Use these links to access the monthly reports.
Nicola Baker writes
Colchester Borough Council is now in the later stages of developing its new Local Plan, which is the strategic document setting out the policies and vision for planning for the next fifteen years. The plan is in two parts, the first of which sets out the strategies for the three North Essex authorities (Colchester, Braintree and Tendring). The second part relates to the Borough of Colchester.
The plan sets out a spatial hierarchy for all settlements in the borough. Dedham is regarded as a ‘sustainable settlement’ but has been separated from Dedham Heath which is designated as one of the ‘other villages’. Despite Dedham village’s status as a sustainable settlement, the document notes that it is heavily constrained by its location within the AONB and that, furthermore, a lack of suitable and available development land means that no growth has been proposed for Dedham village during the plan period.
A number of sites around Dedham Heath were proposed as development sites earlier in the process. The Parish Council was asked to consider the merits of these sites and did so using a clearly specified set of criteria. One of the sites, in Long Road East (not Long Road West as stated in the July edition of the parish magazine) met the criteria and therefore its inclusion as a potential small development site was not opposed by the Parish Council. However, this site was not included by CBC in this final version (subject to consultation) of the local plan.
Another item of note is that proposals for additional car parking in Dedham will be supported where they comply with all other policies in the Local Plan. The full document is available on the Colchester Borough Council website and is well worth a look. The consultation closes on Friday 11 August.
We have previously reported in this magazine the unsatisfactory position relating to footpath maintenance, the responsibility for which lies with Essex County Council. In order to supplement the limited maintenance undertaken by contractors working for ECC, the County Council supports a volunteer scheme in a number of parishes. A local resident, Mrs Val Blaker, has come forward and indicated that she might be willing to co-ordinate such a scheme in Dedham. ECC provide training and equipment to volunteers so that they can ‘strim’ local footpaths. In order to gauge support for this idea, it would be helpful if anyone who might be able to become a footpath volunteer could contact Mrs Blaker on 322 471 (afternoons only).
PARISH COUNCIL OFFICE
Unlike many parishes, Dedham does not have a Parish Council office. We are in the process of trying to set one up in a village centre location to make is easier for residents to contact the Parish Council about local matters. The plans are at an early stage at present – but watch this space!
NEXT PARISH COUNCIL MEETING
This will be on Monday 4 September at 7.30pm in the Duchy Barn. No meeting is scheduled for August.
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Sheila Beeton writes -
A number of residents and visitors have expressed concern about the overgrown state of many of our footpaths. We explained in the last issue of this magazine that Essex County Council, which retains the statutory responsibility for footpaths, had been unwilling to commit to an agreement with the parish council which would have ensured additional cutting of parish footpaths. Residents are encouraged to report defects to Essex County Council’s Public Rights of Way Team. We have put a link on the parish council’s website under ‘Walks’ page to make it easier. Or you can e-mail:
If you report a defect it would be very helpful if you could let the Clerk know so that we can monitor complaints.
PRIVATE PUMPING STATIONS
Anglian Water has asked us to let residents know that, from 1 October 2016, many private pumping stations automatically transferred to Anglian Water and became their responsibility, including all of the maintenance and the running costs. If anyone has a private pumping station that has not been registered with Anglian Water, they should contact them via their website: www.anglianwater.co.uk/ privatepumpingstation
REWARD OFFERED TO WATER OUR FLOWERS!
Once again this year the Parish Council has arranged for seven planters and the boxes around the War Memorial to be planted up with colourful summer plants which we hope will be enjoyed by residents and visitors. Watering of these planters three times each week is vitally important. We are asking if anyone would be prepared to take on this task for a fee of £7.50 per ‘water’. It might suit a young person recently liberated from A-level or GCSE exams. Please get in touch via the Clerk.
NEXT PARISH COUNCIL MEETING will be on Monday 3 July at 7.30pm in the Duchy Barn. No meeting is scheduled meeting for August. The September meeting will be on Monday 4 September.
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Sheila Beeton writes -
MORE PARKING CURBS FOR SUNDAYS?
At the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council on 8 May, there was considerable discussion of the problems of parking in the village on Sundays, when the weekday two-hour restriction does not apply. Some visitors, it was reported, arrive early and park for a full day on the High Street. Given a number of representations, the Parish Council is considering making a request to the North Essex Parking Partnership to extend the two hour restriction to Sundays. Comments are invited, either via our website or to the clerk.
The DPC is disappointed that it was unable to re-negotiate its parish paths partnership arrangement with Essex County Council. Under this agreement, the DPC had employed a contractor to maintain almost all the parish footpaths. Although the ECC has a statutory responsibility for this work, its funding had progressively been reduced, leaving DPC to meet the shortfall. We had volunteered again this year to increase our contribution, but the ECC will pay only a minimal, unrealistic figure and we have been unable to find a contractor willing to cut the paths for the uneconomic ECC rate. After long and unsuccessful negotiations we have declined to renew the contract for the coming financial year. From 1 April 2017, all footpath maintenance therefore falls wholly to ECC. It has undertaken to make one cut on all paths with a second cut on the Essex Way. Any issues or complaints about Dedham footpaths should in future be directed by email to:
The Parish Council will review the position at the end this year.
CONSULTATION GOES ELECTRONIC
The Parish Council would like to gather the views of a wide number of residents on items of local importance. Surveys will be available on our website . However, we are aware that this will not be convenient for all residents and therefore paper forms will still be available. We would be interested in your views on this.
RE-ELECTION OF COUNCILLORS
After the annual meeting, all councillors retained the same roles as last year. Details are on our website.
Next Parish Council Meeting - Monday 5 June 7.30pm, the Duchy Barn.
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Sheila Beeton writes -
CROWN STREET - PARKING RESTRICTIONS
Residents on the east side of the village responded superbly at very short notice to our further questionnaire about our recent parking proposals. This survey was required by Colchester Borough Council as a condition for moving to he next stage of the process. There was a good response rate, with 88 per cent in favour, enough to secure approval from the borough council, which will undertake the statutory consultation later this year. In response to concerns about a possible increase in traffic speeds down Castle Hill, we have submitted an application to Essex County Council for a new vehicle-activated sign on the approach to Coopers Lane. The proposals, intended to reduce congestion in Crown Street, involve parking restrictions: around the bend approaching Coopers Lane, on the greensward area, around the junctions with Southfields, Forge Street and Parsons Field and into Manningtree Road.
We continue to investigate possible sites for additional parking and if anyone knows of or owns land that might be suitable, please contact me.
PARISH ASSEMBLY, OPEN SESSION
Each year parish councils are required to hold two special meetings. One is the annual meeting, when the Chair and other representatives are elected for the next year. The second is the annual parish assembly, which is an opportunity for the Chair to present the council’s annual report. This year both meetings will be held on Monday 8 May. The annual meeting, at 6pm in the Assembly Rooms, will be followed at 7.45pm by the assembly. As well as the annual report, we will have an informal session, with refreshments, to enable village organisations and residents to raise any issues of concern. We will also be updating residents with proposals for a ditch mapping project with Essex County Council. We are seeking volunteers to help with aspects of this project.
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Kevin Taylor writes
BROADBAND SPEEDS UP FOR MOST BUT NOT FOR ALL
The Superfast Essex broadband programme has delivered considerable improvements to broadband speeds in Dedham. Most of the village now has access to improved services and you can check your own property by using the interactive map or postcode checker: www.superfastessex.org. Service providers can advise on expected speeds which may not be the full Superfast speeds.
An area around Lamb Corner has not been covered by the programme because County Broadband says it plans to run a wireless commercial offering for that area. As a commercial service, this falls out of the government funded programme. Residents excluded from the government scheme can contact County Broadband on 01376 562002 or through their website: www.countybroadband.co.uk
The Parish Council would be interested in any feedback about County Broadband’s service.
ANTI SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR
There have been a number of incidents of anti-social behaviour in the Monks lane and Coles Oak Lane area in recent weeks. If you notice anything unusual, please make a note and let the Clerk know.
Christine Frost writes
LUNCH CLUB SUCCESS
The Parish Council is delighted to note the successful start of a luncheon club at the Essex Rose to be held usually on the first Monday of each month.
This idea was proposed at last year’s Living Well Forum and was developed by the Church’s pastoral team with the manager of the Essex Rose. 24 people attended the first event in March. Booking essential. 323 101
ELECTORAL ROLL DEADLINE
County Council elections will be in May. If you have recently moved house and are not on the electoral roll, you must register by 13 April in order to vote: www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
Next Parish Council meeting Monday 3 April, 7.30pm in the Duchy Barn.
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Sheila Beeton writes
In February the Parish Council organised an Environmental Forum with a focus on flood and water management in Dedham. It comprised a drop-in session followed by presentations from officers from the Environment Agency, and Essex and Colchester Councils. We were disappointed with the lack of participation from Anglian Water. The event was well attended and included: reports, maps, and analysis by Guy Cooper (EA) of the weather patterns and circumstances which led to particularly acute flooding in parts of the village last June; details from Graham Robertson (EA) of a scoping project which included Dedham’s Black Brook. Graham presented a number of historical and current maps showing how the route of the brook had changed over more than 200 years and other analyses of flood fields and occurrences which identified the pinch points and risk factors across the village. Attendees contributed much useful information which will be noted. The objective is to use the data collected to identify options for better management of water flow in the future which might include both technical and preventative solutions from responsible agencies and work that might be undertaken by residents to better protect their property. Some community funding had been allocated for this project but there must be a clear cost benefit from the work undertaken with the potential reduction in flood risk to the numbers of people who might benefit. The scoping project also now enables the EA to undertake modelling to better project the likely impact of changes that might be made and how work undertaken in one area might impact on other areas. DPC will continue to work with the EA on this project.
Charlotte Smith (ECC) then outlined the role and responsibility of Essex in water management, which relates mainly to ditches and other smaller contributories that were not the responsibility of EA. She reported on work undertaken elsewhere to identify and codify the position and condition of these features within the Parish which might then lead to remedial action being taken.
She indicated her willingness to work with Dedham Parish on a similar project and the consensus was that this would be a positive initiative. Given active participation from the village DPC will now progress this. Hannah de la Rue finally outlined the work she was undertaking at CBC on emergency planning and prevention from flooding and again demonstrated her willingness to work actively with Dedham on this.
DPC will now pursue the above work with a view to publishing information for the Parish on flood and water management which might include: roles and responsibilities, contact numbers, emergency planning and warning arrangements, identification of pinch points and risks and helpful information for residents on what might be done to better protect properties in vulnerable areas.
Thanks were given to all the above officers for attending and giving us such enthusiastic support. We also appreciated the attendance of both Anne Brown and Nigel Chapman.
Nicola Baker writes
The Parish Council is very concerned about the imminent rise in business rates which will affect many traders in Dedham. A meeting with the Colchester Business Rates Team will be held on March 21st 6pm-8pm at the Marlborough Head. This meeting is by invitation only, but if you run a business in Dedham and would like to attend, please contact Christine Frost on 322296.
Councillors and Clerks attended an informative training session run by the Local Council Public Advisory Service with the aim of ensuring that our skills and knowledge remain up to date.
Next meeting: Monday 6 March 2017, 7.30pm in the Duchy Barn www.dedhamparishcouncil.org.uk
Tel: 01255 871483
Nicola Baker writes:
The Parish Council website has had a make-over! Please take a look at www.dedhamparishcouncil.org.uk and let us have any comments on its accessibility and ease of use. There is a feedback form on the front page.
As reported last month, at the November Business Breakfast a question was asked about the apparent conflict between the aims of the Dedham Vale Society and the environment lobby to keep the car driving visitors out of the Dedham Vale. The Dedham Vale Society has asked us to make clear that this is NOT their policy and we are happy to set the record straight.
Residents will remember the problems caused by excessive rainfall in June of last year, with many areas of the village affected by flooding. Since that time the Parish Council has been in communication with a number of statutory bodies, including the Environment Agency, to try to establish whether any action can be taken to improve matters in the event of future flash floods. On 16 February there will be an Environmental Forum at the Assembly Rooms, to which all residents are invited. It will be a ‘drop-in’ event from 3pm and we hope to have a number of short presentations in the evening. The programme is still being finalised, so please check for up to date information on the website or notice boards. The Environment Agency will be represented and it will be a good opportunity for residents to raise any matters of specific concern.
Councillors have set the budget for the 2017/18 financial year. A careful analysis of this year’s spending has been undertaken and it has been decided to set a budget which allows us to fulfil all our obligations from our annual income, rather than relying on our reserves. It has become clear that it may be necessary for Parish and Town Councils to undertake some of the responsibilities of the County and District Authorities.
For example, Essex County Council’s footpath budget has been cut, which means that the Parish Council is funding some of the footpath maintenance in order to maintain the high standards in our village for the benefit of residents and visitors. We have also decided to keep the income received from parking fees in the village’s car parks in a ‘ring-fenced’ reserve to allow us to investigate two specific areas of concern for residents. These are car parking and street lighting. The Parish Council is very aware of the sensitivity of both of these matters and is committed to a comprehensive consultation with all interested parties. The net result of these budget decisions is that the Parish element of your Council Tax will go up this year to £43.51 per household (Band D). This remains lower than most of our neighbouring parishes and Dedham Parish Council feel that this represents good value for money.
Monday 6 February 2017, 7.30pm in the Duchy Barn.
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