23rd March 2020 is a date that will be well remembered and has changed the way we do things for well over a year. Despite the lockdown restrictions that have been in place during this time the Parish Council has continued to function, missing only one meeting. Councillors have worked hard and achieved a great deal to ensure that the parish is a pleasant and safe place to live.
We have considered and acted upon the following:
- Over 30 planning applications, some of which have been controversial. They have included one decision made by the Planning Inspectorate that went against the Council’s opinion, 1 decision upheld by the Inspectorate, several withdrawn applications and many re submitted with alterations. Making judgements on planning applications can be time consuming and complicated and I would like to thank all of the Councillors for taking decisions that have the protection our community as its focus.
- Problems from flooding and the resultant damage caused. Two sites within the parish caused extensive problems but working with the cooperation of residents has hopefully resolved the problem. Councillor Roberts has been instrumental in keeping the drains and buddle holes clear and residents have been encouraged by publicity campaigns to “do their bit” by adopting a drain.
- Pressed Highways for new signage at the War Memorial to try and make the junction of three roads safer.
- Investigated and concluded several complaints/concerns such as fly tipping and vandalism – a new and disturbing occurrence within the parish.
- Produced a hither to and nonexistent job description for the position of Clerk to the Parish and revised his salary based on new criteria.
- Set up a new Parish Council website that was made possible by the 90% grant from DCC that was supported by Councillor Jonathan Hawkins. Thank you Jonathan. We have also launched our own Face Book page.
- Supported the installation of a new amphibian crossing in Tuckenhay that was made possible with funding from SHDC and the backing from Councillor John McKay. Thank you John for this as well as funding for fencing works.
- Made new decisions on the management of the cemetery. We have had working parties start the smartening up of the area with more to be done in September.
- Made a successful bid for 200 trees to be planted within the parish.
- Bid for funding that allowed small celebrations to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of VE Day to go ahead whilst still abiding by Government rulings.
- Supported the installation of lights on Ash Meadow that will give Ashprington an Air Ambulance night landing site although the driving force for the installation was the Ash Meadow Committee.
- Made donations to agencies such as Citizens Advice as well as others.
- Successfully bid for Snow Warden and Highways equipment to be prepared for adverse weather conditions each winter.
In order to support all of this work the Council agreed to raise the precept slightly by £795 to a total of £9,295, or the equivalent of £36.75 pence per annum (71 pence per week) for a band D taxpayer.
The two committees of the Village Hall and Ash Meadow continued to function despite the limitations imposed on them. Ably led by Ali Carlyon and Barry Lunt respectively they have kept our two valuable amenities in excellent condition for us all to enjoy. I would like to extend my thanks all committee members for their contributions, as without volunteers, the parish would be a more inferior place to live.
During the year two Tree Wardens sadly resigned having given a combined total of nearly 50 years of service to the community. I suspect there can be few Wardens who have given such long and valuable service to a community anywhere in the country. Again, my thanks, for the time they have given freely. Two new Wardens are now in place and the Council welcomes their enthusiasm to help us preserve and care for trees in the parish.
There are so many people to thank for helping keep our parish a thriving and desirable place to live. They repair, improve and contribute without wanting recognition or reward. You know who you are – thank you.
Finally I wish to thank all Councillors for their support and contribution as well as our Clerk who is the pivotal person in keeping the Council on track and lawful.
Lydia Stocks, Chair.