Archaeology fund being wasted on grass cutting, critics claim

Councillors Sue Lissimore and Pauline Hazell are concerned over how money is being spent at Gosbecks Archeological Park

Councillors Sue Lissimore and Pauline Hazell are concerned over how money is being spent at Gosbecks Archeological Park

First published in News

A fund of £500,000 to develop an archaeological park in Colchester is being squandered on grass cutting and maintenance, it has been claimed.

Money was set aside to create the attraction at the 166-acre Gosbecks Park, in Maldon Road, under a section 106 agreement between Colchester Council and Galliford Homes.

But despite no development taking place on the site, the latest council budget shows only £318,000 of the fund remains.

The fund was paid in five annual instalments for “construction of buildings required”.

Full story in today's Gazette

Comments (15)

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10:17am Mon 25 Aug 14

whitepaper says...

How is money being 'squandered on grass cutting and maintenance'? Surely the opposite of that is not cutting the grass and not maintaining the site which would be even worse.

Do they mean that someone else should be footing the bill for maintenance of the site leaving the 500k to be used as it was supposed?

If so, misleading reporting by the Gazette
How is money being 'squandered on grass cutting and maintenance'? Surely the opposite of that is not cutting the grass and not maintaining the site which would be even worse. Do they mean that someone else should be footing the bill for maintenance of the site leaving the 500k to be used as it was supposed? If so, misleading reporting by the Gazette whitepaper
  • Score: 8

11:35am Mon 25 Aug 14

Ritchie_Hicks says...

As far as I was aware this was just a dumping ground for some of the local dog walkers.
As far as I was aware this was just a dumping ground for some of the local dog walkers. Ritchie_Hicks
  • Score: 5

11:39am Mon 25 Aug 14

Jess Jephcott says...

The whole point is that the money was given by the Barbour family for the development of the site as an archaeological park - not for maintenance. Maintenance would have come out of the earnings of the park. Plans were put together for the creation of the heritage centre, but these all dwindled to nothing. I worked on the vision document and, as part of that, had meetings with various councillors and interested parties. The meeting that capped it for me was the one I had with Ann Turrell and Paul Smith, two people who should have absolutely nothing to do with the promotion of Colchester's heritage. The two oozed with smug satisfaction that they were quite comfortable with how they were using the money, thereby saving the taxpayer the cost of cutting the grass, ragwort control, etc. and that interest on this money sitting in the bank was 'theirs' not 'ours'. What an opportunity missed? Now they talk about enhancing the Roman circus, after the hard work of many people to raise funds (nothing from the council of course) to buy the premises now known as Roman Circus House and to gain public access to land where the starting gates were located. £250k was raised by the volunteers. How much was given by the council? So now the weasel words are coming out. Rabbits caught in the headlights. Caught again, squandering our heritage money. Regrettably Colchester's borough council is heritage complacent, which is why the place with a heritage that is second to none in this country is so little known as a visitor destination. We voted for these weasels so we have only got what we voted for. Quit complaining. But wouldn't it be great if those who are aware of this but are afraid to voice their opinion publicly, would actually speak out and shame these people into using the money as the Barbour family intended it to be used in the first place?
The whole point is that the money was given by the Barbour family for the development of the site as an archaeological park - not for maintenance. Maintenance would have come out of the earnings of the park. Plans were put together for the creation of the heritage centre, but these all dwindled to nothing. I worked on the vision document and, as part of that, had meetings with various councillors and interested parties. The meeting that capped it for me was the one I had with Ann Turrell and Paul Smith, two people who should have absolutely nothing to do with the promotion of Colchester's heritage. The two oozed with smug satisfaction that they were quite comfortable with how they were using the money, thereby saving the taxpayer the cost of cutting the grass, ragwort control, etc. and that interest on this money sitting in the bank was 'theirs' not 'ours'. What an opportunity missed? Now they talk about enhancing the Roman circus, after the hard work of many people to raise funds (nothing from the council of course) to buy the premises now known as Roman Circus House and to gain public access to land where the starting gates were located. £250k was raised by the volunteers. How much was given by the council? So now the weasel words are coming out. Rabbits caught in the headlights. Caught again, squandering our heritage money. Regrettably Colchester's borough council is heritage complacent, which is why the place with a heritage that is second to none in this country is so little known as a visitor destination. We voted for these weasels so we have only got what we voted for. Quit complaining. But wouldn't it be great if those who are aware of this but are afraid to voice their opinion publicly, would actually speak out and shame these people into using the money as the Barbour family intended it to be used in the first place? Jess Jephcott
  • Score: 35

2:00pm Mon 25 Aug 14

Linda Gosling says...

Am I reading this correctly? 182.000 for grass cutting... really?
Am I reading this correctly? 182.000 for grass cutting... really? Linda Gosling
  • Score: 5

3:23pm Mon 25 Aug 14

Hamiltonandy says...

Can only agree with "Jess Jephcott". Very depressing. If only the money had been ring fenced for its intended use.
Can only agree with "Jess Jephcott". Very depressing. If only the money had been ring fenced for its intended use. Hamiltonandy
  • Score: 7

5:18pm Mon 25 Aug 14

jim_bo says...

I'm off to buy a lawn mower, £181,000 to cut the grass!

About time CBC actually did something for it's citizens that made money and regenerated Colchester. Perhaps wipe out the top tier of council leadership and being in some more commercially astute leaders???

Apart from collecting the bins what does CBC actually do for us?
I'm off to buy a lawn mower, £181,000 to cut the grass! About time CBC actually did something for it's citizens that made money and regenerated Colchester. Perhaps wipe out the top tier of council leadership and being in some more commercially astute leaders??? Apart from collecting the bins what does CBC actually do for us? jim_bo
  • Score: 7

5:35pm Mon 25 Aug 14

PaulWagland says...

Makes you wonder who at the council knows whom at the landscaping firm.
Makes you wonder who at the council knows whom at the landscaping firm. PaulWagland
  • Score: 6

5:39pm Mon 25 Aug 14

Ritchie_Hicks says...

jim_bo wrote:
I'm off to buy a lawn mower, £181,000 to cut the grass!

About time CBC actually did something for it's citizens that made money and regenerated Colchester. Perhaps wipe out the top tier of council leadership and being in some more commercially astute leaders???

Apart from collecting the bins what does CBC actually do for us?
Quite a lot more than people think.

Streeting cleaning, pest control, sheltered housing, building control, cemeteries, to name just a few.
[quote][p][bold]jim_bo[/bold] wrote: I'm off to buy a lawn mower, £181,000 to cut the grass! About time CBC actually did something for it's citizens that made money and regenerated Colchester. Perhaps wipe out the top tier of council leadership and being in some more commercially astute leaders??? Apart from collecting the bins what does CBC actually do for us?[/p][/quote]Quite a lot more than people think. Streeting cleaning, pest control, sheltered housing, building control, cemeteries, to name just a few. Ritchie_Hicks
  • Score: -4

10:15pm Mon 25 Aug 14

Reginald47 says...

I don't remember the Tories doing anything to develop this site when they were in control so perhaps these two ladies should not stick their feet much further in. However not spending the money on cutting the grass would have been a good idea as it would be so high by now that all those little doggies and their owners would get lost in it and no-one could build anything anyway.
I don't remember the Tories doing anything to develop this site when they were in control so perhaps these two ladies should not stick their feet much further in. However not spending the money on cutting the grass would have been a good idea as it would be so high by now that all those little doggies and their owners would get lost in it and no-one could build anything anyway. Reginald47
  • Score: -1

10:33pm Mon 25 Aug 14

merielc says...

If you would like to look at the MAG Report 1993-4 you will find details of the site and the handover by the Barbour family of 165 acres of land for the Archaeological centre plus a substantial amount of money to the council in exchange for permission to build houses on a strip of land on part of the site. It gives a lot of detail with David Bellamy and grants from a couple of groups as well. Then take a look at English Heritage case no 1420508 which you will also find on line which asks for a reconsideration and redesignaton of part of the site having very little archaeological importance Could it have been all that expensive grass cutting?
If you would like to look at the MAG Report 1993-4 you will find details of the site and the handover by the Barbour family of 165 acres of land for the Archaeological centre plus a substantial amount of money to the council in exchange for permission to build houses on a strip of land on part of the site. It gives a lot of detail with David Bellamy and grants from a couple of groups as well. Then take a look at English Heritage case no 1420508 which you will also find on line which asks for a reconsideration and redesignaton of part of the site having very little archaeological importance Could it have been all that expensive grass cutting? merielc
  • Score: 3

11:52pm Mon 25 Aug 14

Assimilation says...

They could have rented it out to a local farmer to put a flock of sheep on there, that would have kept the grass down. No bill for grass cutting and making money in the process. But then the locals would not be able to empty their dogs there.
They could have rented it out to a local farmer to put a flock of sheep on there, that would have kept the grass down. No bill for grass cutting and making money in the process. But then the locals would not be able to empty their dogs there. Assimilation
  • Score: 5

12:56am Tue 26 Aug 14

Andy.squirrel says...

It is so frustrating that CBC and the Councillors don't do more to promote Colchester's heritage and history which would surely bring in much needed revenue from tourists. We should be thankful that we have the likes of Jess Jephcott and the Colchester Archaeological Trust banging the drum for the promotion of our unique and distinguished history we have inherited in Colchester. Its just a shame that CBC are so shortsighted in squandering monies clearly designated for development on management of the site without investigating innovative approaches to managing the land which would be cost neutral.
It is so frustrating that CBC and the Councillors don't do more to promote Colchester's heritage and history which would surely bring in much needed revenue from tourists. We should be thankful that we have the likes of Jess Jephcott and the Colchester Archaeological Trust banging the drum for the promotion of our unique and distinguished history we have inherited in Colchester. Its just a shame that CBC are so shortsighted in squandering monies clearly designated for development on management of the site without investigating innovative approaches to managing the land which would be cost neutral. Andy.squirrel
  • Score: 6

10:39am Tue 26 Aug 14

catflap1 says...

Ritchie_Hicks wrote:
jim_bo wrote:
I'm off to buy a lawn mower, £181,000 to cut the grass!

About time CBC actually did something for it's citizens that made money and regenerated Colchester. Perhaps wipe out the top tier of council leadership and being in some more commercially astute leaders???

Apart from collecting the bins what does CBC actually do for us?
Quite a lot more than people think.

Streeting cleaning, pest control, sheltered housing, building control, cemeteries, to name just a few.
don't forget the Aqueduct and peace ....but apart from that what have the council done for us???
[quote][p][bold]Ritchie_Hicks[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jim_bo[/bold] wrote: I'm off to buy a lawn mower, £181,000 to cut the grass! About time CBC actually did something for it's citizens that made money and regenerated Colchester. Perhaps wipe out the top tier of council leadership and being in some more commercially astute leaders??? Apart from collecting the bins what does CBC actually do for us?[/p][/quote]Quite a lot more than people think. Streeting cleaning, pest control, sheltered housing, building control, cemeteries, to name just a few.[/p][/quote]don't forget the Aqueduct and peace ....but apart from that what have the council done for us??? catflap1
  • Score: -2

12:25pm Tue 26 Aug 14

sam vines says...

Well I'm glad council tax payers money is not being wasted on this as it raises the question why has nothing been done with the money raised. If this was such a valuable and interesting site whys its not up and running. Is the site owned by the council?
Well I'm glad council tax payers money is not being wasted on this as it raises the question why has nothing been done with the money raised. If this was such a valuable and interesting site whys its not up and running. Is the site owned by the council? sam vines
  • Score: 2

11:13pm Tue 26 Aug 14

TheBrotherhoodOfTheBell says...

What do you expect ?

This is Colchester for F**K sake !
What do you expect ? This is Colchester for F**K sake ! TheBrotherhoodOfTheBell
  • Score: 3

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