The housing development north of the River Stort Gilston Park
Nearly ten years ago, representatives from all the villages in this immediate area met to oppose the East of England Plan which envisaged a large scale housing development on land north of Harlow. This group was named the Stop Harlow North Group and was lead by the Independent District Councillor Nigel Clark. Their work was very instrumental in averting the development of some 20/30,000 houses. Time moves on and the East Herts Draft District Plan provides for a smaller development, providing some 2,500 houses, in the same area. The developers (Places for People) are proposing a much larger scheme of some 5,000-10,000 dwellings. The Stop Harlow North Group, are now fighting to make sure that any development is provided with all the necessary infrastructure, and that the planners take into account the present facilities in the area, (i.e water quality and provision, the capacity of the existing sewerage facilities, let alone road and transport). If you travel to Harlow by bus or car, you may not realize how close this development will come to Widford, and that it will be drawing on our already stretched infrastructure.
Until recently the former chairman of the Parish Council, Dr Ian Brett, had been our representative on the Stop Harlow North committee. Ms Poppi Smith and Andy Darnell have, however, now taken his place. If you would like to know more about this issue please contact either Poppi or Andy, at Chestnut Tree Cottage or you can contact the secretary of the group Bernadette Dunthorne (bernadettedunthorne [at] btinternet.com).
The Widford Relief In Need Charity is made up of three charities:
1. Mary Mason’s Charity, founded by a will dated November 2nd 1808.
2. The Charity of an Unknown Donor.
3. The Charity is known as the Poor House.
These three were amalgamated in 1896 into one, which was thereafter known collectively as Widford Relief In Need of Charity.
Back in 1896, donations were given to cover particular needs within the community. Entries in the Minutes Book range from a £5 donation to the nursing fund (“as long as a clause is put in the rules that the nurse does not attend any contagious cases”), 10 shillings for urgent dental treatment and help for “two poor boys” to attend school. One resident remembers that their own grandparents were always pleased to receive their sack of coal at Christmas time.
The only income nowadays comes from just two sources. The first is the rental of Poors Land, a field of some 14 acres situated along Green Lane (Green Lane, unsigned, leads off Medcalf Hill to Howletts Road). The second is from a charitable trust with similar aims which is administered by the Parochial Church Council.
There are five Trustees. The Chairman is the Rector, two Trustees are appointed by the Parish Council and two other trustees are co-opted. It is expected these will have knowledge of the Parish of Widford. We have two meetings per year, usually in June and November.
The Trustees are very aware of the changing needs in our community and strive to make the best use of a small fund.
For further information, please contact the Rector in the first instance.
Revd. Mark Dunstan. (01920) 877276
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Changes to Footpath 18 as proposed by Modification Order 2011 were discussed recently at a Public Inquiry. A number of the original objectors were able to give evidence and make their case. The hearing was adjourned and the final decision was reserved pending the Inspectors report.
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