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External link to STOP STANSTED EXPANSION campaign

Stop Stansted Expansion

Minutes of the Annual Assembly of the Parish Council

held on Wednesday, 10th May, 2006

in the Village Hall at 8.00 p.m.

Present were:

Mr Clark, Miss Collinson, Mrs Oliveira, Mr Perry, & Mrs Clark (Clerk)

In Attendance:

Cllr Simon Walsh and Cllr Mrs Cecile Down.

  1. Apologies for Absence

    Apologies had been received from Mrs Burton, Mrs Kesterton and Mr Rixson.

  2. Minutes of the Annual Assembly held on 11th May, 2005

    The minutes of this meeting were agreed and signed.

  3. Matters Arising

    There were no matters arising.

  4. Chairman's Report 2005-2006

    The Chairman reported that membership of the Council had been stable throughout the year. During the year there had been no less than three consultation papers to do with Stansted Airport; on Night Flights, on the location of the second runway and on the maximum use of the existing runway. Each of these had consumed a great deal of time and effort.

    The Council had continued to support Takeley Parish Council in its bid to have the H.O.S.S. scheme made subject to a Judicial Review. There had no major planning applications in the past year, but there was some concern over the current activity at Pledgdon Barn.

    During the year we had received a grant of £1,000 from Essex County Council and a gift of more than £500 from the Five Parishes Millenium Committee. We had hoped to use the County Council money to provide bursaries to young people in the village but had been advised that this would be illegal. It had been agreed to use both sums to purchase two new noticeboards for the village. The Brick End bus shelter was also in need of repair.

    Of significance throughout the year had been the steady exodus of villagers who had sold their homes to B.A.A., Brown's End Road being particularly badly affected.

    During the year Uttlesford had established Area Panel meetings where District Councillors and Parish Councils and others could discuss matters of interest to the area. It had got off to a bad start by refusing to have Stansted Airport as a standing item on the agenda. We had lobbied for its inclusion without success and to date the meetings had been dominated by Dunmow issues.

    The Chairman concluded her report by thanking the Councillors for their work, commenting that it was a totally unglamorous occupation but an important way of representing the village.

  5. Parish Tree Warden's Report

    Miss Collinson reported that all of the Council's trees were thriving, and that she would be cutting back some of the lower growth in the autumn.

  6. Parish Footpath Representative's Report

    In the absence of Mrs Burton there was no report.

  7. Public Transport Representative's Report

    Mrs Oliveira reported that the number 5 bus service was still being well used, and that the funding for it was assured. There had been a suggestion that it could be re-routed in Saffron Walden to serve Audley End Station. This suggestion was being considered.

  8. Emergency Planning Representative's Report

    Miss Collinson reported that Uttlesford's Emergency Planning officers had been quiet of late.

  9. County Councillor's Report

    Cllr Walsh presented his written report on his varied activities as a County Councillor, including his membership of such diverse bodies as the Kent and Essex Sea Fisheries Committee, the Lee Valley Park Authority and the Essex Fire Authority.

    See full text below.

  10. District Councillor's Report

    Cllr Down reported on her activities as a District Councillor. As she lived in close proximity to the site of the proposed second runway at Stansted Airport she was deemed to have a prejudicial interest in the matter, and had felt constrained from discussing the matter in public. She had obtained clarification of the situation from the Chief Executive of Uttlesford District Council and was now able to discuss airport issues other than in the Council offices or in any of its committees.

  11. Open Forum

    There was no Open Forum as no members of the public were present.

Cllr Walsh and Cllr Down were thanked for their attendance and the meeting closed at 8.40 p.m.


County Council Annual Report 2005-2006

Council make-up: 75 seats; 52 Conservative; 13 Labour; 8 Liberal-Democrats; 2 Independents.

Structure of the Council: Cabinet (10 members) supported by specialist executive members and deputies.

Committees: 6 Policy Development Groups, including the one chaired by me, Highways and Transportation

In addition there are two further committees Audit/Finance and General Scrutiny.

Four Area Committees serve the geographical areas of the County and align with the Highways Area Offices. Our area is West Essex.

My role also includes a number of external bodies, (often making use of my environmental management/conservation expertise). They are as diverse as the Kent and Essex Sea fisheries committee, Lee Valley Park Authority, Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Joint Advisory Committee, Thames Chase Community Forest, Braintree Care Trust and the Fire Authority.

Thaxted Division is a large area, covering 19 parishes from Felsted in the south to Hadstock in the north. I am finding my way around without too much difficulty, familiarising myself with the territory and issues, and very much enjoying the new area.

Now, a brief resumé of some of the key issues facing the County Council since the last election.

  • In terms of those looking at the Council it has moved from being a good performing authority to excellent. Examples of improvement include Children's services' getting Beacon status, and being graded a 3 star service. Libraries achieved a four star rating which is the highest, and is one of the few services in the country experiencing growth.

    Adult social care has moved from one to two stars and showed significant improvement overall; examples of areas for improvement include developing a County-wide strategy for partnership working, and closer working with ethnic minority group representatives particularly when assessments are being undertaken. These issues and others are addressed through an Improvement Plan, and this is reviewed regularly to monitor progress against the Audit Commission's recommendations. Overall the Council has moved from ‘Good’ to ‘Excellent’ to clearly progress is onwards and upwards!

  • This has occurred against a background of significant financial pressures and demands on the services. You will all be aware that the County's share of the Council tax has increased by 4.6%, within the governments limits. This reflects still the relatively poor settlement in terms of the Government Grant to the Council.

    However more money is being channelled into front-line services such as Children's Services and Adult Social Care, as well as addressing our waste disposal challenge. The Cabinet is already looking very closely at next year's budget, with a view to making significant savings particularly in the administration side.

  • Consultations have been also significant this year, with a number having potentially major implications for the citizens of Essex.

    In the news is the police reorganisation, which the County opposed, but now appears that the Home Secretary wishes to unite Essex with Herts and Beds. In effect the strongest force, Essex propping up the other two.

    Health reorganisation is generating a variety of views with 2 or five new PCTs being the favoured options amongst the Local Authorities. The County feels that two would best mesh with the social care service arrangements that it provides.

    Housing numbers too has received a lot of attention, with the Eastern region being asked to accept nearly half a million extra houses with the government refusing to contribute to infrastructure. Additional concerns such as water supply and sewerage disposal have recently surfaced at the recent examination in public of these proposals.

  • One issue that appears to have united all authorities, particularly many parishes across my area is the Stansted expansion consultation. Clearly I have taken a position early on with this, but it is clear that the proposals as they stand and which appear to be not fully worked through, are simply unsustainable and highly damaging to the environment and quality of life for those who live in the airport's shadow.

    The County has firmly stated that it is against any further runways.

  • Finally a comment about the Fire Authority; it has a dynamic new Chief in David Johnson who is looking to develop the service so that it is able to continue to meet changing needs and demands.

    We are committed to the part-time or retained stations, whilst at the same time recognising the extra pressures that exist from threats such as terrorism. We are also moving more into community safety and fire prevention rather than just dealing with emergencies. You may have noticed our tax increase here was just 1.9% but with that we have increased personnel and continue to upgrade our equipment.

In conclusion, it has been a busy year settling into the new area, and for the County to develop its framework for its new administration over the forthcoming years. We remain determined to keep Council Taxes as low as is manageable, with a commitment to continue to deliver top quality front-line services by reducing costs on the administrative side.

Simon Walsh, May 2006

External link to the FIVE PARISHES

Five Parishes

   

External link to STOP STANSTED EXPANSION campaign

Stop Stansted Expansion

External link to the FIVE PARISHES

Five Parishes

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