified by the County and City Councils e.g. reducing unemployment, social exclusion, skill shortages.

Ideas already discussed include:

  • Co-working space in collaboration with Daniel Kenning from Ideas Hub

  • Collaborative work space with on-site creche for working parents in collaboration with Karen Whybro from Stay, Play & Work

In collaboration with The Ideas Hub in town, it has been suggested that NCCT might temporarily use space in Threadneedle House in Chelmsford City Centre to road-test the ideas of coworking & creche. The Ideas Festival taking place on Friday 11th November has already advertised to local community for taster day for co-working space.

3. Financial Update by Paul Greenland (treasurer)

Current financial overview stands at:

£1,000 loan (required minimum balance for a charity account)

£185 in bank from donations & some subscriptions for this year

No spending

NOTE: Membership year needs clarifying. It was agreed that this should probably be a couple of months before the AGM in future. Stephen Robinson suggested we discuss & decide at next Trustees meeting.

No questions.

4. Election of trustees

Ruth Hughes proposed (seconded by Sayed Rahman) all of the following:

As Trustees and Officers

Stephen Robinson: Chair

Karen Whybro: Secretary

Paul Greenland: Treasurer

Other Trustees:

Jude Deakin

Darren Moore

Jill Smith-Hughes

Stephen thanked Karen and Darren for agreeing to become Trustees.

5. Writtle Wick Family Centre

Stephen Robinson explained that the local Family Centres were being closed at Writtle Wick & Witham, to be amalgamated at Duke Street in early 2017. Writtle Wick has facilities that would make it ideal for use as a first community hub for NCCT to pursue its community objectives, including for creche and associated working space.

Stephen therefore proposed that NCCT nominate Writtle Wick as an Asset of Community Value to avoid Essex County Council selling the building to developers for at least 6 months. All agreed.

7:45pm AGM formally closed.

Post-meeting note: other Trust members were contacted after the AGM and gave their assent to Item 5.

8th August 2016

posted Aug 16, 2016, 10:45 AM by Stephen Robinson

Minutes of a Trustees meeting of the North Chelmsford Community Trust - held on 8th August 2016

Present: Stephen Robinson (SR - Chair), Rev Paul Greenland (PG - Treas), Jude Deakin (JD)

Apologies – Jill Smith Hughes (JSH)

Consultation plan

JD reported on the meeting she had attended at Chelmsford Council, with a consultant appointed by the council to manage the consultation with the public on the future of the St.Peter's site. JD was optimistic that this would be a meaningful process, with real opportunities for the community to contribute.

JD had emphasised the importance of involving young people and ensuring that any residential element reduced the impact of vehicle movements.

Around 2.5 hectares will be retained by Essex CC for special educational needs and the remaining 8.6 hectares sold off. The plan assumes Middle Block and all the outbuildings on the site will be demolished, but takes no final view on the original, redbrick North Block. 

Refurbishment could represent poor value for money, especially as it would attract VAT whereas new build would not. Views will be sought in the consultation. 

NCCT Business Plan

It was agreed that it was now urgent to complete the Trust's draft business plan for the site, so that it could be presented to the two councils to convince them to allocate land to the Trust for a community hub in the future development.

SR would contact again the local groups that expressed interest in the site to see if they are still interested e.g. Meadow Youth Football Club and the dance and drama groups.

JD agreed to speak to Chelmsford Leisure Services re. their view on the need for playing fields and play space on the site.

Additional Trustee

SR proposed Karen Whybro as an additional Trustee. Karen had offered her experience setting up a small business locally and in project management to the Trust. This was agreed.


It was agreed to convene the AGM on 14th September 2016 at St Andrew's Church.

14th July 2016

posted Aug 7, 2016, 6:40 AM by Stephen Robinson   [ updated Aug 21, 2016, 2:22 PM ]

A Draft Planning Brief for the future of the St.Peter's/Rainsford School site has been agreed by Chelmsford Council's Development Policy Committee.  It proposes a mix of uses for the future - a mix of special educational needs facilities, public open space, community use and housing.

There will now be 6-8 weeks public consultation starting soon. Chelmsford council will deliver a leaflet to houses nearby.

Download the draft brief here.

24th May 2016

posted May 24, 2016, 4:39 AM by NorthChelmsford CommunityTrust

Essex CC Education Department is still debating what exactly they want to happen on the Fox Crescent site. They are in discussions with Chelmsford City Council Planning Department about what is likely to be acceptable in planning terms on the site.

There will be a document published for consultation later in the summer. This Trust will continue to push for a strong community legacy on the site as part of any plans.

2 March 2016

posted Mar 2, 2016, 9:25 AM by Stephen Robinson

The Trustee meeting for 20th January 2016 was cancelled due to lack of business and nothing of note has happened since then.

25th November 2015

posted Mar 2, 2016, 9:20 AM by Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson was invited to a meeting at Essex CC with the Cabinet Member for Education Cllr Ray Gooding, an Education Officer and a Property Officer.

Officers are still working on a business case for three, separate but small, schools for special needs on the site. It will be important that the users of the three units are kept separate, especially as some of the children attending the Autistic Spectrum School will be living on site Monday-Friday.

Architects have been asked to come up with a design that inspires and lifts the site, to give a real sense of place.

Essex CC officers will be meeting with Chelmsford Planning Officers within 10 days to discuss the planning brief for the site.

It was hoped to get ECC's Capital Programme Board to sign off the scheme in March/April, then to Cabinet and then to a planning application in late 2016 and procurement in 2017.

21st October 2015

posted Mar 2, 2016, 9:09 AM by Stephen Robinson

Minutes of a Trustees meeting of the North Chelmsford Community Trust - held on 21st October 2015

Present: Stephen Robinson (SR - Chair), Rev Paul Greenland (PG- Treas), Jude Deakin (JD)

Apologies – Jill Smith Hughes (JSH)


Treasurer - PG said that he needed to activate online banking before activating the ‘BT My Donate’ account. But then people can donate online.

Chair – SR had spoken to the officer responsible for ECC property about Melbourne police station but it now looked like the police want to retain it.

There had been no further discussions with Newlands Spring Community Assoc.

Secretary - JSH had said that, although she had taken the AGM minutes, she would prefer it if we could find someone else. It was suggested that we ask via the email list.

16th September 2015

posted Mar 2, 2016, 8:52 AM by Stephen Robinson




Members present 

Trustees: Cllr Stephen Robinson (Chair), Cllr Jude Deakin, Rev. Paul Greenland, Jill Smith-Hughes (Minutes).

There were eight other members present. (See signed attendance sheet with contact numbers.)

  1. Stephen welcomed everyone to the meeting, the NCCT’s first AGM since its founding.

  2. Chair’s Report.

Stephen expressed thanks to Lynne Foster who had worked hard as the Trust's Secretary, but who had had to resign due to other commitments.

72 people had been emailed about the Trust and, of these, more than 40 had paid their subscriptions.

The original motivation in the creation of the Trust had been the future of the St Peter’s site and the wish to provide better community facilities in the area. As there is no Parish Council locally, this is a vehicle to channel these interests in order to influence Council plans.

The last 12 months had seen basic administration tasks completed, the longest jobs being the setting up of a bank account and achieving charitable status.

There was no firm news re. the school site, as Essex County Council (ECC) had again deferred a decision, since they were considering SEN provision in terms of capacity and location, here or elsewhere. Stephen had met with planners at ECC and at CCC (Chelmsford City Council) The CCC planning department told him that the planning brief had not changed, except for the fact that Thriftwood College and other groups now occupy the old school’s South Block. 

The site could be put to various uses, including housing, playgrounds and open spaces. It all depends on the ECC Education department which will report at the beginning of 2016. It would take 6 months to go through the planning applications and 18 months to build, so it would be September 2018 before a special school could open there. 

Questions from the floor.

  • Once the school had wanted to buy 2 houses in Highfield Road, but the owners had refused to sell – won’t access still be a problem? Stephen replied that access for pedestrians and cars would be an issue from all sides of the site. Highfield Road could be a pedestrian access. However, there was no decision yet and this would determine the layout of the site.

  • Will the Trust take on other issues? Stephen thought that it could potentially, but its main focus was the St Peter’s site. There were many groups very keen to have community facilities.

  • What influence can this small group have? Paul explained that part of the sale of the land for building would be the requirement to provide community use such as a Community Centre. The Trust could put in a bid for this and, being a legal body, it is ready to be ahead of the game and to access funds. Stephen added that we are a registered charity and could hope to receive £300,000 from the developer in the absence of a parish council. We are not talking about a school, but an area to house other activities, ie a Hub. Communities are short of such spaces. Other possibilities would be premises for more vocational training and start up units. Jude pointed out that the residents of Moulsham Lodge had taken over the old Police Station and now it was thriving as a Community Hub. Stephen had contacted the Police and Crime Commissioner about making similar use of the former Police Station in Salerno Way and he awaited a reply.

Stephen said it was essential to do a Needs Survey to put to the CCC planning department, but that we needed funds to do this.

Two ladies asked about parking locally and were encouraged to speak with the Councillors present.

Stephen encouraged everyone that there should be more to report on next year.

  1. Treasurer’s Report. Paul reported that the Trust had a CAF bank account. £207.18 had come in from subscriptions and there was a loan of £1,000 to help in these early stages, but this would eventually be repaid. For a group this size, no independent auditor would be required. Brian Winder kindly offered his services if ever the group needed an auditor. Paul informed that we were also set up with a website and a BT MyDonate account, which would enable donations online.

  2. Election of Officers / Trustees. Stephen asked if anyone present would like to join the Officers/Trustees. No-one did and so it was proposed from the floor that the four existing Officers/Trustees be re-elected and this was agreed unanimously.

  3. Stephen thanked everyone for their attendance and encouraged them to pay their next annual subscription of £5. He closed the meeting at 8.05p.m.

1st September 2015

posted Sep 4, 2015, 9:05 AM by Stephen Robinson

Minutes of a Trustees meeting of the North Chelmsford Community Trust - held on 1st September 2015

Present: Stephen Robinson (SR-Chair), Rev Paul Greenland (PG-Treas), Jude Deakin (JD), Jill Smith Hughes (JSH)

Apologies – none

Lynne Foster

The Trustees accepted with regret the resignation of Lynne Foster as a Trustee, due to her other commitments. Lynne was thanked for her work over the last year to help set up the Trust.


JD had spoken to City Council Revenues department and established that NCCT would be eligible for charity rate relief if it took on a building.

PG would ask Fr. Tom Page for a list of groups that had used the All Saints church hall, with a view to showing that there was still a need for community space.

JD will speak to Moulsham Lodge Community Trust for a list of their activities.

Chelmsford Community Church had offered a donation towards the cost of the local needs survey that NCCT wants to carry out. Other local groups could also be asked.

SR reported that there was a demand from local groups for a shared calendar of events in the area. SR had suggested that the simplest way to do this is by granting access to group organisers to the calendar function on the Facebook page.

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