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BELCHAMP ST PAUL & BELCHAMP OTTEN PARISH COUNCIL

     

Welcome to the Belchamp St Paul and Belchamp Otten Parish Council website

 

Contact Clerk: Diane Smith 

Tel: 01787 279288 

E-mail: belchamps.pc@gmail.com

 

Belchamp St Paul and Belchamp Otten are situated in the beautiful Stour Valley on the Essex/Suffolk border.

A distintive landscape with many ancient villages that has inspired such famous artists as John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough. The Belchamps are mentioned in the Domesday Book. 

These two beautiful villages, deep in the heart of East Anglia, each have a public house and Belchamp St Paul also has a very well respected Primary School and The Community House. 

 

PARISH NOTICE BOARD 

 

BDC RE-CONSULTATION ON SOLAR FARM PLANNING APPLICATION OFF BAKERS ROAD, BSP    (Posted 15 February)  

BDC have opened a re-consultation on the above planning application (23/01413/FUL) following the receipt of over 40 new documents providing significant new and revised evidence on the proposal. All the documents can be found on the BDC planning portal by searching the planning application number above.
The PC have received enquiries from residents looking to make a further comment to BDC and in particular have been asked to provide some guidance as to the topics most deserving of further consideration so here are some suggestions.
The issue of greatest concern to residents by far has been the possible loss of high quality arable land to the solar farm. Given that the land on which a solar farm is situated has no effect on the quantity of electricity it produces, why use good quality food growing land when we as a nation already rely so much on food produced in other countries when we could produce much of this at home?
The LPA has advised the applicant that they must demonstrate that they have looked for suitable land of lower agricultural quality within a reasonable area of search and has pointed out that such land exists in plentiful quantities around Halstead and Braintree. There are even larger tracts of such land east of Sudbury and to the east of the A131 between Sudbury and Halstead which are also within a reasonable area of search.
The applicant has recently filed an addendum to their earlier Sequential Site Selection Report in which, despite the LPA’s advice, they have considered only the high quality land that lies within 2Km of the grid connection point at Hickford Hill. This is contrary to both local and national planning policy and guidance and makes the convincing case that the application does not meet the required standard and should therefore be refused.
The PC will consider their own response to this and other issues at their meeting on 27 February 2024. As usual the PC meeting will be open to the public and takes place in The Community House starting at 7.30pm. Subject to the outcome of that meeting the PC will be making further representation to the LPA on this matter and others. Any such representations will accordingly be published on the planning portal and can be read at will. You can go ahead and make your comment at any time but you may prefer to wait until then before doing so. In that way you will be armed with more information.
Other topics under consideration by the PC are the impact on heritage assets and the significant archaeological finds on the site. The applicant has also published a catchall rebuttal to earlier comments made by residents and to which you could make a comment. All these can be found on the planning portal dated 22 January 2024 onwards.
Please note that the public consultation period has now been extended to 6 March 2024. You can also continue to submit comments after this date and the LPA will do its best to include them for consideration, but without any guarantee. Clearly the sooner the better.
ECC BUS CONSULTATION RESULT - DaRT3 SERVICE TO CONTINUE UNTIL 2026  
ECC have completed their Bus Service Consultation and because of the number of objections received they have decided NOT to withdraw the DaRT3 minibus service that operates throughout our two parishes. The service will continue to operate for a further 2 years (2026) with an option to extend it for an additional year. Thank you to everyone who responded to the consultation and achieved this very welcome result.
 

VACANCY FOR PC CLERK     (Posted 5 February)

The current Clerk is retiring so the PC seeks a motivated individual to take on this role and work with Councillors for the benefit of the community. Applicants should have a knowledge and experience of I.T. systems (Word, Excel, E-mail), good communication and organisational skills, the ability to write concise, clear reports/minutes and an ability to use their own initiative.  

-The post is mainly working from home with flexible working hours/days. A dedicated laptop and printer are provided. 

-Hours are approximately 20 per month. Attendance is required at 10 evening meetings per year, usually on a Tuesday.  

-Salary will be dependent on experience 

-Training and/or mentoring will be available but prior experience of working as a Parish Clerk or in a similar post would be advantageous  

If you would like further information and/or to have an informal discussion about this important role please contact the present Clerk, Diane Smith. If you wish to be considered for this position, please submit a letter of application accompanied by a CV, by e-mail to belchamps.pc@gmail.com .

PC MEETING DATES FOR 2024  (Posted 10 December)

The PC have agreed the following meeting dates for 2024: 16 January, 27 February, 9 April (starting at 8pm as it follows the BSP Annual Assembly), 21 May (Annual Council meeting), 2 July, 3 September, 15 October, 26 November 2024.

The Belchamp Otten Annual Assembly will be held on Monday 8 April (at The Red Lion PH, Belchamp Otten) and the BSP Annual Assembly will take place on 9 April (at The Community House). All meetings are held in The Community House at Belchamp St Paul and commence at 7.30pm unless otherwise stated. Members of the public are welcome to attend all meetings.

VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT CODE WORKING GROUP 

You will all be aware that the PC have set up a Working Group to produce our own Village Development Code (formally known as a Village Design Code) for the combined villages of Belchamp St Paul and Belchamp Otten. To keep up to date with progress by the Working Group please visit the new dedicated tab on the left hand side of this page.

 

ECC PROPOSAL TO WITHDRAW THE DaRT3 MINIBUS SERVICE IN NORTH WEST ESSEX (Posted 12 September)

ECC are undertaking a review of all their bus services via a Passenger Transport Consultation which runs until 5 October 2023. For the last few years our villages have been serviced by the 'demand responsive' DaRT3 minibus scheme rather than by a conventional bus service. The current ECC review is proposing to withdraw the DaRT3 scheme because of a lack of passenger numbers. This will leave our villages with no public transport service. It is unlikely that we can stop the cessation of the DaRT3 service but it might be possible, if enough people request it, for ECC to replace it with a much more limited timetabled service. 

It is very important that we get as many people as possible to respond to this consultation, effectively stating when they wish to travel, where they wish to go and for what purpose. The hope will be that ECC can then design a service which fulfils people's needs and is used by enough people to make it viable. 

NEW COUNCILLOR FOR BELCHAMP ST PAUL     (Posted 7 September)

At the September PC meeting, Dominic Curran was co-opted onto the PC, to fill the vacancy to represent Belchamp St Paul. We hope that he will enjoy his new Parish Councillor role.

DEFIBRILLATOR AT THE COMMUNITY HOUSE, BSP - OUT OF SERVICE (Posted 5 September) 

Please note that the defibrillator on the front wall of The Community House is currently out of service because of a battery problem. The PC have been liaising with the East of England Ambulance Trust to rectify the issue but this is taking longer than expected to resolve. The nearest alternative defibrillator can be found in the former Telephone Box, The Street, Belchamp Otten (about 1.5 miles away). This website will be updated as soon as the defibrillator comes back into service.

SOLAR FARM PLANNING APPLICATION 23/01413/FUL - PC SUBMISSION TO BDC

The PC submitted their objection to the above planning application to BDC on 23 August. Full copies of the 'main submission' and '2 supplementary comments' can be found on the BDC Planning Portal website by searching for the application number (as above) and then pressing the 'Documents' tab.

SOLAR FARM PLANNING APPLICATION _ RESULT OF VOTE

The Clerk and the Chairman have checked the voting slips relating to the planning application for a solar farm in Bakers Road, BSP and the result is as follows:

Total number of valid voting slips     130

Number of votes supporting the solar farm application    31

Number of votes opposing the solar farm application      99

The PC will therefore be submitting a letter of objection to the solar farm application to BDC.

The Parish Council would like to thank everyone who participated in the consultation process by either attending the public meeting and/or submitting a voting slip.

All residents are strongly encouraged to submit their individual comments on the application, be they in support or in opposition to the proposal, direct to BDC via the Planning Portal. The application reference number is 23/01413/FUL and the deadline for comments to be submitted to BDC is 25 August 2023.

SOLAR FARM PLANNING APPLICATION - PUBLIC MEETING ON 3 AUGUST 

A planning application has been submitted to BDC, by BSR Energy, to construct a Solar Panel Array on 52.88 hectares of land off Bakers Road, Belchamp St Paul. The application number is 23/01413/FUL and copies of all the documents submitted can be accessed via the Braintree District Council website Planning Portal. It will be BDC who make a decision on the application but the PC are able to submit their comments on the proposal for consideration by the BDC Planning Committee.

The Parish Council invite all residents of Belchamp St Paul and Belchamp Otten, to attend a Public Meeting on Thursday 3 August to discuss the application and obtain resident's views on the proposal, prior to submitting their comments to BDC. The meeting will be held in St Andrew's Church, Church Street, Belchamp St Paul  CO10 7DJ at 7.30pm and the PC hope that as many residents as possible will take the opportunity to attend and provide their views.

During the meeting a Voting Slip will be provided to all attendees and the PC will adopt the position expressed by the majority of those who have voted in their response to BDC. For anyone who is unable to attend the meeting in person but wishes to record a vote, you can ask a friend or neighbour to pick up a Voting Slip for you at the meeting or alternatively a Voting Slip can be downloaded/printed from the PC website after 3 August. These paper forms must then be returned to the Clerk (The Bays, Gages Road, Belchamp St Paul CO10 7BX) by 5pm on Thursday 10 August. The result of the vote will be published on the PC website on 12 August.

Residents are also strongly encouraged to submit their individual comments on the application direct to BDC via the Planning Portal. At the request of the PC, BDC has agreed to extend the deadline for comments from residents to 25 August 2023 (although at the present time the deadline showing on the BDC has not yet been updated).

Please come along and HAVE YOUR SAY !

PARISH COUNCIL ACCOUNTS AND AUDIT FOR 2022-23  (Posted 4 June 2023) 

The PC Accounts and Audit Return, for the period 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023, were approved at the Parish Council meeting held on 16 May 2023. Please go to the "Accounts Documents" tab on this website to view all the Accounts and Audit documents.  

2023 PARISH COUNCIL ELECTION ON 4 MAY - RESULTS (Posted 6 April 2023)

BDC has published the Nomination Lists for Belchamp St Paul and Belchamp Otten parishes and in both cases this will be an uncontested election. 6 valid nominations were received for BSP and 7 seats are available so the final seat will be filled by co-option. 4 valid nominations were received for Belchamp Otten and there are 4 seats available so all are filled. With effect from 8 May the Councillors for BSP will be Harvey Bamford, Ruth Carter, Robin Lock, David McKee, David Middleditch and John Pheby and for Belchamp Otten the Councillors will be, Holly Chaplin, Sarah Mardon, Tony Money and Hannah Rumsey.

PC MEETING DATES FOR 2023 (Posted 29 December 2022)

Parish Council meetings will be held on the following dates in 2023: 17 January, 28 February, 4 April (starting at 8pm as it follows the BSP Annual Assembly), 16 May (Annual Council meeting), 4 July, 5 September, 17 October and 28 November. 

The Annual Assembly meetings will be held on Monday 3 April for Belchamp Otten (in The Red Lion) and on Tuesday 4 April for Belchamp St Paul (in The Community House). 

All meetings will start at 7.30pm unless stated otherwise. The public are welcome to attend all meetings.

DISTRICT AND COUNTY COUNCILLOR REPORTS TO BE PUBLISHED ON THE PC WEBSITE (Posted 31 October 2022)

Following a suggestion from a resident at the last PC meeting, the PC will in future be publishing the reports from our District Councillor Iona Parker and County Councillor Peter Schwier which are provided for each PC meeting. These can be found on the website under the 'Minutes' tab.

PROPOSAL TO SITE A SOLAR FARM OFF BAKERS ROAD, BELCHAMP ST PAUL  (Posted September 2022)

You will all have recently received a hand delivered leaflet from the developers (BSR Energy) providing details about their proposed solar farm off Bakers Road, Belchamp St Paul.  

BSR Energy are holding their own consultation, to obtain the views of residents of Belchamp St Paul and neighbouring villages, which runs until 16 October 2022.  

The Parish Council urge all residents to take the time to study the proposal. It is important that as many local people as possible take part in this consultation and provide feedback, as this could influence the details in the final planning application when it is submitted to BDC.  

Details of the scheme can be found online at www.BSRknowlgreen.co.uk .

NEW COUNCILLOR FOR BELCHAMP OTTEN (Posted 6 September 2022)

At the September PC meeting, Hannah Rumsey was co-opted onto the PC, to fill the vacancy to represent Belchamp Otten. We hope that she will enjoy her new Parish Councillor role.

BDC ROAD SWEEPING SCHEDULE FOR 2023   (Posted 6 March 2023)

 BDC will be carrying out road channel sweeping in both Belchamp St Paul and Belchamp Otten on the dates listed below. They request that residents avoid parking on the road on these days so that the sweeper has clear access to the road channels. Thank you for your co-operation.

Monday 20 February,  Friday 26 May, Tuesday 29 August and Tuesday 28 November 2023.

DEFIBRILLATOR AT BELCHAMP OTTEN

Following a successful application for funding to the National Lottery, a defibrillator has been installed in the former Telephone Box, The Street, Belchamp Otten CO10 7BG for use by residents in an emergency (to restart someone's heart). The defibrillator is in a locked cabinet and in an emergency you need to dial '999'  (from your mobile phone) to obtain the code to release it. The machine then 'talks you through' exactly what you need to do, step by step, to operate it successfully. Anyone can therefore use it at any time.  

Please note that there is also a further defibrillator on the outside wall of The Community House in Belchamp St Paul which was installed a couple of years ago.

PLEASE NOTE THAT TRAINING IS NOT ESSENTIAL TO USE THE DEFIBRILLATOR AS DETAILED VERBAL INSTRUCTIONS ARE PROVIDED DURING OPERATION. 

EMERGENCY SUPPLY OF BDC RECYCLING RUBBISH BAGS    (Posted 2016)

All households receive a regular supply of Recycling Bags direct from BDC. If however you run out before the next scheduled delivery you can obtain an emergency supply from the Clerk.  

ANGLIAN WATER LAUNCH "POLLUTION WATCH"  (Posted 2016)

AW have launched a new campaign to ensure that all incidents of sewage pollution are dealt with as quickly as possible to minimise the impact on the environment. They are investing £5.5m in network maintenance but if you spot any potential sewage pollution issues you can ring their dedicated Pollution Hotline 03457 145145 to report them and so enable them to respond sooner and look after our rivers and waterways. 

UK POWER NETWORKS - PRIORITY SERVICES REGISTER FOR VULNERABLE RESIDENTS   (Posted 2016)

UK Power Networks are the people who are responsible for keeping the electricity on in our area, regardless of your chosen energy supplier. They own and maintain all the electricity lines and cables. They keep a list of ‘vulnerable residents’ on their Priority Services Register so that if there is a power cut they can ensure that those who need it will receive extra support. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they can get the power back on more quickly but they can provide a priority 24 hour telephone number/ regular text or phone updates/ extra support from the British Red Cross to visit your home during an emergency (they’ll check with you first).

If you are elderly or disabled, have young children or rely on specialised medical equipment then you can apply to go onto the Priority Services Register at www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/priority.  

DEFIBRILLATOR  AT THE COMMUNITY HOUSE, BELCHAMP ST PAUL   (Posted 2015)

A defibrillator has been installed on the front wall of The Community House for use by residents in an emergency (to restart someone's heart). The defibrillator is in a locked cabinet and in an emergency you need to dial '999'  (from your mobile phone) to obtain the code to release it. The machine then 'talks you through' exactly what you need to do, step by step, to operate it successfully. Anyone can therefore use it at any time.  

The Parish Council organised a defibrillator training session, run by Essex Ambulance Service, on 25 February 2016 to allow local residents to familiarise themselves with the defibrillator and receive some basic First Aid advise. Everyone who attended found this very useful. If you missed this training session but would be interested in future sessions please contact the Parish Clerk Diane Smith. If there is sufficient interest more training sessions may be arranged.

PLEASE NOTE THAT TRAINING IS NOT ESSENTIAL TO USE THE DEFIBRILLATOR AS DETAILED VERBAL INSTRUCTIONS ARE PROVIDED DURING OPERATION.