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Previous Issues
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Dog Poo
and related matters

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a  problem?

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Writtle Annual Parish Meeting
Wednesday 8.00 pm 25th April 2001
A parishioner's View

Many of us probably have a fixed vision of what our parish councillors do and look like.  I am probably no exception my impressions were that they are a collection of old fuddy-duddies with nothing better to do with their time but to interfere in other peoples business.  So when, a big leaflet  advertising the Parish meeting came through my door, I thought I would go along and see what it was all about.  So armed with pencil and paper  and a small camera I duly attended on the day!
I arrived at about 7.45 pm to see the hall three quarters full and along  the front
 of the hall below the stage was a row of tables behind which sat our parish councillors. I did not realize that we have 15, they are all listed in the back of Writtle News, and most of them were there.

Those of you who are members of organized clubs or societies  will know about all the procedural stuff that has to  be done:  Apologies for absence,  Approve last years meeting's minutes.  This fortunately was done swiftly, and we could get on to some serious  business....
During last year we saw the departure of our Village Bobby and village policing being carried out from Chelmsford. This change caused great stirrings in the community at large.  
Sergeant Bernie Dawson from the Chelmsford Community Policing Team had come along to explain the new community policing policy in Chelmsford and how it would effect Writtle and other small communities around Chelmsford.  There were several disgruntled (pardon the joke) members of the Writtle community who wondered where the police were when called, and whether their calls were regarded with any seriousness. Sergeant Dawson was articulate and patient under the barrage of  complaints.  He countered with brief details of a newly formulated local policing, policy that would he assured us would help response times and result in a more efficient and visible service. An article on the perils of local policing from the Police side and on this new policy is planned  for later in the month/next issue.  :
During his talk Sergeant quoted some interesting figures about crime in the area.  The figure quoted are from my notes which may not be totally accurate, as I have trouble reading my own hand writing!.  Full stats will be published when I have found them on the Essex Police website   Essex is the fourth safest county in the UK  and the crime figures for Writtle last year were from my notes. 
330 reported crimes
43 detected
13 affected dwellings
41 affected other property (sheds?)
42 affected motor vehicles
16 against persons
From figures published in the accounts there are 4512 electors in the Parish, which results in  1 crime/13.6 electors and only 1  against person crime/282 electors
Are things that bad?  Tell us what you think.
Eventually we moved on to more sedate matters a bit of patting on the back mainly for the wonderful job the Millennium Committee had done. Everyone agreed that last years event at the end or beginning of the millennium were a great success.  
After that brief interlude back to to the nitty-gritty! The green belt and possible village expansion and incursion into the green belt.  Again a lot of disgruntled feeling about this topic, mainly due to miss-information and rumours.  It was stated that the Village Plan did not include any development of the Green belt for the next 10 years, but we had to hold a realistic view that development will come in the future.  At present a  facilities balance between  population and services exists which in some planners view precludes any development.  But for the next few years the much cherished barrier between Chelmsford and Writtle will survive.
The next subjects for discussion  (I have covered  them somewhat lighthearted in this issue already) were you guessed, it traffic/parking and dog pooh.  I'm not going to dwell to long on this subject but it does seem to be of great concern  to a many of the residents of Writtle and the views expressed elsewhere in this publication are not too distant from those expressed at this meeting.  We will be publishing a photographic survey of parking and road obstructions in the village  carried out at various times of the day and week during last month.  This should be up  by the second week in May.

Finally all that was left was any other business, but by that time we were all to exhausted and desperate for drink.  The meeting was closed and a general free for all declared and after a few words with the Chairman and the Sergeant I retired for what I believed a well deserved couple of pints

Well! was it worthwhile?  Yes 
As I stated in my opening comments I expected well, Fuddy-duddies, but what we have is mostly genuine hardworking people giving up their time trying to steer the future of the village. Why do they do it? I don't know.  Could be an interesting article , any volunteers from the council? They probably have very little power and only a small amount of influence but as one of them said  (my paraphrasing) " if you keep knocking on  the door someone will  eventually let you in"   In general they get a bad press probably due to the lack of any Press bar some notes in the Writtle News.  The effect of a bit of advertising has been enormous.  The leaflet through our doors resulted in about a 100 people attending the meeting compared to 17 last year.  I do not think things are any worse than last year, but more people got to know about it via the leaflet.  Let us know what is going on more often, spend some of the money we pay to the parish keeping us informed.  Not everyone reads the Writtle News.  Lets have a bit of colour,  blow your own trumpet more often and possibly the next  Annual Meeting could be full of positive comments and less disgruntled-of-writtle.

We live in, on the whole, in a pleasant  village.  Let's not forget our senses of humour  and  or get things out of  perspective. If all we have to worry about is dog pooh and some  traffic congestion, life can't be all that bad can it.

Disgruntled of Writtle



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