SMPC Chair’s September Report – 2023

SMPC Chair’s September Report – 2023

This autumn the Parish Council awaits news on how Uttlesford’s Local Plan could affect the village ahead of the reports publication, reports Chair Maureen Caton

Given the developments in Bishop’s Stortford, the impending Local Plan and the speculative developments agreed to date in our locality – we are seeking to meet with our partner Parish Chairmen to clarify the issues that are facing us all – including access on Grove Hill, the  increasing coalescence with Bishop’s Stortford etc. We are awaiting confirmation of the date and availability to attend.

The Planning Working Group did however meet to consider any amendments / further comments to our previous response to the consultation exercise  in relation to the UDC Local Plan in 2020/21.

The overriding issue was the short time frame to comment during the school summer holiday period – which we had also made reference to previously. There was a lack of time to review, analyse and refresh data – continuing a lack of transparency in the process.

The question was also raised in relation to the calculations for housing land supply – and how the speculative approvals agreed over time have impacted this required outcome. Also, given our recent experience with the Airport development approval for Columbia Threadneedle – how will community benefits be appropriately agreed and implemented – there is no confidence that UDC are able or willing to ensure these are delivered as discussed and agreed.

I am pleased to confirm Uttlesford and all the Regulation 14 parties have been sent our Draft Neighbourhood Development Plan for scrutiny ( to ensure its fit with the Local Plan – difficult when we have no idea of what the LP contains) before forwarding to the Inspector under Regulation 18.

Economic Working Group

The sink hole on the Recreation ground has been filled in – with a cover and barriers in place to allow it to settle. Likewise, the recent damage to the railing around the fountain was followed up and is being repaired through the driver’s insurance.

The Parish Council, Business Forum and UDC are re-establishing the Economic Working Group to promote our local businesses and ensure they get the most appropriate support and information to grow and develop trades and services within a vibrant local economy. An initial set up meeting to agree terms of reference etc will take place in the first week in October.

In relation to training – we have started our new Councillor Induction training and will be supporting attendance at the EALC courses that would suit each councillor. We also arranged an on – line NSPCC Safeguarding course for each councillor to undertake. To date a number of councillors have yet to  successfully complete this course.

Youth Matters

Given our new intake for the Youth Council we will start these meetings off at Forest Hall School to minimise the need for travel – and hopefully we may  be able to introduce some meetings with the Youth Club’s involvement as we have a new and very enthusiastic lead for the service in Uttlesford.

We also met with the new head Teacher at Forest Hall School who is very keen to enhance partnership working with the community and who will be hosting the French students from Rungis on their trip to Stansted and London.

Planning for Budget 2024

We are now entering budgetary planning mode – and I remind all councillors who wish to make any bids for funding to discuss the impact of this with their Committee Chair to discuss further with the Chair of Finance and myself before final submission to Full Council for deliberation.

Cllr Khan has agreed to represent the Parish Council at a multi – agency meeting being co-ordinated by Councillor Hargreaves into the issues of Airport Parking for local areas. He will report back to us on the outcomes/actions agreed.