EVERLEIGH PARISH COUNCIL
Minutes of the Annual meeting of the Parish
held at Collingbourne School on Monday 11th May 2015
Chairman: Cllr Matton (Chair).
Present: Cllr D Bottomley, Cllr K Wheeler-Mallows, Cllr J Jones, Cllr K Preece, Cllr E Hudson, Wilts County Cllr C Howard, Sgt A Faircloth (Wiltshire Constabulary) and Mr A Whinton (Collingbournes, Chutes & Everleigh Link Scheme)
Apologies: Cllr T Symonds.
In Attendance: Mr P Gill (Clerk).
Chairman’s Report. The Chairman reported that Everleigh Parish Council had a successful year during 2014-15. The strong team of councillors continued to work proactively throughout the year to ensure that the Parish is well informed, involved, entertained and well looked after. May I take this opportunity to thank Councillors Bottomley, Wheeler-Mallows, Goldsmith, McQuaid, Symonds and Jones for all their hard work during the year and a special thanks to Cllr Bottomley in his capacity as Vice-Chairman, for leading the council on several issues and at some meetings in my absence. Thanks also to Councillors Preece and Hudson who joined us as vacancies occurred due to the resignations of Councillors McQuaid and Goldsmith. The first event of the year took place in June and was preceded with work parties by both Parish Councillors and village residents. All involved worked extremely hard to deliver the Summer Party which took place in the Jubilee Field. The use of this field is only possible by kind permission of the DIO and Mr Bruce Waite in the first instance and by all those who turn out preceding work parties to help prepare the ground. Thanks to all of you and a special thanks to Cllr Bottomley, who co-ordinates these efforts. An account of the event can be read in the relevant Courier article. Mr Stoodley also deserves a thank you for supplying us electricity. A truly strong and recognizable community spirit exists in Everleigh. This spirit was recognised at the 2015 Tidworth Community Area Awards where Everleigh residents, businesses and Parish Councillors were awarded several prizes. I can report that Mr Simon Curr was the outright winner of the Chamber of Commerce Cup with The Goa coming third in that category. Cllr Wheeler- Mallows was a runner up and Cllr Sally Matton gained second place in the Aster Star Award. In May the Parish Council organised a work party to help prepare for the Annual Tea Party in the Church and in August, they organised a very successful Commemorative Service to mark the 100 year Anniversary of the start of WW1 at St Peter’s Church. This event was followed by a cheese and wine party. Councillor Bottomley deserves a huge thank you for co-ordinating this event. Another successful Ducis and Everleigh Village Show was enjoyed in September and well done to all involved. Many Everleigh residents worked very hard and contributed to the show in many ways. This resulted in the biggest grant to date being awarded to the village of Everleigh to contribute towards various projects including the purchase of a replacement slide and climbing frame for the playground. In addition to this grant, Councillors Symonds and Bottomley successfully applied for a grants from Community First and Tidworth Area Board to help fund this project . In November our annual Firework display was planned to take place in the Jubilee Field and along with a huge bonfire. With previous fundraising we were able to purchase enough fireworks to put on a dazzling display. Unfortunately the event had to be cancelled due to very bad weather. A huge effort went into to organising and preparing for the event and thank you to all involved. The fireworks are now securely stored ready for November 2015. BT/Openreach installed a new larger capacity copper wire connection to the local telephone exchange which has enabled any resident who wishes to have a broadband connection. In addition to this service BT/Openreach provided a fibre optic cable to the village so those that request it can have a high speed internet service. Councillor Wheeler-Mallows has worked tirelessly on this project and deserves all the credit he has received. Several planning applications were made throughout the year. Thank you to the planning committee for their work and comments that enable us to respond appropriately. As more power is devolved to parish councils on planning issues, it is important that we, as a Council, ensure that any change to the village is in the best interests of all. In December 2014 the annual Carols and Curry lunch was enjoyed by many and precious funds raised went towards the funding of the new playground equipment. So many people are involved with this event on many levels. Thank you to you all. On a financial level, the annual precept has been increased in line with inflation for this coming year, so that council can meet its obligations to the Parish. In order to minimize this increase, we have been very careful this year to stick rigidly to the budget set last year and will continue to seek ways of fundraising for specialist projects which the budget cannot allow for. I can report that at the time of writing the new piece of playground equipment has been installed. This took a tremendous amount of hard work from both Councillors and residents and was a team effort all round. During the year an ISO container was procured and sited. This means that the ever growing amount of equipment that the Parish Council has can be stored securely in one central place. Thank you Cllr Bottomley for co-ordinating this effort. Much of what we achieve as a council is supported by hard work behind the scenes from our local County Councillor, Charles Howard. Cllr Howard attends all our meetings and helps us by lobbying various council departments on any issues that we have. Thank you to him for his support and much appreciated knowledge. I am pleased to report our Parish Clerk, Mr Phil Gill, will be serving us for another year. We are so grateful for his knowledge and hard work and would like to say how very pleased we are to be able to retain his services. Final thanks go to Tidworth Community Policing team who keep us informed of all local crimes and detection rates throughout the year and to Cllr Wheeler-Mallows and his neighbourhood watch team. I have decided to step down from my post as Chairman at the end of the year (May 2015) but I hope to continue to serve the parish well over the next 12 months as an active member of the Parish Council. I wish my successor all the very best as Chairman and I am happy to support them in that role. No questions were asked of the Chairman.
Finance Report. The Clerk reported that finances remain in a healthy condition with the cash balance in all accounts being £ 3165.90 at year end which is £1127.34 less than FY 13/14 which reflects the spending of earmarked project fund. The balance includes the Council’s reserves policy of £2100 minimum. The accounts have been prepared by the Clerk, audited by the internal auditor and will be sent to Grant Thornton the external auditor to meet the statutory deadline of 30 June 2015. Income for 13/14 was approximately £12389 namely almost £7K in grants, £3367 Precept, £1442 village events income and a VAT refund of £584. Outgoings were approximately £13517 with the largest amounts being purchase of new play equipment at £6455, village events at £1764, purchase of Jubilee mugs at £1190, insurance at approx £778 and grass cutting at £300 and. The balance of the spend was on the Clerk’s salary, general maintenance, safety inspections and other such costs needed to run the PC. No questions were asked of the Clerk.
Wiltshire County Council Report. Cllr Howard presented a report a digest of which follows: Council Tax has been frozen for the fifth successive year, although there will be small increases of a few pounds per household this year to the amounts payable to the police, fire and rescue and some Parish Councils. The Council’s achievement in holding the rate for a further year is remarkable because our Settlement Funding grant payments from Central Government have been further reduced by about 11% and is likely to reduce still further next year. Despite this, we are still continuing to maintain front line services and invest in yet more care for the elderly and vulnerable people, improving our housing stock and spending extra millions of pounds on our roads to clear as much as possible of the backlog in repairs. With ongoing inflation at 2%, Wiltshire Council has had to find savings of £30 million this year to balance its budget. It is good to know that the Council Tax we will all be paying in the coming year compared to similar and surrounding councils is one of the lowest in the country. The new Core Strategy was adopted by the Council on 20th January. This has been a major piece of work which sets out the policy in Wiltshire on a range of planning matters, including the location and a number of new houses that are to be built in the county between now and 2026. The Army Basing Plan for the arrival of approximately 4300 Army personnel and their families from Germany between 2016 and 2019 is now well on the way to completion. The total number of people including families will be approximately 7600, to be accommodated in new housing at Larkhill, Bulford, Tidworth, Ludgershall and Upavon. This involves provision of new infrastructure including medical and educational facilities, as a joint venture between Wiltshire Council and the Ministry of Defence. On a personal note, I continue as a member of four committees of Wiltshire Council. I am chairman of the Eastern Area Planning Committee, a member of the Strategic Planning Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Wiltshire Pension Fund Committee, a member of the Police and Crime Panel. I am also a Governor of The Wellington Academy. I have been involved in a range of issues of direct interest to the Everleigh during the past year. It is satisfactory to note that high speed broadband is now available in the village, and I congratulate the Parish Council on their efforts to obtain this valuable service. I would like to make special mention to the work of Nick Bancroft, Wiltshire Council’s local Community Coordinator for Highways and Streetscene who has done excellent work in Everleigh and all the other Parishes in the Tidworth Community Area, subject to the financial constraints that apply. Wiltshire Council Local Highways Dept continues to work closely with Everleigh Parish Council to ensure that issues raised are dealt with in an appropriate and timely manner. The regular Community Days (approximately once every ten weeks) provide an opportunity for our contractors Community Team to concentrate their resources on the parish for the day, carrying out highways maintenance tasks which do not require specialist equipment. These days have proved effective in dealing with non-urgent issues, and will continue for the foreseeable future. Urgent tasks and those requiring specialist equipment are subject of work instructions to our contractors, with an appropriate priority grading. Rolling programmes of street sweeping, gully and drainage ditch maintenance are in place. It has been a pleasure working with the Parish Council during the past year, and I look forward to continuing to do so in the coming year.
Wilts Councillor Howard answered questions from those present after which the Chairman thanked him and Claire Perry for their help and support.
4. Wiltshire Constabulary Report. Sgt Faircloth reported presented by a verbal report a digests of which follows: Incidents since last update: 6 violent crimes with 3 resulting from the same incident, 2 non-dwelling burglaries and 2 “Beauty Spot” thefts. She stated that Everleigh is a very safe place to live.
Sgt Faircloth then answered questions after which the Chairman thanked her for her help and support.
5. Report from the Collingbournes Chute & Everleigh Link Scheme. Mr A Whinton provided a report a digest of which follows: Once again this year we are able to report that your Link Scheme is in good health and has been running successfully for another year. We have more clients and some more drivers, for which we are very grateful, and the number of journeys made in the past year is just slightly down on previous years. Our finances are in good shape and are now being very well looked after by Al Whinton, our Honorary Treasurer, who will be able to give you some numbers in a few minutes. We are, of course, reliant upon the donations given to us by our clients during their trips, and also – and very importantly – from our Parish Councils. We are very grateful for this help, and also for the donation given by the DEVS Committee following last year’s Village Show. I would just like to add that, although Link is run entirely by volunteers, their mileage expenses are refunded, and we are making continual efforts to reduce our other costs (telephone, insurance, etc). We are also now able to claim Gift Aid on our donations, so these are worth even more to us. Link Schemes across Wiltshire are all thriving, and we exchange information. There are forty-four independent Link Schemes across Wiltshire, all “guided” by Community First. Over the past year the total miles covered has again been just under 1 million, and it has been calculated that if the hours spent by our volunteers had been paid for at the South West Average Rate of £10.58 per hour, we would have spent almost £1.6M. This is a measure of the value generated in our county by the generosity of our volunteers. I would like to thank all of our 30 volunteers in the Collingbournes, Chutes and Everleigh for their magnificent efforts in keeping us moving this year. We are always looking for new people who want to contribute to their community and can spare a few hours a month to help their neighbours. If anyone would like more information, without any pressure to join, then please call our regular Link number 01264-850807 and just ask the questions. Thank you once again for the support that Collingbourne Ducis Parish Council has given us in the past. We hope to be able to continue helping to look after the needs of some of the more vulnerable people of this Parish in the years ahead.
Finally, our AGM is due to be held on the afternoon of Wednesday 13th May 2015 in the Village Hall at Collingbourne Kingston. All are welcome to join us – tea and biscuits will be served afterwards.
Mr Whinton answered questions from those present after which the Chairman thanked him for his report.
6. Questions. There being no other business the Chairman thanked all who attend and closed the Annual Parish Meeting at 7.25pm