2014/15 Chairman’s Report

By | May 21, 2015


The Parish Council Chairman’s Review of the last year (2014/15)

Another year goes by and, once again, your Parish Council has been busy on many fronts.

The most important event of the year was the recent granting of full Planning Permission for Bovis Homes to build 148 homes on land adjoining Beehive Lane and Barnside Way. We fought against this development for over two years, but had to admit defeat in the face of overwhelming odds. Once the Planning Appeal Inspector had approved the original Outline Application it was highly unlikely that the development would not proceed. Like many of you, we have serious concerns about building on such notoriously wet land. We can only hope, primarily for the sake of the people buying the properties, that Bovis’s plans for water management prove workable. Rest assured that we will work closely with Bovis during the construction phases, which are expected to start within the next few months and we will work with Bovis and local residents to ensure that disruption to nearby properties are kept to an absolute minimum.

We must not forget that Outline Permission for 70 properties on land off Jack Lane was given in 2013. We wait to see if those plans will be taken forward in the coming months.

Our Neighbourhood Plan continues to move forward, albeit more slowly than we would like . We have had to wait for CWAC’s New Local Plan to progress to Adoption, which it did earlier this year. The recent Household Survey enables us to move further forward – thank you to those who took the time to answer the questions. We are now working on finalising a Draft Plan with a view to seeking your comments later this year. Following further input from the Community the Plan then has to be scrutinized by CWAC Planning and an Independent Examiner. All of these things take time, but should result in us having a Neighbourhood Plan that is robust, community driven and a vital tool in taking forward our community in the next 15 years.

On 1 March 2015 the Parish Council took over the running of the somewhat run down Weaver Road Play Area. We currently have a Grant Application lodged to help generate funds to transform the area. Our plans include the creation of a wildflower/wildlife area, a picnic area and a book swap facility. Unfortunately, until we hear whether the Grant Application has been successful we cannot start the work. Our working partners will include Moulton and Leftwich County High Schools. The area will have relaxation as its’ theme, our view being that the Playing Fields in the centre of the village adequately cater for ball games and general play. We will be asking for volunteers to assist the Parish Council its initial development and any material donations would be greatly appreciated.

Last month the Parish Council installed CCTV on the playing field situated at both the MUGA and toddlers / memorial areas, this was in response to residents comments regarding Anti Social Behaviour and we will work with local residents and the Police to ensure inappropriate behaviour is tackled.

Once again the Christmas Tree Lights Switch On Event was a huge success and many thanks to all of you who braved the cold. We plan to hold something similar again this year. Our new permanent tree should be a bit taller by then and will grow over the coming years!!

Additionally, the Community Engagement Evening back in January gave us some excellent feedback on a number of topics.

In the coming year we will turn our attention to the future of Regent Street Backs, specifically the Garages Area. The existing Covenant, decreeing that the area be available for resident parking, expires in 2019. The Parish Council has and will continue to consult with local residents on how best to develop and utilise the land for the benefit of the village. The aim will be to tidy up the area and create better parking facilities. The key issue will be funding and this is what we will have to address in detail.

We still have plans to create an Interactive Walking Trail around the village, but lack of Finance remains a key hurdle to overcome in an era where funds for such initiatives are not easy to source.

As only 8 people sought a position on the Parish Council – which has provision for a maximum of 9 members – all of those who put themselves forward for nomination were successful. The Parish Council has a very similar look, with 8 existing Councillors continuing in post. This will give us a welcome degree of continuity and considerable experience of village issues. We will look to fill the remaining position by co-option later in the year.

Allan Burgess chose not to stand again as a Councillor and I must take this opportunity to thank him for his outstanding service to the community over many years. His knowledge and experience will be greatly missed. That said, we wish Allan well for the future.

I would also like to take the opportunity to congratulate the re-election of our Ward Councillors Helen Weltman and Gaynor Sinar and welcome James Pearson as our third ward councilor.

The Parish Council encourages you to share your thoughts on village life and to suggest any improvements that you think may prove beneficial. Our contact details, along with those of other Local Agencies can be found on our website and the Parish Council can also be contacted through our Facebook page.

Best wishes.
Cllr. Allan Aston