Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Parish 2023

Annual Meeting of the Parish Uploaded on January 15, 2024


Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting
held on Monday 13th March 2023
at 8pm in the Village Hall, Farnham

1. Welcome by Chairman of the Parish Council.
The Chair welcomed all to the Annual Parish Meeting. This year we have been dealing with issues regarding flooding and the problem of the inconsiderate parking of horse and carts blocking safe access to the village. Oops, sorry that was the speech for the APM of 1823! A big welcome to you all and to our guests – Janice Loughlin, our District Councillor, Ray Gooding, our County Councillor and Steve Sharma from Essex Police.

2. Apologies for Absence.
Apologies were received from Chris & Emma Smith, Steve King, Sue & Willy Moloney, Rob & Diane Navara, Val & John Flack, Graham Lowden, B Stubbings, Lesley Pearson, Tracey Bratley. Ray Gooding sends his apologies as he will be late arriving from another meeting in Clavering.

3. Minutes of the Previous Meeting.
The minutes of the meeting held on March 14th 2022 had been circulated, published in the Farnham Monthly News and copies are available on the tables. Mrs Humphreys proposed that minutes be agreed. This was seconded by Maddy Willis and they were APPROVED.

4. Reports from representatives of Parish Organisations.
a. The Parish Council Ian Delvallé
The Chair asked representatives of the Village Organisations to keep their presentations short, and, if you have not already done so, you send a copy of your report to Peter Jarman.
This year we have held some of our meetings virtually and some physically.. The main matters we dealt with were the flooding affecting the village, the state of the roads, planning and parking.
A reminder that our website is now up and running and the minutes of our meetings and our finances are published there as well as a summary in the Parish Magazine.
We held a successful Jubilee Party at the Village Hall in June and Jubilee Mugs were distributed to all village children of Primary School age and under. This was part-funded by the Parish Council and Uttlesford District Council. A similar event is being organised jointly by the Social Club and the Parish Council on Sunday 7th May in the village hall for the Coronation. This will be an Afternoon Tea which will also include the Loyal Toast to the King. Cakes and the drink for the Loyal Toast will be free. Once more all Primary Age children will be presented with a souvenir Coronation Money Box.

We put a lot of time and effort put in opposing the Solar Farm in East Hertfordshire that borders our parish but sadly this was not successful.

As reported in the Village Magazine, the development of closed-circuit TV continues apace but there are some hurdles to overcome and you will hear more about it later this evening in the Neighbour Watch report.
Flooding, as always, is an ever-present problem and a big thank you to the Harpers and their ditch cleaning team. This can only be a temporary solution but resolving the matter is difficult involving District, County Councils and Government Departments.
We have joined the majority of other Parishes in Essex in joining the 20s plenty campaign to reduce the speed limits in the most populated areas of the village to improve the safety of all road users. Essex CC are considering the way forward on this issue.
Finally, the road safety issues caused by the inconsiderate parking of cars at pickup and drop off times at the Avanti School are a major concern. We have spoken to East Herts, Hertfordshire Police and the School to try and reach a resolution. Hertfordshire Police have visited the site but the issues still remain.
As always, I must pay tribute to our Clerk, Peter, who works tirelessly for the village and the Council. He also attends the Stortford North planning meetings run by East Hertfordshire and tries to influence decisions that impact on us.
Finally, I’d also like to thank all the councillors for their work and, indeed, all of you for your support over the year and Penny Tattersall for her sterling work with social media and keep up to date with various events both within and outside of Farnham.

Audit: The Internal Audit of Parish Council accounts was completed by Matt Rivers-Latham in May. We greatly appreciate Matt’s assistance and advice that gives us. An external audit also takes place each year. Last year it took place in September and the accounts were audited by PK Littlejohn and were in line with recommendations and no anomalies were found.

Each year the council has to prepare a budget which is claimed from the District Council as a Precept. This is collected by the Uttlesford as part of the Council Tax.

This is an election year and as we were setting the Parish Council budget we were informed that this year Uttlesford would be charging parishes the full amount to cover the election charges. This is a new approach and an election for a small parish such as Farnham is approx. £1,500 if it is contested and the District made the decision that this has to be added to the Precept. It means that this year we have increased costs of 20% purely due to the election costs. It is rather embarrassing but appears to be the way that the District is minimising their own costs.

As usual, if any person wishes to view the Parish Accounts they can be requested from me or they can be found on the parish website along with the accounts from previous years.

The Clerk was happy to take any questions over refreshments at the end of the meeting.

b. Reports from Other Village Organisations
Reports were presented by representatives in person or by proxy on behalf of the following organisations:

Farnham Primary School No Report
Friends of Farnham School No Report

The United Benefice of Birchanger, Farnham, Takeley, Little Canfield
& Stansted (including the Parochial Church Council). Rev’d Colin Fairweather
On the 6th October, a confirmation service was held at St Mary’s church. Three of the candidates were from Farnham, and another four from the other churches I serve as priest-in-charge.

The service was led by the Bishop of Colchester, who – as I recall – said these words at the start:

‘I must confess, in my seven years as Bishop, I have never been to this church before. And I have to say – wow. The churchyard is immaculate, and so is the church. You can tell that this is a really loved church. If there were a prize for the best-kept church in my patch, I think this church would win hands down.’

You could see members of Farnham positively bursting with pride as the Bishop sung the church’s praises. Lots of people from Takeley and Little Canfield churches were also in attendance, and their talk likewise was of how beautiful the church was. St Mary’s is, it seems, the hidden gem, not only of the benefice, but of the entire episcopal area.

St Mary’s status as a loved church has been in evidence, not just at the confirmation service, but throughout 2022. St Mary’s really comes into its own on special occasions – at baptisms and on occasions with a civic dimension, it is packed to the rafters and always has a lovely atmosphere. Of all the five churches I look after, in fact, I would say that Farnham’s is the one that has the warmest relationship with the community that it serves.

One of the most significant developments over 2022 has been the erection of a facility in the north-west corner of the church, complete with toilet, servery, fridge and sink. I say ‘complete’, but unfortunately, we still do not have any plumbing, mainly due to red tape. Completion was envisaged in May 2022, and then in September 2022. Well, we are still waiting!

Despite the lack of running water, however, the facility has been put to good use for the serving of tea, coffee and biscuits at services. It has also allowed us to have a coffee morning on the last Wednesday of each month. This has proved to be a runaway success, and a fabulous way for the church to demonstrate hospitality. It is very well attended by people from near and far – never before have I known a coffee morning to generate such excitement!

The school has a new head in Mrs Tracey Bratley, and the life of church and school continues to be closely entwined. As well as being ex officio governor, I also take monthly assemblies, and lead special services at Christmas, Easter, harvest and other occasions. We have also begun to think about the next SIAMS inspection, whose new framework requires us to be able articulate a theological vision of what the school is all about.

For all my rosy optimism about Farnham, there are issues for us to consider as we head towards the future. Attendance over the course of a month is uneven, with small numbers for some non-Eucharistic services. Financially, the church is not in a state of rude health, though neither is the situation desperate. I am confident that St Mary’s will continue to play to its strengths, however, as a place where Christ is known in hospitality, beauty and welcome.

Churchyard Maintenance Group John Flack (read by Ian Delvallé)

Village Hall Management Committee Jacquie Delvallé
I would like to start by thanking the members of the Village Hall Management Committee for their hard work and the members of the Social Club for their help in maintaining the hall.
This year has seen the refurbishment of the bar area and obtaining a full licence for the bar.
Our next major project is addressing the front car parking area, which has already been extended by removal of the old garage.
We do need to continue to improve the level of bookings as our overheads are set to increase significantly this year because of price rises. Hopefully, all these changes have and will improve the facilities and attractiveness of the hall to villagers and hirers.

Farnham Bluebell Ride Peter Jarman
It was good to see the Bluebell Ride return after the break for COVID issues last year. As everyone is aware, this is a charity horse ride over 5 or 10 miles and last year all money raised from entry fees, donations and refreshments went primarily to help the church meet its contribution to the diocese. Last year this amounted to £7,275 being donated to the church including Gift Aid and a sum of £2,293 being donated to Cancer Research. It is an amazing amount of money to be raised over one day – almost £10,000. The ride starts and ends at Brooms Farm in Upwick and follows bridlepaths throughout Farnham. A unique attraction is the fact that horses are allowed to ride over private land thanks to the local landowners and enjoy the carpets of bluebells flowering in the woodland. Although riders and their horses come from far and wide much of the organisation revolves around Farnham with many residents involved in some way. The stewarding is carried out almost entirely by Farnham residents or by people who have links to the village and we are very grateful for them giving up part or all of their day to support the ride and record and safely guide riders to the next point on the course. There are, of course, many other helpers giving their time for registration of entrants, booking arrangements, route planning, refreshments, car parking, first aid and many other forms of help. We are very grateful for their support which goes to make it a very successful day along with a very pleasant atmosphere.

Each year it takes place on the last Sunday in April, but I must add that it quite upsets me to have to announce that this year it will not be taking place due to a few logistical issues that could not be resolved in time to organise the ride. I’m confident that these will be resolved in time for next year.

Farnham Parish Plan & Action Points Penny Tattersall
Again, there is no progress to report in terms of the outstanding action points that came out of the village plan published back in 2015. The main unresolved issue is of course the lack of high-speed broadband in some parts of the village and although Gigaclear has been forging ahead with installations in other villages round about, I’m not aware of them resurrecting their plans for Farnham.
Farnham Toddler Group Emma Smith (read by Ian Delvallé)
Toddlers remains running in the school hall on Thursdays in term times. I have support from Sue Dunsford and recently Sarah Wadsworth has helped while I recover from my operation. We have
a lovely group of children who come along with their parents and carers. A leaflet drop is still on the cards to target the new houses in Bishops Stortford.

Farnham Social Club Hayley Harper
The social club continues to run from the village hall bar area. All members pay an annual
membership which totals around £270 per year. Since our last report we are happy to say that the bar has managed to open on a regular basis offering our regular monthly family nights, with additional events throughout the year including Oktoberfest, family quiz night and a mixology session. These see around 30 members enjoying a space to socialize with other families and members of the community. However, for us to keep these events on offer, can only happen if members of the community continue to support us all by showing up and coming along. The hall, and bar are here for us all to enjoy but can only survive if the people of Farnham use them regularly. We need people to be involved and willing to use them.
There has been a change in the fashion of income to the social club which traditionally has previously come from membership fees, now this is being a match of both income from private parties & membership fees. This has meant a change in our license to sell alcohol. To sell to non-members this needed to be held by the property holder -in this case the village hall. So, in February the license was obtained by the village hall committee.
We have had the new bi-folding doors added and the bar area has had new flooring and been decorated, which we are all very pleased with.
The garage has been dismantled this year, giving more parking spaces to users. Although I stand before you as the chair, I feel our social club is a team, so for each member of the committee I would like to publicly thank them all for their time and energy as they work so hard to make events happen as well as keeping all the accounts, book keeping and stock updated.
New members are always welcome to join both the Club and/or the committee.

Farnham Monthly News Penny Tattersall
Again, there is no progress to report in terms of the outstanding action points that came out of the village plan published back in 2015. The main unresolved issue is of course the lack of high-speed broadband in some parts of the village and although Gigaclear has been forging ahead with installations in other villages round about, I’m not aware of them resurrecting their plans for Farnham.
Farnham Christmas Tree Festival Ann Moore [read by Penny Tattersall]] Once again Farnham Church’s Christmas Tree Festival turned out to be an extremely enjoyable event, for visitors and for the new committee members alike! For the first time the church was open on both the Saturday and the Sunday and, although the first day was inevitably the bigger draw with the hot food, various stalls and the visit from Santa, the Sunday also proved to be popular with people who wanted to enjoy the trees in quieter surroundings over a cup of coffee and a slice of cake. Altogether some 200 people attended over the entire weekend and the event raised in excess of £2,500 which will go towards the upkeep of our beautiful church. As ever there is a long list of people who gave their time and energy to making the festival such a resounding success. These people were all given due credit in the February edition of the Farnham News so I won’t list them again here but will once again express our enormous gratitude to them all. The Tree Festival Committee are already looking forward to making this year’s event even bigger and better. But in the meantime, there are two other fund-raising events coming up: the ever-popular Bluebell Walk on Sunday 23rd of April, and on Saturday 24th June there will be an evening of music with Nancy May who always goes down so well at the Tree Festival.
Farnham Cricket Club Russell Cattell [read by Peter Jarman ]I think the 2022 season can be described as successful, 4th in the Premier League, won the 20/20 league cup. A good number of new players, resulting in relatively few games where we struggled to field teams. However still more work to be done here!
Bar income, match fees and subs made progress, although there is more need for improvement in the last two areas.
Net practice attendance was vastly better than in previous years both pre and during the season. 6 a side tournament was again well attended as was the former players and member’s lunch. Golf day yet again was well supported. Our first Sunday match for some years v Fly catchers was a welcome addition to the fixture card.
We held our usual works parties around the ground, more to be done next year including fencing and a bit of painting in the club house.
We purchased a big new wicket cover, not used due to the hot summer! New stumps, score board numbers, a new BBQ, the roller and wicket mower were repaired.
Both of these and the boundary mower will need servicing in the new year. Finally, thanks to Peter Curtis the wicket square has been fully refurbished.

Farnham Church Coffee & Cake Morning Ann Moore [read by Penny Tattersall]
We have been delighted with the success of the Coffee and Cake mornings in the church that we began in August last year. We would like to thank all who have supported us by coming along to indulge, as well of course as those who make the lovely cakes and all the helpers without whom it would not be possible. It’s on the last Wednesday of every month: do come and join us if you can.
Neighbourhood Watch Chris Smith & Graham Sessions [read by Peter Jarman] Closed-Circuit Television in Farnham Peter Jarman
Chris Smith reported that it had been a mixed year with the main concern being Hazel End. There have also been reports of rubbish being dumped at Hazel End and an indication that some activity had been taking place in the church car park late at night. There is a Neighbourhood What’s App group which is purely for reporting incidents.

The plans to install CCTV around the village has reached the final stages at long last but progress is slow. We are at the stage where final positions of cameras must be agreed with landowners and then to produce final plans which must be discussed firstly with Essex Highways and then if the plans meet their approval it must go to Uttlesford DC for full planning approval. The slow progress is particularly frustrating as the council has the total sum of money that is required (£17,750) and every delay causes the parish council to get more concerned about rising costs. Of that money. £1,000 has come from two different Uttlesford District Council sources and £1,000 has been awarded by the Essex Localities Fund. Remarkably, almost £10,000 has been donated by residents which is a clear indication of the village support to install the system. As well as being very grateful to the donors for their generosity we are also grateful to Cllr Loughlin and Cllr Ray Gooding for their support and help in getting things moving as well as Charles Humphreys for his support and help. I would also like to thank Graham Sessions and Phil Johnson for helping to co-ordinate the preparatory work in getting this off the ground. It is a sad reflection of our times that we feel the need for such a scheme. However, we are slowly progressing and hope for positive news later in the year. We are particularly mindful of the Hazel End area which has proved to be a vulnerable area in need of the protection that we hope the CCTV will provide. As usual we will keep everybody updated in the village magazine.

Farnham Church Coffee & Cake Morning Ann Moore [read by Penny Tattersall]
We have been delighted with the success of the Coffee and Cake mornings in the church that we began in August last year. We would like to thank all who have supported us by coming along to indulge, as well of course as those who make the lovely cakes and all the helpers without whom it would not be possible. It’s on the last Wednesday of every month: do come and join us if you can.
Recreation Area Peter Jarman (on behalf of the Recreation Committee)
There has been some ongoing maintenance and the yearly inspection of the area. The inspection takes place in May each year. Following an inspection, the parish council deals with any issues to ensure that standards are maintained. For example, during the summer all the equipment was jet washed and dried to remove any bird droppings or algae. Of course, that is an exercise that needs to be repeated on a regular basis. The two new picnic tables have been very popular and we are looking into providing a more mature tree (as opposed to a sapling) near the tables to provide some much-needed shade. The Recreation Committee also organises the annual Christmas Carols around the Christmas Tree event which more recently has been relocated to the church and has proved to be very popular with mulled wine and nibbles being served to all participants to help lubricate voices. The delayed Christmas raffle was held at the event. There were many generous donations received which will go towards maintenance of the recreation area.

Farnham Book Club Jacquie Delvallé
I am pleased to say that this year we have been joined by some new members at our monthly meetings. We always take turns to choose what books to read and have tried several new authors in a variety of genres, including modern spy stories, period pieces, wartime epics and Vietnamese family tragedies. We do take time to discuss the books and it is a great way to broaden our horizons but it is also an opportunity to socialise. It’s all very relaxed and we would be only too happy to welcome new members to join our reading group. My contact number is in the parish magazine if anyone is interested.

Farnham Payphone Book Exchange Diane Navara [read by Peter Jarman]
We continue to receive many complimentary comments about the Book Exchange not only from local residents but from visiting walkers to the area. The exchange proved to be a very useful service during lockdown and its popularity has continued into calmer times. It remains a constant source of good quality books with some recent best sellers, well worth a visit. The exchange is cleaned and tidied by residents of Farnham Green and Chatter End between April and October and more volunteers for the cleaning rota would be welcomed. Just let Di or me know of your availability.

Parish Footpaths & Bridleways Rob Navara [read by Petronella Humphreys]
In April 2022 the footbridge on footpath number 2 from Chatter End became unsafe, we closed it
and created a temporary diversion. I reported the condition of the bridge to our newly appointed Essex Public Rights of way Officer Mr Ned Gammill and gave him information on the previous year’s debacle when we almost had the bridge replaced. A site visit followed and approximately eight weeks later the new bridge was installed for us by the Essex team.
Thank you to Mr James Mays of Farnham Hall Farms for arranging vehicle access via a rewilding
field margin.
Mr Gammill also supplied four-way marker posts to replace damaged and rotted posts, Graham Lowden and I installed them after the 2022 harvest to be sure that they were not mowed down by the harvesters.

Local History Recorder Maddy Willis
Thankfully the last of the Covid-19 restrictions were lifted by the end of March which meant I was now able to meet up with villagers and find out what had been happening in Farnham since the beginning of January. Not living in the village now, there were however many times throughout the year when access was difficult due to ongoing roadworks and diversions.
My priority as Local History Recorder remains to add items of historical interest – both past and for the future – to the Local History box. These documents and items of interest have all been scanned (or photographed), hard-copied and recorded for future interest. This is an ongoing process together with further research on some of the items submitted.
I continued to submit a monthly “From the Archives” article for the Parish Magazine which always included a request for further items such as old photos, old parish magazines and old newspaper cuttings. My thanks to everybody who has taken the time to contact me and let me take copies of the items.
I have now added copies of the Farnham Census returns from 1841 to 1911, plus the 1939 Register, to the Local History Files. The 1921 Census return will be added shortly.
A visit was made to the Essex Records Office to obtain a download of the Monumental Inscriptions Inventory which was drawn up in 1970 and which I felt should be updated. With the help of some friends, recording of the current monuments – together with their inscriptions where legible – commenced and is still ongoing. The details will go on a database and a copy deposited with ERO when completed.
At a further visit to ERO, copies of the Parish Burial Registers dating from 1558 up to 1901 were downloaded with the object of drawing up another database of all Farnham Church burials that have taken place. The Burials Register from 1901 is still in the Church awaiting scanning and transcribing. This visit also made it possible to download copies of the old Marriages and Baptisms Registers which will be transcribed and added to separate databases indue course.
It would be extremely helpful if those of you that hold regular events, or are involved through volunteering or committees, to submit short articles to the Farnham Monthly News, as at times this is my main source of what is going on in the village. It will also hopefully make other residents aware of the many activities that take place here.
I would like to thank the Parish Council, Jacky Cooper (my area Co-Ordinator) and Zofia Everett at The Gibson Library in Saffron Walden who both continue to offer guidance, and the many friends and villagers in Farnham who have responded to my requests, supplied me with information and have helped me with my research.

Farnham Ancient Charities John Flack (read by Lorraine Pinder)
For those of you that are not aware the charity has been in existence for centuries and well before the welfare state we have today. Its objective is to help parishioners who fall into financial hardship for whatever reason. Its income derives from a small plot of agricultural land on which rent is paid by the farming tenant. Over the years the charity has helped many parishioners in difficult times.
Last year the charity provided help to one parishioner which was very much appreciated.
The Charity is administered by three trustees-John Flack, Lorraine Pinder and Hayley Harper. Hayley is appointed by the Parish Council.

Farnham Walking Group Graham Lowden [read by Ian Delvallé]
At last, we can resume our walks around Farnham and as I reported last year about hoping to restart at the end of March 2021, this we did and we were able to go to Hatfield Forest on the 8th June and after pre-booking of course, we had lovely weather and the bonus of a drink at the café at the end of the walk. We carried on meeting every 2nd Tuesday and recently on 1st February we met up at Anglesey Abbey to walk around the lovely gardens and view the wonderful display of snowdrops and ending our day with lunch in the café. We meet every 2nd Tuesday (dates in the Farnham News) and aim to walk along the lovely footpaths and bridleways we have in our areas. Anyone can come along and you will be made most welcome.

Friends of Farnham Church B Stubbings [read by Petronella Humphreys]
As we are nearing the end of our project, I want to take a few moments to look back at the start of it. I was persuaded by Ann Moore in 2015 to try and do something about getting toilet facilities in the church which had been talked about for many years. In 2016 I was very fortunate to have people join the committee of The Friends of Farnham Church who had different expertise to help me with this.
In the first year we had five different fund-raising events, which was a very hectic but a good start. They were: Ladies That Lunch, The Bluebell Walk, An Historical Walk of Bishops Stortford, The Church Celebration Open Day and A Christmas Tree Festival.
The Christmas Tree Festival was first suggested to me by Manny Willis who at that time was not a committee member but thought it would be a lovely thing to do in our church. The two events that are now continued every year are the Christmas Tree Festival and The Bluebell Walk. The walk came about via the committee with considerable help from Maureen and Graham Lowden.
It has been a lot of enjoyable but hard work for the committee members and the many helpers we were fortunate to have over the years. We soon realised that trying to get the money by fund raising activities was going to take a long time.
I had also applied for grants with John Flack’s help, some of these we were able to get. Then to m great joy we received a very generous donation that was made to us for the facilities. This made a tremendous difference pus we received help towards the architects fees all of which has now enabled us to at last achieve our aim of a servery and a disabled WC in our beautiful church.
This now brings us to the present time, the last year has been beset by frustration and difficulties with the slow progress of getting permission from The Environmental Department for the drainage system. This has now been overcome and hopefully the building work outside will start again in March subject to weather. It is expected that the outstanding work will take approximately a month to compete all being well.
The very last duty of The Friends of Farnham Church Committee will be the Celebration and Launch of the facilities as the committee will now step back after achieving our goal but I am delighted to be able to say that some events are gong to be continued.
Maureen Lowden suggested to me that as the Village Hall Coffee Morning had now ceased, it would be a good idea to offer coffee and cake in the church with the new facilities. Ann Moore and her team of workers have headed this up with great success considering the difficulty of now having water connected yet. They have also continued with the Christmas Tree Event; this was a huge success and I believe one of the best yet. The Bluebell Walk is also continuing with the support of Graham and Maureen Lowden pus Ann and her team of people. Thank-you to everyone for continuing and raising much needed funds for the church.
Di Navara and I will work together to record in a book the pictures and information of the development from the start to the finish. It has been a long haul but it is joyous that the new facilities will be used in the future for many activities. This was our aim from the start that the church would continue and also become a bigger part of the community. My sincere thanks go to Petronella Humphreys, Peter Jarman, Diane Navara, Anne Moore, Elizabeth Joscelyne, Maddy Willis who are the Friends of Farnham Church Committee and all the many helpers as well as the villagers who have helped us to finally achieve this.

Farnham Defibrillators Rob Navara [read by Ian Delvallé]
Our three Defibrillators, located at the Village Hall, The Three Horseshoes Hazel End and Thrifts
Farm Farnham Green, have been operative for over seven years. Weekly status checks are made by Paul Tucker, Ian Pinder and by me, a state of readiness reported is sent to the East of England Ambulance Service and held on their data base should deployment be necessary.
Consumables, single use Electrode Pads we replace annually, and they cost approximately.
£39.00. Batteries, we replace on a four-year cycle dependant on if the Defibrillator has or has not been deployed, cost £166.00, again I say approximately as I am unsure with our current rate of inflation what our next bill will be.
In May of this year the battery on the Thrifts Farm Defibrillator must be replaced also the pads o
other sites later in the year. The Parish Council fund the ongoing costs but as donations helped us to provide this reassuring service to our community any further donations are always welcome for its continuation.

Gosling Education Foundation Petronella Humphreys
After two years of Covid absence, we were once again able to go into school at the end of the summer term. We provided the traditional feast, book prizes for the leavers. The school gave us their usual warm welcome.

5. Reports from Visitors

(a) Police Steve Sharma (Essex Police)
Until the last few weeks, I was about to say that this year has been very quiet. In the last two weeks three incidents (one theft & two burglaries and the same vehicle has been seen at all sites. It is a small white van. The local police will be making a visit to the monthly coffee mornings at the church which will give anyone an opportunity to speak with the police. Other than the last few weeks it has been a really good year locally.

b) Uttlesford District Council Cllr Janice Loughlin
COUNCIL TAX; Band D households will see an increase of £5 this year; the Council Tax is set by calculating the various levels demanded by Essex County Council, Essex police, Fire and Rescue authority, the Fire and Crime Commissioner and town and parish councils.
STANSTED AIRPORT; There was much annoyance by District Councillors over the action taken by the majority of councillors regarding the refusal to permit MAG planning permission. This led to a significant cost implication by taking it to court of £2.5M and a further £60,000 by taking it to an unsuccessful appeal.
LOCAL PLAN: Regret that it has been delayed once more which leaves Uttlesford vulnerable to speculative building. Once approved the document will be UDC’s blueprint for development up to 2040. Sadly the current administration the public do not have easy access to the plan as it builds.
SOLAR FARMS; There have been several applications for solar farms in the area Uttlesford refused the part of Wickham Hall solar farm that was in Uttlesford but could not influence East Herts although they tried so it was approved in East Herts. Two other solar farms are in the pipeline – one at Pelham Springs, Berden & one at Maggots End, Manuden). They are very close to one another, and the final decision will be decided by the Planning Inspectorate and not UDC. They are both very large 175/189 acres each one. There is a particular controversy over the solar farms as it would appear to conflict with the requirements of food sustainability and the solar farms are on the best grade of agricultural land. It emphasises the need for an up-to-date Local Plan and a solar farm policy to go with UDC’s declared climate emergency.

c) Essex County Council Cllr Ray Gooding
Cllr Gooding talked about the Council Tax settlement for the new year stating that Essex have voted for a 3% increase rather than the full 5% that the government has allowed for next year. Of that increase the largest share by far goes to Social Care and care of the elderly. Highways is a major priority and £9M has been allocated to roads and repairs/maintenance. A design statement for house building for disabled people is underway with an aim to stabilise housing for disabled in order that they do not have to keep moving (often away from their home area) due to lack of facilities in their present home. Cllr Gooding answered questions on the concern of local residents about parking outside the new Avanti Meadows primary school and the new Birchanger junction that is causing massive delays while it is being constructed. The subject of Gigaclear was raised but no positive outcome. Gigaclear have been seen working on the edges of Farnham.

6. Other Business.
The Chair asked if there was any other business – there was none.

7. Date and Place of Next Meeting.
The next meeting will be held on Monday 18th March 2024 at 8pm in the Village Hall.

There being no further business the Chair thanked those present for attending this Annual Meeting of the Parish and congratulated those who have been reporting and reflecting the sterling work for a small village. The Chair invited everybody to have a glass of wine or soft drink and nibbles before leaving and thanked everybody for their attendance.

There were 21 people present. Meeting closed at 9.10pm

Signed: ………………………………