ANNUAL REPORT OF SHILLINGSTONE PARISH COUNCIL 2012-13
The following served as councillors during the year:
Mr Clive Luther (Chairman)
Mr Paul Wilson (Vice-Chairman)
Mr Peter Aaron
Mr Frank Bristow
Mr Chris Everitt
Mrs Kay Farrell
Mr Craig Oakley
Mr Phil Watts
Mr Malcolm Webberley
In May 2012, Bob Yorath stepped down from the council after 15 years’ service on the council, including 5 as Chairman. I was appointed Chairman, initially for 6 months, but I have just been appointed for a further year.
Just to tell you something about myself for those who do not know me. I have lived in the village since 2006 but have been a regular weekend visitor to see my parents since 1974. I joined the Council because I like this village and the lifestyle I enjoy and feel it is important to try and give something back to the community if you are able.
In the course of the year Cllrs Bristow, Everitt, Oakley and Watts were co-opted on to the Council, but there are again three vacancies on the council as Cllrs Everitt, Watts and Wilson have stepped down and a by-election has been called by written request from 10 electors in the parish. The cost of this election will have to be covered by the parish council from its reserves as the district council no longer pay for the necessary administration. (£100/£350 for an uncontested by-election).
During the year, the Parish Council considered 16 planning applications, 1 application for a certificate of lawful use and 5 applications to carry out works to trees in a conservation area and pursued various enforcement matters, including unauthorised advertising The parish council’s application to English Heritage to list the farm buildings at White Pit to ensure that this example of a late Victorian model farm is protected was unsuccessful, but the NDDC conservation officer has been urging them to reconsider this decision. The parish Council gave a carefully considered response to NDDC’s draft Local Plan, under the New National Planning Policy Framework.
The Parish Council has also been considering the possibility of creating a neighbourhood plan and has formed a committee with 3 councillors and 6 villagers to look more closely at this idea. We shall be hearing more from our guest speaker, Deb Appleby, about neighbourhood planning, but a key message is that this has to be a community exercise and so, as well as seeking views this evening, the parish council would be looking for support and input from across the village. The Parish Council is grateful to John Blount, Paul Bradley, James Cain, John Paul, Simon Stewart and Bob Yorath for stepping forward to serve on the committee, but we hope if the council decides to go ahead with a plan there will be response and involvement from the village so that when, as required by law, a plan is put forward for approval by referendum, it has overwhelming support, as representing the opinions and wishes of Shillingstone, soundly based on feedback from the community.
The Parish Council continues to maintain the assets in its care.
On the advice of English Heritage, the Cross has been examined by a stone conservator and the necessary work has been estimated at £14500, although it would not be certain until the finial was removed and examined whether it could be restored. The Parish Council has sought funding from a charitable trust and is also seeking funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The War Memorial was cleaned with the generous support of a village resident and a grant from the War Memorials Trust and the Parish Council is now consulting the War Memorials Trust about what work is necessary to restore the names of the fallen; the legibility of these names varies, but it may be possible to have them recut to ensure they all remain readable for generations to come.
There has been a problem with flooding on the allotments which the Council has pursued with the Countryside Rangers (since it seems the problem may at least in part be due to the trailway ramp) and also with the County Land Agent as DCC is the landowner. The Council will shortly be arranging a meeting with allotment holders to discuss any concerns they may have.
The Parish Council has also commented on a number of government consultations, including on council tax, the NDDC boundary commission review, gypsy and traveller sites
The Parish Council reversed its decision to accept ownership of a piece of land at White Pit from NDDC as being considered a potential burden to the Council and the parish.
The Parish Council owes a debt to Paul Wilson who put a lot of work into researching and setting up a new parish council website. We hope as many of you as possible will make use of this new facility and please let us know if there is anything you would like to see on there; although it is in the parish council’s name, we would like to see it as a community service providing a wide range of information about what is going on in the village.
The Council has entered the Best Kept Village Competition after an interval of a few years and so the Council would urge you to do your bit to maintain the public areas in a neat and tidy condition by picking up odd pieces of litter if you see them, the Council is grateful to Lesley Gasson and Kay Farrell for their efforts to organise litter picking parties which were confounded by bad weather. The Council has now employed the services of the Sturminster Newton parish lengthsman for a few hours a month to carry out such chores as litter picking and grass cutting which are no longer carried out with adequate frequency by the County Council
The Parish Council is yet again enormously grateful to the Footpaths Officer, Graham Rains, for his sterling work in maintaining the footpath network across the village, both out on the ground and lobbying the County Council Rights of Way department. We are fortunate to have someone of such skills and dedication. Graham and Lesley Gasson have also been much involved in the development of the Trailway, work on which has been led by the Countryside Rangers.The Parish Council contributed to a leaflet publicising the Trailway and the businesses around it.
White Pit Play Area
This play area continues to be in good condition generally, although the surface is beginning to deteriorate and two of the swings have been replaced. Work is planned to improve the surface at the entrance.
In its capacity as sole managing trustee of the Recreation Ground, the Council has continued to maintain and manage the area. The Big Lottery funded Community Spaces project was completed with the installation of another springer toy and a novelty waste bin and the council has received a substantial sustainability grant to purchase goods and services to keep the area in good condition. The Parish Council is again grateful to the Forum School for its help in litter picking at the recreation ground and, now, at the White Pit play area. Councillors also carry out weekly safety checks to ensure the equipment in the play areas remains in a safe condition. The Parish Council would also like to thank Alan Hunt and Phil Watts for always being ready to help out in looking after the recreation ground.
The new changing unit provided under the Sportengland Inspired Facilities programme has been installed and will be a great asset to the community in providing modern showers lavatories and changing space, as well as fitting very well into the setting. This should be handed over to the Council very shortly
I should like to thank my fellow councillors for their support and hard work; residents may not be aware of the time and efforts they put, unpaid and often unacknowledged, into the running of the village, which extends far beyond the monthly meetings of the Council.
[+ go back...]