Chairman’s Annual Report

May 2013 to April 2014

Presented to Annual Parish Meeting May 20th 2014

This years report will be my last as I am resigning as chairman tonight.  This has not been an easy decision but for a number of reasons, particularly that I will not be standing again in 2015 it is one that I have needed to take.  I hope standing aside now this will give a new chair time to fully encompass the role before the 2015 elections.

Talking of resignations two councillors also resigned this year for various reasons. They were Councillors Ken Goodsell and Colin Marks.  I would like to thank them all for their contributions and hard work whilst serving as Members and they will both be missed very much.  It was with great pleasure however that we Co-opted Councillors Dick Rainbird, Michael Marshall and James Cartwright during the last year.  Please remember we still have one vacancy though so if you are interested in joining the council please contact the Clerk.

Within the last month we have also welcomed a new PCSO to the Parish Tom Clark, who has taken over from Steve as he left to become a full time policeman.

Aside from all these changes the year has carried on with us receiving the usual complaints regarding litter, dog fouling and parking.  Please remember to clear up your litter and dog mess as well as parking sensibly when going to the shops or outside your house.  Parking inconsiderately, blocking roads or on double yellow lines not only causes delays to buses but also to emergency services. With a little thought a lot of problems can be solved before they have even started.

Highways is also still an emotive subject and where possible we still escalate complaints, are trying to get the wildflower meadow progressed and taking other matters forward that you have raised. Although remember you need to engage with them first.  We hope that if we do get the wildflower meadow we can plant even, more poppies than those we have already ear marked for the allotments.

This year we carried out a detailed analysis of our budget for the year 2014 to 2015 and decided to increase the precept. This increase will go part way towards the production of the vitally important Neighbourhood Plan which you will hear more about tonight.  This alone is anticipated to cost in excess of £20,000.

Additionally the Parish Council carries out vital services within the parish, and the Council did not want to cut any of these, close community buildings or risk community safety by removing funding for the dedicated PCSO for the parish. Maintaining the status quo costs money and the council was keen not to reduce service levels to the community, so this was unfortunately the only way.   In previous years the Council has looked at cost savings, including taking out a longer insurance term and paying for grass cutting only when it is needed. Despite this a Parish Council is only a small player when it comes to letting maintenance contracts and it is not always possible to reduce costs significantly. As previously mentioned the increase will enable the production to start of the equally important Neighbourhood Plan. It was decided that increasing the precept was the only way to ensure that both these important issues could be addressed.  I hope you will understand why this was done and that you feel the modest £11 or so increase, less than £1 a month on a band D property is reasonable and will support the council in maintaining its current level of service.

One of the highlights of the year was being able to take the salute at the Remembrance Day Parade particularly as we managed to find the old Royal British Legion saluting post, which made it particularly special as it was not only Reverend David Payne’s and my self’s last salute but also that of the British Legion as the unit was closed down at the service due to falling numbers.

Talking of David it was a great privilege to award him freeman of the Parish this year, which I believe to be the first one.  This award recognised how he led the community bringing it together, making it a better place, influenced by his good and leaving a lasting legacy

Our community is a great place to live, work and play and often people like David go unrecognised. It was for that reason this year I had Christmas cards made of the beautiful Christmas tree in Standon, sending them to people who had contributed something special over the year.  I would like to thank Bob Norris for taking the picture.  The tree itself and new lights were funded by the Parish Council out of the precept.

There is now a short video as always depicting life over the last year, some of the content I have discussed in this report and some that I have not.

In closing my last Chairman’s report I would like to reiterate the final words in the video.  It truly has been a great pleasure to lead the Parish Council over the last seven years and has been something I have been immensely proud of.  I hope you feel that fellow Parish Councillors and I have served you well, to the best of our abilities and that I leave behind a legacy for a new chair to build on.

Finally I would like to thank all of you, parishioners and businesses, our present Clerk Belinda and the previous one John Ingham and my fellow Councillors for supporting me over the last 7 years as chairman.

Annual Report for May 2007 – April 2008      Video for May 2007 – April 2008

Annual Report for May 2008 – April 2009      Video for May 2008 – April 2009

Annual Report for May 2009 – April 2010      Video for May 2009 – April 2010

Annual Report for May 2010 – April 2011      Video for May 2010 – April 2011

Annual Report for May 2011 – April 2012      Video for May 2011 – April 2012

Annual Report for May 2012 to May 2013     Video for May 2012 to May 2013