Chairman's Report 2018-2019



Planning has again dominating the work and expenditure of SPC, particularly that associated with the proposed Local Development plans (LDP) for both Uttlesford District Council (UDC) and Braintree District Council (BDC).

SPC held a 2nd public meeting in July 2018 to keep the village informed of the progress of the LDPs and what SPC had done and will continue to do to fight the development of a Garden Community crossing the boundaries between Uttlesford and Braintree and therefore impacting on and endangering the way of life in Stebbing and the precious countryside surrounding it.

Those who attended continued to support this stance and despite the generosity of the village in funding all activities to date SPC agreed for the last year to raise further funding through the council precept.

 This has ensured that SPC can continue to use the services of a professional planner who has responded to alI the various LDP consultations through out the year particularly the regulation 19 consultation and scheduled in July 2019 the Planning Inspectors Examination Hearing of Uttlesford's LDP.

Braintree LDP is further into this process but is still awaiting the Inspectors report.


SPC continues to try and improve its communication with the village. No perfect solution has been found but posting important information on Stebbing Nextdoor as well as the more traditional methods has hopefully meant that more villagers are now receiving SPC news.

Apart from the LDP routine planning applications take a considerable amount of time for the Planning Committee to consider and when some planning applications prove to be controversial SPC try and listen to the concerns of villagers affected by them and reflect that in their comments.
Members also attend UDC planning committee meetings when appropriate to comment on any Stebbing Plans that come before the committee.
It must be remembered though that SPC are only consultees as are all parishioners in planning matters and it would encourage them to comment via the UDC website with their opinions.

Neighbourhood Plan
The Neighbourhood plan steering group had continued to work hard for the last year and is nearing the end of its task. The draft plan should soon be ready for consultation before the next stage of the process.

Affordable Housing
SPC is still aiming to be successful in achieving the development of a small number of affordable homes for local people.
Some options are still being pursued and it is hoped that there will be some positive results in the near future. 

 Stebbing Green
Routine maintenance has proved effective in ensuring that Stebbing Green is kept to a high standard.
This year as SPC have been following a maintenance programme that was advised some years ago Essex Wild Life Trust was invited to inspect the green and to advise of any changes needed.
Pleasingly the EWT representative felt all was well with the green and commented that it was one of the few open grassland spaces of it's type in Essex.

Highways and Street Lighting
The repair of the damaged culvert in the High Street remains a major concern. A protected pathway through "the cage" was achieved for the safety of pedestrians but now the plans for repair are creating concerns.
It has been proposed that the road should be closed for up to 6 months, the diversion will necessitate a detour to Dunmow and back.
The works will impact on adjacent residents and landowners, public and school bus services, church activities, access to the village shop, Village Hall and OFMH upsetting the natural flow of the village traffic and activities particularly for those residents living on the wrong side of the closure.
Much discussion has taken place to try and mitigate some of these issues not least a pedestrian access during the time of the road closure. To date much is not decided except that the works will commence in September 2019.
SPC will continue to help find solutions to concerns expressed by residents.
Litter remains a problem particularly on the roads into the village off the B1256.
This year there has been a good response to our appeal for litter pickers. A number of groups and individuals joined in a litter pick and have taken on areas of the village that they will clear on a regular basis through out the year.
Currently the village is clear of a major litter problem and with everybodies help it should remain that way. 

Playing Fields.
All three playing fields continue to be used by various age groups in the village.
To maintain them is very expensive and SPC apply for any available grants to help with costs particularly those associated with play equipment.
A new bench has been provided on Pulford field to replace one that had worn out.
A new fence on one boundary of MIll Lane Field has been erected in conjunction with Stebbing Cricket Club.

Stebbing Parish Council would not be able to undertake the essential workload that it does without its Clerk, Greg King. He continues also to undertaken the additional work involved with the production of the Neighbourhood plan.
I would like to thank him for all his hard work, efficiency and sense of humour when liaising with contractors and parishioners, enabling all the many projects to be completed.

As Chairman I would also like to thank my Vice Chairman Sandi Merrifield for all her support and relentless enthusiasm through out the year always keeping up the momentum needed to continue the fight against West of Braintree and Chairing the Planning Committee.

Thank you also to the other Chairs of SPC committees for all their work throughout the year:

Stebbing Green: Christina Cant
Highways and Street lighting: Brian Martin / Judith Farr
Playing Fields and equipment: Jackie Kingdom

I should also like to thank all my fellow councillors who as volunteers work hard giving their time without payment for the benefit of Stebbing.

On a personal note this is my last report as Chairman. I decided not to stand for election this year so will leave Stebbing Parish Council after over 20 years of being a councillor. It has been a rewarding experience and I wish good luck to my remaining colleagues.

 Jane Goodwin.
Chairman Stebbing Parish Council