As my second year as Chairman, I am guided by the previous reports from David Cameron which included so much information.

Luckily Zoom meetings have finished and we are back to face to face giving a better degree of debate. Fortunately, we have the Highwood Village Hall and its’ committee to thank for its’ continued and forever developing use now opening the foyer as a lovely place to meet.

Up to date accounts once again show that the Parish Council continue to act wisely and are dedicated to satisfying the needs of Highwood currently holding a healthy balance of £43,261.33 with a large proportion allocated to future projects.

These projects include but not limited to, a new bus shelter, vehicle activated speed signs, maintenance to the playpark and improvements to the walkable verges. Highwood Parish Council have a grant policy in place to support those looking to enhance the village in aesthetics, activities or any project that is compliant with the policy. I ask anyone to read the policy and we can see if the project is something we can assist with.

The village as a place to live

The Parish Council encourage healthy lifestyles for all with not one but two playparks. One of which has a well-used table tennis table and adult gym equipment. It is our intention to make the Edney Common playpark more easily accessible.

Communication and feedback are so important, and facilities are available through the website and Facebook to let us be more aware. The magazine always requires comment or entries so please share what you know or need to know. Please use them to stay in touch remembering that our Clerk is happy to receive your emails. Comment card will be situated around the village to again improve the lines of communication, remember we are here to represent our residents.

Allotment site

The allotment site at Radley Green is still under discussion although it is now devoid of use.

Safety first

I mentioned the playparks and the Parish Council remain aware of the difficulties with safe access to Edney Common and the verge, or lack of it. The problem is under constant review as is the safe walk between the bus stop and St. Paul’s Church.

The playpark at the Highwood Village Hall continues to be used and we are pleased that the fencing gives all adults the security of their children and off-road parking seems to be well used.

To benefit all in Highwood the Council maintain several grass verges and continue to grant funds to St. Paul’s Churchyard.

Councillors

Thanks as always must go to all the Highwood Parish Councillors and those that sit on the liaison panels. We undertake the Councillor role on a voluntary basis and give our time freely for the benefit of the Parish.  I am pleased to report we were recently joined by Cllr. Ursula Mayer and Cllr. Stacey Gill making a full house which ensures a balanced view of all expenditure and projects.

To ensure that the communication lines are maintained Cllr Steve Maclean are active with the new magazine and keeps a very careful watch on the playparks reporting back to the Council. His knowledge of communications infrastructure is endless.

Cllr Kelly Latham-Pearmain is the liaison with Highwood Primary School complementing her role as Chair of the PTA allowing feedback in both directions and she is looking to get the pupils involvement is junior reporting.

Garages

The garage sale is ongoing with the sitting tenants still the first-choice buyers and it is our intention this is resolved without further delay.

Litter Pick

I am personally indebted to those that litter pick either at the organised event but more so to the many that either go out to collect or simply pick up litter on passing, this is invaluable to the tidiness of our village.

Remembrance

It was once again a moving service, and our Vice Chair laid the wreath at the memorial on behalf of not only HPC but being there to represent the whole of the village residents.

Speeding Vehicles

It will come as no surprise that the Speedwatch activity was curtailed for a while and the lack of trained volunteers does cause its’ own problems. Fortunately, the Police Community Speedwatch teams arranged two ‘Surround the town’ days and we could put a team out on both days.

The actual results never change, 10-15% are recorder at over 37mph through Loves Green. It is hoped that the police will authorise a second site at Edney Common.

Parish Magazine

The magazine has changed its’ design and now has a totally different look. A bit of tweaking had to be done to ensure readability.  Enormous thanks must go to our Clerk Karen and to Steve Maclean for the smooth changeover and very polished result.

Special thanks must go to David Taylor for all the past editions so widely distributed and enjoyed.

Speed Indicator Devices

The Council have studied and approved the best option and with approval from Chelmsford City Council the siting of the equipment can be sanctioned. These devices will draw attention to the actual speed and hopefully drivers become more aware. I said earlier that the health and safety of all in the village or visitors remain best protected.

CCTV

This is under constant review and a wealth of information, including cost have been obtained and hopefully once the current projects with allocated funds have been completed this can be an area of consideration.

Build Outs

The Council had approval and funding for two such build outs, the other at Edney Common but despite the siting being the decision of Highways, as was the Loves Green one, they have withdrawn the second due a line-of-sight issue. Maybe they should see the one at Highwood School if line of sight is an issue. The Council we try and get this decision reviewed

Help and Support

During my tenure I have received excellent guidance from our Clerk Karen Kuderovitch, the font of all knowledge and look forward to another year of our exchanges which is always in the best interest of Highwood. Another mention of Karen soon. My fellow Councillors are active in debate and makes for excellent decision making.

Thanks indeed to indeed our local Councillors from Chelmsford and Essex County Council. Cllr. Mike Steel from Essex County Council has been particularly active and his never-ending support and finally Cllr. Nicolette Chambers of Chelmsford City Council for her wealth of local knowledge.

It must be noted that Highwood Parish Council, through our Clerk Karen, mentioned previously is our guiding light and has gained the Council the Local Council Accreditation Award at foundation level which is the steppingstone to the Quality Award. The Quality award requires proven good governance, community engagement and continued Council improvement. A target to aim for.

So, David, you are hard act to follow but here’s to another year of trying.

Cllr. Peter Latham

Chairman

Highwood Parish Council