Hempstead in Essex
Resting place of William Harvey and Sir Eliab Harvey and birthplace of Dick Turpin

Parish Council Minutes 13th July 2013

13th July 2013

The Parish Council met in the Village Hall on 18th July at 8.00 pm.


Part Time:


Prior to the Parish Council Meeting a member of the public, Mrs Colleen Buckland voiced her concerns with the state of the hedge outside Harvey Way. Visibility when leaving the service road was extremely limited by this year’s growth which had made the hedge very wide. It also catches on the clothing of pedestrians. Mr McCarthy had also received several telephone complaints. Mr Drane said that he had repeatedly tried to get someone out to look at the hedge but to no avail. Mr Howell, the district councillor, who was present agreed to try to make representations to try to get some action and took details of the location.

Next Mr Howell addressed the meeting explaining how the District Council was protecting benefits to the disabled and pensioners. They continued to be the most supportive in Essex. Some of the cost would be recouped by reducing the time allowed for non payment of Council Tax on vacant properties from a year to six months.

The Local Plan was behind schedule as traffic assessments were awaited from ECC.

The Parish Council again expressed their misgivings about the lack of infrastructure improvements in Saffron Walden to cope with new housing.

Mr Howell left the meeting but Mrs Buckland accepted the invitation to stay on as a non-participant observer.

The Parish council meeting was opened at 8.40pm


    held Thursday June 13 2013 were agreed as a correct record.


    The date of the planned August 15 meeting was proving difficult. Alternatives were discussed but none proved suitable and it was agreed to cancel the August meeting.


    County Councillor Simon Walsh’s Report
    was noted and the appropriate content discussed under the Highways item.


    Village Green Re-registration
    The Council noted the reply from Lloyd Simpson indicating that the matter still had to be approved by the development and regulation committee.

    Autumn Clean-Up Day
    Miss Frost asked if an additional clean-up day could be planned for the autumn. Saturday 5th October was agreed as a suitable date.

    Pond and Fountain AreaThis was causing some concern. Giant Burdocks were proving difficult to control and need stronger weed killer to stop the roots affecting the fountain surround.

    Water LeaksTwo persistent water leaks had been noticed in the middle of the village. One was around a manhole and was smelling probably of sewage. The other was in the area of the Ring of Trees. M Weedon agreed to contact the appropriate authority.


    Turpin’s Cottage
    The Clerk informed the council of the reply made to the Planning Department at Uttlesford District Council about this application. Although the refurbishment of the house was seen as positive, the issues of choice of hedging and clearing of one end of the site for a possible future application were raised.


    Community Speedwatch
    The Council noted Miss Ridgeway’s report and the good work being done. The police presence was also welcomed. The speed gun would be sent off for re-calibration. The cost would be met from the £200 set aside in the budget for Community Speedwatch. (Meeting 4 April 2013 Minute No.8)


    The Footway Project
    The Clerk had circulated the date of the next Highways Panel meeting, September 9, to all Parish Councillors and all members of the Road Safety committee. It was hoped that a significant number would attend.

    Rissa Long had contacted Mr McCarthy for the names and addresses of the properties that might be required to donate land. As Councillor Walsh had reported, the money committed to this project is now £150,000 with the possibility of more next year.

    There are still some half done jobs and Mr Drane continues to urge the Highways Department to complete these.

    Mr Howell the District Councillor has agreed as noted in the preliminary discussion to pursue the cutting of the hedge to the front of Harvey Way.


    Accounts for Payment
    (All agreed as part of Budget at Meeting 4 April 2013 Minute No.8)

    Council for Protection of Rural England Subscription £29
    HMRC £151 PAYE (£9.4 Arrears 2012/3 and £141.6 April to July 2014)
    Julian Basham 2 x £300 Grass cutting
    East Anglian Children’s Hospice £25 Donation (as agreed June 13 Minute No. 27)

    Real Time Reporting for PAYE
    The Clerk reported that this had proved difficult to implement. The HMRC PAYE tools had been tried as had a free payroll program recommended on their site. These had not proved fit for purpose. After looking at several other solutions he had trialled the Sage payroll program which proved very satisfactory and had the additional advantage of a very supportive helpline. The cost was only £5 plus VAT per month and he requested that the Parish Council agree to the purchase of this. The Council agreed unanimously to purchase this from the budget agreed for Office Expenses. (Meeting 4 April 2013 Minute No.8)

    Internal Auditor’s Report
    The Council discussed the report from Mr John Cockman that raised a number of important issues that needed careful consideration and remedial action.

    The Clerk acknowledged that some errors had been evident in the figures and with Mr Cockman’s help these had been corrected. The latter had helped by incorporating a self checking element into the recording system. It was also agreed that the minutes needed to more positively reflect the prior decision making before payments are made by reference to dates and minute numbers. The use of grant money also needs to be made more explicit and referenced back to receipts

    It had also become apparent from the report that the decision to pay a member of the council a small sum of money for some gardening work was erroneous and needed correction. (Meeting September 6 2012 Minute No. 66) The money was repaid in full.

    It was also agreed that any discussion of Village Hall affairs should be more explicitly a matter of reporting, rather than decision making, especially where councillors may be acting on Village Hall affairs in a private capacity. Otherwise this could cause difficulties under the now discrete charitable status of the Village hall.


    The cutting of the footpaths had proved very problematic this year with a breakdown of communication and misinformation being provided. When Miss Frost was certain agreement had been reached, she instructed the contractor to cut the paths, only for him to arrive and realise that, contrary to agreement, the county team had already cut them. These have not been cut to the standard that had been achieved when the parish had a control of the contracts. In one area planks had not been replaced and sections left uncut which prevented a full circuit of the village being achievable. She was now trying to secure payment for the contractor’s time and get information concerning the second cut. As has often been the case in the past R.D.Haylock and Sons had cut their paths and these were now in a good condition.

    It was agreed to contact County Councillor Simon Walsh to try gain his help in getting some clarity on this situation.


    As no replacements for Miss Frost’s and Mr Smith’s roles had been found there seemed no alternative but to explore the possibility of an email newsletter. This was agreed to probably be the only alternative and work would have to be done to make this workable. The September edition would be the last edition in the current format. Miss Frost agreed to help to with the new format.

    The lack of punctuality by some contributors had caused difficulty in producing the last newsletter. This was particularly disappointing as it was the colour fronted edition to advertise their events.

    The website consultant, Mr Brian Kitchen was in the process of moving and some work had become a little delayed but it was anticipated that this would soon be back on track.


    Mr Sladen thanked the Parish Council on behalf of the Village Hall Committee for their decision to spend the Hew Homes Bonus Grant from Uttlesford District on a S137 grant towards the completion the Patio project. Financial resources were now in place to enable its completion.

DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS – Thursdays 19 September and October 17th all at 8pm in the Village Hall.