Chair’s January Report – 2024

Chair’s January Report – 2024

There’s lots to mull over as the parish council looks forward to the year ahead: a house for the elderly, a new provider of youth services for the village, and concerns over electoral boundary changes writes Chair Maureen Caton

Gigaclear are meeting the residents of Five Acres and ourselves to discuss the siting of the “the box” and the proposed mitigation measures –They are very clear the re-siting of the box is not possible. It was also resolved at the last F&GP committee meeting that the Council should accept legal advice and informally negotiate with Gigaclear to reach an acceptable resolution for all parties.

Bloor & community gains

Members of the Planning Working Group met with a representative of Bloor Homes to discuss potential community gains from the site North of Walpole Farm and the site to the east of High Lane.  We repeated the list of community benefits which we would like to see delivered, primarily:

  • From the Walpole site – improvements and lighting from Five Acres to the junction with High Lane and reduction in speed limit to 30mph all the way.  It was acknowledged that a community centre might require additional funding
  • From the High Lane site – the design must maintain the current views, include a natural flood management scheme, footpaths, cycleways and traffic calming.

Almshouses

There has been a significant development in relation to Alms House reprovision. As Councillors are aware the proceeds from the sale of The Fuller-Maitland site have been in the possession of LEAP – Legacy East Alms House Partnership, for reprovision within Stansted. We learnt last week that LEAP have purchased a house in Stansted that will be used to accommodate  Stansted elders who meet the criteria set. This follows the inability to source available land close to village amenities, on which to build suitable accommodation. We are not aware of the siting of this purchase or the cost- in fact no details have been  shared at this stage of the negotiation. The Council has made it known to LEAP- that this change in direction  – if nothing else – out of respect for the work put in trying to secure land – even last week – could and should have been communicated earlier; as we are the key advocate and stakeholder for our community. However, we can at least be assured the monies are not being spent to benefit another a community – as was threatened at one point. We shall continue to seek further information in relation to this action.

Youth club

The Clerk and myself have met with the Youth Club provider to agree the strategy to take the club forward and to gradually build take up by young people – through a variety of activities and projects/ good communication and a boost to funding opportunities through grant applications – the provider is already in discussion with MAG and applying for various grants. The provider has access to transport which will also allow exchanges and activities with other youth groups. Regular monitoring meetings have also been agreed for the year.

The lead for the Youth Club is also involved with Touchpoint and is looking to strengthen links with them and progress some intergenerational projects. We have asked him to speak at the Annual  Parish meeting, and will also be asking the members of the Youth Council to introduce themselves and present an outline of  ideas for their future

TouchPoint success

Touchpoint have communicated their thanks for this Council’s support in raising well over their target of £15k for the kids Christmas Appeal, which benefitted over 700 young people in Uttlesford. Congratulations are also in order following a successful bid to the Stansted Airport  Community Fund by Touchpoint resulting in a grant of £50,000 towards the refurbishment of the Crafton Green buildings.

Roadmaps for development

Our Neighbourhood Development Plan is at the final hurdle before UDC submit it to the Inspectorate -polices are being firmed up to ensure cohesion with the Local Plan and the objectives of our overall strategy.

The Rt Hon Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities wrote to UDC Leader, Petrina Lees, stating that the district was 1/ 12 Local authorities who had failed to adopt a Local Plan and 1/7 not taking their plan through the examination process. He wrote that the Council’s persistent failure to adopt a plan has left its community vulnerable to speculative development and risked not delivering the economic growth and infra structure needed. UDC have been directed to revise their Local Development Scheme within 12 weeks of the publishing of the revised NPPF.

Car parks fees

UDC are currently consulting on car park provision/ charging -which ends on February 2nd. This subject is to be debated this evening – but, the position of the Stansted Business Forum and supported by the Economic Development Working Group does not support an increase in charges. The Chairs of the Business Forum and Economic Development Working group question the overall financial management of the District Council and the need to replenish the coffers through the sale of  failing assets and failed  external challenges e.g. The airport appeal. The two groups are in the process of formally objecting to the charging proposals and will include ourselves, local district councillors and our MP in their communications.

Gerrymandering?

Finally, The Local Government Boundary Commission have published and are consulting on proposals from Essex County Council, in respect of changes to the current County Council Divisions. The proposal is to remove Elsenham and Henham from the Stansted Division and replace with the rural wards along the western boundary of the district- to include, Langley, Elmdon, Wendens Loft and  Chrishall a. These wards are within the sphere of Saffron Walden influence and have no connection with the wards on the A120 corridor – and essentially our neighbours  in  Elsenham ad Henham. This information was initially released in November 23 – the Parish has not been officially made aware if this consultation and the reasons for this proposal – I therefore hope our County Councillor can explain the thinking behind this proposal and why we were not informed earlier. I understand that this topic is being discussed at UDC this evening so much for consultation with us lesser mortals!

You can raise any questions raised by the Chair’s report by emailing maureencaton@stanstedmountfitchet-pc.gov.uk


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