EVERLEIGH PARISH COUNCIL
Minutes of the Annual meeting of the Parish held at the Crown Hotel on Monday 11th May 2009
Chairman: Cllr A Bradford (Vice Chairman)
Present: Cllr J Bradford Cllr S Matton and Cllr Wheeler-Mallows.
Apologies: Cllr D Beaton and Cllr D Bottomley.
In Attendance: Mr P Gill (Parish Clerk) County Cllr R Hall and District Cllr C Howard, Sgt M Freeman and two members of the public.
1. Chairman’s Report.
The Chairman reported another successful year for the village due in large part to the efforts if individual parish councillors.
The Parish Council organised another Summer barbecue at The Crown which was well attended and enjoyed by many villagers and some guests. Sadly the now traditional fireworks evening at the beginning of November had to be cancelled at the last minute due to a torrential downpour. However, the fireworks remained dry and are available for use for the next year.
The highlight of the year has been the redevelopment of the Play Area. A small committee of councillors led by Tony Bradford consulted with young people in the village and, as a result, developed an ambitious scheme to replace and reposition the existing equipment as well as a track for older young people. Thanks to the demise of Kennet District Council the sum of £10,000 was provided as well as a further £10,000 through the Landfill Tax Grants scheme administered by Community First and provided by Hills Waste.
There were no major planning issues during the year although the sale of bungalows and land at West View resulted in a spate of applications for new houses to replace the old buildings. As the economic downturn progressed only 2 houses have been built so far and it is likely to be some time before any others are built.
The long awaited ‘Getting to know you’ meeting finally took place in April by courtesy of the Goa Balti who were very generous hosts. The meeting was very well attended by more than 30 villagers and it is hoped that it will be repeated next year. We have to thank both Pauline Merrett and Sally Matton who gave very interesting talks on the history of Everleigh. Other plans for this year include a summer barbecue and fireworks as well as the official opening of the Play Area.
On the financial side our expenditure exceeded our income but the shortfall was made up from our adequate reserves. However, we did to decide on a marginal increase in the precept to cover future expenditure especially as the events we have organised have been so well supported and appreciated.
My thanks are due to Cllrs. Hall and Howard who attended most of our meetings and provided support for us at both Kennet District and Wiltshire County Councils. I would also like to thank our Parish Clerk for looking after our affairs so efficiently as well as having to deal with an impatient Chairman!
At the last Annual Meeting I indicated my desire to retire at the end of the year. Having had considerable pressure exerted on me I am prepared to serve for another year in anticipation of continued support from my fellow councillors.
2. Finance Report.
The Clerk reported that finances remain in a healthy condition with cash in both accounts at £2558.15 at year end. Although this is £1660 less last year it includes an exceptional £1140 payment made to secure grant money and the payment will be recovered in FY 09/10. The accounts have been prepared by the Clerk, audited by the internal auditor and will now be sent to Mazar’s the external auditor. The deadline for accounts to be sent to the external auditors is 30 June in 2009.
Income for FY08/09 was approximately £3322, namely £2150 precept and a VAT refund of £1100 in grants.
Outgoings were approximately £4982, with the largest amounts being insurance at approx £471 and village events night costing £1150. However, there are £350 pounds of fireworks in storage for this year’s event. Future Village events will be funded from the Precept which will rise for the first time since 2002 from to £3100. There were no major purchases for the year.
The balance of our spend was on grass cutting, Clerk’s salary, audit fees, election fees and other such costs needed to run the PC.
It is anticipated that in FY09/10 that grants to a total of £25K will be drawn down for the good and benefit of the Village.
3. Kennet District Council Report
KDC Cllr Howard reported that Kennet District Council and the other three District Councils in Wiltshire were replaced by the new unitary Wiltshire Council on 31st March, and you will be hearing details of the way ahead for the new Council from Councillor Robert Hall.
While no public body is perfect, I regret that Kennet is no more because it was generally well run and provided a good service to the public. However, the change has taken place, and we must now do all that we can to make the new arrangements work as well as possible. I am glad to say that in the short time that Wiltshire Council has been in existence all the departments that I have been in contact with appear to be functioning in a satisfactory way.
Looking back over the past year, the main activity at Kennet has been the preparation for the changeover to the new Council.
I have been involved in the following activities during the past year as your District Councillor for the Collingbournes and Everleigh:
1.Assisting in obtaining a grant from Kennet District Council for improvements to the playground.
2.Serving on the Regulatory (planning) and Resources Executive Committees of the Council.
3.Taking part in the initial development of the Tidworth Area Board which has held a series of pilot meetings over the past year in preparation for the regular ‘live’ meetings which will take place when the new members of Wiltshire Council start work after the elections on 4th June.
I am glad to say that the development phase for the new Area Board has gone well, and I hope that it will prove to be a useful and effective way for Parish Councils and members of the public to have their say and influence the way that their local government is run.
4. Wiltshire County Council Report
WCC Cllr Hall reported that we have seen the start of Wiltshire Council on 1 April this year. The Implementation Executive has, I judge, worked hard to achieve a smooth transition from WCC and the Districts; whilst some Councillors still fight against the change, our officers have worked hard to make the system work. From the 5 budgets £8 M was saved in FY 08/09, partially due to staff leaving to work elsewhere.
In FY 09/10 we will find ourselves paying for the redundancy of “chiefs” leaving but in FY 10/11 we are on course for a saving of £18 M a year over the total of the old five budgets. I want to stress the importance of the new Area Board system that we have piloted in both Pewsey and Tidworth. For our parish councils it is a route to grants to help the life of your parish; from now on I advise you to take part and learn how this new system works and then use it to your advantage.
Supporting the Board is the Tidworth Area Community Partnership, at present it meets four times a year in the Aspire Business Centre, you have place at the table – fill it. The Tidworth Area Board will meet six times a year, probably in the Community Centre in Tidworth in the evening. It can call those who deliver services to account. You have a seat at the table – fill it. Both you and the public can speak. I am not yet certain how much money is allocated to each Board this FY but it is £25 K plus a per capita amount. You need to start thinking now of what you want from this pot; if you do not bid it will go to someone else who has made a bid.
You cannot vote at the Board but your Unitary Councillor can vote and he cannot but work on your behalf; the Board has three councillors and a Wiltshire Council Cabinet member attends, to hear what your concerns are but he/she has no vote. A rather unusual system has been devised to ensure that there are always three councillors at the Tidworth Board; if a councillor cannot attend, a substitute, from the Pewsey Board will act in his place; if the Pewsey Board is short of a councillor a Tidworth member covers the vacancy.
As some of you know I am standing as the Conservative Party Candidate for the new Division called “Pewsey Vale” – the villages of Wilcot and Huish (with Oare) are in the Pewsey Vale Division but to the others I would like to say how much I have enjoyed the last four years working with you and say goodbye.”
Cllr Hall then answered questions
5. Wiltshire Constabulary Report
Sgt M Freeman reported that of the 660 crimes committed in his area of responsibility 186 had been detected which is above the force target and was achieved with only three police officers. From 1 April 2009 only one reporting tool will be used by the Home Office which should allow police offers more time to deal with the prevention and detection of crime. Following a review of the NPT the rural NPT will combine with the Ludgershall NPT and a Sgt, 11 police constables and three PCSOs will be based at Tidworth Police Station. In addition there will be a dedicated Rural Crime Team lead by PC Randle. PCSO Claire Davidson is leaving to be replaced in by PCSO P Royston due course. It is anticipate that the full complement of PCs and PCSOs will be in place by 1 August 2009.
New IT equipment and cars are coming on stream and this coupled with the recruitment of ex PC C Spackman as a statement taker will enhance the capability and effectiveness of the police on the ground.
Sgt Freeman then answered questions
A member of the public raised a concern about local water extraction by the military. Cllr Wheeler Mallows agreed to get details of the concern and to pass them on to the Clerk for him to raise the concern with the military authorities.
A member of the public offered their congratulations to the Parish Council for their good work and cited the new notice board and the revamping of the play area as examples of their good work.
There being no other business the Chairman thanked all who attend and closed the Annual Parish Meeting at 7.52 pm.