Broomfield Parish Council now has a new website at the following address:
Broomfield Parish Council now has a new website at the following address:
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.
Probably the most exciting decision made last week was to proceed with the next phase of building the Adventure Cycleway.
This project started life as a recommendation from parishioners following an exhibition in the Village Hall on future projects that potentially be pursued and was seen as a facility for the young people of the village.
It has taken a long time and a great deal of work to bring it to fruition. For that we have to thank Councillor Trevor Jones who has put in many hours of work but also the office team. In addition, the officers at Chelmsford City Council have been very helpful and supportive in working with Trevor to design the best facility and help guide it though planning and identifying contractors. Chelmsford share our enthusiasm for a project which should be valuable to Broomfield but also the City as a whole.
Over time the project has developed from a basic cycle track to the addition of disabled access to both the track itself but also extended to further open up Centenary Wood. We have also added 25 extra public parking spaces and will be refurbishing the whole of the Village Hall carpark.
The total cost of this project is approximately £150,000, Trevor and his team have already secured £44,000 in grants and hope that more will be forthcoming. The balance is coming partially from Council reserves but also from CIL (Community Infrastructure Levies) which we are receiving from various developments around the village.
Contractors have been appointed and we all hope that work on Phase 1 of the development will start in the Autumn with everything being completed early in 2019.
Once again we owe great thanks to Trevor for his tremendous work in bringing this project to this stage.
At the Parish Council meeting last week the Council received a presentation from Rebecca O’Mahony, a Broomfield resident who will soon be a paramedic and is already St John’s volunteer with a keen interest in promoting the deployment of public defibrillators. Having seen the article in the Broomfield Times about our decision to acquire a defibrillator Rebecca came forward to help us make the right choice.
Although the parish has a very large hospital and an ambulance station, there is no defibrillator and there is a clear need for one.
Rebecca had done a great deal of work investigating the options and made an excellent and informative presentation on the merits of different defibrillators and mounting boxes. Council accepted the conclusion that for performance, usability and reliability we should acquire the Sentry Box housing and a Zoll 3 defibrillator which can be used by anyone without any previous training. The device analyses the heart rhythm of the patient and will only work if it is appropriate to administer a shock. Although training is not necessary Rebecca plans to be at the Fun Day on 8th July to demonstrate how these machines work.
Subject to final enquiries the unit will be mounted outside the Village Hall.
The council were advised that we should be able to secure grant funding for at least part, if not all of the cost, which will be an added bonus.
Once again can I thank Rebecca most sincerely for all the work she has put in to this project.
At the Parish Council meeting last week, we received an update from Chairman of Essex County Council (ECC), Councillor John Aldridge, on the future of the land behind Broomfield Place.
Broomfield Parish Council (BPC) is aware that there has been some speculation in the Village about the Parish Council acquiring this land to be used as a public facility based on a perception that, on her death, the original owner had in some way bequeathed the land for community use.
The land is currently owned by ECC who originally purchased it over 70 years ago on the open market following the death of its last owner.
The Parish Council has thoroughly investigated the history of the ownership and it is clear that there was never any expectation that the people of the Village should retain any form of interest in the property.
The property in currently zoned for possible residential development in the current Local Plan. However, it is excluded from the proposed plan which is likely to be confirmed in early 2019.
The Parish Council has had meetings with ECC to discuss the possible acquisition of the land for public use. These discussions have been conducted on a normal business level and our case has been taken very seriously but it is not the only option open to the County Council. We do recognise that ECC has regulatory obligations like any other public body and must investigate other options that could potentially generate more funds for public use.
At our meeting last week, Councillor John Aldridge explained that although our case had been shortlisted as a viable option, ECC had decided that they should market the property for sale. He also confirmed that the sale would include a condition that any purchaser had to work with the Parish Council to identify and provide facilities for public use that would be over and above the minimum required by law. Given the timetable for the adoption of the Local Plan, it could be difficult to a potential purchaser to close the deal and then obtain any sort of planning permission from Chelmsford City Council. However, we have no option to respect the fact that ECC must pursue that option.
In the first instance, we have applied to designate the land as an asset of community value, and this is being investigated by the City Council who will make their decision in August. Beyond that, BPC has agreed that its own strategy will be to carefully consider any planning application that might come forward and make as strong a case as possible to object to any sort of residential development on that area. In that objection we will be aligning ourselves with Chelmsford City Council who have themselves already decided not to zone that site for development.
If the sale falls through, or if we are successful in opposing any development, we will reopen negotiations with ECC and try to find a way of bringing the land into public use in Broomfield. If permission for housing is granted, we will work vigorously with any developer to ensure that we secure maximum benefit for the Village.