Council Membership
After many years as Chair of the Council, Sally Johnson decided not to stand for re-election at the AGM in May 2004. We are very grateful to Sally for all her hard work on behalf of the village and I am most grateful that she agreed to carry on as Vice Chair.
The Council continues to receive numerous planning applications for review and comment. Under a process called 'delegated powers', some plans are reviewed by the clerk who seeks the advice of three councillors. However, this year we have adopted an approach of automatically putting plans which meet certain criteria before the full Council. These include new build and re-build, commercial, conservation area and green belt. We continue to make comments to Chelmsford Borough Council in an effort to maintain the village appearance, but are surprised by many of the developments that end up being approved.
Local Amenities
Work to improve the drainage of The Common has been completed this year and work to improve the road outside The Almshouses and the car park next to All Saints' church should commence shortly.
new Council notice board has been procured for The Square and, subject to Borough Council approval, new notice boards for Back Lane, The Common and next to the library should be installed this year.
The Council have been in discussion with The Woodland Trust on the possibility of purchasing The Larches in Swan Lane to preserve the woods.
Keith Blackburn has kindly volunteered to be our Tree Warden. This Borough Council initiative aims to improve tree preservation and appropriate planting and Keith has already been very active in this role.
An order has been placed for new play equipment on The Common, which should be installed before the summer.
The annual 'bin-it' day is scheduled for Saturday 7th May at 10:00, starting at The Common. A skip, litter pickers, gloves and bin bags will be provided. Please come and help tidy the Village in preparation for the visit of the judges for this year's Best Kept Village Competition.
This year we welcomed PC Adrian Elmer as our community police officer. Adrian has been active in getting to know the area and his monthly 'surgeries' held in the Tea Rooms have been very popular and successful.
Traffic Management
Progress on completing the High Street work has been hindered by personnel changes in the Borough Council and more recently by the complete transfer of responsibilities to Essex County Council. This has been raised with the leader of the Borough Council and we have now established links to the new organisation.
An HGV 'origin and destination survey' was carried out last year and we have reviewed the results. The conclusions showed that the majority of vehicles are legitimately using the B1007 between the Billericay and Chelmsford areas, rather than 'rat running' to avoid the A127/A130/A12.
PC Elmer has also been checking vehicle speeds in the area and has warned a number of drivers, most of who turned out to be local!
Our next steps are to re-visit the original proposition that the new A130 would provide a significant improvement in the Village traffic situation.
Village Plan
We have been working with the Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE) on the process to develop a village plan. This is a natural follow-up to the Millennium Survey and is intended to be a community led activity to develop plans for the most important aspects of the village. A planning workshop will be held on Thursday 12th May at 7PM in Stock Primary School and all parishioners are encouraged to participate.
If we are successful with this plan, we can then move on to a Village Design Statement, which has the potential to be adopted by the Borough Council as a planning guideline for the area.
In closing, I would like to thank Lorraine Green, our clerk, for all her hard work; the council members for their efforts and support; Ian Grundy for representing the constituency as a Chelmsford Borough Councillor; Roger Watling, for managing the Village website; and the members of the public who attend our meetings.
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