Little Berkhamsted Parish Council

The civil parish of Little Berkhamsted covers the village of Little Berkhamsted and the hamlets of Epping Green and Howe Green. The council comprises seven elected members and meets in the village hall at 8.00pm usually on the 3rd Wednesday of alternate months. Members of the public are welcome to attend all meetings and, other than during the item for public comment, may only speak if invited to do so by the Chairman.

As part of its commitment to open government, the parish council is making much of its information that is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 available on this website.

Members of the Parish Council

Role Person
Chair: Cllr Ellis Downes
17 Stockings Lane, Little Berkhamsted : Tel: 01707 873450
Vice chair: Cllr Elaine Hunter
6 Goddards Close, Little Berkhamsted : Tel: 01707 875961
Members: Cllr Peter Kent
Old Manor Cottage, Little Berkhamsted : Tel: 01707 875910
Cllr Wayne Morris
12 Little Berkhamsted Lane : Tel: 01707 874169
Cllr Derek Standbrook
Ashfield Cottage, Howe Green : Tel: 01707 261521
Cllr Penny Stokes
The Wall House Cottage, Bucks Alley : Tel: 07956 312168
Cllr Kate Noble
Danes Farm, Little Berkhamsted : 07852 776 222
Clerk to the council: Laura Brooks-Payne
for postal address, please email
clerk@littleberkhamsted.org.uk

Register of Interests

In accordance with the Localism Act 2011 all local authorities had to adopt a new Code of Conduct based on the seven Nolan Principles of conduct in public life; selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

Within twenty eight days of taking office members are required of submit a Register of Interests disclosing pecuniary and other non-pecuniary interests which must be published. Failure to do so is a criminal offence.

The Monitoring Officer of East Herts District Council is responsible for establishing and maintaining the Register.

Representatives at Higher Tiers of Government

East Herts District Council, 01279 655261 eastherts.gov.uk | Linda Haysey linda.haysey@eastherts.gov.uk

Hertfordshire County Council, 01438 737555 hertfordshire.gov.uk | Ken Crofton ken.crofton@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Member of Parliament (Hertfordshire North East constituency): Oliver Heald : 01763 247640

Chairman's Annual Report

Dear Resident

On behalf of Little Berkhamsted Parish Council, it is my pleasure to present our Annual Report detailing the Council’s activities. This will be discussed in more detail at the Annual Parish Meeting on Wednesday 24th March 2021.

It goes without saying that the last few months have been hugely challenging, as the world grapples with the effects of the covid pandemic. Like many organisations, the Parish Council has had to learn to adapt by holding virtual meetings, undertaking a great deal of its work electronically, and sadly we have been unable to hold social events and other village functions due to adhering closely to the Government’s regulations.

Against this challenging background, I believe the Parish Council has successfully delivered a wide-range of projects that are all designed to improve village life for residents. In this brief report I will highlight a few of these, and provide more details at the Annual Parish Meeting being held on 24th March at 8pm. This will be held virtually: Details of the Zoom log in details are Meeting ID: 970 2401 3738 Passcode: 101879

I hope many of you will be able to join us. We welcome questions and comments from residents to help shape our work.

Pavilion Probably our biggest project over the last few months has been the renovation of the pavilion. Through the generosity of a local resident, Mr Lohia, and the successful award of a number of hard-won grants we raised funds to undertake a major renovation project. Repairs have been made to the roof. The interior, including the kitchen, has been modernised, plumbing and electrical works have been undertaken and we now have a pavilion that is an important asset for our community. As well as being used by the cricket team, such a lovely sight in the summer, the pavilion is going to be used for child-care and is available for residents to use for their own events. We have ambitious plans moving forward including renovation of the bar area. Hopefully as we get back to normal life post-covid, we can hold social functions, including barbeques before too long.

Village Hall The Parish Council has undertaken on-going, maintenance work of this lovely old building which needs a lot of care. We are grateful as always to Sandie Ash for her unstinting work taking bookings and looking after the village hall. We hope residents, and others, use the hall for birthday parties, meetings, clubs and other social events. We have installed an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) on the outside wall of the village hall. This is in a prominent central location, lit at night. The Parish Council checks it is appropriately maintained. Its location means that in the event of a suspected cardiac arrest in the village, be it on the playing field, in the pub, village shop or elsewhere, by providing rapid correction to heart-rate abnormalities, there is a higher chance of survival.

**Highways A major project has been the installation of Speed Indicator Devices (SID’s) which have been installed following residents’ requests in the village. These are situated in Robins Nest Hill and Church Road. I’m sure we would all agree too many cars and lorries speed through our village, and the aim of these devices, by highlighting a vehicle’s speed to its driver is to get them to slow down. I’m aware opinions from residents about the desirability, or not, of the individual SID locations, but these were ultimately decided by Hertfordshire Council and not the Parish Council. The bus shelter has been refurbished, and looks so lovely with its flowers. Thank you to Bridget Toomey. New Village Signs have been installed coming into the village which are easier to read than the previous ones. We have also had another competition for school children to design Road Signs which you will see displayed in the village. The Parish Council has also committed itself to the “20’s Plenty for Us” campaign where, like other villages in Hertfordshire, we would like a encourage a 20 mile per hour speed limit in the centre of the village.

Footpaths We continue to advise Hertfordshire Council of any gates and bridges on our local footpaths that need repair. We now have a circular footpath starting and ending in the village which makes for a great walk! Not the most glamorous side of the Parish Council’s work, but vital – we have installed an additional dog waste bin in the village to make it easier for dog walkers to dispose of excrement. A new litter bin has also been installed in the centre of the village beside the bus stop.

Planning The Parish Council is asked by East Herts Council to comment on all planning applications in its constituency. We take this work seriously and give a careful measured response to every application. Our initial standpoint is to be as supportive as possible. The Parish Council now, with the permission of the applicant, visits each property (usually two councillors) to understand the application in more detail before it makes it recommendations.

Village Life We completed a village survey to identify key concerns and wishes of residents which were shared at a village social evening. We now have a good village database of resident’s contact details to allow better communication. The Parish Council website has also been revamped. At Christmas we made up and distributed Christmas hampers to some of our elderly residents which were well received. In order to raise funds we have joined the East Herts Lottery and are a recognised “Good Cause”. Please encourage your family and friends to buy the odd ticket which helps the village. We also arranged a village litter pick and were so happy to see lots of residents coming along to help keep our village clean.

**Recreation Committee For many years, the Recreation Committee has raised funds and organised fabulous social events in the village. It has become increasingly difficult to find enough people to keep the committee going, and the Recreation Committee has taken the decision to disband. Its funds, raised at social events, have now been formally transferred to the Parish Council. These funds are “ring-fenced” and will be spent on social events and fundraising for the village, and will not be used for core activities.

**Conclusion I hope this brief written report demonstrates that the Parish Council has been busy! All councillors are unpaid and volunteer their time for the good of the village. We so appreciate the support of residents, and we look forward to providing greater detail of our work, and receiving your feedback at your Annual Parish Meeting which I hope you will be able to attend, virtually this year. The Covid pandemic has challenged us all, but hopefully there are better times ahead. Thank you for reading this report: We welcome your feed-back.

Forthcoming PC meetings

Future PC meetings will be:

  • 19 May
  • 14 July
  • 15 September
  • 17 November

The Annual Parish Meeting was held via Zoom video conferencing on Wednesday 24th March 2021 at 8pm. To read the Chairman's Annual Report, please see below.

Unfortunately a social event could not be held on this night, but one will be arranged when Covid regulations allow.

Documents

Parish council minutes, reports and other documents

Powers and duties of parish councils

Village Survey

Thank you to all those who completed the survey. Please find the results here.

Bridleway 18 Statement January 2021

At the Parish Council meeting on 20th January 2021 Cllr Downes read out the following statement -

  1. At PC meeting 15th January 2020, when referring to BR18, I stated Mr Moore, the owner of Breach House believed there was a discrepancy between definitive map and definitive statement.

  2. This was recorded in the minutes and circulated in a subsequent mail shot.

  3. Mr Moore made a complaint to Herts County Council alleging they had mis-stated his views which I had subsequently repeated believing they reflected his views. They investigated and published a report dated 4th December 2020.

  4. Quoting (selectively) from the report :“I have previously written an article in the Parish Magazine in which I stated: "The owners of Breach House believe there is a discrepancy between the “Definitive Statement” and the “Definitive Map”, and using the legal investigation process to which they are fully entitled to pursue, have asked Herts County Council to resolve the issue. It is important to clarify that the responsibility for doing this rests with Herts County Council. Little Berkhamsted Parish Council has no legal powers or responsibility to investigate or make a ruling in this right-of-way dispute.” The wording above is the same as the wording within the Parish Council mailshot that Mr Moore provided to me. I can only presume that the mailshot (which is undated) and the parish magazine article are the same. The chair’s email referenced Gavin (Harbour-Cooper’s) email of 15 January 2020 and he confirmed that he had read it out in the Parish Council meeting of the same day. The phrase above, written by the chair, is incorrect. Mr Moore has never stated (as far as I can tell) that there is a discrepancy between the definitive map and definitive statement. Instead, Mr Moore believes that the used route of BR18 (running through his property) is incorrect. It was the County Council who informed Mr Moore that there appeared to be an anomaly or discrepancy between the definitive map and statement after this issue had been raised by other residents. I cannot find any evidence that Gavin advised the chair of the Parish Council that Mr Moore believed that there was a discrepancy.

  5. The report says : There is a further sentence in the mailshot which is also incorrect. This sentence says: “The owners of Breach House has contacted Herts County Council because they believe the map designating the Right of Way is incorrect and does not conform to the Statement designating the Right of Way.” I cannot find any emails where Gavin Harbour-Cooper or other County Council officers have made this statement or suggested it. It is not included in Gavin (Harbour-Cooper’s) email of 15 January 2020 and nor is it suggested in that email. Given that these statements were made in a document produced by the Parish Council, I do not uphold Mr Moore’s complaint against the County Council. There is no evidence that Gavin Harbour-Cooper made either of these statements.

Following the HCC report dated 4th December 2020, I am happy to acknowledge the report confirming I misrepresented Mr Moore’s views at the Parish council meeting of 15th January 2020 with regard to these two specific issues, and welcome the opportunity of correcting my factual error.