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White Colne


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White Colne

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White Colne

April 2013

Dear Residents,


Once again it is time for our annual electors' meeting on April 23rd. This meeting is open to all our residents and gives the chance for everyone to have a dialogue about any subject. It is not a Parish Council meeting, although councillors will be in attendance. This is your opportunity to have your say and we welcome your contribution. A glass of wine, soft drinks and nibbles will be served. We do hope to see you there, please come along.  There will also be a short Parish Council meeting to discuss a planning application. The agendas for these meetings are on the Council Documents page


There is at last a promise of warmer weather and with that in mind we are looking forward to three events: the delivery of the play equipment at the end of this month, our next pub event on May 18th and our first and very special outdoor theatre event on the Meadows on June 23rd. Please note that booking for the theatre is via the box office at The Headgate, Colchester, and not through village sources. The telephone number is on the June News page..


Jane Taylor,

Chair, White Colne Parish Council


The next STATIONMASTER'S ARMS pub event is on May 18th.  We'll be serving Colchester Brewery's No1 ale (very popular at the last pub night!), new lagers and, in anticipation of warmer weather, there'll be a Pimms bar from 5.00 pm.  Our other popular drinks will be available and the usual darts, shuffle board, quizzes etc.


Food will be served at 6.30 pm:  a choice of locally produced slow roasted pork or lamb or poached salmon, all served with green, tomato and coleslaw salads and buttered new potatoes.  Choice of Hadley's ice creams: vanilla, honeycomb, rum & raisin, caramel & pecan.  


Main courses are £5 or the 'meal deal' with ice cream is £6.  


To order food please email chrisandritap@tiscali.co.uk or phone Rita on 221919 by Thursday May 16th at the latest.   Hope you'll be able to make it!


Spring bulbs.


You may have noticed a small team planting bulbs by the village entry point on Colchester Road and on the Green recently.  This is part of a planting scheme organized by the Four Colnes Horticultural Society which has kindly donated the snowdrop bulbs for planting this year.  This scheme may be extended in future years with other varieties being planted.


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Report To Annual Electors Meeting  April 2013


Once again we have had a busy and successful year in White Colne.


The Council has considered 16 planning applications throughout the year. Previous Council policy allowed members to discuss by email, non-contentious planning applications which had a deadline before one of our scheduled meetings. This system became fraught with difficulties – who decides what is contentious.? It also became difficult to view the plans on line after BDC stopped providing paper copies to Parishes.. Our new policy  therefore, ensures that every planning application is discussed in the public arena at our meetings, if necessary calling an extra meeting if the deadline is tight. We have agreed to pay a small charge to BDC for the paper copies of the plans. We believe that this is the most democratic method. We hope that residents agree, and  will always take the opportunity to attend meetings to discuss their applications.


Consequently, this year we have held 6 scheduled meetings and two interim meetings. In support of that we have delivered 6 Regular Newsletters and 2 News Updates free to every household, plus we have continued to maintain and support the village web site.

Peter Norris is still our trusted News Editor. Many thanks for his hard work.


We have  had several meetings over the year with BDC on the provision of play equipment, funded by S106 funds,  which have been provided by the developer of 5 holiday lodges off Boley Road. We were expecting to take delivery of the equipment this week; a local contractor has been hired for the installation and we still hope to see it up and ready on the Meadows by the end of May.


We have vigorously opposed the proposal by BDC in their Site Allocations Document  to allow for 10  new houses to be built on land off Colchester Road, close to Chalkney Mill Chase. We have also just heard tonight that a late proposal has been submitted for a further six houses on land off 65 Colchester Road. These areas areoutside of the village envelope and in accordance with our policy which is taken from the Village Design Statement, all development outside of the envelope should be resisted.


In last year’s report, I foolishly predicted that we could receive the tenure of this building by the end of 2012 as negotiations with ECC had been progressing well. We were heartened to think that the site could be sold quite quickly.  Negotiations stalled throughout the whole of the summer and following another meeting in January there was once again some hope that the site was to be placed on the market.  I am sorry to say that this has still not happened – one of the other landowners is now in the process of selling their own property, causing further complications. I hesitate to  predict a new date. The Parish Council has done all it can to progress the situation. As soon as we have some more news we will report this to you in the normal way.

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We are indebted to our Clerk, David Williams, who as our Proper Officer, controls the finances and ensures the smooth running of the Council. His is the only paid position in the Council.  Later on in the meeting, David will be presenting the budget for the  next financial year. I am pleased to report that once again there has been no rise in the precept which is the amount of money we ask BDC to collect on our behalf from the rates. The White Colne tax for each band D property will be £46.44, a small reduction on last year's figure of £46.84.


During the year two of our Councillors stood down.  Our vice Chairman, John Brace  resigned  due to increased work commitments, and Peter Norris, who had been a volunteer for many years, resigned to give him more time to focus his efforts on the Hall and 50 Club, plus his other many interests. Thank you again to both of them for their hard work for the village. We therefore had two casual vacancies to fill, and I’m delighted to report that Jim Bond has been co-opted this evening . We are all looking forward to working with him again


Chris Pearcey and John Watt have been responsible again for reporting Highways matters.  Following serious snow and ice

problems on Bures Road, County Hall has been asked
again to examine whether this road can be re-integrated into the County's gritting routes.  The 'self help' ECC Salt Bag Scheme  

became unworkable after restrictive obligations placed upon us by them and our Insurers. Disappointingly , the Parish Council

decided to pull out of. the Scheme.. Some individuals in the village however have (at their own risk) decided  to continue to

'grit' the section of road outside their houses. The Parish Council will also maintain  a supply of salt in the yellow bin by the

Village Hall for use by the general public..

Both top and bottom corners of the Village Green as well as the Colneford Hill Wall continue to take a buffeting from HGVs.

The Parish Council notify Highways whenever damage occurs and have requested site meetings, to discuss

i) removal of the experimental yellow lines as they have not worked,

ii)  ideas on how we can mitigate future damage and

iii)  if funds can be made available to repair the damage.



There is also further damage outside the new houses on Colne Park Road. We have received a
quotation to have the Green repaired and new posts erected and are currently discussing funding options.. We may be able to ask for part payment from an insurer whose client caused damage.

A public meeting was held in January following complaints about traffic congestion in Boley Road, with ECC Councillor Joe Pike

in the Chair.   Several proposals were discussed, including the capital outlay of £40,000 (plus land purchase) to install suggested

passing places but the chairman concluded that residents didn't want any changes made to Boley Road. The section of Boley

Road in question has protected lane status.  At its meeting in March therefore the Parish Council agreed they would ask Highways

to abandon the passing place proposal but examine the possibility of widening a run off from the A1124 into Boley Road to help

ease traffic congestion at busy times and improve sight splays. If Highways agree, any proposal will first be put before residents/landowners.


We still have a dip in the road near to the approach to Chalkney Mill on Colchester Road

and water still runs down Bures Road outside  the Village Hall, causing a hazard in icy conditions. Highways confirm they are

monitoring the Colchester Road issue but despite
repeated reminders to them about the state of Bures Road  our pleas seem to fall on deaf ears.

Other Highway issues eg damaged road signs, are normally routinely repaired by the Highway Ranger service, although last year

the Country Park and Flitchway Ranger service repaired the steps and handrail on the footpath near the old railway bridge off

Colne Park Road, as that fell within their brief.


John Watt has been responsible for the allotments again this year. A new allotment agreement has been agreed and John is happy

to report that all the plots are now taken – the grow your own bug has really taken hold. .The  Council would still like to

see the formation of an Allotment Society, which would have benefits for both the allotment holders and our community. If anyone

Is interested in starting such a group the Council will be happy to assist and advise, please let us know.


My annual report last year looked forward to a very exciting and challenging year. Nationally the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee were taking centre stage. In our village, we won an early gold with a grant from  BDC’s  Mi Community to renovate the  hall and taking silver  was another grant from the Big Lottery, which enabled us to invite every resident to  a free  Jubilee celebration. Over 300 people enjoyed that day despite the awful weather..


Lord Coe spoke eloquently of the Nation’s debt to the “Game makers” – the huge volume of volunteers who were the backbone of the Olympic organization. Our summer in White Colne saw our own group of “ community makers” – less than 2 dozen - giving  hundreds of volunteer hours to not only organize and stage events, but also to oversee the renovations, taking on some of the work themselves and delivering the project on schedule.


The Hall has been enlarged by knocking the main room through into the Committee room and other small spaces which were  previously used by necessity rather than design.

The resulting larger space makes community events easier to manage, more comfortable for those attending and we are able to accommodate more people.


Sarah Adlem has once again led the Hall committee,  which comprises 5 members, 3 representatives from the Parish Council and two others. They hold formal, minuted meetings 3 times a year and report on Hall matters at each Council meeting.. Two stalwarts of the Hall committee resigned during the year. Jean and Colin Armstrong. We were able to formally thank them at our grand opening event in November, but another thank you will not go a miss, so very many thanks to you both for all of  your support. Jean has been replaced by Rita Pearcey as Lettings Secretary and the Terms of Hire have all been modernised to reflect best practice and the alterations to the hall.  The hire rates have also been reviewed and simplified


Hiring does continue to be steady. The dancers have Saturday mornings, needlework have Wednesday evenings; Yoga Friday mornings during school term time. A band also regularly hires the hall for practice. Many parties are held throughout the year.

Unfortunately we have lost the Church group who have moved on to a larger and more urban location to better meet their needs as well as the toddler group which folded due to lack of numbers.. If anyone would like to hire the hall details are available on the Parish Council website or see Rita.


The Hall is able to pay for itself because it is hired. The availability of a Hall in the village encourages business into the area as well as providing opportunities for recreation to our residents on their doorsteps. The Hall is also then available for us to hold Parish meetings and community events which help to make White Colne such a pleasant place to live.


The 50 Club events committee have also had a busy and successful year, raising over £2,100 for village funds. Over the year they held two quiz evenings, the Jubilee free celebrations which included afternoon tea, a hog roast, pub night, live music, fireworks and beacon lighting, a Car boot sale which attracted 53 pitches and 500 bargain hunters, a wine tasting evening, three pub events and the Grand Opening of the renovated hall with


nearly 100 residents, friends, previous and current councillors attending.  It was fitting that the Parish Council Chairman of 1976, Mr David Ashby,  was able to cut the opening ribbon. It was David’s brainchild to transform the Old Stationmaster’s House into a village hall.

Very many thanks to all our volunteers who have helped to  organise and run these events, and particularly to Rita Pearcey who works particularly hard as “mine host” on the pub evenings.


On the subject of thanks I would also like to mention and thank our district Councillors, Gabrielle Spray and Chris Siddal.  At least one of them  always manages to attend our meetings and we very much appreciated the support we received with the Mi Community grant. Also our thanks to ECC Joe Pike who was able to Chair our public meeting as well as help us with negotiations with Highways..


We truly believe our community  is well placed for the future.. We are vigorous in our custodial duties, we are careful in our budgeting, always looking first for grants to fund extra facilities to make village life more enjoyable. We encourage volunteers, hoping to empower residents to take control of their own village and feel part of a vibrant and happy community. We all have a part to play and remembering Lord Coe and the Games, I hope we can inspire everyone to  become a “community- maker” by giving a little of their time to help us in our village..


Thank you


Jane Taylor

Chair

2013.





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