Orpen Hall Car Park Finished

Resplendent in the evening sun today the Hall car park appears transformed from its former pot-holed and generally dishevelled appearance of late.  Groupbridge  our doughty and endlessly accommodating contractor has departed leaving only the portaloo as evidence of the workforce and equipment which has been a feature of the car park over the past 6 weeks.

Over the summer holidays the following work has been carried out:

  • Old surfacing scraped off and potholes filled in
  • Surface levelled and prepared to form the hidden (but essential) base-course of the parking area
  • New kerbing has been laid to the perimeter
  • Two new soakaways have been installed to take drained rainwater away out of harm’s way
  • French drains have been installed for water to percolate through to the edges
  • New drains installed and pipework fitted
  • New blacktop course laid to the entire car park
  • Planting areas prepared
  • Cycle stands installed
  • Ramps installed to some hall entrances
  • 44 regular car parking spaces marked out together with4 disabled spaces and a loading bay
  • Access to adjacent areas of the Muga and football pitch created and protected from encroachment

Some of these features are shown in the slide show.

All this has been achieved with minimal inconvenience to hall and Lorkin Daniell field users. There are one or two “snagging areas” to revisit in the coming weeks and planting areas will be planned for landscaping activities (both hard and soft landscaping will be employed).

The Parish Council would like to reiterate its thanks to: Groupbridge  (especially Chris Souter the Project Manager)  our excellent contractor, to Doldens  our designers and contract managers, to nearby residents and hall and Lorkin Daniell field users. Especial thanks also go to Essex County Council for their generous grant of £12,000.

As the lead for the Parish Council on this work I would like to thank the following for their assistance. Firstly my fellow Cllrs on the PC project team Bob Tyrell, Andrew Savage and Brian Butcher, as well as those who assisted with co-ordination, namely the Hall Administrator Vicky Beckwith-Cole, the Chair of the Environment Committee Phil Walby and last but by no means least our PC Chair John Gill-Ross whose almost daily inspections towards the end of the project ensured we picked up many of the users’ needs, using his long experience of the way the community interacts with the hall and environs.

I hope the community makes good use of the car park over the coming months and years. I hope readers will agree with me that the work has been transformative.

Chris Stevenson, Chair of Planning and Development Committee – 10th September 2014.

Orpen Hall Car Park starting to take shape

This picture update shows some progress made on the car park over the past week, with some photos taken by Doldens.  We are beginning to see the benefit of separating the hall from the car park already, with the new kerbing redefining the relationship between the building and the tarmac. We sometimes don’t appreciate the aesthetics of the original hall design, and the revised car park treatment will bring this out.  Life isn’t only about functionality and low maintenance!


Orpen Hall Car Park resurfacing

Yesterday marked the start of works to renew the surface of the Orpen Hall Car Park. The Parish Council (PC) has appointed Groupbridge contractors to carry out the work following a tender exercise carried out in June and approved at June’s PC meeting.

Preparing for work on Orpen Hall car parkWork preparation continuesMaterials ready

Orpen Hall car park surface has deteriorated

Over the years the car park surface has gradually deteriorated and settlement over the last 10 years has resulted in ponding and puddles occurring after heavy rain. The surface is in fact very poor in places such that a lot of repairs will be needed prior to the new surface being applied.  In addition to the new Tarmac surface some further drainage will be added to ensure that rainwater is collected and distributed either to new soakaways or to new French drains that will be installed along the longest edges of the car park.

After resurfacing the Orpen Hall car park will be re-lined and two sets of cycle parking stands installed near the entrances to the halls; disabled parking bays will be provided and ramps installed to ensure the hall is DDA compliant. A further feature will be to separate the car park surface from the main building to enhance the appearance of the hall.  Planting will take place around the outside of the hall to soften the hard edges of the car park and building.  A plan of the finished car park is shown below or you can click the following link for the most recent  full size construction plan in PDF form – Orpen Hall car parking layout.

Orpen Hall Car Park layout

Co-ordination of the work is being undertaken by Doldens who are acting as agents to the PC and supervising the works.  It is not anticipated that the work will unduly inconvenience the community since the work will coincide with the school holidays and at a time when the hall is not so heavily used.  Access to the halls will not be affected and the repair work will be undertaken in two phases such that there is as much parking available at any one time as is possible. During this time one of the entrances will be out of action so as to isolate a portion of the car park for the works to take place safely. There will be a time in mid to late August when the whole surface will be re-paved meaning that the car park will be unavailable for up to three days. This will be well advertised in advance.

Timetable and contact

The timetable sees work being undertaken from yesterday (21st July) to the end of August, you can download an outline copy of the most recent timetable by clicking the link: Orpen Hall car park Programme.  Regular hall users have been informed already as have those with single bookings over this period.

The work is being funded using PC earmarked funds of £50,000 and a grant from Essex County. Council for £12,000.

If any reader has concerns or queries they should contact the hall administrator ([antibot mailto=”[email protected]”]), or Parish Clerk (Parish Clerk ([antibot mailto=”[email protected]”]), in the first instance who will either answer queries or obtain information from our agent and/or contractor.

Green Open Homes

Green Open HomesSave £££ and win – visit Green Open Homes during May

On Saturdays and Sundays / weekends from 3 – 15 May, 20 local householders will be opening their homes to the public as part of Colchester’s Green Open Homes.  Find out how easy it is to cut hundreds of pounds from your energy bills by installing energy saving measures, from low cost to bigger investments. Plus win shopping vouchers just by visiting one of the Green Open Homes.

The event will be a great opportunity for visitors to see first-hand how various environmental and renewable technologies work, such as solar panels and air source heat pumps.  See the technologies in use in real homes discuss with the householders the practicalities and benefits for them.

  • How much did the installation cost and how simple was it?
  • What effect has it had on their fuel bills?
  • Are the sales claims realistic?

Visit www.colchester.greenopenhomes.net or contact the organizers, en-form, on 01206 367776 or [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”] for locations and opening details.

Poo problem – dog fouling

Dog fouling is nasty - there is no poo fairy

Poo problem – dog fouling

There are often complaints about the problem of dog fouling in the village. Most dog walkers do take responsibility for clearing up after their dog and it is the few who don’t that create a bad image for all the others.

There was a problem recently at the doctor’s surgery.  A dog had been allowed to foul just outside the surgery and an unwary visitor had trodden in it and then unbeknown walked it through the surgery. This was a very unpleasant task for the staff to clean up afterwards as well as a hygiene issue.

All dog walkers should have, by law, a plastic bag with them and use this to pick up the poo and place in one of the many dog bins strategically placed around the village.

Dog mess on the pavements, in the hedgerows or on the streets is very unpleasant, unhealthy and unnecessary.

Please remember that no dogs are permitted on the Lorkin Daniell Field and this includes all areas around the Orpen Hall. Dog wardens will apply fines for offenders.


Heating Oil Club

Delivery of Heating OilPeople who rely on oil for heating their homes are over a barrel (as it were) when it comes to negotiating terms with oil suppliers. The Parish Council has received an invitation for villagers to join an oil club.

The OIL CLUB is an independent organisation and has no links to any of the suppliers. The club’s aim is simple to reduce the cost of heating oil for members and reduce the environmental impact as much as possible. By grouping deliveries to a village area and the bulk buying ability of the OIL CLUB, they are able to negotiate the best purchase price for heating oil and pass this on to their members. The club works best with as many members as possible.

The aim is that a village will have only one oil tanker delivery to a number of homes on the same day rather than many deliveries to individual households on different days.

The OIL CLUB has launched a club for West Bergholt. If you would like to join or find out more about the club, you can visit the website:

The benefits are:

  • Reduced oil heating costs,
  • Reduced heavy vehicle traffic in the village,
  • Reduced carbon exhaust into the environment.

This news item extracted from the latest issue of Local News – see that and more archive news reports online.

Coastal Ecology & Conservation

Signs at Abbotts Hall Farm where coastal ecology is evolving
Coastal Ecology at Abbotts Hall Farm

This autumn the WEA will be running a ten-week course on the subject of ‘Coastal Ecology and Conservation’.  Being really quite close to some of the most recent experimental approaches of coastal management (see picture right), this course has a real local flavour as well.

Fred Boot is a well-known speaker the local WEA have hoped to hear for some time, and he will give an introduction to:

  • the different and contrasting areas of coastal East Anglia;
  • the pre-historic and historical development of the East Anglian coastline;
  • the  current coastal ecology with its rich plant and animal life; and
  • examining the conservation and management challenges it faces in the immediate and longer-term future.

Fred  has an extensive photographic collection of familiar creeks, estuaries, beaches, marshes, towns and ports of East Anglia and the South Coast to illustrate every aspect of this course.

The course starts on Tuesday 24th September at 8.00 pm and is of one and a half hours duration.  As usual the venue is the Methodist Church Hall and the cost is £45.30 for the ten weeks.  Everyone is welcome and you may attend the first evening before committing to the course.

A previous attendee on this course was obviously enthused by it:

Many thanks go to Fred for sharing his local knowledge and enthusiasm developed over many years as a volunteer, Chairman and Trustee of Essex Wildlife Trust.  We now look forward to a field visit to Abbot’s Hall Farm and Abberton Reservoir in July, when Fred will show us some of the coastal features we have discussed first hand, and also some the work being done by Essex Wildlife Trust to conserve our coastline and wildlife for generations to come.

Terri Amory, Little Waltham Branch WEA

For further information ring the local WEA secretary on 01206 240 791 or e-mail: [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”] Hope to see you there!