Remembrance Day Service – Cancelled

Dear Everyone in Layer de la Haye,

With a feeling of great sadness, I have had to cancel the service at the Cross on Sunday when we remember our Parishioners that were killed in WW1 and WW2.

I wonder if this has ever happened before?

How lucky we have been that the Cross was decorated, to remind us of the sacrifice that so few made for so many.

There is a suggestion that at 11am on Sunday morning you stand for two minutes in your front door for the two-minute silence.

Best wishes, and stay safe,

Anne Hughes


Parish Council Update 1 November 2020

I don’t know about you, but life feels pretty grim to me – just as there appeared to be a little normality in our lives, we are now in Tier 2 and this has so many ramifications on our life. Please look out for your neighbours, particularly those who are alone, elderly, and unwell. The Village Volunteers are still active, so if there is anyone in need or lonely, ring me on 734168.

The Cross

Good news: the Parish Council has been awarded a grant for repairing the posts and chains around the Cross Green. Maggie Holmes filled in numerous forms, and answered very patiently many questions, and with the help of your supportive letters we have been awarded £1,606. The project can now be completed.

The flower bed in the corner has been started. Sleepers have been put round, earth barrowed in, pansies have been planted and shrubs will be put at the back of the bed.

There was a near disaster the other night when a blue car drove into two post in front of the Cross. Luckily the Cross and display was not damaged. The posts have had to be removed, a terrible job and one so far is back in. It would be nice if whoever it was came and apologised and at least asked how much damage there was. Luckily for our Village, Ian Moore has taken on the job of making good the damage.

Remembrance Sunday 8th November.  10.50am

This years’ service will be taken by The Vicar Lydia Smith.

There will be a pared down service at the Cross, no singing.

Please remember to wear a mask, respond to the Marshalls, and social distance.


At last the pole at Malting Green has been removed. County Broadband are still due to come back and make repairs on the estate. If there is any area which you think should be repaired please let me know.


Richard Playle has now cut all the Parish Council hedges and I’m sure you’ll agree they look smart for winter.

Anne Hughes


Proposed solar farm development

Many of you will have heard of the proposed solar farm development which would be behind Waterworks Close and either side of Birch Road.

We have received information about it from the company that wants to develop the site.

Residents should soon be receiving a letter from “Low Carbon” (the company concerned) and they are running a consultation from 2nd October until 30th October.  Please have a good look and make your comments. You can also pass comments on to The Parish Council by contacting Anne Hughes, tel 734168 or email

Update on Affordable Housing for local people

The Parish Council would like to thank everyone who responded to the Housing Needs Survey in early 2020.

This information has allowed RCCE’s Rural Housing Enabler (RHE) to provide a recommendation of the need for a small affordable housing scheme which will be coming to the parish. This small Rural Exception Site scheme is different to a larger more strategic development as these homes will be prioritised in perpetuity for those with a local connection to the parish. Rural Exception Sites (RES) are only available to parishes of less than 3,000 population and are brought forward on the evidence of need.

These schemes really do assist local households to be able to stay where their support networks are, as house prices and rents in rural areas continue to rise. The properties built on such a rural scheme cannot be sold into private ownership and would remain in perpetuity for people with a strong local connection to the parish, either through family or work.

If you, or your family member, are interested in the forthcoming scheme and have a need for alternative accommodation within the parish, we would urge you to please complete this short additional survey by the end of Friday 16th October so that we can further refine the scheme to ensure the properties meet the local need;

If you are unable to access the online survey, please contact the Parish Council for a hard copy. With the previous survey, we had 11 households who stated they had a need for alternative accommodation but did not provide enough financial information for an assessment to be made. If you previously responded to the survey but did not answer all the questions we would be grateful if you could re-submit your information via this online survey so you can be included. If you fully completed the survey the first time, you do not need to resubmit. All information is treated as highly confidential and individual responses will only be seen by the RHE.

To be eligible for these properties when they are developed, you will also need to be on the Colchester Borough Housing Register. We would like to encourage all those interested to join this Housing Register as a first step – please visit; or phone the council on 01206 282569 for further advice.

Thank you very much for your support! If you have any questions regarding this scheme or would like to submit your interest, please complete the survey or contact the Parish Council Clerk on

Proposed New Development : September 2020.

I am sorry so many of you have had a letter from Strutt and Parker about the proposed new development before I was able to warn you. My understanding was that the letters were not going to be delivered until next week.

Some of you may remember that this has been in the offing since 2015 when we first held a public meeting about it, but of course it is still a horrid shock that finally the proposed plans for the third phase of the estate are now being talked about. I say “third phase” because ever since the estate was built it had always been envisaged that this might eventually happen.

Please read all the information carefully before you make your comments. The Parish Council will be listening to what you say and will represent your views. Yes, we have met with the developers and Colchester Borough Council to make sure that there is some benefit to the Village in the event of planning permission being given. We have discussed the Village’s Social Housing needs and other benefits.

If you look at the Borough website I believe you can see that the field in question has been put in the proposed Local Plan, though that has not yet been adopted.

This planning application is not something we like any more than you do, but with all the house building that is going on, we have fought to ensure that the density is kept as low as possible.

Please be assured that the Parish Council will of course be representing the views of the Village.

Anne Hughes, Chairman


Parish Council Update 18th July 2020

This month we had another Zoom meeting and at long last I think we have all got the hang of it.

Richard Marriage is filling in as the Financial Officer and he was able to report that our accounts had been accepted by the auditor. It has been quite a task gathering all the information together.

As you can imagine there was much discussion about the speeding cars down Church Road. We are liaising with the Police and thank goodness it looks as if we might have a peaceful weekend at last.

Does anyone know who knocked into the post and upended the signs on Malting Green? Just another expense as we have to get the NO PARKING sign put back.

As promised in the newsletter this year, we are trying to tidy up the Cross area. There are many rotting posts and loose chains. At the moment we are applying for a grant from the Essex Association of Local Councils, which involves answering many questions. It would be enormously helpful if some of you could email or drop us a line to say how nice it would be to clean up this area and that you support the PC in their endeavours to tidy up what is becoming unsightly. Maggie Holmes is applying for the grant and her email address is

Hurrah to Linda Barrett-West who has been making face masks with some able helpers, and raised  £3,000 for the Zoo and hospice. It’s a wonderful effort, and a huge feat of organisation. Thank you.

VJ day, 75 years ago, will be remembered in a very low-key way at the Cross. I do feel we have a duty to remember those who consider themselves the forgotten army, who did so much and suffered so much for us.

 On the 15th August at 11.00 am the Last Post will be played at the Cross with a two minute silence.  “A Cry for Peace” will be read at 11.10 am.

 With Government guidelines about social distancing we have to very careful about numbers, spacing and crowd control. Please move, if asked to do so, and face coverings will need to be worn.

As you are probably aware, we have no Clerk for the Parish Council, so if anyone is interested, please get in touch with me. It is approximately 40 hours a month and paid. Please reply ASAP.

Anne Hughes



4 July 2020.   Play Area on the Playing Field.


With lock down slowly easing, I would like to emphasise that it is still important that we continue to focus on the safe use of our Play Area.

It will be used at your own risk. Don’t forget it takes 72 hours for the Coronavirus to disappear from a surface.

I am well aware it has already been used and all the original notices torn off.

Your Parish Council does not have the facilities or the finance to supervise or clean the play area.

We would expect families to be responsible and to keep their distance from other users, in accordance with Government regulations.

No food should be consumed in the area.

All wipes should either be taken home or put in the bins.

Hands should be sanitised before and after using the equipment.

We have put up some fresh notices and it would be nice to think that users will take notice of them. Sorry to sound so stroppy, but I am concerned about the welfare of us all.

Anne Hughes

Chairman of the Parish Council

Update – June 19th

The Parish Council has been alerted to the possibility of a solar farm being built on either side of Birch Road. One section on the left would curl round the Waterworks and stop at the back of Layer Hall. The other section would be on the right where potatoes are being grown. The third section would be down by Heckford Bridge. We believe the developer may submit a planning application later this summer. We have asked them a number of questions and I just hope I have got the answers correct:

  1. Screening: there would be 6ft high deer fencing (post and wire) round the site, set back from the edge of the fields by 5 metres.
  2. Screening: existing hedges would be filled in. New ones would be planted with native species.
  3. Trees: no existing trees would be felled and some new trees would be planted.
  4. The electric cable would feed into the grid at the UK Power substation in Abberton Road, on the way to Abberton out of the village. Unfortunately, it looks as if the cable would have to go under the road, all through the Village.
  5. Length of time for the site to be constructed would be 16 weeks. A traffic plan would be put in place.
  6. The Village will be leafletted. There will be a dedicated freephone, email address and website so that questions can be asked. Consultation will last 3 weeks.
  7. The Water Company has no serious concerns.
  8. Maintenance: wildflowers would be sown under the panels, and sheep may also graze.
  9. We have asked for a footpath along the North side of the Birch Road, which would eventually link up with the cycle path/footpath.

On a different topic, I am very saddened to hear of the vandalism going on Heatherfields: signs ripped off gates, graffiti on trees, and then our ever-present fear of fires. That would be such an awful disaster. If anyone has information about the perpetrators, please let us know.

I have written to the Police about the on-going saga of boy racers through the Village. They really are so selfish, and some I believe come from miles away and don’t care about the effect it has on so many.

The Parish Clerk has left, so please get in touch with me, or anyone else on the Parish Council if I can be of any help.

Anne Hughes

01206734168     email;

Update for May 22

The Parish Council had its first Zoom meeting this month. It went really quite well, particularly after I had worked out how to turn the sound on.

Being ‘locked up’ at home is difficult for me as I don’t always know what is and isn’t happening in the Village. However ……

County Broadband poles and underground cabling

I have been told all about the Broadband poles. I have heard from many people what unsuitable places they are being put. It was a bit of a shock when we got the first calls, but then it went on and on. County Broadband held meetings in the Village last year and some residents signed up for their service, so not unnaturally they thought it would be worth their while to install their system. The Parish Council were not aware of their plans and it would appear they have what is called ‘permitted development rights’ granted by the Government which means they do not need planning permission. If only they had had the courtesy to inform us, we might have been able to have meaningful conversations and prevented so much discontent.  As a Parish Council we have complained, we have forwarded your emails on, and have tried to be of some help. All with our hands tied behind our back! Now it would be appear that the estate is being worked on. I gather the noise and dust is awful, we have complained, but they keep on working. I am so sorry for the horrid time so many of you are going through.

Parish Church

Just to confirm there is no telephone mast on top of the Church Tower. It might be nice if there was, since the income from it would help with the upkeep of the Church. Apparently it is too far from the centre of the Village to be any help for phone signals.

VE day

I gather there was much fun on VE day in the village. It was wonderful to look through the many photos that have been sent to me and see the amazing barbecues, picnics, bunting and everyone keeping their social distancing going. I understand too, that music and instruments were proudly being played in various gardens. I thought the Cross looked stunning and congratulations to the Taylor family and Ian Moore.

Kingsford Bridge

Residents will be pleased to see that the bridge has now been repaired. County Councillor Kevin Bentley has informed me that the culprit was caught and is liable for the costs.

Village Volunteers

Many thanks to our wonderful volunteers who continue to support the most vulnerable in the village by shopping, picking up prescriptions, posting letters and parcels, providing cash and setting up a buddy system. Now our Volunteers are making face-masks and any money raised is going to Colchester Zoo.

Other items

Thank you to all residents who completed the Housing Needs survey. We are waiting to receive the collated responses and will let you know the outcome as soon as we hear anything.

The recreation field is open, but please keep your distance from each other.


We have been having amazing weather but please remember NO fires should be lit in the woods. It’s even more dangerous now everything is getting so dry.

Finally, our Parish Clerk has resigned. So please in future ring either me or Ian Moore on 734267

Best wishes to you all.


Anne Hughes



Update for May 5

I am beginning to feel that there does seem some light at the end of this long tunnel, so please be patient and keep on observing the rules about social distancing and only going out where strictly necessary. I have just spoken to an ITCU Nurse and she was telling me how they were all under so much pressure in the hospital with so many staff off sick, and of course you can’t train new Nurses overnight to take on the nursing of Covid victims. I felt quite emotional, and even more determined that we should obey the lockdown rules.

I keep getting reports of people breaking the rules; please, please don’t. Freedom will come soon, and in the long scheme of things 2-3 months is nothing in our lives. I know and understand it is extremely frustrating for the young but I am worried about the youths congregating in the Heatherfields woods by the big Oak Tree. I am also worried by the tales of too many people getting together in each others’ gardens and I am worried about people congregating on the Recreation Field. Please don’t. I gather we will learn more about the Government’s plans next weekend, so until then please stick to the rules.

As many of you know, poles keep popping up around the Village. County Broadband are installing these and we now have a contact there and a map of where they plan to put them. If anyone is really worried about them get in touch with Richard Marriage on 734392 or me.

It’s V.E. day on Friday, and I wish you all well. I remember as a child dancing around the maypole, but it was all very puzzling as everyone seemed so happy. My Father didn’t come home for quite a few months as he was organising the German soldiers to bring in the Harvest. He used to be very proud of the fact that he had 1 million of them to organise, food being in such short supply.

We will remember them.

Anne Hughes.