Great News – Following our requests to the Council the damaged street furniture in Hamlet Court Road, such as bent and broken railings, wonky bollards and sign posts, and displaced planters, is due to be repaired – some work has already taken place. Our thanks to officer Andy Lewis for acting so swiftly and we look forward to seeing the repairs roll out in the coming month or so.
Big News 1 for 2019 – the Council are in the process of engaging consultants to undertake the ‘heritage work’ in the Hamlet Court area. We are not entirely sure what this means but it will certainly involve some sort of assessment of local heritage. The community will be invited to participate in the consultation and we will be starting our research into local history. If anyone has any historic information particularly old family photos and memories we would love to hear from you. Please email us here http://hamletcourt.org/contact/ or post on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/groups/HamletCourt/. It has taken a great deal of work to get to this point so we can be very pleased.
Big News 2 for 2019 – this year a main piece of our work is to help bring about a traders partnership with the Council. This has the potential to access funds and bring about local improvements but most importantly engage the traders with the community and the Council. We hope this will enable us to achieve things like the Xmas lights now that we have more time than was available for this project last year.
Big News 3 for 2019 – this year is an important year for the local elections as Councillor Jonathan Garston is standing for re-election and his seat is finely balanced. We have asked BOTH main political parties to support local regeneration and we hope this is an opportunity for politicians across the spectrum to join in supporting the local community. More details will follow in the coming weeks but watch this space for updates.
If you are interested in joining our work we would love to invite you sit in on a few meetings to see what we are up to. Details can be found here http://hamletcourt.org/conservation/. Membership and local enthusiasm are the only qualifications!
Fantastic news. Following this week’s Budget announcement Historic England are to fund up to £55m to revive these historic streets. We have to work to get a share of this for Hamlet Court Road and this is why we need Southend Council to support Westcliff and recognise the importance of the area at the heart of our town. See here
As published and issued to all members and supporter of regeneration – see here: HCCFNewsletterAutumn2018
The Death and Life of the High Street – a new national web blog here that might be of interest…
Our AGM was held on 30th June 2018 and our Chairman updated the meeting on our work during our first year. He particularly addressed the importance of our rich local heritage to the community and, therefore, to the successful future of Hamlet Court Road. He referenced recent statements in support of adaptive retail by Mary Portas and from Bill Grimsey in an important report that repeatedly references Heritage in accessing how High Streets can recover. The meeting re-elected the current Forum officers and a brief financial report was received. Finally we enjoyed a delightful interview session with Carol Edwards, local author of a new book on Hamlet Court Road where Carol emphasised the importance of local people to the history of the road. The event closed with refreshments and a chance to chat
Saturday 21st July & Sunday 22nd July 2018
A fantastic new public event in Hamlet Court Road to celebrate local place. Local shops and businesses are invited to support the event and offer something different, perhaps a new offer or discount to help the community enjoy the day and to encourage business. If a business wants to use the ‘Love Hamlet Court Road’ logo, say for social media purposes, please just email us at one of the contact email addresses and will provide a free logo. The local community is invited to visit or extend a visit in Hamlet Court Road – try something new, something different and support your local shops and businesses.
1. Spend time in the street
2. Look up at the amazing architecture
3. Support 1 or 2 extra shops
4. Stop for some refreshment
5. Take breakfast, lunch or an evening meal
6. Make an extra purchase
7. Visit us at our gazebo
8. Support the road in your own way
Age Concern have two current planning applications to convert the Havens store into a community centre for the elderly. As much as we support the good works of Age Concern we have objected to this application because it takes away the retail use that is so important to the retail trade of Hamlet Court Road and to the importance of this historic, Listed, Art Deco store. This could adversely affect the long term future of the road and so we support a modern, adaptive, retail use, as happens elsewhere, perhaps incorporating a café and workshops to support new businesses. The building is unsuited for the types of sub-division proposed and this would damage the beautiful open store interior. We also suggest that a deep plan building with difficult access and very little natural light is not the best place to care for the elderly. You see these applications on the Southend Council website.
NEW HERITAGE INDEX PUTS SOUTHEND IN ITS PLACE…
The Royal Society of Arts launched the Heritage Index in London this week and it shows a mixed position for Southend-on-Sea. The index scores the heritage attributes of all towns or areas across England and these include everything from historic buildings, sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs such as the estuary), Heritage Lottery funding, local heritage events and much more. Southend scores in an amazing 7th place out of 325 for heritage assets placing it in the top 2.2%. If only that were the whole picture. Sadly the town also score 256th for heritage activities, more or less the bottom 1/5th of the index. Unfortunately this is borne out by our experience in the town, particularly Council involvement in our heritage.
This demonstrates the huge opportunity that exists for significant improvement in community collaboration to open up the real life experience of local heritage in Southend. This is what we hope our work will help to see unfold in Hamlet Court Road but it does need enthusiasm and support from our Council. Many towns and area across England are living their heritage. For example, check out the work of Art Gene (http://www.art-gene.co.uk/) in Barrow-in-Furness, the area placed first in the index for Landscape & Natural Heritage (in spite of the Lake District being just up the road).
You can freely access and explore the Heritage Index at https://www.thersa.org/action-and-research/rsa-projects/public-services-and-communities-folder/heritage-and-place
Please raise the profile of your local heritage concerns either here or elsewhere on social media
Hamlet Court Conservation Forum – Seasonal Update
So much seems to have happened since the Forum was first put together. Our purpose is to protect the Hamlet Court area with Conservation Area designation and to promote heritage led regeneration in Hamlet Court Road itself. Designation would define the area and give a completely new local management plan to help residents and traders. Designation would also allow access to heritage funding that could help regeneration and conservation repair over time.
In July we presented our comprehensive Statement of Case document to the Council and this included our offer to undertake most of the work involved, the Conservation Area Appraisal – this is a comprehensive piece of research, historical description and proposed management plan for the area. In other words this work would be done at no charge to the Council! This would then be considered by officers and Council Members.
After this initial work the following events have unfolded:
- In September we gave a Powerpoint presentation to the Council Conservation Working Party which went incredibly well. We received very warm support from the other conservation groups present but most notably from Councillors Flewitt, Ware-Lane, Mulroney, Ayling and Arscott. We got agreement that our proposition should go forward to Council Cabinet
- In early October we carried out a door knocking membership drive and had the pleasure of meeting many of local residents. This proved to be very successful and grew our membership. We also met many very receptive and interested people who want to help to improve the local area
- In mid October we had a very productive meeting with ENS, probably the largest employer in Hamlet Court Road with some 70 staff – who knew that! They have joined the Forum and wish to help in any way they can. We discussed one of the amenity projects we want to roll out concerning refuse collection, which numerous people have raised as an issue. Initially we are going to pilot the area between lower Preston Road and Hamlet Court Road
- In early November Council Cabinet met and again our request for conservation designation was apparently well received with a determination that a formal report from officers was commissioned. This was a double edged outcome as support is very good but further reporting simply delays everything. We are now told that we can expect to hear further in January
- In mid-November we met with other local conservationists to resurrect the Southend Conservation Forum, a former, borough wide conservation group which will now co-ordinate online via Facebook and, as needed, with local meetings. This will help share conservation problems and thinking so that issues get better presented to the Council at Conservation Working Party Meetings
- In late November we met Kwesi and Maya from The Cultural Assembly, a group that has worked in London and Suffolk. They have an alternative approach to regeneration whereby impetus comes directly from the community through the arts & culture. This is a bottom up approach that involves community events, the re-purposing of redundant buildings and working with various other parties such as The Cultural Engine. They are very keen to collaborate in Hamlet Court Road
- In early December we had a meeting with Carol Edwards who has written several local history books and is preparing to publish a new book on Hamlet Court Road in the New Year. Carol kindly offered us the opportunity of writing a suffix piece about our work in this book. It was a fascinating meeting where Carol’s social history met our environmental history and it is clear that we will learn a lot from Carol. But we also would hope to supplement her work with our research, when we get the green light from the Council
- Throughout the last few months we have also been following a new programme at the Royal Society of Arts called Networked Heritage which you can read about a www.rsa.org. This is looking at ways that people identify and connect with their local heritage and this could both inform our work and assist building and re-engaging the local community. This also ties in with work that we have identified by UNESCO where all heritage attributes of a local area (not just buildings) are included in managing the sustainable heritage of a local community. This could be a very interesting area for our work and formed part of our Statement of Case, referred to above
So you can see that a lot is happening and I must give a big thanks to our Committee but particularly Charlotte Kurilecz and Andrew Zoers, our secretary and treasurer who have helped make this happen. Particular thanks also to Richard Kurti for his enthusiasm and support.
And plans for next year include an invitation to anyone turn up at our meetings at the start of the evening and ask a question or raise an issue – it is after all a Forum for the community! But we also hope to organise a public event in Hamlet Court Road for the warmer weather. Details to follow next year.
I hope you can see that something special is beginning to happen here but what we need now is as much support as possible through both Forum membership and regeneration support – both types of support can be registered on our website www.hamletcourt.org. Please spread the word and encourage others to sign up. But please also add your comments to our website or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/HamletCourt/ or follow us on Twitter @hamlet_court
Andy Atkinson – Acting Chairman