Elsenham Vale Trim Trails – Documents And Statement

There has been some discussion locally over the future plans for maintenance of the recreational area of Elsenham Vale – known as the Trim Trails.

Originally developed by Crest Nicholson, the developers’ aim was for Elsenham Parish Council to accept a sum of money in return for taking over their maintenance. After careful consideration, the Parish Council declined to do this.

In the following statement, Elsenham Parish Council Chairman Dr. Graham Mott outlines some of the background to this decision, including the original plans for the area.

The Parish Council (PC) was not involved in drawing up the Section 106 (S106) agreement which was negotiated between Uttlesford District Council (UDC) and the developers prior to the commencement of the project.  The PC found out what was in the S106 only when it was published.

It provided that on completion Crest Nicholson would maintain the area including the trim trail for a year, and the Parish Council would then have the option to take it over.  If the option was accepted, the PC would be paid £130,000, index linked from the date of the planning approval to the date of payment, for the maintenance of the area for twenty years.  After that period of time, the PC would be wholly responsible.

Some parish councils decline all such proposals as a matter of policy, but we decided that we would consider each case on its merits.  The documents which were available to the PC are a Planting Plan and Landscape Management Plan.

It is not too easy to make out the Planting Plan on the screen, but if you save, rotate and enlarge, it should help.  The key on the bottom left shows areas of grass seed, wildflower, native woodland, bulb planting and rough grassland.

It all looks very pretty.  But the first problem is that the developers made no attempt before they left the site to follow the Planting Plan.  The defect was pointed out to UDC by the PC.  There were other problems – for instance the several efforts to stabilise the footpath through the trim trail, particularly near the motorway where it was washed away several times.

The second issue was that the Management Plan is very detailed.  It was felt that, even if the area had been brought up to the required standard, the Parish Council would be held to the details as prescribed, and we would need to employ contractors for the purpose.  £130,000 / 20 = £6,500 pa, which did not look very generous.

The PC decided, therefore, that there was no option other than to decline to adopt the area.  Our understanding was that the maintenance payment that Crest Nicholson was due to pay to the PC was now going to the management company for maintenance purposes, and therefore the residents would not have an increase in their payments for some years.  But it seems that did not happen and some lesser sum was made available.

There have been several misconceptions – one resident said that the PC had had discussions with the landscaping subcontractor, but in fact we’d never heard of them.  We did have discussions with CN.

Summary:  The PC was not party to the agreement that we should have the option of taking over the area.  CN made no attempt to bring it up to the standard specified.  The Management Plan was very detailed and would have been expensive to implement.  Discussions were held with CN but not with the landscape subcontractor. 

The PC was under no obligation to accept the area, and members felt there was no alternative to declining the offer.

Essex Homeowners Offered £10,000 To Go Green And Save On Bills

From Essex Council –

Funding is available for energy efficiency improvements to help make your home more cosy this winter.

Making your home more energy efficient will help save you money on future energy bills.

Are you a homeowner with a combined household income below £30,000 and an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E, F, or G?

If you answered yes to the above, you could be eligible for free local authority funding of up to £10,000 to install energy efficiency measures in your home.

Essex Council’s trusted partner, Aran Insulation, will assess your eligibility, carry out a survey on your home and complete the installation.

This funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis and all work must be completed by 30 June 2021.

Check your eligibility and apply today or call Aran Insulation on 0800 587 7795 or  01284 812 520 to avoid missing out.

Parish Council Noticeboards

After an incident on Friday, April 30, Elsenham Parish Council would like to remind residents that the Public sections of the Parish Council Notice Boards are not for advertising businesses.

Any posts advertising businesses will be removed by the Parish Council.

His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh 10 June 1921 – 9 April 2021

We are deeply saddened by the passing of His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh. On behalf of Elsenham Parish Council, we would like to express our sincere condolences to The Queen and the Royal Family at this time.  Married for 73 years, Prince Philip demonstrated extraordinary dedication and commitment to public duty and as a devoted consort to Her Majesty The Queen.

Our sorrow is shared by people across the world, as we remember with affection and gratitude a lifetime of service by His Royal Highness.

Residents are encouraged to safely pay their respects through the virtual book of condolence which will be available on the official website of The Royal Family from Saturday 10 April.

The laying of flowers is not recommended at this time and we would ask people to remember the current government guidelines in place to keep us all safe.