Some fixed penalty notices and warnings had been issued (disappointingly local residents were included). These figures highlight that there is a speed problem, although it was noted that there were several incidents of drivers warning each other by flashing their lights. Within the area of the 30mph limit there had been 2 accidents in the last 3 years (1 minor and 1 serious) and this meant that the village did not warrant a camera site. It was agreed that frequent speed checks would continue to be carried out. It was pointed out that there were also speed issues outside the village (on the B1054 both near Hill Farm and the stretch towards Bramley Hollow), however it was advised that it was difficult to monitor speed outside of the 30/40mph areas.
With regard to anti-social behaviour issues, the police were critical of the fact that only two instances of anti-social behaviour had been reported to them this year. Failure to report the second incident of a broken window in the hall and a number of other instances does not allow them to see the whole picture and then take the appropriate action. Mr McCarthy will make a note of this in the newsletter to encourage residents to report all incidents promptly in future. The possibility of installing CCTV at the village hall was also discussed, PC McNamara will liaise with Mr Sladen accordingly.
Acting Inspector Ashley Seymour, PC Ryan McNamara and PCSO Mike O’Donnell-Smith then left the meeting at 8.40pm.
Mr McCarthy then welcomed Paul Hardy (West Area Manager, Essex CC, Highways Dept.) who is based at Harlow and whose area includes Uttlesford, Epping, Harlow and Brentwood. Mr Hardy confirmed that our request for an extension of the speed limits is in the 2007/08 programme of works. He also stated that when the time came the Parish Council would be consulted on the precise detail and that different alternatives may be more appropriate. He also advised that a further Planned Parish Visit was imminent and we would shortly be requested to provide a list of items for repair/maintenance. Mr McCarthy commented that we had been very impressed with the first Planned Parish Visit. The condition of Boytons Lane was drawn to Mr Hardy’s attention and we were asked to add this to the Planned Parish visit list.
With regard to the footpath project, Mr Hardy was in the process of writing a report to Cllr Bass justifying its inclusion in the Local Transport Plan 2 (LTP2) – it is currently on the Reserve List. (The LTP is a long term plan which sets out Essex County Council’s plans and policies for the future of transport in Essex. The first Local Transport Plan was a document containing the five-year programme from 2001-2006. The second Local Transport Plan contains the five-year programme from 2006-2011). LTP2 would go to Government in February to obtain additional funds for ECC to complete these projects. Mr Hardy advised that of the 103 footpath requests currently being assessed by his department, Hempstead’s scored highest, however he consider it only had a low chance of being included due to cost (in excess of £220,000). Based on justifications presented by various managers, officers at County Hall will decide which projects would be included in the LTP2 with Cllr Bass making the final decision.
Mr McCarthy asked what the parish council could do to help progress the scheme. Mr Hardy said that the presentation made by Alan Weedon on behalf of the parish council was very well received and would have done our cause a lot of good. He also suggested that the parish council write to Cllr Bass stating our case.
Mr Hardy left the meeting at 9.30pm
Mr McCarthy then opened the Parish Council meeting. He asked that the clerk write a letter of thanks to A/Insp Seymour and Mr Hardy for their attendance and support.