title="Eastwick & Gilston Parish Council in Hertfordshire">
Tue, 22nd May 2018

2012/2013 Chairman\'s Report - Parish Council

2012/2013 Chairman\'s Report - Parish Council


East Herts Council’s position with regard to Neighbourhood Planning has not changed and they are still advising that communities wait until the draft District Plan is published before they do any substantive work.

rm dates are known we will be gearing up to take this process forward and the Parish Council will be working with Anthony Bickmore who chairs the Parish Plan Steering Group and members of the team. If you are interested to find out more about this work and perhaps to become involved please contact Anthony Bickmore or myself.

Barn Owl Project

Two years ago we successfully applied for a Big Lottery Fund Awards for All scheme Grant to provide 40 Barn Owl nesting boxes to encourage Barn Owls to live and breed in this area. We have now installed all the nesting boxes which are being monitored by the Hawk and Owl Trust. We are planning an update talk later in the year to tell residents more about the project and details of this will be published on our website and in the Parish Magazine.

We were able to make substantial savings against our original Barn Owl Project budget as we identified a satisfactory lower cost supply of the nesting boxes and were able to use volunteers to assemble the boxes. The Big Lottery Fund agreed a variation in scope to the original project to include 15 to 20 bat boxes which we will site within our area. We have been advised by the Herts & Middlesex Bat Group who are working to further bat conservation in Hertfordshire and Middlesex and are associated with the Bat Conservation Trust of the types of Bat that can be found locally. Based on their advice we have purchased a number of bat boxes which we plan to install during the coming months. If you would like to know more or possibly become involved in this part of the project please contact me or Christine Law, Parish Clerk, on 411646 or email christine.law2@btinternet.com.

Harlow North

The Parish Council continues to be strongly opposed to the proposals to build 10,000 homes around Eastwick and Gilston by 2031 and the campaign has been maintained during the year with STOP Harlow North (SHN). The last proposals were made by Harlow North Joint Venture (HNJV) which was formed by Land Securities and Places for People however, we understand that Land Securities has now withdrawn and new proposals for the same volume of houses are now being made by Places for People that solely own what was Ropemaker Properties land. New brochures with their proposals have been distributed and Places for People are taking every opportunity to promote their ideas.

These proposals need to be seen in context:

1.      East Herts Council is working actively to produce its new District Plan but has encountered several delays due to inputs required from external agencies (including central government) as previously explained.

2.      Built into the legislation that introduced the National Planning Policy Framework is that, in the event a Local Planning Authority had not introduced an approved District Plan by 1 April, then the requirements of the NPPF (including its 'presumption in favour of sustainable development') should take precedence over the policies of that LPA's current Local Plan.

3.      Conscious of this, East Herts Council undertook a review of the current Local Plan in January to compare it with the NPPF and concluded there were (only) two important shortcomings:

a.       Absence of a policy requiring the LPA to maintain a 'stock' of identified sites equivalent to 5 years' worth of housing need;

b.      Absence of a policy that states an explicit 'presumption in favour of sustainable development'.

(Although these may seem like major shortcomings, there are other Local Planning Authorities with current Local Plans that are completely out of line with the NPPF, so East Herts is probably not in too bad shape.)

4.      The Preferred Options that are emerging from all the current work would seem not to support any development at Harlow North, for three reasons:

a.       Up until 2021 the 'easy option' is to simply grow every town and most villages somewhat, to leverage existing infrastructure;

b.      Beyond 2021 the expectation is a requirement for planned, major expansion of an existing major town - either Welwyn / Welwn Garden City or Harlow.  However all the indicators are that the former is much preferred, since any Harlow North development would be geographically completely separate from the parent town and not represent a genuine expansion at all.  And - of course – East Herts Council will much prefer to support something that brings economic development within Hertfordshire rather than Essex;

c.       The option of New Settlements has been completely discounted.

The way that the District Plan is emerging does not favour the Places for People proposition, but the Parish Council working with other local parishes and the town of Sawbridgeworth as SHN is certainly not complacent of the eventual outcome. We will continue to take every opportunity to state our opposition to building on this scale in this location.  The time will come for further public consultation and we will keep you informed through the parish magazine and website.

Please see the STOP Harlow North website at www.stopharlownorth.com for full information on our campaign and subscribe to the newsletter for detailed updates.

Terlings Park

Outline Planning for up to 250 dwellings has been approved by East Herts Council and the site is now in the final stage of demolition and clearance. We have been informed that Angle Property Ltd www.angleproperty.co.uk that purchased the Terlings Park site from MSD has now sold to Bloor Homes www.bloorhomes.com that will be developing the site. Bloor Homes has contacted the Parish Council and we will be arranging an introductory meeting in the near future. There will be further meetings to discuss their plans in more detail and meetings with East Herts Council planners. We will keep residents informed of progress through the Parish Magazine and our website www.eastwickandgilston.org.uk.

Village Hall

As part of the s.106 contribution by the developer for Terlings Park, money will be allocated for improvements to the Village Hall. The Village Hall is owned by the community and is managed on our behalf by the Trustees and the Village Hall Management Committee chaired by David Jackson. The Village Hall Management Committee is currently exploring options for these improvements and has had discussion with the Parish Council on this subject. We are expecting to meet again by the middle of the year to discuss initial conclusions on the best use for the s.106 money. The Village Hall Management Committee has already asked for suggestions on potential improvements for the Village Hall in our Parish Magazine but if you have any ideas about improvements or new uses for the Village Hall there is till the opportunity to put these forward - please contact me, Christine Law, Parish Clerk or David Jackson.

Pole Hole Quarry Restoration

Last year an application was made to Herts County Council for the final restoration and closure of the site phased over a five year period. Following consultation the Council approved a three year plan that requires complete restoration of the site by November 2014 and that all operations at the processing plant shall cease by January 2014 and the land restored. The full decision notice can be found at the Herts County Council Planning Portal at https://cloud1.atriumsoft.com/HCCePlanningOPS/tabPage3.jsp?aplId=20805 . The Council is now making regular site visits and monitoring progress against plan. We will keep residents informed of progress through the Parish Magazine and our website www.eastwickandgilston.org.uk.


We have had a number of planning applications to comment on during the year and most have been reasonably straightforward and non contentious changes to existing properties.  The major planning issues affecting our area are addressed by Terlings Park, Pole Hole Quarry Restoration, our Parish Plan and the STOP Harlow North campaign.


We continue to work closely with Highways to ensure that Highways maintenance activities are carried out effectively and meet our local needs.  As with all local services Highways work is governed by budget and availability of resources and getting work carried out in a timely manner can sometimes be a frustrating struggle.  However we have an agreed schedule of outstanding work and take every opportunity to push for priority treatment.

Parish Paths

You will find a number of display maps of the footpath network located around the parishes including both the Eastwick and Gilston War Memorial sites.

The parish footpath network is a real asset and I would again encourage anyone who hasn’t walked them to try and find the time as it will give you another perspective on our local area.  Our footpaths are well maintained and we have continued to keep them so during the last year with grants and practical help from the Rights of Way department and Countryside Management Service. 

The land in our parish that was owned by Ropemaker Properties is now owned by Places for People and their land management agency is Knight Frank. A good number of footpaths cross this land and we will be making contact with Knight Frank to progress a request to install some additional footpath benches. We will keep you informed of the outcome.

Parish Precept

You will have recently received the booklet from East Herts Council outlining your rates for 2013/2014. Part of the rates is made up of the Parish Precept which is set by the Parish Council to cover small running costs and a number of initiatives we undertake. The amount attaching to your rates for the parish is a function of what we spend and the number of properties and their valuation bands in the area.

This year we deliberately maintained our precept at the same level for the sixth year running.

If you have views on how we should spend our money and if we should spend more or less then let one of the Parish Councillors know or attend a Parish Council meeting. We are always keen to hear views and enjoy the interaction with members of the public at the meetings – all are welcome


Our new community website has now been live for over 18 months at www.eastwickandgilston.org.uk. If you have any suggestions for additional content then please let us know.

This is a community website and we are looking for local groups who would like to use the facilities available to support their activities. The website can provide a section that will allow you to post and update information, photos and web links and include discussion forums. No costs or charges will apply for use of the site.

For more information and to discuss your ideas please contact Christine Law, Parish Clerk, on 411646 or email christine.law2@btinternet.com.


Overall, we have again made good progress and there are clearly some challenges for the year ahead. We are fortunate to have a dedicated and hard working team of Councillors. They devote a lot of their time for the benefit of the community which is unpaid and they claim no expenses. Thanks to Mike Newman and Roger Beeching who are our District and County Councillors respectively they give valued support to the Parish Council.

Thanks also to Christine Law, our Parish Clerk. Without Christine, the Parish Council simply wouldn’t function.

Mark Orson


.Eastwick & Gilston Parish Council – 2012/13 Annual Report


The financial position at 31st March 2013 and results for the year ended are detailed below together with comparisons to prior year and budget. Explanatory notes on the 2012/13 financial report are available from the Parish Clerk and are published on the parish website.


















General Administration



Interest on Investments



Capital Spending –

Bench – Eastwick



Grants – Barn Owl Boxes




Barn Owl Boxes

Bat Boxes




Donation – Shire Controls



Running costs:



VAT Refund






New Homes Bonus



War Memorials



Advertising – Parish Magazine






Donations - Parish Plan re  consultation



Parish Magazine



Parish Paths



















































Balance brought forward






Total Receipts






Total Payments












Carried forward








Represented by:












Current Account






Reserve Account












Uncashed cheques