Essex County Council tweeted excitedly this morning that they’ve been given £5.3m extra from the Government to deal with potholes. That’s good news, and I look forward to seeing some of the potholes I’ve reported recently to them being filled in.

Just in case anyone from the County Council happens to drop by, here are three of the worst that they could be getting on with fixing:
First, in Priory Street

In West Stockwell Street

And at the junction of Serpentine Walk and Catchpool Road


Essex libraries consultation

As I’ve talked about before, Essex County Council are now holding a consultation on library opening hours, now they’ve announced how much certain libraries’ opening hours are being cut.

You can go here and have your say, and it won’t take you very long as you’ll only be asked two questions. One about which library you want to comment on – for Colchester Borough, that’s Colchester central library, Prettygate, Greenstead and Stanway – and then another about which proposed set of opening hours you prefer. No chance to make any other comments, suggest alternatives or even any attempt to get any demographic data from respondents. So, the responses won’t be able to be weighted by age, gender, location, amount of times people use the library or anything like that. So, if there’s a specific group that might be adversely affected by one set of opening times, there’ll be no way for the consultation to show that.

The choices for the central library are:
Option A – opening from 9am-6.30pm Monday-Friday, 9am-5.30pm on Saturday and 1pm-4pm on Sunday
Option B – opening from 8.30am-7pm Monday-Thursday and 8.30pm-5pm Friday-Saturday. The library would then be closed all day Sunday.

And that’s your choice, so make sure you have your say on which you’d prefer.


Still no details of the consultation, but Essex County Council have now published the papers for their next Cabinet meeting which will discuss reduced hours of opening for libraries and other cuts (pdf file) – including 21 staff – to save nearly £2m a year from the libraries budget.

A further paper indicates how many hours will be cut from each library. Of local interest:

Colchester Central Library: Currently open for 67.5 hours a week, will reduce to 59 (a reduction of 8.5)
Greenstead Library: Currently 38, reducing to 34 (reduction of 4)
Prettygate: Currently 47, reducing to 34 (reduction of 13)
Stanway: Remains at 16 hours per week
West Mersea: Remains at 23 hours per week
Wivenhoe: Remains at 19 hours per week

As far as I can see, there’s been no consultation on these reductions and the consultation that will take place will be entirely on how you want these reductions in opening hours to take place, not whether you want them to happen at all.

I’m off to find out more, but please let me know what you think about these reductions using the comments.


I was in Colchester Library this afternoon picking up some books and noticed a poster there from the County Council about a forthcoming consultation about reducing the opening hours of libraries to make budget savings. No real details on what’s being proposed or consulted on, but the consultation’s apparently not starting until February 14th – no details yet on the Essex Libraries website or the County’s consultation portal, though.

I’m asking around to see if I can get some more information, but for now I thought I’d put it up here to see if anyone out there knows anything about it that they want to share.

I know that some of my readers in Colchester and Essex are commuters, suffering the joys of dealing with National Express East Anglia (NXEA) on a regular basis. I’m not a regular commuter any more – though whenever I do travel to London now, I notice just how much worse it is than when I used to do it regularly for work – but those of you who are may find the @NXEAfail Twitter account somewhat useful as a cathartic way to vent your rage the next time you’re stuck for ages with no explanation as to why, or forced to take a bewildering array of tubes, buses and trains because of engineering works.

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Yes! To Fairer Votes meeting in Colchester

Apologies for the short notice, but I’ve just realised that I haven’t blogged yet about the fact there’s a Colchester meeting for the Yes To Fairer Votes campaign on Saturday afternoon. It starts at 2pm at Magdalen Hall on Wimpole Road. More details here.

(Yes, Magdalen Hall is where the local Liberal Democrat offices are located but this is a cross-party campaign and meeting to which all are invited)

Take Back Parliament in Essex

Just a brief note to say that I’ve been informed of a Take Back Parliament (the organisation campaigning for a Yes vote in the referendum on the voting system next year) meeting for Essex that’s happening next Tuesday. It’s at 7.30pm in the Charles Peters Lounge of Chelmsford YMCA. I’ll be going along with at least one other person from Colchester, and if you want to know more about it, see the website here.

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