Welcome to the website of Farnham Parish Council. The Parish of Farnham is situated in the Uttlesford District of Essex County Council. More detailed information on Parish Council business may be found under 'Our Files' which contains minutes of Parish Council meetings as well as several other issues that are dealt with by the Parish Council. Some photographs from around the village have been included in the 'Photo Album' and we are happy to receive any interesting photographs from around the village for inclusion.
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Village Oak Tree at the Village Hall. The Parish Council was alerted by Pat Brackley to a team of tree surgeons about to remove the large oak tree which is situated on the boundary of the village hall car park and 1, Thrimley Lane. A team of tree surgeons had paperwork indicating that they had been ordered to remove the tree but this seemed in conflict with papers that had been received by the Parish Council last month (and published in the magazine) which were requesting permission to lop some branches from the tree. There followed a lengthy meeting which resulted in the tree surgeons stopping work. Eventually some information began to unfurl and it appeared that in October concern was expressed that the roots of the tree were causing subsidence. It was also noticed that there were some large bracket fungi near the base of the tree and that it was partly diseased inside the trunk. After Officer level discussions it was decided that in view of the fact that the tree was diseased and the fact that there were signs of subsidence the best course of action was to remove the tree in view of public and property safety issues. This was decided in November but Uttlesford did not think to contact either the Parish Council or Barbara Jarman, the Tree Warden for the parish, to let them know the possible course of action. Neither did they contact the village hall committee to let them know they were coming and to ask for permission to use the car park. Instead they arrived, took over the village hall car park and closed part of the road, all without permission, and completely disrupted the Yoga group which had to be cancelled. I managed to speak to the officers at the District Council who were involved in the decision and at this stage we have to take their word. However, it appears that this all took place without going through a committee meeting which is normal practice for a tree with a preservation order. There appears to be no formal information or paperwork to confirm this action. The Parish Council has lodged a complaint to the Chief Executive over the lack of communication and is trying to establish what actions have taken place to arrive at the decision. We want to know if they carried out any ultra-sound measurements or if they made any bore holes to see the state of the tree roots. The Parish Council will follow this up and lodge a formal complaint about the way UDC undertook this action without any consultation or evidence of the scale of the disease in the oak tree. It was a sad day for Farnham to see such a mature tree felled without any substantial reason being given. The tree was declared as 'mature' in 1903. (Pictures of before and after the felling taken by Chris Barrett - see under 'Photo Album').
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Outline Planning Application for houses on Dowagers Field (behind Globe Crescent)
The Parish Council has received a copy of this planning application which is on the area that we fought hard to preserve when it was subject development by the Uttlesford Local Plan. On that occasion the village was successful in defeating any plans for housing.
This is an Outline Planning Application for 26-30 homes on the Farnham Road end of the field (i.e. between Globe Farmhouse and The Globe and behind Globe Crescent).
Because it goes against the village plan and ignores the reason not to develop on that land sent in by the Parish Council, the Parish Council has objected to the planning application. There was also a strong objection to the application by those residents who were present at the Annual Meeting of the Parish held on 13th March.
The application is a private application and not put forward by the District Council. Whatever your feelings about this application it is important that you send in your own comments to the planning department at Uttlesford District Council as the number of responses will be important (rather than one letter from the parish council representing residents).
A list of guidelines has been prepared and circulated to those residents who ask for regular updates from the Parish Council. Any other person wishing to be included should give their email address to Peter Jarman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The application can be seen in full at www.uttlesford.gov.uk/planning and you can search for applications using the reference number UTT/17/0355/OP. There are links on that site to send your comments or you can send them direct to Uttlesford at Council Offices, London Road, Saffron Walden or email at email@example.com quoting the reference number above. The closing date for comments is 28th March.
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Roads in the village have been patched. The final surface dressing is now due and areas affected have received a leaflet informing them of arrangements, subject to weather. Latest details may also be found on the Essex Highways website - www.essx.gov.uk/highways and then click Interactive Maps and Live Travel' followed by 'Highways Information Map'. Finally select this area on the map.
It is planned to start the surface dressing work on Wednesday 26th April and cover Farnham Road from Moylans Corneer to Farnham Green. After 48 hours excess chippings will be removed and then again one week later there will be another sweep. There is no clarity at present about other roads in the village but they are scheduled to be surface dressed.
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Essex Superfast Broadband Project
The Parish Council is aware that BT/Essex are currently upgrading the green boxe by the village hall. However, it is not clear at present if this means that BT will upgrade the villagee to superfast broadband. We are aware that BT/Essex are considering removing some postcodes from their upgrade list due to the fact that some third party companies (such as Virgin, Gigaclear) are preparing business plans for the area. If BT are successful in removing Farnham from their project list then BT will not provide superfast broadband to Farnham and the only option for Superfast Broadband in Farnham will be through Gigaclear. A more accurate idea of timing for different areas of the village may be found by looking at the Essex Broadband website (www.superfastessex.org) and inserting your post code. This will show you that you are included and give a period of time.
Gigaclear plc has announced that it has reached the 40% level for take up by Farnham and therefore Gigaclear superfast broadband will be coming to Farnham with speeds of 50-1,000 Mbps depending upon which package you choose with no fall off in speed if it is being heavily used. My congratulations and thanks to everybody who has signed up. We hear that there is a delay in fixing a date for connections but understand that work is due to start in February 2017 by which time permissions should have been granted by various authorities. During the installation programme there will, of course. be some disruption while cables are layed throughout the village. It is our understanding that work has just started in Hunsdon which is at the start of the programme of cable laying.
It is still possbile to sign up for Gigaclear broadband. Details can be obtained by contacting Gary Brokenshire (Gary.Brokenshire@gigaclear.com) for more details. Mobile number 07747 273946.
UTTLESFORD LOCAL PLAN - Call for Sites
This process has now been suspended until the new year.
The District Local Plan submitted to the government last year was rejected. The District Council was asked to start the process again and landowners were asked to submit suggestions for land (just as they were for the previous plan) that potentially could be developed for residential purposes to help the District meet its housing target set by central government. This has been referred to as 'the Call for Sites' programme. To cut a long story short the field behind Globe Crescent (Dowagers Field)has been submitted as a potential site and at the moment is on a list of potential sites throughout the district. That has been published locally (notice on the notice boards and emails to those who are on the village circulation list). It has been difficult to find any details over the last month and it would appear that before publishing a draft plan, the District Council has inserted a pause in the process and it is unlikely that anything will be publshed for at least a few weeks. The consultation period has been revised and instead of starting in November will now start in January.
For several months UttlesfordDC has been considering its response to the government with regard to plans for various developments within the district including housing.
Type A villages (i.e those with a primary school) were being looked at with regard to some residential development and landowners were invited to offer sites which they felt were available for such development.
The District Council has approached Parish Councils with suggestions for development in order to achieve the District Council aim of 5-10 houses in each Type A village.
A draft of these suggestions has been placed on the District Council website and Parish Councils are invited to respond. The details for the Uttlesford area can be found at the following link:
Uttlesford District Council - Local Plan exhibition resources and www.uttlesford.gov.uk/lpupdate.
You will see that one of the proposed Farnham sites has been identified to provide 5 houses. At present that site is between Walkers and Rectory Drive (01FAR15).
The Parish Council feels that this is completely unacceptable because it would involve access on to a very dangerous and narrow lane and that it would significantly change the nature of the village and properties in Rectory Drive.
A group of Parish Councillors have met with an Officer from the District Council in October 2016 to make our comments most forcibly and to raise a host of other concerns which have been expressed by parish councillors and residents of Farnham. These include points already made by residents who have lodged objections to the ‘Call for Sites’ area that was identified at the beginning of the year and the many comments noted at the Annual Meeting of the Parish held in March.
At our meeting we expressed our concerns about the proposed area between Walkers and Rectory Drive and the District Council accepted our argument and conceded that this was not a good area. They suggested that the five units of market housing could be placed instead along the Farnham Road between The Globe and The Globe Farmhouse (04FAR15). They asked us to consider this and to let them know our comments.
We have now discussed this and we whilst we are aware from the Village Plan that in the region of 5 houses was suggested over the next ten years, it was also the aim of the Plan to site these houses as infill or in areas which would add to the village community and become fully absorbed into the structure of the village. The Uttlesford proposal would not fulfil the aim of the Village Plan.
In addition, we expressed concerns about:
- the inadequate utilities and infrastructure in the village;
- Access to and from the proposed development onto an already narrow and busy road;
- Poor pedestrian access from the proposed site to the school and village community;
- Surface water drainage which is already poor in this area could potentially be made worse by the proposed development adding to the already existing drainage problem at the junction of Rectory Lane and Farnham Road;
- We also raised the issue of the residential developments and schools being built at the junction of Farnham Road with Rye Street and having an impact on Farnham village.
The conclusion of the Parish Council was to object to the provision of 5 market houses on this site.
Although this material is available on the District Council website, I understand that the intended publlication of the draft Local Plan document has now been delayed and the meeting planned for 25th October was cancelled. At present it is planned to present this to the meeting of the Full Council in December. However with the situation in flux at present I advise checking the Uttlesford District Council website for the latest update. Local Press will carry advertisements explaining how to respond to the consultation.
Please look at the material available on the website which gives suggestions for all parishes in Uttlesford and in the meantime the Parish Council will keep you informed of any developments that affect Farnham.
Details can be found at www.uttlesford.gov.uk/sites and www.uttlesford.gov.uk/lpupdate; this will also show the sites that have been identified throughout Uttlesford district.
We are aware that this conflicts with the Parish Plan that was produced recently and this was one of the points that the Parish Council made in its own response.
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Farnham Parish Plan.
During 2014, a questionnaire was circulated to every household as a way of trying to obtain information on a number of issues that affect life in the village. In March 2014 the results of this were fed back to the village and this plan has now been adopted by Uttlesford District Council (approved in February, 2015) and can be found on the Uttlesford website under 'Community-Led Plans'. It can also be found on this website under the heading of 'Our Files' (see top left for this heading) where it is listed as the Farnham Parish Plan. Penny Tattersall or the Clerk will endeavour to put out progress reports on these at least every six months through the Farnham Monthly News magazine.
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Defibrillators in Farnham
There are now three defibrillators installed in Farnham - outside of 'The Three Horseshoes' at Hazel End, outside of the Village Hall and outside of Thrifts Farm at Farnham Green. They are in working order and are connected to the Ambulance Service. The machines do give full instructions for users to follow. The first action must always be to dial '999' and ask for an ambulance. The abulance service will then give you the code to open the defibrillator case which will give access to the actual defibrillator.
Rob Navara, a Farnham Parish Councillor, has co-ordinated the project and he can be contacted for any further details (771071).
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Parish Council Meetings for 2017
All meetings take place in Farnham Village Hall, Rectory Lane, Farnham at 8pm (unless otherwise stated).
The Council has been advised that nationally, Freedom of Information requests from some enquirers are being blocked as spam. Normally, this should not happen to us, but to prevent your message being blocked, we would ask you to add 'FPCFOIA' to the title line and we can be sure of receiving it.
The village is 4 miles north-west of Bishops Stortford and situated on the Herts and Essex border. It is in the area of Uttlesford District Council. There are seven elected councillors for the parish and the last elections took place in May 2015. The village is served by a bus (Uttlesford Community Travel) on Thursdays, leaving Farnham Green at 11.05am, calling at Farnham School/Globe Crescent at 11.10am, Levels Green at 11.15am arriving in Bishops Stortford at 11.25am. It returns from Bishops Stortford at 1.45pm arriving at Farnham Green 2.05pm. The flat fare is £4 (single or return). The National Bus Pass cannot be accepted on this route as it is arranged privately.
The village is served by Farnham Primary School, Rectory Lane, Farnham (www.farnham.essex.sch.uk).
The Parish Council actively monitors the local footpaths and bridleways which are clearly marked around the village. It is the responbility of Essex Highways to maintain them. A booklet of suggested circular walks in Farnham may be obtained from the Clerk of the Parish Council (price £5). It can also be downloaded from this website free of charge (see 'Our Files').
Farnham Parish Councillors:
Chris Barrett (Village Hall)
Ian Delvalle (vice-Chair; Finance; Village Hall)
Petronella Humphreys (Chair)
Barbara Jarman (War Memorial; Recreation Ground)
Rob Navara (Parish footpaths & bridleways; Neighbourhood Watch)
Ian Pinder (Neighbourhood Watch)
In accordance with the Localism Act 2011, on 9th July 2012 Farnham Parish Council resolved to adopt the Code of Conduct of Uttlesford District Council. The Code may be viewed at: http://www.uttlesford.gov.uk/uttlesford/file/Code%20of%20Conduct%202012.pdf or on this website under 'Our Files'. The Register of Interests may be viewed at the following link: https://uttlesford.cmis.uk.com/uttlesford/ParishCouncilInterests.aspx
Annual Audit: The Parish Council is audited every year as required by government regulations. The last audit took place in August 2016 and the external auditors, PKF Littlejohn LLP,have reported back and a completion statement may be found under 'Our Files'.
Copies of the Parish Council Accounts for current and past years are available on the Parish Council website - see 'Our Files'.