Parish council joins highest performers

PUBLISHED: 12:56 28 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:23 31 May 2010

Cllr Peter Stocking with the award MICHAEL BOYTON

Cllr Peter Stocking with the award MICHAEL BOYTON

A PARISH council has joined an elite group of the country s high-performing authorities in record-breaking time. Established as recently as 2004, Sewards End Parish Council was awarded Quality Parish Status last Tuesday - the first council to earn the awa

A PARISH council has joined an elite group of the country's high-performing authorities in record-breaking time.

Established as recently as 2004, Sewards End Parish Council was awarded Quality Parish Status last Tuesday - the first council to earn the award in such a short space of time.

Chairman of the parish council Peter Stocking said: "It's fantastic to be recognised in this way - we haven't been doing this for very long so it is good to know we are doing something right.

"We like to think we have made a positive difference to the village and we will continue to do so."

At a full meeting of Uttlesford District Council (UDC), where the award was announced, chairman Cllr Catherine Dean described it as a "great achievement".

Sewards End became only the fourth parish council in Uttlesford to receive the award and it joins a select group of authorities which includes Newport, Stansted Mountfitchet, and Birchanger.

Chief executive of the Essex Association of Local Councils Joy Sheppard presented the award to Mr Stocking. She said: "This is a national award of some status and there are tough criteria that the parish council needs to meet.

"The awarding panel felt that Sewards End serves their electorate well and have achieved a lot in the short time they have been running."

Nationally there are 533 Quality councils and 43 in Essex. Quality councils must show they have met certain criteria including having a qualified clerk, holding a minimum number of meetings which are open to the public, having communication with the electorate, an annual report and proper accounting.

Parish clerk Tracy Costin said: "We have done a number of things to improve village life. We worked with the Village Hall Committee to purchase the green, and with Essex County Council to install traffic calming measures.

"The village triangle has been redeveloped and it really enhances the look of the area."

Mrs Costin, who has worked for over a year to pass the Quality clerk training, said that the award was important because it shows the council is doing everything properly and recognises the achievements they have made.

The Quality status will also allow the council access to more grants in the future.

The parish council is continuing to look for new ways to improve the village and they are currently planning to fund-raise for new play equipment on the village green.

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