Since the note below was written attempts to stifle my right to express myself freely have persisted so that to remove any such influence Parish Council funding has been dropped completely for some years now. The views therefore expressed now are either mine or other contributors and do not in any way represent the Parish Council. The Parish Council is still being supported however in that they have dedicated space allocated within this Domain wherein minutes etc are published in full, together with anything else that may be considered helpful. There are moves now afoot to establish a new web-site to serve specifically as the official source of Parish Council material and when that comes on-line a link to it will be provided but the current EPC pages will be removed.

A potential conflict developed due to my becoming a Parish Councillor. This web-site was well known as being funded (albeit expenses only) by the Council. When I express an opinion (mine or anybody else’s) on a web-site financed by the Council it has been pointed out that it  can be construed as the opinion of the Council or at least endorsed by it. The Parish Council’s actual position however is very clearly spelled out in it’s published minutes. I will henceforth separate opinions from those of the Council by stating whose opinion they are. If I ever slip-up however and conflict still arises then the Parish Council minutes shall always be definitive. The Parish Council’s minutes are reproduced in the site in two forms, the “Archived” original in Word format is completely untouched. The fast loading page version (current month only) is a pasted text version stripped of its original formatting. The archived original shall be deemed to be the Council’s published formal stance in any dispute as any degree of editorial manipulation carries a risk of human error.

This web-site is committed to even-handedly supporting all the various interest groupings within the Community, it was set up to be and still is a Village web-site. At present in addition to being a Parish Councillor, I am very active for the Elsenham Community Association and I am a trustee for the Elsenham Village Hall Charity. While not directly involved I enjoy the facilities of the Elsenham Bowls Club and you will find a page here also for the Village Church with links into their network. If you look to the various page menus you will find a great many Clubs, Groups and Event Committees plus when the need arises the web-site can and has, mounted campaigns on issues such as the school bus and the level crossing. Large issues such as the Airport Expansion and massive proposed Housing Developments are ongoing and will soon get very serious.

Open debate is absolutely essential and I was concerned at the outset that joining the Council would constrain me, however I declared my interest up front and was elected with that understanding in place. While I fully intend to contribute to and support all Parish Council decisions as a democratic process, the Council will not dictate how I think and if I think a decision is wrong I reserve the right to free speech and I will say so. I also recognise the same rights in others and will publish their views in the same way when requested. Note that I can also be expected to comment on those views too should I agree or take exception to them!

The reader will now understand that the views of one sector of the community cannot be allowed to dominate the web-site and so I have dropped the Parish Council subsidy in case it is ever construed as leading to a political bias. (Not too likely at present but forthcoming changes to the structure of local government could change that!) I do not wish to appear churlish or ungrateful however, this web-site would not have been possible without the initial support of the Council. For now therefore my own business will cover all the costs but any other local businesses willing to contribute will be most welcome. A list of sponsors can be prominently placed and pages with links can be constructed to carry agreed advertising. To preserve complete editorial control however  no advertising space is being offered for sale as such.

We started this web-site with a very simple package called NetObjects Fusion, version 2 of which was given away free with a magazine. I was behind that because I had successfully used the package to build my own business site. Janet Hogger did all the original work but had to stop just before it was ready due to a house move. We uploaded what she had to BT and then set about transferring the whole lot onto my computer. This done I took over the work of completing the site’s internal linking and adding many more pages. Both Janet and I had digital cameras using “smart media cards” and USB downloaders so this is what we used to move all the data, Janet had no other bulk media facility.

Along the way we hit a snag in that although BT gave a lot of web space, it could only have one web-site per account. The solution was to ask the Parish Council to finance a second account. When it came down to actually doing it however a better solution turned out to be to buy a “hosting” package this is space on a professional server using proper “domain names”. When I went after what seemed to be the best buy (Nominet) I found that they had a special offer running on .co.uk domain names and I managed to get the domain “elsenhamvillage”. and a forwarding service thrown in for around 3 per year!

With the Hosting package came a bundle of free software amongst which was also NetObjects Fusion but version 6.2 MX. Sadly our old free package had been left so far behind it was not compatible. A whole new site was then built by me with the new package and the old work pasted into it. Fusion is now up to version 8 in its free form 9 if you can afford to buy it. It is like a desktop publisher but is organised around an HTML compiler and an FTP uploader. I then work with an almost WYSIWYG display which I then verify with most of the top browsers (there are differences). I can import whole documents or simply paste a document’s text into a standardised page. This latter is preferred as the user then sees it quickly, otherwise there is a pause while “Word” or some other format’s application loads. (assuming the user has it!) Where I get the choice I use Adobe Acrobat because should a user not have it, it can be downloaded free and I usually place the free source link nearby.

My own site is now on the host server and brings useful business go have a look at the way I work.