Community news

Foxearth and District Local History Society Meeting Report – 11/9/18

About 25 members gathered at a meeting of the district society in Foxearth Village Hall on Tuesday 11th September to hear Dr Richard Young talk about the Victorian observatory dome  and   telescope on the top of the Athenaeum Club building in Bury St Edmunds. Although the town is not short of historical features the presence of the observatory was not widely known until the Club – which owns the observatory – decided in 2015 to launch a project for its restoration seeking to raise intially £6,000. The purpose of the project is to preserve a rare piece of astronomical history, show to the public views of the stars and to teach their location. Dr Young, Founder and Chairman of the enterprise described, with many photographic examples, the work involved with the first priority being the repair of the access stairs to the dome. In its present form the Athenaem building dates from 1789 with the dome being added after the Astronomer Royal, George Airy,  had given a talk on Donati’s comet which was then – in 1858 -  causing great excitement to local sky watchers. Rev. Lord Arthur Hervey was President of  the Athenaeum Society and a leader in the dynamic scientific community who added his weight to the movement for a dome.

The restoration will include a complete overhaul of the telescope which was made by the 19th century renowned firm of instrument makers – Troughton and Simms. It is a 4 inch retractor with a magnification capacity of between 30X and 300X and complete dismantlement, cleaning and re-assembly will be necessary to ensure its valued use for generations to come.

Dr. Young also talked about the rare sundial situated in the Abbey gardens.  The dial is on the side and at the top of a tall stone column – a Victorian drinking fountain -and dates from 1870 when it was given to the people of the town by the 3rd Marquess of Bristol. It is thought to be possibly the earliest example of a dial which allowed people to set their clocks by Greenwich mean time. Many photographs showed the details of the apparatus and the various astronomical inscriptions and calculations it bears.

This was a fascinating insight into a hitherto unexplored aspect of local history which generated a large number of questions and earned a warm response for Dr Young.

Secretary Clare Mathieson informed members that a reservation had been made for the Annual Dinner of the Society on Tuesday 11th December at the George, Cavendish. Members will shortly receive the menu and booking and deposit details.

Next meeting: Tuesday 9th October 7.30pm when Kelly Cornwell will talk about investigating your family history.

Ken Nice


Foxearth and Liston Parish Council Meeting – 8/9/18 – A report

The Council met on Saturday 8thSeptember with Cllr Tony Clayton in the Chair and 5 local residents present.

Housing Needs Survey: The Chairman reported 34% of residents had responded to the request for their views and that the Rural Community Council of Essex was analysing the results.

Essex County Council: No report was available.

Braintree Dostrict Council : A written report from D. Cllr Iona Parker was read. Concerning the Local Plan (to 2033), BDC must provide more information to the Inspector for the  garden communities to be included. Work will shortly begin on slip roads to connect Freeport and Braintree centre to the A120.

Public Participation Session:  A question was asked about the cleaning of the Foxearth village sign: the Clerk agreed to follow this up with the contractor

Liston Village Green: The Chairman proposed that, at the request of the Liston Residents Association,  the green should become a registered green. This would protect the area and a plaque would commemorate the “Peasants Revolt” which started there.

Defibrillator: On attempting to install the defibrillator on the front wall  of the Village Hall the Community Heartbeat Trust had found that the structure was insufficiently strong to take the weight of the equipment. The Trust will try another installation method and will make good any damage,

Broadband;  Cllr M Posen reported that County Broadband had informed interested residents that design plans are complete and that construction is due to begin in November to take about 8 weeks.

Cllr Posen noted that the villages do not have a formally registered “Broadband Champion”. He offered himself for this role – which would enable him to receive uodates directly and pass them on  – and this was agreed.

Foxearth War Memorial: Cllr Posen explained that he had discussed this project in detail with Cllr C Cox (in her capacity as Secretary of the Parochial Church Council) with a view to the Parish Council taking financial responsiblity for the restoration; as the memorial is on church land it must remain a PCC project. The Village Hall Trust had agreed to double its previous contribution of £500 leaving a budget shortfall of £1,350 which the Parish Council agreed to meet from its reserve funds.

Footpaths: Cllr. K Robson said that he would be happy to discuss any concerns or questions local residents may have about footpaths. Cllr. Robson’s details are:

                  Email :   Mobile tel. 07900263666.

Planning: No objections had been expressed to an application for a single storey extension to a property in Foxearth.

Next meeting: Saturday 10th November 2018 at 9.45 am in Foxearth Village Hall

Ken NIce


Foxearth & Liston Parish Council Meeting – 14th July 2018

The Council for Foxearth and Liston met on 14th July with Cllr. Tony Clayton in the Chair. There were 7 members of the public present.

Chairman’s report: Arising from the address given to the Meeting of Electors on  5th May by Mr David Fahie on the subject of housing needs in Foxearth,  the Council agreed to commission a report from the Rural Community Council for Essex on “Affordable Housing for local people in Foxearth” Cllr.Mark Posen agreed to be the nominated councillor to liaise with the RCCE and Mr Fahie would co-operate as requested.

District Council report: Cllr, Iona Parker summarised a recent community forum meeting looking at traffic congestion in Sudbury in connection with whch Suffolk CC has allocated funding for a thorough survey. Options for consideration include a possible relief road around the town, moving the lorry park next to Tescos and improvements to the A 134 Colchester – Sudbury road.

Public examination of the District Council’s local plan has taken place. A 5 year target for more housing has not been met and more planning applications are being granted. The Council is promoting a tourism strategy and web site. An increased number of prosecutions for fly tipping and dog assaults have been brought by BDC.

Public Question Time: A local resident asked about progress on the required refurbishment of the Foxearth Village sign and trimming of overhanging branches. Also the  clearance of foliage at Rodbridge to improve visibility and the suggested change of priority. In regard to the latter it was felt that the local authorities would probably not agree to the funding of the necessary traffic survey. It was noted that there were still potholes needing attention.

Discussion took place about the re-alignment of the War Memorial and who owns it.

Council felt that it should take responsibility for the work but there was difficulty in finding a contractor and access to it. More grant funding would be explored.

Defibrillator: Cllr. Posen explained the problem of getting quotes for an electrical supply to the telephone box. It was suggested that the defibrillator might be fixed to the exterior of the Village Hall – subject of course to the Trust having no objection -making a connection very much easier. Cllr Posen would raise the matter with the Hall Trust and Cllr Parker would find out whether planning permission would have to be sought.

Broadband: Cllr Posen understood from County Broadband that progress was being made on the Foxearth and Pentlow fibre installation. It was clearly diappointing for Liston residents that they were not included but CB have insisted that their initial deployment was for Foxearth and Pentlow. Although there is still a lot of work to do it was hoped that the first customers might be connected by December. Before then another public “briefing” meeting would be held.

Footpaths: Some paths hve been cut by County.. Cllr Posen would endeavour to obtain a quotation for this work

Planning: No objections were expressed to an application for a single storey rear extension to a property in Foxearth.

Next meeting: Saturday, 8th September 2018 at 9.45am in Foxearth Village Hall


Ken Nice