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Stanstead St Margaret’s Parish Council Chairman’s Report, 2019

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT 2019

I became a Parish Councillor replacing my father when he died in 1966, which means I have served for 50 years on St. Margaret’s Parish Council. So this is not only an annual report but more like a history.

St. Margaret’s was one of the smallest parishes with about 100 residents, and consisted of Hoddesdon Road from the bottom of St. Margaret’s Road northwards to Station Road, then east down to the River Lea.

In the early 1970’s Fred Eva was chairman and he received a letter from the boundary commission asking if we were satisfied with our boundaries. I said if they are considering changing the boundaries that we can’t get much smaller, so we should ask for an increase to include St. Margaret’s Road and St. Margaret’s Station, which were in Great Amwell.

To our surprise they agreed to St Margaret’s Road and the fields northwards up to Amwell Cross Roads (as it was known then). They would not accept our request for the station but agreed to define a boundary down the middle of the B181 road between Great Amwell and St Margaret’s down to the River Lea which would replace a wavy line, which nobody could follow.
In 1982, I became an East Herts District Councillor where I worked with the Director of Planning, David Beales.

When the paint factory closed with the loss of 100 jobs, unwelcome guests began using the empty buildings. I approached David Beales and he said the buildings should be demolished and replaced with houses, So Lawrence Avenue was born with a name suggested by our Parish Council taken from a plaque in the floor o the church near the alter dated 1657.

The much needed, bypass was eventually built in 1987. When completed, cash was made available to redesign the High Street from Roydon Road to the River Lea. The Director of Planning then stepped in with an allocation of £40,000 to finish the job up to the station, including a rough area left when the Buntingford line closed.

Since then the industrial village has completely changed. Starting with Haytons Tomato Nursery now under the bypass. Then Smiths Farm which sold large lorryloads of hay and straw is replaced by The Granary housing development. Westcliff Engineering rented the Manor Barn, which has now reverted back to residential.

A large builder’s yard ‘The Spinney’ now houses 43-69 Hoddesdon Road. The nurseries growing flowers for Covent Garden Market is now 1-87 Sanville Gardens. Stockers Coal yard is now Louisville Close, while the petrol station has been replaced by Springwell Court.

All this has been completed in a ‘Village Conservation’ area where planning officers consider general massing detailed design use of materials and landscaping has been pleasingly executed to create a rural village atmosphere.

Our most valuable asset now is the area of green belt north of St Margaret’s Road down to Amwell Roundabout. The last bit of Rural East Herts where any development would connect us to Hoddesdon and Greater London sprawl.

In the last 12 months we have;

  • Worked with Ringway to discover and repair a cracked drainage pipe at the top of Hoddesdon Road, which was prone to heavy flooding.
  • Formed a voluntary group of moorings rangers with local residents with the help of the Canal & River Trust to improve the area along the River Lea by the Jolly Fisherman and we continue to be involved, which shows our long-term commitment.
  • Working with East Herts, we were able to resolve tree issues along Lawrence Avenue parallel to the A414 and we continue to look other issues relating to green spaces.
  • We joined forces with the Local History Society, Nicholas Buxton and Stanstead Abbotts Parish Council to bring the Beacon of Light event at Easneye to celebrate 100 years of the end of WW1.
  • With the environmental expertise of one of our Councillors, we have been involved in the fight against the plans for the Incinerator in Hoddesdon.Our Parish Council is a member of the Neighbourhood Planning Group working with Stanstead Abbotts Parish Council to research and work on areas such as housing, transport, leisure facilities, businesses to name but a few.
  • We continue to report fly tipping and have recently agreed with the local authority to install preventative measures.
  • On a final note, I wish to take this opportunity to say thank you to all our Parish Councillors for their time and effort to improve the village during the past year. Thank you to Mike Allen our former District Councillor for his time and assistance in addition to Martin and June Robinson who have resigned from our Parish Council for personal reasons and we wish them both well. I look forward to seeing you all again in the coming year.

    Nigel Copping

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