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News  »  Chairman's Annual Report 2015-2016



   Chairman's Annual Report 2015-2016    May 5, 2016

I would like to remind you they do this on a completely voluntary basis.  I believe each of the Councillors is concerned for the well-being of the parish and has the best interests of the village at heart.  I would also like to thank our Borough Councillor, Olivia Hunter, for her continued help and support in connection with Cheshire Eat Council.

Finally I would like to thank Rosemary Fogerty who is retiring after 11 years as Clerk to the Council for all her hard work.

Precept:

We have again held our precept at the previous year's figure.  This is the fourth year in a row we have budgeted to make sure an increase would not be necessary.  It is with the help of our Financial Officer and Councillor Phil Gough we are able to achieve this constancy.  I believe this value of precept represents great value for money to Pickmere residents given our ever expanding commitments to our maintenance of our assets and upkeep of recreation grounds like the IROS.

Recreation Land:

Your Parish Council and other volunteers has  been very active during the year maintaining and improving the land we own around the village.  In particular safety and remedial works associated with trees on the IROS.  We have also improved access to the lake edge to the north of our land holding.  In the last month some of you will have noticed the arrival of a new camera based security system monitoring the pavilion.  Our intention is to reduce incidents of vandalism in the area.  Councillor Ian Kershaw has arranged this on behalf of the Council.

The childrens play ground on Clover Drive requires a particularly high management input from the Councillors, in particular Councillor Simon Read, and it also accounts for a relatively high expenditure.  We are required to do this to meet all of our helath and safety obligations.  We are required to conduct weekly safety assessments and quarterly inspections by professionals.

Planning:

Our planning sub-group has reviewed over 15 planning applications.  It is often the case that we have to consider the same application a number of times because of changes made by the applicant.  In all cases we make representation to the planning authority, Cheshire East, either supporting or objecting to the application or when we have concerns about appropriateness.  In all cases we strongly urge the planning officer to take into account the views of close neighbours.

On your behalf the Council pursues enforcement of ALL unapproved developments in Pickmere.  Of particular note is your Council's effort to bring to a conclusion the long-standing refused planning application on Spinks Lane.  Cheshire East's Councillor Ainsley Arnold, who is the portfolio holder for Housing and Planning, assures me they will enforce the decision to refuse this application and its subsequent refusal at appeal when legal conditions allow.

Council members have attended numerous Cheshire East led conferences in order we better understand the pros and cons of Pickmere developing a Neighbourhood Plan.  Experience of other Councils would indicate this process takes many thousands of hours and periods of up to two years and would cost in the region of £10,000.  Some of this expenditure can be off-set by grants from Central Government.  The Council has not yet resolved this matter and it is on-going.

Highways:

The speed through the village remains high and has been a concern for a number of years.  I ask all residents to drive at a safe speed and to comply with the speed limits in force throughout Pickmere.  At long last we have had speed warning indicators fitted by Cheshire East.  It has required a lot of behind-the-scenes pressure to make this happen.

The Council owns a mobile speed camera and we are currently looking for volunteers to be trained by the police to perform community speed watch activities.  I believe this activity will positively impact on reducing the speed on our roads.

We have had discussions with the Cheshire Show team to try to alleviate some of the delays we experience over the two days of the show in June each year.

Publicity:

Most of the Village activities and all those relating to the Council can be found on Pickmere Parish Council web-site.  We have Councillor Chris Tarrant to thank for its faultless operation and the fact that we are probably one of the few Parish Councils that has the most up-to-date content.

I believe the Parish is very lucky to have access to Pickmere Press, delivered to our doors or inbox each month.  I find it invaluable for keeping abreast of what is happening in the Village.  Thanks to Dave Bradburn and many others who just make this happen for us.

Community Care:

During the past year the Council has been investigating how the "Heart Start" initiative would best fit in the Pickmere environment.  A number of your Councillors atttended training for resuscitation and the use of a defibrillator.  Through Councillor Simon Read we have been able to obtain three devices by way of donation.  Our intention is to place two of these in prominent locations and the third will be used for a programme of community training.  I would urge as many of you as possible to attend and get the confidence to help save a life.

Community Assets / Buildings:

For a number of months now, the full Council has been engaged in a series of meetings to develop further our approach to planning long-term sustainable community assets and budgets.  This work was initially started by way of Community consultattions in 2012 but was delayed while a claim on one of our land assets was legally resolved.  We are now able to proceed with developing a robust plan in terms of a budget and any works required.

Conclusion:

Pickmere Parish Council has more activities to manage than most our size.  You have an excellent team working on your behalf to deliver them.  Please remember that the Parish Council is responsible for representing the entire village, and I encourage all residents to make your views known to us.

 

Andrew Shore

Chairman, Pickmere Parih Council

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