The Parish Council last met on 19 December and opened with the good news that Angela Faulds was to be co-opted to join the Council. We are delighted to have Angela on board.
Local elections for both the Parish and City Councils will take place this May. You can read more about the main functions and responsibilities for each of them on page XX. If you are interested in standing for the Parish Council please contact the Parish Clerk.
The major decision made that evening was to approve the budget for 2019/20. In total we agreed a precept of £131,014 which represents an unchanged amount of £55.46 per household. The basic charge was held unchanged because the increasing number of homes in the village gives us sufficient increased income to cover the next year’s requirements.
We agreed earlier last year to purchase a defibrillator to be fixed to the outside of the Village Hall. The purchase had been delayed while we tried to obtain a grant to fund the purchase. Despite valiant efforts by our Clerk, Mike Letch, the search proved fruitless so Council agreed to proceed with the purchase from our own funds. Hopefully installation will be completed soon.
What might happen to the land behind Broomfield Place and the future of the library remain big questions. The Council has no influence over either decision which rest with Essex County Council but we are talking to Essex through our District Councillor John Aldridge about what options there might be to give the village some involvement in the future of both properties. With Broomfield Place in particular I am grateful to Councillor Wendy Daden who has agreed to Chair a working group to look at options and to continue to develop ideas with Essex. Councillors John Blake, Sue Hubble and Angela Faulds have all agreed to support Wendy.
Finally I am pleased to report that Councillor Sue Hubble has agreed to take over as Chair of the Village Amenities Committee. The committee are looking at a busy Spring while they finalise the details for purchasing a small vehicle for the Village Attendant with a final proposal to the full Council in due course. They are also exploring a project to decorate the village with floral displays called Broomfield in Bloom. No final decision has been made but the committee are looking at a number of options and talking to Broomfield Cottage Gardeners about the role they could play in implementation and maintenance of the displays going forward. Any other volunteers would be very welcome.
The other matter causing great concern around the village is traffic in its many forms. At our November meeting we noted the tragic death of a long standing resident, Skip Catley, in a road accident and we are aware of other incidents since then. We talked about what each Councillor would do with £50,000 if they had a free hand. Many things were discussed but the subject that received most support was traffic.
Parking and roads generally are not the responsibility of the Parish Council and we have little influence over Chelmsford City Council or Essex County Council but we can lobby them to an extent and we can encourage behaviours. We constantly receive letters from residents about parking near the hospital, parking on pavements that block and cause danger to users of wheelchairs and buggies and speeding and parking in School Land in particular.
We decided that we would set aside our February meeting to discuss the various traffic issues and what we might be able to do ourselves, especially if we can invest some money in specific projects.
We cannot avoid dealing with the basic business of Council, but once that is completed we will move on to talk about this very important topic. Village residents are always welcome at Council meetings but are particularly welcome to come along to our meeting on Wednesday 20th February to take part in the discussion.