Minutes Of The Annual Parish Meeting
Held On Wednesday 21st April 2004
At Stock Village Hall At 8.00pm.

Present: Cllrs. Williams, Elliott, Peacock, Lusty, Tully, Lewis, Easton & Otter
In The Chair Cllr. Peacock
Minute Secretary Lorraine Green
Also Present: Chelmsford Borough Councillor Ian Grundy and 12 Members of the Public
Apologies for Absence: None

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Cllr. Williams asked for the name 'Bev' to read 'Beth' in the third paragraph of item 3, Chairman's Report.
The Minutes of the last Annual Parish Meeting, having been previously circulated, were then duly signed as a true record of events. All agreed.
Nothing to report.
The Chairman's Report had been prepared and circulated.
There were no comments to be made on the Report.
The Clerk read out the following report that had been prepared by the Trustee, Mr Barry Woodgate.
The Almshouses enjoyed full occupancy during the calender year 2003.
Bakers of Danbury completed their contracted maintenance work but some minor remedial work remains outstanding.
The Charity continued to gain the benefit of paying for the water on a metered basis but operating costs continue to rise. No increase in revenues has been effected for many years and this may require a review.
The hedge surrounding the Almshouses was "flailed" and for some time looked a sad sight but it did manage to get back to the size it enjoyed many years ago and now looks attractive. It will also save costs in the future.
The road fronting the Almshouses is again looking a sorry sight, with many dangerous potholes for walkers, especially the elderly occupants of the cottages. The problem is compounded by the use of heavy lorries; not least of which are the dustcarts of the Chelmsford Borough Council. Likewise, the verges of the green and the Almshouses for the same reason. The Trustees would like to request the Parish Council to again carry out repairs to the road and consider means of protecting it and the verges in the future.
The Trustees would like to record their appreciation once again for the continued support of the Stock Parish Council to the Trust.
The Chairman said that the Parish Council were very grateful to Mr and Mrs Woodgate. The Chairman said that a note would be taken of their requirements.
The Clerk read out the following report that had been prepared by the School Governor, Mr Peter Bentley.
This report covers the major events to April 2004 so far as they affect the Governing Body and their responsibilities towards the stewardship of School affairs. At the time I prepared last years report for the Parish Council the Governors had been told that Heather Parsons had cancer and would be undergoing an operation in May. Based on this information plans we made to manage the school through the summer term on the assumption that Heather would be back in July or certainly by the start of the Autumn term. Mr Pike our deputy head would assume the role of Head for this period and his teaching duties covered by other or temporary staff. Sadly Heather's cancer was in-operable so by the middle of the summer term it was impossible to assess when, if ever, she would return. Only in February and after an attempt to achieve a phased return did she inform us that she would take early retirement on the grounds of poor health. The uncertainty surrounding her illness has had an impact on everybody but in particular the Deputy Head, his Staff and obviously anxious Parents whose children were in years 5 & 6 where the continuity of teaching was being affected. The Governing Body had expected that a medical assessment of Heather in November would suggest early retirement but surprisingly the doctor said she was fit to return to work. This was a bad decision for the school because Heather never returned to work however, as a result of this decision, her formal resignation was delayed for a further four months.
During these last four months I feel that it is important to record the pressure placed on both Kay Blackburn and Judith Penton by this situation as they had to manage both Heather's wish to return to work with the certain knowledge that she would not do so. Parents were becoming very pressing for information as they also experienced how this continuing uncertainty was beginning to impact on the whole operation of the school. Both Kay and Judith were taking the full force of parental concerns. Equally the whole Governing Body agreed that having gone this far we were not prepared to force a resignation now. However in preparation Kay and Judith had meetings with County and between them prepared for the inevitable point when Heather accepted that she would not return to work. When that decision came they had David Yates ready to step in as acting head to manage the school until a new head could be found.
David Yates is a very experienced Head Teacher with more than 23 years in the role and has made himself available for three days a week until the end of December by which time a new head should have been recruited. His assessment to me of his initial findings is that the teaching side of the school has continued despite all the problems and " that what should be going on in the classrooms is indeed going on". On the administration side things are a little less clean-cut but David Yates is reviewing this now for the May meeting of the Governors.
As the Responsible Officer for the school I would just like to say that during this very difficult year the administration staff had three audit visits and the subsequent reports were all very satisfactory. My estimates for the financial year to March 2004 indicate that the school will have carry forward reserves of between £12,000 and £15,000 this is the lowest for some years but satisfactory since we have incurred considerable added expenditure as a result of the above events an element of which was not covered by insurance. I have also assisted David Yates with the preparation of the 2004-2005 budget and using his assessment for teaching staff requirements we have produced a break-even for the coming year. This assumes that we will have a new Headteacher in place by January 2005. These budgets have not yet been approved by the Governing Body.
It has been a very difficult year with many delicate issues faced so I would like to thank the administration and teaching staff, particularly Rob Pike, for all their efforts to keep the school running so well in very challenging circumstances. As Responsible Officer I could not have met my duties to the School and its Governors without their hard work and "good humour". My thanks also to Kay Blackburn and Judith Penton who have so expertly guided us all through such a distressing set of circumstances and we look forward optimistically to the coming year.
The Chairman said that the Parish Council were very grateful to Peter Bentley. The Chairman said that everyone was happy with Mr Yates and that things were a lot happier at the school.
A parishioner, Richard Allan, broached the subject of traffic management and asking HGV's not to use the route through the village. Cllr. Peacock discussed the matter with him. Cllr. Peacock gave Mr Allan the background of weight distribution. He explained that if Temple Farm in the Local Plan had gone through then a weight restriction would have been put on the road. He explained that the Parish Council had gone through every option with Essex County Council and Chelmsford Borough Council. Cllr. Peacock advised that the speed problem was phase 1 and the second stage would be to address the volume and size of vehicles. Cllr. Peacock asked the public to give the Parish Council suggestions of what could be done and advised that he would be willing to take the comments back to Chelmsford Borough Council and Essex County Council. Suggestions made were narrowing the road, pedestrian crossings like in Retendon. It was commented that horizontal deflection would be less attractive and would be urbanisation, which the villagers did not want. A parishioner, Virginia Henderson, advised that several large vehicles are using Smallgains Lane/Well Lane and are damaging the verges.
A parishioner asked whether after the survey of the village had been carried out whether a meeting could be held with the traffic engineers to discuss the matters raised. It was suggested that a public meeting be held to discuss what has been done to affect speed, what can be done about volume and size of vehicles.
The Chairman felt the only solution was to put in a bypass. A parishioner suggested cats eyes with speed cameras in. The Chairman advised that all the lanes locally were also being looked into and that it was not only the High Street.
The Chairman said that she appreciated all of Cllr. Peacock's work on traffic and that she was very grateful to him.
It was reported that someone had given permission to have Damson trees cut on the public footpath between Myln Meadow and Mill Lane. The parishioner said that they had heard a rumour that the Parish Council are considering turning the area into an open area for a play area. Cllr. Peacock advised that he had looked into the matter with Chelmsford Borough Council. It was reported that ELS had cleared the footpath as it was looking untidy and the Parish Council had asked them to clear the undergrowth. It was suggested that a new Damson tree be planted.
Cllr. Peacock advised that Chelmsford Borough Council have a new initiative for village Tree Wardens to look after trees, replace trees and attend organised training. Cllr. Peacock advised if anyone was interested in taking on the role they should contact the Parish Council. Cllr. Peacock advised that he had approached The Woodland Trust but they already spend a lot of time at Swan Wood.
A parishioner, John Stratford, talked about the street co-ordinator of Neighbourhood Watch and advised that they lacked a leader. The Chairman suggested that they elect a new Chairman. She said that there were enough people who wanted the scheme so it should not be too difficult to reassemble it. The Chairman said that she would talk to Tom about the matter.
A parishioner, Mr Allan, asked about the status of the new Doctor's surgery. The Chairman said that there had been no end of problems and that they had re-applied with the plans.
The Chairman thanked everyone for coming; the meeting closed at 8.43pm.
Precept £30,000.00 Admin £11,933.06
Bank Int. £ 828.98 Grass Cutting £ 3,670.00
VAT Refund £ 1,510.32 S137 £ 675.00
Misc. £ 36.48 Open Spaces/Parks
Cricket Club £ 279.00 Etc £ 5,155.48
VAT £ 1,439.11
Current A/c. 31/3/04 £ 1,174.60 Current A/c. 31/3/05 £ 1,127.75
HIBA 31/3/04 £37,597.39 B/R 31/3/05 £ 7,194.32
Tracker A/c. 31/3/05 £40,232.05
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