From the Parish Council Archives
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The Parish Council was formed under the Local Government Act 1894, and held its first meeting on 14th December 1894. The Reverend W. B. C. Wilder was appointed Chairman, a post he held for 38 years until his death in 1932. Parish Council Meetings were held frequently until 1906. From recorded minutes, there were seven Parish Meetings from 1906 to 1930, and at a meeting in February 1930, W. B. C. Wilder was the only person present and he was later informed that "he was the Parish Council!!" The Parish Council was re-formed in 1946, with the Reverend E. S. Barrington-Barnes as Chairman, but the minutes show that only two meetings were held. In 1955, what can be considered the current day Parish Council began, with regular meetings held froml955 to present times. R. S. Ryder was appointed Chairman in 1955, and held this post for the 40 years to 1995. A. W. Knight was Chairman from 1995-2007. Thus, in the 113 years from 1894, there were only five Parish Council Chairmen.
PARISH COUNCIL 1894 - 1981
Parish Council records show that the first meeting took place on 14th December, 1894, under the new Local Government Act, and the school was normally used for meetings from that date.
It seems that in those days the council only met annually; however, it was as concerned then as it is today with the state f the roads and particularly the footpaths'. Below are examples of sores of the more interesting subjects discussed and comments made at Parish Council meetings: -
1. "June 7th, 1902: The best means of celebrating the King's Coronation (Edward VII) ...... it was proposed by Mr. Turner and seconded by Mr. Watson that all men over 13 contribute no less than Is and that all between the ages of 13 and 18 contribute 6d and this will enable those who subscribe to bring their wives and families. This was carried."
2. "5th March, 1904 ... So little interest seems to be taken in this Parish in matters which affect all that only two were found to be present. Their signatures are herewith appended.
(signed) W.B. Wilder
A. Jolly "
3. "27th December, 1906 (Copy of letter from Lord Hampden to the Rev. W.B. Wilder) ... I am not inclined to do anything at Great Bradley Churchyard if there is to be any question raised as to proprietary rights. In this case I would rather sit still and let others waste their substance in legal expenses over a matter, which is not worth a �5 note to anyone. If matters can be quietly and amicably arranged and Mr. Smith is willing to take away his shed and let the waste on which it stands revert to the Church, I will put up the fence as I proposed and throw the small corner piece which is now waste into the Churchyard. You were with me when the fence was staked out so that you can understand my proposal exactly without my further explaining it."
4. "November 28th, 1910 ..... to consider the question of exterminating the rats in the Parish. It was proposed by Mr. Long and seconded by Mr. Penchey that Messrs. Cooper and Brooke to appointed Rat Catchers in Chief assisted by two convenient lads, the wages to be 15/-s a week between the two chief Rat Catchers, as fixed by the District Council of this Union; and further that Mr. Wilder be appointed Surveyor in Chief to view the dead rats and keep a record thereof. The same to be buried at once.
Rat destroying commenced in the Parish on November 30th 1910 and terminated on February 13th 1911, total numbers destroyed and buried 2506. Payment to Rat Catchers for same �8.5s.0d."
5. "June 12th, 1911 To take into consideration the Coronation Festivities (George V) ..... It was proposed by Mr. Turner and seconded by Mr. Webb that the men work for half the day on June 22nd.... Further it was proposed that all men pay 1s, all women 6d and lads up to the age of 18 - 6d .... Mr. Smith said his family were prepared to undertake the entertainment of all the schoolchildren, this to be his donation to the village fund ...... With respect to all aged people it was agreed to invite them to the public dinner free of cost. The Chairman made a note that 7 dozen ginger beer were to be procured. ...''
Between 1919 and 1929 there are no records of minutes.
The next entry is on 12th February, 1930, when it is recorded ;-
6. "A Parish meeting was convened to elect Parish Councillors, but as no one attended, the Chairman was later informed that he was the Parish Council'. I"
(signed) W.B. Wilder
7. "March 16th, 1935 .... concerning the method of celebrating the Silver Jubilee of George V on May 6th .... Mrs. Pemberton- Barnes' kind invitation to entertain the parishioners of Gt. and Lt. Bradley was discussed and accepted, so far as the adult
population was concerned, to dinner. It was decided to entertain the children to dinner in Great Bradley and to have a parochial tea for all parishioners in the afternoon. Mr. Deacon kindly offered to lend his ground for sports between hours to be arranged. Mrs. Wilder was asked to consult with the wives of those present about arrangements for tea."
8. "April 24th, 1935 ..... The Committee decided to celebrate the occasion as follows :
10.30am Children to assemble at the School. Flags to be distributed and march to Church.
11.00am Service in Church broadcast from St. Paul's Cathedral.
2.00pm Cricket match; Married v Single.
3.00pm All parishioners to be entertained to a Meat-Tea in Mr. Custerson's barn.5.30pm Sports and Dancing in Mr. Deacon's grounds.
The Boys Band to be in attendance for the dance.
Hampers to be sent to certain aged or infirm parishioners
Again, between 1935 and 1946, there are no minutes, on 16th April, 1946, a new Parish Council was formed and a Special Meeting was held on 25th April of that year" ... by request of the Parishioners relating to the closing down of "The Three Tuns", the chair being taken by Mr. R. Custerson. After discussing the matter, it was decided that the Secretary should send a letter to the Clerk of the Clare Divisional Bench to ask that it should be placed before them at the next sitting, the letter to recommend that "The Three Tuns" was not closed."
After this date, the Council met and still meets at regular intervals, subjects having come under discussion being mains drainage for the village, electricity for East Green, coppers for council house bungalows in Evergreen Lane, Great Bradley's entry into the Best Kept Village Competition (which we finally won in 1966), street lighting, planning applications, speed limits, and the provision of a Village Hall.
One of the most important items discussed in recent years followed a Public Notice published-in the Cambridge News on Friday, 24th January, 1969. The essence of the Public Notice was that the Essex River Authority planned to construct boreholes, trial pits or other works and to install and operate machinery or equipment for the purpose of ascertaining the nature of the subsoil, and the lands over or under which the Notice would be exercisable were parts of; Brinkley, Burrough Green, Dullingham, Kirtling, Stetchworth, Wooddittcn, Carlton cum Dullingham, Weston Colville and the greater part of Great Bradley. The point of this operation was to eventually construct a reservoir. In other words, most of our village would have been under water!
Needless to say, this proposal caused general alarm and consternation, and the Parish Council promptly met to discuss the matter. As a result, on 7th February, 1969, letters were sent to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, the Parliamentary Agents, and the West Suffolk County Council, objecting to the application on the grounds of disruption of life in the community due to the flooding of housing, cutting of roads and consequent increase of traffic on alternative routes, spoiling of the character of the area, the loss of natural resources from the flooding and of good agricultural land, and the lack of present evidence that alternative water storage was not available, e.g. Wash Barrage.
Following this, application for planning permission was made by the Essex River Authority, to drill temporary bore-holes or other works at Great Bradley and Cowlinge, to ascertain the nature of the subsoil, and en 14th April, l969 the West Suffolk County Council granted planning permission for this work to be done, upon the condition that "the sites shall be restored to their former condition".
The outcome of these lengthy discussions was that no decision to build such a reservoir was taken and it is unlikely that the reservoir will ever be built. The scheme was not included in the list of proposals considered by the Water Resources Board for augmenting water supplies in the area up to the year 2001.