Uttlesford villages recognised in competition

Great Bardfield. Picture: SaffronPhoto

Great Bardfield. Picture: SaffronPhoto - Credit: Archant

The community spirit in four Uttlesford villages has won them places in the Essex Village of the Year Competition.

Steeple Bumpstead came top in the category for villages with a population of less than 2,000 people and was placed third overall.

The villages are now chosen for being good places to live rather than, as in former years, for their attractive appearance.

Village of the Year has replaced the “best kept village.”

The competition is run by the Rural Community Council of Essex and sponsored by Essex and Suffolk Water.

Steeple Bumpstead, with a population of 1,400, has a volunteer-run village library, a successful business park and a village magazine.

Chris Cadman, chairman of the parish council, said: “It’s wonderful to win and nice to see it’s about community relationships and not just hanging baskets.

Most Read

“In Steeple Bumpstead we have our own village shop, a petrol station and a post office. The competition is focused on services and the level of commitment and community impact.”

Councillors are now deciding how to spend the £100 prize money.

Cllr Cadman added: “We’ll have a talk about how to spend it for the good of the village.”

Other winners were Great Bardfield, Great Easton and Rayne, which won merit awards.

First place in the county, winning £500, went to Toppesfield and Gainsford End, a village in the Braintree district with a population of 500.

This became the overall winner out of 38 entrants after judges found it to be a “vibrant” and “remarkably enterprising” community.