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History

The complete and comprehensive history of the Hedgerley Parish Council was very kindly compiled by our past Chairman, Michael Rice. Michael had lived in the village since birth, and served as Parish Chairman twice.

History of Hedgerley Parish Council

Local Government in Hedgerley 1894 -1980

Under the Local Government Act of 1894, the church, in the form of the Vestry meeting, ceased to be responsible for local government in parishes. Instead, Parish Councils, or in the case of parishes with fewer than three hundred inhabitants, Parish Meetings were constituted, with local electors having the right to elect the council; or with Parish Meetings, electing the Chairman and Overseers and participating in the meetings themselves.

 

Hedgerley did not have a Parish Council until 1934, when Hedgerley and Hedgerley Dean were merged. Until then the two had separate Parish Meetings. Following is a brief history of those Parish Meetings and Parish Council Meetings, taken from the minute books, complete with extracts, which give an insight into local government in Hedgerley and also some idea of the recent history of the village. In the case of the Assistant Overseer Mitchell, relevant correspondence of the time has been used to supplement the minutes.

Part 1

The Parish Meetings of Hedgerley and Hedgerley Dean, 1894-1934.

 

The first Parish Meetings were held on 4th December 1894. Hedgerley met at the School and Hedgerley Dean just across the road at Metcalfe Farm. The only item on the agenda at both the meetings was the election of a chairman. Mr. C. J. Monnington was elected at Hedgerley and Mr. George Mills at Hedgerley Dean. Those in attendance were, at Hedgerley: Mrs. Stevenson, Miss Stevenson, Rev. J.H. Matthews, Messrs. Harman, Dwight, Knox, Taylor and C. J.Monnington; at Hedgerley Dean: Messrs. George Mills, Thomas Hearne, Robert Healy, A. Saunders and F. Cox. At least two Parish Meetings had to be held every year.

 

On average the attendance at the meetings was poor, although occasionally, when subjects of particular interest to parishioners were discussed, there were good turnouts, especially at Hedgerley Dean. Entries in the minutes more often recorded low attendances, or even none at all. Mr. George Glennerster, Chairman at Hedgerely Dean, recorded at two meetings he chaired in 1918 and 1919: "no body was present".

 

Across the road in Hedgerley, the situation was no better: "At an Annual Assembly of Parish meeting convened to be held at the School on Friday the 26th day of March 1909 at seven o'clock in the evening, the Chairman Mr. F. Holme being the only person present, he adjourned the meeting to the Boys Home at Hedgerley, Mr Smith another parochial elector being present. Mr Smith was appointed provisional Chairman for the purpose of electing Parish Chairman, and Mr. F. Holme was re-elected Parish Chairman for the ensuing year, and Messrs. Holmes and Smith were duly appointed Overseers of the Poor for the ensuing year."

 

No quorum was fixed by law for a Parish Meeting, but at least two parochial electors had to be present. Amongst subjects discussed at parish meetings were the following.

 

Allotments

The subject of allotments is a hardy perennial, being mentioned in the minutes as early as 1895 and still being discussed today. The minutes of the Parish Meetings of Hedgerley Dean are particularly rich in references to allotments, the first mention being on 25th March 1895:

"That the Chairman be requested to make application to Mr. Innes to grant the two fields in the Parish of Hedgerley Dean (situate near Casualty between land belonging to Eton College in the occupation of Mr. Basden and land belonging to Mr. Walter Grove in the occupation of Mr. G. Mills) containing about 7 acres for the purpose of allotments. Several applications having been made for same."

 

The outcome of the application is not recorded and the next detailed mention is in January 1925 when a well attended meeting heard that "several objections were raised to the present allotments, viz:

1)They were in the Parish of Hedgerley.

2 They were too far from Hedgerley Dean.

3)They were situated on extremely high ground, making the carriage of manure expensive and difficult.

4) The ground rented was poor".

 

The land referred to was above Shell House alongside the Hedgerley Green to Hedgerley Church bridleway. It was suggested that, if possible, a site be found in Hedgerley Dean, a field near the Memorial Hall being mentioned. Fourteen applications for allotments were made and one application for a small holding of between five and fifteen acres by Fred Hazell. The meeting was told that "Mr Hazell had applied for several small holdings in the neighbourhood, but although an ex-soldier he had been unsuccessful. . . "

 

The subject was raised again at a meeting in March of that year. A year later at a parish meeting held on 2nd March 1926, the Chairman, Grace Hearne, suggested that Lord Burnham be approached for allotment land. The following year on 28th February:

"The allotment question was again to the fore and it was decided to ask Lord Burnham to grant a portion of the field in which the Memorial Hall stands for the purpose of garden cultivation."

 

On 29th July a reply was read out from Mr. Craft, Lord Burnham's agent: ". . . that Mr. Halse a dairy farmer, who rented the ground selected by the Parish Meeting - strongly objected to give up any land on the plea that he was providing food (milk) for the community, and instead of decreasing he wished to increase his amount of ground. Lord Burnham, however, if approached, would endeavour to provide his tenants at Casualty with allotments quite close to their homes."

 

On 30th March 1928:

"Owing to the impending sale of some of the cottages in the village, and the tenants' lack of interest at Casualty, Mr Waitman proposed an adjournment of the allotment business".

 

Parish Constables

Parish Constables were selected by the Parishes yearly and appointed by the local Magistrates. There are few entries of interest in the minutes, most of them simply record the yearly selections of the Constables, although a few mention the purchase of armlets and handcuffs. At a Parish Meeting in Hedgerley Dean in July 1917 however:

"The Chairman reported that the inspector of police had asked the co-operation of Hedgerley men, to assist in keeping in check the stone throwing and pilfering by the children in the village, as the constables were being extensively used by the military authorities and were very busy just now."

 

In the early 1930's both Hedgerley and Hedgerley Dean applied to the Quarter Sessions at Aylesbury for permission to abolish Parish Constables, as they were practically powerless and therefore superfluous. It was not until the Parishes were merged, though, that the court passed a resolution on 12th April 1935, to the effect that it was deemed to be no longer necessary for Parish Constables to be appointed by this community until further notice.

 

Water

On 14th December 1905 a Parish Meeting of Hedgerley was held to decide upon an application by Slough Waterworks Company to supply water to the village. The decision was deferred and nothing came of the application. The next mention of water comes over twenty years later at a Parish Meeting of Hedgerley Dean:

 

"At the suggestion of Mr Waitman (Guardian for Hedgerley Dean) a special meeting of ratepayers was held in the Memorial Hall on 8th July 1929. The Parish showed great interest in the question raised and almost all Ratepayers were present".

 

A resolution was unanimously adopted:

"That the parishioners of Hedgerley Dean strongly oppose the proposed conveyance of water into their parish. There are numerous wells containing excellent water, and the supplies from these wells have never been known to fail. The quantity of water obtainable is more than sufficient for the needs of the inhabitants. The conveyance of water into the parish is absolutely unnecessary."

 

The Chairman of the meeting, Grace Hearne, wrote to the Clerk of Eton Rural District Council:

"I am requested to convey to your Council:-

1) That the Parish is a very healthy one; the inhabitants appear to attain a great age.

2) That a recent case of Diphtheria (which unfortunately proved fatal) occurred not in the village of Hedgerley and Hedgerley Dean, but on the Bulstrode Estate which is about a mile from this village, and it is respectfully submitted that a thorough inspection should take place there.

3) That no living member of the village can remember a case of Diphtheria here for over forty years.

4) That it is strongly felt that the present water supplies are adequate and healthy and the question of the Company's water does not arise."

 

The villagers' fight to prevent the laying of the water main was to no avail and water finally came to Hedgerley in 1934.

 

The Post Office

There are frequent references to the Post Office, the earliest being at a Hedgerley Parish Meeting in 1910, when the introduction of Sunday closing at Hedgerley Post Office was discussed. The following year the Post Office was also closed on Thursday afternoons. In 1912 it was agreed to point out to the Postmaster General that the nearest Telegraph Office was two miles away and it was advisable that a telephone call office should be opened in Hedgerley.

 

On 22nd October 1917, a Hedgerley Parish Meeting was held, at which ten parishioners from Hedgerley Dean also attended, to protest over the threatened closure of Hedgerley Post Office on the retirement of Mrs. Jeffreys, the Postmistress. After some discussion it was carried unanimously that the meeting:

"considers it will entail much hardship and cause great inconvenience to the many old people, the soldiers and sailors dependants and others, who would have to walk five miles to post parcels or draw their pay if the Hedgerley Post Office is closed."

 

The Chairman, Mr. A. C. Smith, was asked to send a copy of this resolution to the Postmaster of Slough and point out that Hedgerley Post Office had been open for over seventy years and the nearest Post Office, Farnham Common, was two and a half miles from the centre of the village.

 

The protest was effective because an entry of 22nd April 1921, records a proposal by the Chairman, A. C. Smith, seconded by Mr. Glennerster and carried unanimously:

" … that the Postmaster at Slough be asked to have a letterbox put in the centre of the village, if the Post Office was to be kept at the top of the hill. (The Post Office was recently moved from Mrs. T. Hearne, opposite the village pond to Mr. Michael Hearne, Pot Kiln Cottages)."

 

At a Parish Meeting of Hedgerley Dean on 7th April 1923:

"Mrs. Hearne revived the wish of many of the parishioners that the Post Office should now be re-established in the village, there was the accomodation ready for it and Mrs. Hearne, retiring schoolmistress was willing to conduct the Post Office".

 

This had no effect and on 12th September 1930, Mr. Carpenter proposed and Mr. C. Pickett seconded and it was carried unanimously:

"That the Post Office in Hedgerley Dean should be reinstated".

 

The Post Office, however, stayed at the top of the hill.

 

Roads

During this period there were gravel roads in the two parishes. Hedgerley Dean Parish Meeting often referred to the state of the roads. On 29th March 1897:

"It was resolved that the attention of the District Highway Surveyor be called to the bad state of road at St. Andrews Hill and to the water running down the side of the road."

 

On 25th March 1925:

"It was resolved that the Councils attention be drawn to the bad condition of the roads:- Parish Lane and Casualty Lane.”

On 2nd March 1926:

"It was noted that E.R.D. C had improved the condition of the road in Parish Lane but that Casualty Lane still needs attention. It was decided to ask Lord Burnham to open the watercourse between Parish Lane and Hedgerley Hill and so prevent the overflow which occurs in the lane.”

 

On 29th July 1927:

"A complaint was made by Mr Pickett concerning the state of Back   Lane and a query arose as to whether it was a Private or Public road".

 

Back Lane was the lane running behind the Brick mould. On 30th March 1920 came: "The Back Lane - The reply having been received from the Clerk to the effect that this lane was regarded as a Public footpath and a private road - the condition of it came under notice. The Chairman was directed to enquire what steps should be taken to remedy the nuisance prevailing there. In the event of no satisfactory reply being received from the Council, it was suggested that the Chairman put up a notice forbidding the throwing of soap-suds etc. in the lane. Mr. Waitman proposed and Mr. Burfoot seconded the above.

Through the recent storm the road between Shell House and the hand-post had been greatly damaged."

 

Minutes taken on 15th March 1929 record the state of the hedges on the left-hand side of the lane leading to Beaconsfield and mention a blocked waterway at the top of Hedgerley Hill:

"…. also a hole at Casualty (usually called the Sludge Hole), which is a danger to pedestrians."

 

On 4th February 1931 this note is made:

"It was desired to place on record the appreciation of the meeting for the work done by the council, for the improvement of the roads in the neighbourhood and also to Mr. Free Arnett for the efficient way in which he carries out his duties as roadman. The general tidiness of the paths etc. compare favourably with other villages."

 

The condition of the roads was also discussed in Hedgerley. On 22nd February 1927 we find this entry:

"Mr. Wilson referred to the bad state of the roads in Hedgerley Parish."

 

Whilst on 25th April 1927:

"The state of the roads in the Parish was discussed and the Chairman was requested to write to the Chairman of the Eton Rural District Council on the matter."

 

Later, on 8th August 1927, a letter from the Clerk of the E.R.D.C. was read in which he stated that:

". . . owing to the drought all the gravel roads in the Council's area are in a similar condition."

 

The Case of the Fraudulent Assistant Overseer.

Mr.F. J.Mitchell, who lived at Andrew Hill Cottage, was made Assistant Overseer (rate collector) for the Parish of Hedgerley Dean in 1915 and had a similar appointment in the Parish of Hedgerley from 22nd April 1921. He was active in village affairs and was the Secretary of the Memorial Hall Committee, which was responsible for the construction of the Village Hall.

 

Discrepancies in the accounts of the Assistant Overseer first came to light in a report, dated 8th May 1923, by the District Auditor:

" . . . after his audit of the accounts of the Overseers of the Poor of the Parish of Hedgerley Dean in the Eton Union and of Mr.F. J. Mitchell, Assistant Overseer for the half year ended 31st March 1922."

 

The report showed that the Poor Rate, Union Call and Rural Council Call, outstanding at 31st March were not paid until June or July, the receipt check book was not properly verified by the Overseer, the totals of the rateable values of agricultural land and buildings, as appearing in the rate book did not tally with the totals of the valuation list in force at that time and the totals in the rate book were greater than those in the valuation list.

 

"The difference of excess in the rateable value of land could not in any way be explained by the Assistant Overseer, he stated he had copied the figures from the previous Rate Book."

 

The Overseer, G. C. Allesbrook, who lived at Wapseys, did not seem to be too worried by the District Auditor's report, even though the Ministry of Health asked for his observations. In his reply to the Ministry, dated 20th June 1923, he stated:

"We were neither of us Overseers (Mr. J. T. Hearne being the second Overseer) on the 31st March 1922 and therefore must give our observations as well as we can in the circumstances."

 

He went on to say that they would ensure more prompt payment of the rates in the future and that the receipt check book had been passed by the auditor for many years without comment. As for the discrepancies in the rate book, he concluded:

"The balance as regards buildings not explained in the report appears to be accounted for by a reduction on appeal.

We cannot explain the excess as regards the agricultural land. The rate book and valuation list total for the present year agree."

 

So Mitchell continued as Assistant Overseer and the next correspondence of interest is dated 10th December 1923, from G. G. H. Stone, the District Auditor, asking the Overseers to attend an audit on 14th December:

"There are grave irregularities in the accounts kept by your Assistant Overseer which it is necessary for me to bring to your notice".

 

The outcome of this meeting arrived in the post on 17th December from P. T. Turner Esq. District Auditor, at the request of the Minister of Health:

"Notice of Extraordinary Audit. Eton Union.

To the Overseers of the Poor of the Parish of Hedgerley Dean and to F. J. Mitchell, Assistant Overseer.

Notice, is hereby given that an Extraordinary Audit of the accounts for the period Ist April to 14th December 1923, of the above named parish, will commence on Friday, the 28th December 1923 at 12.30 o'clock in the afternoon, at the Board Room of the Guardians of the Said Union, when and where you are, required to attend and produce all Books, Bills, Accounts, Vouchers and other documents containing or relating to the Accounts then to be audited."

 

A similar notice was received by the Parish of Hedgerley.

 

The audit revealed a deficiency of £264 6s. 9d. apportioned as follows: Hedgerley £192 7s 0d.

Hedgerley Dean £72 0s. 0d.

 

The report stated:

"The officer informed me that he had been using the monies referred to, for his own purposes and that he had no present means out of which to make good the deficiency.

The method of default adopted by the officer has been, in general, to enter rates as in arrear which he had actually collected and to satisfy the deficiency thus created out of the rates of the succeeding half year to half year until the amount misappropriated amounted to a substantial sum. In addition to this the officer omitted to enter in his rate book new properties, on which he collected the rates and embezzled £13 5s. 0d. the proceeds thereof and further wrote off in the rate book as irrecoverable sums amounting to £5 2s. Id. which he had actually recovered.

So far as I could learn the Overseers have exercised very little control over the action of their officer, by whom they appear to have been kept very much in the dark."

 

The report concluded:

"The default has been deliberate and long sustained and the officer cannot be allowed to retain office. In my opinion it is clearly a case where criminal proceedings should be taken."

 

The loss to Hedgerley Dean was covered by guarantee, but Hedgerley was only covered for £50, which meant that the loss to Hedgerley outstanding was £142 7s. 0d.

 

On 14th January 1924, at a Parish Meeting of Hedgerley, it was moved that legal proceedings be taken against the late Assistant Overseer and also a vote of censure was passed on the conduct of the Auditor. In Hedgerley Dean, meanwhile, Mr. Allesbrook was in correspondence with the Ministry of Health, who advised him that it was the Overseer's job to prosecute Mitchell, not the Ministry's nor the Director of Public Prosecutions, and he should be prosecuted under Section fifty-nine of the Poor Law Amendment Act 1844. The Minister of Health ". . . would be glad to be informed at an early stage what action it is proposed to take in the matter."

 

At a Parish Meeting of Hedgerley Dean held on 7th February 1924, it was resolved (in the absence of Mr. Allesbrook) "That the Assistant Overseer" (Mr. F. Piner was appointed at a meeting in January) "should write to Mr. Allesbrook to know definitely what steps were being taken with regard to the late Assistant Overseer."

 

On 19th March, Mr. Allesbrook wrote to the Director of Public Prosecutions, asking him to prosecute Mitchell. The reply was very critical of Mr. Allesbrook and his fellow Overseers for their lack of action in the matter and told them that:

". . . . it is the duty of the Overseers, in view of their responsibility to the rate-payers of these Parishes, to protect them by instituting such proceedings themselves. . . . .The money referred to in the District Auditor's report is public money contributed by the ratepayers and if any person in the position of trust such as an assistant Overseer is discovered to have misappropriated such public money, there can be no question, I should suppose, but that he should be prosecuted - and prosecuted without delay."

 

On receipt of this letter, Mr. Allesbrook (who was in Nottingham at the time) wrote to Mr. Hearne to say that he thought that they should now prosecute Mitchell and asked him to go and see Inspector Neal at Beaconsfield to ascertain what steps should be taken. Mr. Hearne was advised by the Inspector to place the matter in the hands of R. S. Wood, Solicitor of High Wycombe, who was already acting for the Parish of Hedgerley in the matter. Mr. Wood, however, informed the Overseers that he could not undertake the case as it was too complicated and he did not know under what law to prosecute! He suggested that the Overseers should write again to the Director of Public Prosecutions and enquire under what law they should take action!

 

After this the case just faded away from public notice. The Overseers of both Parishes had approached Mitchell, who was by then living near Doncaster, to make good the amount of his defalcation. Mitchell had no assets except for his furniture, which was sold at public auction and raised the sum of £56 16s 0d. of which seventy-five per cent went to the parish of Hedgerley and twenty-five to Hedgerley Dean.

 

Hedgerley Dean's share was the subject of a long argument as to who should have the money. The Guarantee Society claimed it as they had paid in full the amount Mitchell had embezzled from the Parish. The Ministry of Health stated that the Eton Union should have it and Mitchell wanted the Parish of Hedgerley to have it, to help pay off his outstanding debt. In his letter to the Overseers of Hedgerley Dean, he stated that as the Guarantee Fund had paid off Hedgerley Dean's shortage on the rates: "Hedgerley Dean has no claim against me". It was eventually paid to the Guarantee Society. The last correspondence that I could find on the subject, states that Mitchell was paying back the debt in instalments and still owed Hedgerley £9 13s 0d.

Part 2

Hedgerley Parish Council, 1934 - 2006

 

It was proposed to amalgamate the Parishes of Hedgerley and Hedgerley Dean as early as 1924; Hedgerley was in favour but Hedgerley Dean was very much against the idea. However, the Parishes were amalgamated in 1934 and Hedgerley Parish Council came into being. Five councillors were elected; Wilfred Ewert-May, Herbert Victor Murfet, Arthur Healey, Archibald Wilson and Frederick Waitman. The first Parish Council meeting was held on 20th April 1934 and a remarkable meeting it was:

"Councillors Murfet and Waitman stated that they could not be Councillors until they had received certain documents from the Clerk to the Council! That they could not proceed with business - and that the Clerk to the Council should have been present at the meeting."

The Convener (Grace Hearne) pointed out that they had already received all necessary papers by post. The Councillors then signed the acceptance of office book.

 

"Mr. F Waitman elected himself Chairman - and this remarkable meeting - which had not been formally opened - was declared - by Mr. Waitman - to be closed"

.

After this meeting the newly formed Parish Council soon settled down and the subjects then discussed have changed very little over the years.

 

The Parish Council was increased from five members to seven in 1955, owing to an increase in population, mainly due to the new council estate on Hedgerley Hill.

 

Roads

Mention of the state of the roads and paths in the Parish is one topic that has re-occurred in the minutes of the Hedgerley Parish Council from its first meeting until the present day. The widening of Hedgerley Lane was an early subject. On 30th August 1934 the Clerk reported on a meeting he had had with the Divisional Surveyor of Bucks County Council:

“…it was thought a good opportunity of widening the road between Slade Farm gate and the fingerpost and a taking off of a portion of the grass triangle round the fingerpost as arrangements were now being made to lay on the water."

 

An entry for 21st November 1934 says:

"With regard to road widening scheme, it was unanimously agreed that this work had been carried out expeditiously and was satisfactory to all concerned."

 

Flooding in Casualty Lane (now Kiln Lane) was a recurrent problem. At a meeting held on 24th March 1937, water lying in Casualty Lane after heavy rains was mentioned:

“…the inhabitants of the cottages are compelled to wade through the water while the postman has to make a detour over muddy fields to reach them.”

.

In 1958 the Bucks County Council constructed a raised footpath at Casualty but on 12th January 1959:

"It was reported that the raised footpath has been virtually destroyed by vehicular and pedestrian use and there was need for a permanent raised path to settle the problem of many years standing".

 

The County Council complied with the Parish Council's request.

 

In the early fifties, the need for a footpath from Gregory Road to "The One Pin" was emphasized and a path was constructed during the winter of 1955-56, but at a Parish Council Meeting held on 12th January 1959 it was stated that:

" . . . in its present condition it contributed towards a road safety hazard in that pedestrians now tend to use the road in preference to the footpath".

 

Since the opening of the Farnham Common Primary School in 1957, the danger to children crossing at the One Pin crossroads has been a cause of concern and a regular subject for discussion at Parish Council meetings. Over the years various improvements have been made to the road layout and a speed limit has been imposed yet the problem still remains.

 

Buses

Buses seem to have been an emotive subject in Hedgerley for over seventy years; as early as 27th September 1935:

"It was stated that several complaints had been received regarding the bus service to and from Hedgerley Village to Slough and that the Clerk was requested to get in touch with the L.T.P.B. and to report at the next meeting."

 

There have been regular complaints about the bus service ever since. In 1947 there were protests about Hedgerley buses turning round at Hedgerley Corner instead of completing their journey and passengers who had paid the fare to Hedgerley being turned off:

“…in one case it was stated that a passenger was threatened with violence when she refused to alight.”

 

At a meeting on 31st May 1951 "Mr. Jones reported that representatives of the Eton Rural District Council had met representatives of the London Transport Executive and as a result there was a promise of an improved service to the new housing estate".

 

This "promise" did not amount to much since at a meeting on 25th September 1952, "Mr. Gaskin referred to complaints as to the 441 bus service and stated that he understood a petition was being raised".

 

It was agreed to ask London Transport to extend their service to the new estate from Hedgerley Corner, but London Transport turned down the suggestion. By 1954, however, they had changed their minds because the hourly service to Hedgerley Corner was extended to Hedgerley Hill weekdays and to Hedgerley Village on Sundays. Nevertheless there were still complaints about buses to Hedgerley Village not completing their journey.

 

In 1953 it was agreed to build a bus shelter on Hedgerley Hill, opposite the shops. Local firms were invited to tender and that of Perret and Ridgley was accepted for £82 10s. 0d. The shelter was built in 1954, the cost having been shared by London Transport (£25 0s. 0d), the Coronation Committee (£24 6s. 0d), the proceeds of a draw handed in by Mr. Gregory (£11 18s. 0d.) the profits of a jumble sale (£11 0s 0d). The Parish Council paid the balance.

 

Services were reduced in 1971 because of bus company losses and in 1973 Sunday services were withdrawn. From 1st October 1977 one-man operated buses were used on the route and owing to this type of bus being prevented by law from reversing without supervision and there being no room to turn at the foot of the hill, buses no longer went to Hedgerley Village but used Stevenson Road, Jones Way and Cottage Park Road instead. Many residents as well as the Parish Council strongly objected to these changes. People from the bottom of the hill wanted the bus service restored, and people at the top did not relish the thought of buses running straight past their houses. Buses frequently had trouble negotiating Stevenson Road due to parked cars, and feelings ran high; the bus drivers threatened not to come to Hedgerley at all.

Various suggestions were made at Parish Council Meetings for running the buses down the hill again, including filling in part of the soak-away at the foot of the hill to make a turning circle, turning the buses in the Village Hall car park and the construction of a turning area opposite the Brick mould pub. None of these suggestions were thought to be practicable and so the Council pressed for the bus to halt at the shops. In 1979 the County Council, District Council and Bus Company agreed to construct a larger turning circle opposite the shops, thus stopping the buses using roads around the estate, which were unsuitable for them. In early 1980, however, they withdrew this offer on the grounds of the expense involved and shortly afterwards evening services were withdrawn and a regular direct service to Windsor drastically reduced with the introduction of the 460 route for the majority of services. By 2006, the number 40 service was down to a bus every two hours during daytime, Monday to Friday, a reduced service on Saturday and no bus on Sunday.

 

War Time

Following is a selection from the minutes of Parish Council Meetings that took place during the Second World War.

27th September 1940:

"Regarding salvage of iron and steel, it was reported that the dumps in the parish are being utilised and that several tons of material have been taken away by the collectors".

 

20th March 1941:

"The A.R.P. personnel in the parish have raised a complaint with respect to the fact that only one stirrup pump is available for use and after discussion it was agreed that the Clerk get in touch with the authorities concerned with a view to adding to this number."

 

On 30th September 1942 the Chairman (Mr. George Newman) reported that he and the Vice-Chairman (Mr. W. Jones):

“had attended a meeting of the Invasion Committee for the district and that they were now familiar with the procedure to be adopted.”

 

On 24th March 1943 Mr. G. Newman was elected as the representative of the Parish Council on the “Wings for Victory Campaign”

 

On 15th December 1943:

“The Chairman reported that he had received correspondence from the Food Officer with reference to the storing of emergency invasion rations for the parish and that he had agreed to find a suitable site for this, providing that the Parish Council would act as administrators if and when the occasion arose."

 

On 27th September 1944:

"The Clerk then read a letter from the E. R. D. C. regarding the relaxation of Fire Guard duties in the parish, which took effect as from 12th September 1944."

 

Allotments

As part of the "Dig for Victory" campaign, the Council acquired two parcels of land for use as allotments. The subject was discussed at a Parish Council meeting held on 26th May 1940:

"With regard to the question of allotments, it was reported that the Watson Development Trust had agreed to lease to this Council for the duration of the War, three roods, fifteen perches of land situate at Hedgerley Hill at a minimal rental of £1 per annum for this purpose."

 

This land is now the site of the shops and bus shelter. A similar offer was accepted from the War Memorial Hall Committee for the use of land now used as the Memorial Hall car park. There were twelve plots of ten poles at Hedgerley Hill and four plots of ten poles at the Memorial Hall, all let at the rent of five shillings per annum.

 

Everything went well with the allotments, apart from some trouble initially with cattle breaking down fences and later on 2nd April 1947, this note occurs in the Minutes:

"The Chairman stated that he had received complaints from allotment holders that chickens belonging to Mr. L. Jones of Pot Kiln Cottage were doing considerable damage to their plots and the Clerk was requested to ask Mr. Jones to keep his birds under control."

 

These plots had to be given up in March 1950, due to the forthcoming construction of the Council Estate, whilst the Memorial Hall allotments had closed just after the war.

 

The Parish Council attempted to find an alternative site for the Hedgerley Hill plots, but were unsuccessful. Land adjoining the reservoir opposite the One Pin was sought but Slough Borough Council (who then owned the reservoir) refused permission.

It was twenty-five years before anything further happened. On 22 September 1975:

"It was reported that over 20 enquiries had been received following the press announcement that the Council was looking into the possibility of aquiring land for allotments."

 

Inquiries were made regarding the vacant land around the reservoir opposite the One Pin. The Water Board turned down the application in 1976, because they needed the land for grazing sheep during the drought. They finally agreed to lease part of the land to the Parish Council in 1977 after a parishioner had approached the Chairman of the Thames Water Authority.

 

Owing to various delays the allotments were not ready for use until the Spring of 1978. In the first year, twenty-four allotments were allocated at a rent of three pounds per annum, but in 1979 only twenty-one were let, as three allotments over the high pressure gas pipeline were found to be too poor to be used, owing to soil disturbance during the laying of the pipeline.

Thames Water sold the site in 1994 to Mr. Seamus Henry of County Cork, who served the Parish Council notice to quit. By protracted correspondence via his agent and a much increased rent, the allotments continued in use until 1998. Evicted allotment holders were given the opportunity of renting plots in Stoke Poges.

 

Kemsley Wood

In 1936 the Council began looking for a suitable site for playing fields and examined various ways of obtaining loans and grants. At a meeting held on 6th February 1939, the Chairman, George Newman, reported that:

"Lord Kemsley had agreed to transfer 11½ acres of Footpath Wood to this Council for the purpose of playing fields, subject to the diversion of footpaths across the site and that the only expense to be incurred by this Council would be the necessary transfer fees."

 

Unfortunately the legal formalities concerned with the gift of the land and the diversion of the footpaths lasted for ten years and it was not until the Council Meeting of 3rd February 1950 that it was reported that the conveyance was completed.

 

The wood was renamed Kemsley Wood, its use was discussed and proposals for the building of a Scout Hut and Children's playground were agreed to. The playground equipment was installed during November 1951 and the Scout hut was erected in the summer of 1952. The Hedgerley Sports and Social Club started work on a tennis court in 1955. The Council was requested to see to the completion of the court but declined and by 1958 the Club had ceased to function and the court was in a state of ill repair.

 

The remains of the fencing around the court were taken down in 1971 to allow the Football Club to use the area as a training ground. In 1960 the Scouts were given a ten year lease and erected a new hut. Their old one was re-erected a few yards away by the Football Club for use as a clubhouse and changing room. By the late 1980’s, after the disbanding of the club, the hut was demolished in order to make room for a new Youth Club hut.

 

Part of the wood was cut down in 1967, to allow for the laying of a high pressure gas pipeline. Bylaws were adopted in 1975 and amended in1984, which had the effect of prohibiting the riding of horses and bicycles in the wood. There have been many complaints over the years about damage to and destruction of trees in the wood, but if it had been used as originally intended, for playing fields, there would be very few trees left standing today.

 

The Green

In late 1945, during the planning of the Council Estate, it was proposed by the District Council that the Parish Council should buy the balance of about seven acres of the site for use as a playing field. After the estate was built (1950-51) the price estimated by the District Valuer included the cost of construction of the roads on the estate which bordered the land. The Parish Council agreed to pay the value of the land (£560), but could not agree to paying the road charges (£3,177 15s 0d.) and an additional sum of £350 under the Town and Country Planning Act 1947. The Eton Rural District Council agreed not to charge for roads but the conditions they wished to impose on the sale of the land were unacceptable to the Parish Council. The possibility of leasing the land was examined, but the E.R.D.C. was unwilling to lease.

 

Nothing much happened until the end of 1959 when, after hearing from the District Valuer and the E.R.D.C., the Parish Council approved the purchase, subject to a Parish Meeting ratifying their decision. At this meeting:

" . . the Rev. Bourne, proposed that:- a) the Parish Council should purchase the land for recreational purposes; b) a local appeal should be made for funds and the balance required raised by a loan to be repaid from the rates of the Parish."

 

This was seconded by Mr. Collingham and unanimously agreed to by the meeting. The parish collection amounted to over £350 and the Bucks County Council promised a grant of £375. The cost of the land was £750. Meanwhile part of the land originally offered had been used for more council houses and instead of about seven acres originally offered, the land purchased amounted to just over four acres.

 

On 18th July 1960:

"The Clerk reported the completion of the purchase by the Parish Council and produced the conveyance for members to inspect."

 

It was proposed to fence the green along the Jones Way frontage to prevent damage to the playing field by constant pedestrian traffic across the field to the shops, but this idea was later abandoned.

 

The Football Club had been using the Green before the Council owned it and in 1962 applied for a reduction in pitch rent in view of their poor financial situation. The Council, however, merely suggested that more effort be made by the club members to improve their financial standing. Later, however, the Council agreed to allow free use of the pitch for two seasons and subsidised the Football Club in various ways until its demise.

 

A children's playground was first erected on the Green in 1964 and in 1968 the Football Club drained the pitch with voluntary labour, the Parish Council paying for the cost of materials. Vehicles parking and driving on the Green have been an occasional problem, but by and large it is kept in good order.

 

It was named "The Village Green" by the Parish Council in 1968 although it has for many years been known simply as "The Green".

 

Street Lighting

This subject was first discussed by the Parish Council in 1944, when they asked the E.R.D.C to supply six light standards, but the reply came back that no action could be taken at that time. The Parish Council then considered providing street lighting themselves in 1949:

". . but in view of the heavy expenses already facing the Council it is impossible to proceed. . . "

 

The matter was again raised in 1959 and April 1969 when it was

". . . generally agreed that it would only detract from the rural characteristics of the village."

 

In 1973 at the meeting held on 25th June:

"Mr. McDiarmid agreed that we needed lighting in certain places. Mr Tozer suggested smaller, more decorative lamps in dark spots."

 

It was decided to investigate the matter, further. After making inquiries the Council abandoned the idea in 1976 due to the general financial situation.

 

At the Council meeting held on 2nd October 1978 a petition was presented by parishioners, asking for limited street lighting and as there seemed to be overwhelming support for the idea, the Council set up a sub-committee to investigate costs and prepare a scheme. When this work had been completed a referendum was held to gauge the feeling of the parish at large. This was held on 31st January 1980, the outcome being a narrow majority in favour of having lighting, which was subsequently installed.

 

Kiln Wood

Discussion of Kiln Wood began at a Parish Council meeting held on 1st June 1970, when an appeal for assistance was made by residents of Gregory Road :

". . .concerning the unauthorised development that had been taking place to the rear of their Properties for some considerable time. . . "

 

It appeared from inquiries made that there had been continuous flouting of planning regulations and also breaches of a Section 12 agreement arranged between Hedgerley Fencing Ltd. and the Planning Authority of the District Council. Hedgerley Parish Council decided to make a direct approach to the Ministry of the Environment to ask them to carry out an investigation, but first they would meet with the local M.P. Mr. Bell to seek his advice. The Chairman of the Council, Mr. Harry Kirby, had a meeting with Mr. Bell and on 3 May 1971, Mr. Kirby reported on Mr. Bell's investigations and :

"…it appeared that due to inadequate control by the Local Planning Authority the development was now a 'fait accompli' and there was no further action the Parish Council could take."

 

A string of planning applications and the appearance of additional companies operating on the site, together with the loss of many trees made the subject of "Elsdons" a regular cause for concern to both the Parish Council and local residents.

 

The situation was resolved in the late 1980’s by the granting of planning permission to build Coppice Way. The surrounding woodland was conveyed to the Parish Council in order to safeguard it from development.

 

Gravel

Gravel was taken from Hedgerley Park on a small scale between 1937 and the early 1960's and for many years Hedgerley has had a large gravel pit and landfill site just over its northern border. Thus, when Bucks County Council published their draft Minerals Subject Plan in September 1978, which proposed large-scale gravel extraction in and around Hedgerley, the Parish Council and parishioners were very concerned. Slade Farm and Hedgerley Park were threatened in the village as were many other sites close to the parish boundaries. At a packed parish meeting total opposition to the scheme was voiced by parishioners.

 

A Gravel Committee was formed under the Chairmanship of Cllr. Donald Vincent, comprising of councillors and parishioners. A series of public meetings was held by the County Council and the Gravel Committee attended most of them in force, asking many questions about the plan. The Committee also held many meetings at the house of its Chairman, which culminated in the publication of Hedgerley Parish Council's reply to the draft plan. This managed to show that the most vulnerable site in Hedgerley, Slade Farm, was unsuitable for inclusion in the plan on the grounds of its agricultural value, attractive landscape, archaeological sites, and also the destruction of trees and water pollution. The Committee also prepared and arranged the distribution of information on the proposals and their implications to all parishioners together with letters of protest to be signed by individuals (over ninety per cent of parishioners responded) and sent to the County Council Office sat Aylesbury.

 

As a result of this opposition, the Slade Farm site was omitted from the revised plan of November 1979 and the northern part of the parish was included in the County Council's Area of Attractive Landscape. The Hedgerley Park site was still included, however, so the Parish Council continued its fight along with neighbouring parishes and the Three Villages Defence Association to prevent this. This was successful and safeguarded the parish from extraction and infilling with waste. Two subsequent revisions have taken place since then and at the time of writing, the line has been held.

 

The Old Village Green

When in 1848 the Lord of the Manor, Rice Richard Clayton, gave a piece of wasteland on which the village school had been built four years previously, he could little have imagined the furore that would be caused in the following century. The piece of land given only covered the approximate area of the old school buildings as they stand today. The land between the school and Court Farm was mostly covered by a large pond, which was later filled in on the instructions of the then lord of the manor, Mrs. Stevenson, to provide an area for the children on which to play. The layout of the present pond dates from that time.

 

There was uproar in 1932 when the Rector claimed the land as school property. The minutes of the Hedgerley Dean Parish Meeting of 25th October record that it "had been regarded as the 'Village Green' for many years."

 

The subject again arose in 1974, when it was proposed to take down a fence erected by the Parochial Church Council and tidy up the land, which had become derelict. Negotiations took place between the Parish Council and the Parochial Church Council and a broad agreement was reached on tidying up the land but the P.C.C. claimed ownership.

 

In 1977 the Parish Council had the land levelled, seeded and a chain link fence was erected, largely due to the generosity of Major Golding.

 

The Church's claim of ownership was hotly contested by the Parish Council and villagers. Older residents were convinced that it was "the old village green" and could remember bonfires and fairs being held on it many years ago.

 

The situation was exacerbated when in 1980 the P.C.C. applied for planning permission for an extension to the boundaries of "Bishra"to include part of the village green. Considerable local anger was aroused and the District Council turned down the application on the grounds that it would be detrimental to the appearance of the village. In 1983 an agreement was brokered by Cllr. Audrey Bainbridge, which led to the Parish Council obtaining a 99 year lease on the land at a peppercorn rent, so ending many years of dissent.

 

The work of the Parish Council covers other fields not mentioned above, and as the lowest form of local government safeguards the interest of the community as a whole, particularly in relation to planning applications. Over recent years, much time has been taken up with resisting Motorway Service Areas within the parish. An M.S.A. at Burtley Wood was allowed on appeal in 2005.