CHAIRMANS REVIEW OF THE PAST YEAR
The Council has met on a regular basis throughout the year. Some of our Councillors and our Clerk have attended meetings at Uttlesford relating to Planning, Airport matters, Transport and I am Secretary to the Uttlesford Association of Local Councils. Information from all the meetings we attend enables the Parish Council to know about, and comment on, proposals within our District and County and Local Government issues.
We have made comments on 31 planning applications. Some issues have been raised on some of the proposals but, in general, there are not many that we raise objections to.
We liaise with Essex County Council on road repairs cutting of grass verges and hedges. When reporting pot holes and other minor repairs you are given a reference number but you still have to chase and chase again, in fact, we have some repairs that have been ongoing for well over a year. We will continue to fight on and get these repairs done. The Rangers, however, do an excellent job of cutting back hedges but with only two of them working throughout the district they are difficult to get hold of.
We continue to support SSE in the work they do and attend their Parish Liaison Meetings to keep well informed of all developments at the airport. John Pryor who is on the committee of NWEEHPA also keeps us well informed. With the input we get from both of these groups we are made aware and are able to make comment on the various consultations.
In November we arranged a Public meeting in the village hall on Development at StanstedAirport with Duncan Smith and Neil Robinson from the Airport, they answered many questions, mostly regarding flightpaths and noise. This was well attended and we may hold a similar meeting this year.
We commented on the NATS Consultation on the proposal to change existing departure routes from Stansted, heading east, from the Dover route to the Clacton route. We did not object to the change.
The Clerk had attended a NWEEHPA meeting where it was announced that, even though a high percentage of responses received were against the change, the Civil Aviation Authority want to go ahead with it. However, this will still need Government approval, and there will be no change yet, if at all.
SSE continue to keep us up to date with airport matters.
I am pleased to report that this is now progressing well. Members of our Housing Committee have had meetings with Hastoe and the Architects. The site at Dell Lane has been chosen and plans drawn up. A Public meeting was held in the Village Hall in December with the plans on show. The meeting was well attended and interest shown. The next stage will be planning permission.
The Post Office
The Post Office and Community Shop are now very much the centre point of the village, they continue to be very well used. Most of the profit from the shop is paid back to the Parish Council towards costs. I would like to thank all the volunteers who give up their time to keep the shop open and also to Jean Camp and Sandra Hatt our Postmistresses who always give that little bit extra to make things run smoothly.
P 3 Paths
I would like to thank Linda Howell and her group of volunteers who spend many hours clearing our footpaths. It is not just the manual work but also all the paperwork and telephone calls that are done before work can start. I think they are getting a good name for themselves as I hear they have been poached by P3 to help out with work in Broad Oak.
George Baron has now been doing this job for over a year and is now a familiar sight as he walks through the village gathering up all the rubbish, this amounts to several bags each week. Many thanks George for all your hard work in keeping the village tidy and making it a more pleasant place to live.
Uttlesford Gypsy & Traveller Consultation
A consultation ran from December to February in which we were asked our views on issues and options on identified sites. Our comments were in favour of smaller sites and a preference to not increase the number of pitches in Little Hallingbury, this being the only site on Green Belt Land.
District Councillor Lesley Wells has informed us that the decision had in fact been made to not increase the size of the Little Hallingbury site.
The Car Park extension has now been completed this has given us an extra 25 parking spaces. It is well used especially when the church or village hall is used at the same time as school pick-up time.
After having our War Memorial cleaned. It was agreed that the surrounding shrubbery was in need of care and also with health and safety in mind we should try .to encourage people not to make a shortcut on the edge of the bank. Work on this has started and will be worked on during the year.
When we considered our budget for the coming year 2015/16 we were pleased that, once again, we did not need to raise the precept figure, which relates to the Parish portion of your council tax.
We continue to financially support the church, and give smaller donations to SSE, Air Ambulance and other charities that exist to serve our village as needed.
I would like to thank my fellow Councillors who all give their time freely, not just for meetings but for the work they do on our behalf. Cutting bushes and vegetation from our greens, hedgerows and ponds. Storing salt for our bins in the car park and village hall to keep our paths safe in the snow. There is always someone ready to do the odd repair job. I will not mention them all by name as they all work together and make a great team.
Finally I would like to thank Freda our Clerk for all her hard work during the year and for keeping me in line.