RESIDENTS living on a new housing estate have started a residents’ group to ensure their voices are heard and to build community spirit.

More than 20 people attended the first meeting of the New Braiswick Park Residents’ Association at Colchester’s Bricklayers Arms pub.

The group was the idea of bus driver Bruno Hickman, who recently moved from the estate, off Bergholt Road, because his flat in Axial Way suffered from damp.

Now living across town in Greenstead Road with partner Christine Perdicou, 40, and daughter Charlotte, aged two-and-a-half, he decided to set up the group to help his former neighbours.

He believes having a formally-recognised association will help put pressure on developers, landlords and property management companies to answer complaints.

“The estate is close to the station so a lot of the residents commute to London and come back late at night,” the 47-year-old said. “There isn’t really much of a sense of community, maybe because the majority of people are tenants and might only end up staying a few months.

“If I can get the ball rolling, the association will hopefully gather some momentum and keep going in the future.”

The Lib Dem Colchester councillors for Mile End, Martin Goss and Anne Turrell, were at the meeting along with former Conservative councillor for the area Brian Jarvis.

They were able to offer instant help with many of the residents’ queries by using their experience of teething problems on other new developments in the area.

One of the major issues raised was the lack of community facilities, with no church nearby and only one small shop within easy walking distance, the store at the Bergholt Road Esso petrol station.

As building work has ground to a halt on the estate, due to the recession, tenants are having to wait for a shop that was due to go up along with further new homes. Residents also want to see public transport on Axial Drive, but until the road has been extended far enough to link up with Tufnell Way, there is nowhere for buses to turn around.

The meeting heard, as there is no community centre, the council is considering using an empty home for a mother and toddler group. Mr Goss said: “Development has stopped and that is holding up the community facilities.

“The residents are concerned about it, but I think they also understand the situation.”

Mr Hickman said: “It was a good meeting and I had quite a lot of texts and e-mails from people who couldn’t attend. Hopefully it will keep growing in the future.”

Estate residents who want to join the association or raise gripes with Mr Hickman should e-mail A website has also been set up at