Annual Parish Meeting Report – April 2018

Parish Council Report for the Annual Parish Meeting  19th April 2018

A report given at the Annual Parish Meeting by the Chairman of the Parish Council. 

Yet another busy year for the Parish Council. We have seen a move of location for our meetings from Riseley Lower School where meetings had been held since the formation of the Parish Council in 1894 , to the Village Hall in September 2017 following the closure of the Lower School site.

We have seen the appointment of a Locum Clerk to carry out the Clerks duties whilst the Clerk is on maternity leave. Not the first time however a temporary replacement clerk has been needed. In April 1918 the Clerk was called up for service in the Great War and the Reverend Dodds kindly stood in as Clerk.

A thank you to our Clerk Rachel Mackay and our Locum Clerk Jane Presland for keeping us and all the paperwork in order. A thank you also to Councillor Liz King who stood down for work reasons and to Heather Jones who was co-opted to fill the vacancy. 

At our annual Precept and Budget meeting in January 2018, we agreed a budgeted expenditure of £28,850 plus possible expenditure of up to £25,300 on special projects including the Community Hub project , the upgrading of our street lighting stock, relaying the water supply to the Playing Field and support for the Neighbourhood Plan Group.

The decision was made not to increase the Parish Precept and keep this at £25,000 with expenditure above this to come from reserves.

Increasing beaurocracy and regulations are continuing to tie up time and effort which could be put to better use. A good example is the change to the Data Protection Regulations coming in from May 2018 , affecting all manner or organisations and groups .

Planning – We discussed and commented on some 26 planning applications. The consultation period on the Local plan 2035 , ended in March 2018. As no development was included for Riseley, our interest is now in the proposed new settlement at Souldrop and how this may affect traffic on the A6.

Neighbourhood Plan Group – Following interest from residents to prepare a Local Neighbourhood Plan for Riseley, the Parish Council are supporting the formation of a group to progress this. The first meeting has been held and volunteers sought.

Ross Meadow and Allotments – With work done by Parish Councillors and other volunteers , Ross Meadow continues to be a very pleasant spot in the centre of oour village. All the allotments are taken and are well looked after. Work is planned to tidy up the remaining untidy areas.

A beacon lighting event is planned in November to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1.

Lighting – An unexpected problem and unexpected expense with our old sodium orange bracket lights involving asbestos in the control box seals, has delayed the planned replacement with more efficient white LED. We are still proceeding with a programme of replacement over a period of years but it will take longer than planned.

Web Site – This is becoming more user friendly and up to date and we are gradually ironing out outstanding issues.

Community Hub Project – The Parish Council is continuing its support to this project. Plans are in limbo at the moment of giving this report, pending on the decision of the Diocese and Borough Council regarding the Lower School site.

Newsletter – Due to Sharnbrook School no longer being able to copy our Newsletter , we have changed to printer Just Digital. The format will be the same and colour will be introduced on the front and back covers. Thanks go to Deborak Wookey who remains our editor for all the work she does in putting the newsletter together , all on a voluntary basis,

Playing Field – The new Zip wire is proving very popular. Work is planned this year on maintenance of some of the older items of equipment and to relay the water supply pipe. We are still in discussion with our insurers regarding repairs to the skate ramp which was damaged by arson last year.

To finish, a thank you to our Borough Councillor Martin Towler, for all the support he has given to the Parish Council and Village Groups and residents. 

Sincere thanks also to all the Parish Councillors for the effort and time they put in , in carrying out their duties. As Chairman , it has been a great pleasure to work with them all and they certainly have helped me greatly in carrying out the role of Chairman.

Andrew Gell – Chairman of Riseley Parish Council – April 2018

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