What we do

The Parish Council is the third tier of local government, after the County Council and the District Council, but it is a non-political body. It is at the 'grass roots' and as such is in the best position to understand and represent the views of the local community.

The Parish Council has a surprising number of powers that it can exercise if it so wishes. Below are some of the activities Helions Bumpstead Parish Council currently carries out for the benefit of the Village:

  • Considers all planning applications relating to Helions Bumpstead, and makes comments as appropriate to the District Council
  • As Custodian Trustees of the Village Hall, supports the Hall Management Committee in maintaining the only public meeting place in the Village.
  • Provides and maintains bus shelters
  • Supports the PCC in maintaining the Churchyard
  • Maintains the Village Green
  • Maintains the Children's Playground on the Recreation Ground
  • Maintains and waymarks public footpaths and bridleways
  • Maintains highway verges
  • Provides street cleaning
  • Provides litter bins and some seats and benches in the Village
  • Provides noticeboards at the Village Hall, Wiggens Green and Drapers Green
  • Has responsibility for footpath lighting throughout the Village
  • Undertakes special projects such as the Village Appraisal, the Parish Plan and Parish Plan Update, and setting up this website.

Planning Ahead

The Parish Council was amongst the first in Essex to undertake a Village Appraisal. A questionnaire was sent to every household in November 2002, to find out how residents thought that life in our Village could be improved. The survey produced a remarkable response rate of over 90%, so the results were truly representative of the views of the Village. A report was published in April 2003, and discussed at the Annual Parish Assembly, and at further public meetings over the next year.

Subsequently, the Parish Plan was published in April 2004. This document summarised the main areas of concern, actions needed, who was responsible, and how funded. In 2007, Helions Bumpstead Parish Plan won an award from the Essex Association of Local Councils for the Best Parish Plan in Essex.

All but two of the 32 actions listed in the Parish Plan have now been completed or are well under way. That amounts to a huge amount of extra work that both the Parish Council and the Village Hall Committee have undertaken on behalf of the Village, on top of their day-to-day responsibilities.

Since we are a small village, with a small precept and no large reserves, much of this work has only been possible with grant funding from various sources. Over the last few years we have raised over £100,000 in small grants averaging less than £2,200 each. Some have come from national and regional schemes, some from Essex County Council, and some from Braintree District Council. We are very grateful to them all.

New problems have inevitably arisen. The Parish Council decided to undertake a Parish Plan Update, and in November 2007 a further survey was carried out. An Interim Report was published in June 2008, and the final Report published in June 2009. This document is in three parts. It provides a report back to the Village on the work completed from the original Parish Plan. It outlines the results of the survey carried out in 2007. And it provides a revised Parish Plan, indicating the main areas of concern that require action in the near future - our mandate for action.

Hard copies of the Village Appraisal, the Parish Plan and the Parish Plan Update Report are available from the Parish Clerk. Alternatively, the Parish Plan Update Report can be downloaded here. Details of our grants successes and work completed can be found in Part 1 of that Report.

The Council also plans to produce a Village Design Statement. This will provide planning guidance on the future development of the Village, and will improve local input into the planning decisions made by Braintree District Council.