F&GP Chair Report – 27 March 2024

F&GP Chair Report – 27 March 2024

John O’Brien outlines the financial challenges facing the Parish Council over the next twelve months.

Now that the Precept has been set for the coming fiscal year, there comes the challenge for this committee to consider means whereby this Council can make progress to stabilise its outgoings on energy and become more on the ‘front foot’ financially to cope with future challenges which are due to befall us.

Within the 2024/25 Precept is a £15K pa addition, with agreement to raise the same in 25/26 and 26/27, as a means to raise funds for the replacement of 30 potentially unsafe streetlight columns, but there will still be extra costs involved in providing new lanterns.

This past winter’s heavy rainfall has severely tested our flood defences and, without having our second set of trash pins installed last year, we could have faced flooding in Lower Street. Our original set of trash pins failed owing to the weight of debris carried on to them. Additional flood prevention measures are required.

As well as flood prevention on the Ugley Brook, the issue of surface water flow down Chapel Hill still exists with the road’s camber deflecting flow towards the King’s Arms and the blockage of the drain outside the Lounge Bar door has still not been satisfactorily dealt with. Again, Essex Highways are showing a lesser degree of urgency than that required.

With regard to the above-mentioned issues, the Parish Council’s investment strategy must be seen to be capable of easing the burden of financial commitments, but also to provide us with a proactive boost for future initiatives.

The end of March brings our Part-Night Light trial to a close and we shall review any feedback received.

Finally, it is hoped that by combining all our energy contracts, by the end of the calendar year, we shall benefit from savings through greater buying power.

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