Parish Council Chair Report – May 2024 (2)

Parish Council Chair Report – May 2024 (2)

Chair Maureen Caton’s second report to the Full Council this May highlights how the Parish Council is keeping the pressure on agencies to provide solutions to the problems of Grove Hill

Some of you may recall our successful fight to save our library. We did this with the support of Save Our Libraries Essex (SOLE). SOLE have had another recent success and ECC have – following their pressure –   now decided not to charge for the book reservation service. This has not been widely publicised – the initial reasoning behind this proposal being the low collection rate of books that had been reserved – which has been countered by the time it takes for the books to be made available! Thanks to SOLE for continuing to work for library users.

We are following up what action is being taken forward in relation to the 3G football pitch – initially agreed as part of the S106 from Columbia Threadneedle and their development of the Stansted Airport Northside. Speculation is that the pitch is not going to be delivered – if this is the case – we will be requesting a financial contribution towards a community building which can be held in an Escrow account until needed.

We are also checking up on the systems to prevent HGVs from the site entering the village – as appears to be the case. We are asking for confirmation that promised systems are in place monitoring and diverting the traffic as agreed and sanctions imposed where this occurs and that these will remain in place for the whole of the construction period and beyond.

The issues on Grove Hill in relation to water and potholes appear to be nearing a conclusion. A leak at the top of the Hill which was running off of the land – and spotted by a parish Councillor – was reported and addressed last week. The blocked drain is to be repaired in early June – whilst Affinity and Essex highways continue to battle it out over responsibility for the initial leak. We will continue to lobby on this issue for our residents.

Some members of the Youth Club and Youth Council are to join forces and meet up with Southend Youth Council to debate and highlight issues that are important to them and worthy of further debate in their local area. They will be spending the day together during the summer holidays. Your Youth Councillors are also completing the Make Your Mark Questionnaire – to vote on policies and strategies they would like to see introduced or taken forward by the UK Youth Parliament group – and to discuss with us.

The long-awaited wildflower project is underway.  Rotavating has taken place on land in front of the northern Knight Sign and on the two verges at the junction of Rainsford Road with Pennington Lane.  Seeding/turfing will take place this week and we’ll start to see some results in a number of weeks.  However, the areas won’t reach their full effect until next year.

We await feedback from County and District Cllr Gooding on the Local Highway Panel schemes put forward by this Council. Church Road and Grove Hill are both listed schemes which are not yet progressed – the majority of our schemes are awaiting validation or feasibility outcomes – interestingly the date they were first received is not listed!

The Parish Council and Economic Development Working Group are pleased to announce that the publicity promoted locally for small business grants has succeeded in 6 local businesses getting grants for website and IT related upgrades and training for their businesses.

The Fireworks event in November is to proceed at Forest Hall School. More details on this will be shared as they become available.

Finally, the D Day Commemoration Service will be held at St John’s Church on June 6th at 11 a.m. We hope to see as many of you as possible there.