PC Report 2004 PC P C Report 2003
WELTON PARISH COUNCIL-ANNUAL REPORT APRIL 2005
“And the first shall be last and the last shall be first”……. I am not quite sure whereabouts in the Bible that quotation may be found, but it has always seemed to me to be a final just reward for all those who normally come at the end, usually as an afterthought. Today, in my report, those people who usually get the last mentions are coming first.
I am going to begin by saying my thank you’s, because without all the team who have been right by my side throughout the past months, the Parish Council would not have achieved half as much as it has, and certainly a great deal of ground has been covered. So, first of all a huge thank you to my vice chairman Councillor Turvey, without whose constant support and first class expertise and advice, the going would have been very hard, much slower and much less productive, I am sure. His sense of humour and friendly, sensible approach helps keep all things in their right perspective.
Our clerk Mrs. Julie Murray, has been a tower of strength in all areas and being new to the job herself last year, lost no time in getting to grips with the intricacies of local council affairs in order to be able to advise councillors on all those areas with which we as voluntary amateurs, are not, at least to start with, totally conversant. She keeps us well and truly on the straight and narrow and her advice to me is golden. By her side has been her assistant, Mrs. Lindsey Westman, always smiling, always ready to go and get her hands dirty, doing many extra jobs which will never be found in her job description.
We have had some lary times over the past months. Councillors of course, cannot and should not, always be of one accord. We must have debate and discussion and a difference of opinion. Debate and discussion force us to look at all aspects of a situation and come to an agreed democratic decision. I would therefore like to thank all councillors who have given their time so willingly, each individual contributing enormously, according to his or her own particular strength, interest or experience. It can be tiring, when at the end of a long day, you have to turn out to go to yet another council or committee meeting, especially when there is a World Cup football match on the telly, or to go and sit in the Parish Council office on a sunny Saturday morning answering queries from parishioners when you would rather be taking the sea air at Skeggy, shopping, digging in the garden or visiting your children and grandchildren.
Although there have been the odd absences for illness or work or family commitments, we have not once had to abandon a meeting because the required number of councillors was not present. That says a lot for the tenacity and goodwill of all my fellow councillors and I thank you all.
I would like to say thank you also to Lincolnshire County Councillor Mr. Charles Ireland, and West Lindsey District Councillors Mr. Malcolm Parish and Mr. Roger Hiscox who have attended Parish Council meetings regularly keeping us abreast of developments in both the County and District departments. Thanks also must go to our Police Officer PC Dave Oakes who has kept us up to date with the work being done to combat sticky situations in the Parish. Thank you all for giving us your valuable time. I cannot finish my thank you’s without mentioning the editor of the Welton NEWS who attends our full council meetings each month and who gives over so much of the valuable space in the magazine to publicise events for us and keep the residents of Welton so well informed about the activities of the Parish Council, especially those supposedly concerned with raising taxes for Royal Wedding Presents!
This year has seen the sad passing of two previous chairmen of the Parish Council, Dr. Ivan McLannahan and Ted Stiles. Councillor Turvey and I were honoured to attend the funeral services of these two former chairmen as representatives of the present council. Other councillors who had known Dr. Mac and Ted also attended. Last year the Annual Parish Report contained the news of the deaths of two, more recent councillors, Bill Jones and Graham Matthews. In order to show our appreciation of the contribution Bill and Graham had made to the village in the roles of councillors, the Parish Council has dedicated two walnut trees, standing at the entrance to Manor Park Sports Facility, to our two colleagues. We have arranged a ceremony at Manor Park, to take place on the 6th May at 6pm, when District Councillor Malcolm Parish, former Welton Parish Council Chairman himself, has kindly agreed to unveil the dedication plaques on our behalf. We hope that some of Bill and Graham’s relatives may be able to be present at the ceremony.
Over the past several weeks, residents may have noticed that flowers are blooming under the village signs at the entrances to the village. The Parish Council is actively pressing forward with tidying and prettying up our village and the spring bulbs have been planted as the first stage in this effort to improve our immediate environment. The daffodils will be followed in the summer with displays of poppies, marguerites and cornflowers. We are also investigating the possibility of restoring or replacing the signs themselves as many have seen better days and could well do with a facelift.
Under the Lincolnshire County Council’s Free Trees for Parishes initiative, the Parish Council applied for and received twenty-five beech trees, which have been planted along Cliff Road just beyond the 30mph speed limit. In time, these trees will grow and form an avenue leading into the village. We hope to take advantage of this scheme again when more trees will be planted next year in other areas of the village.
Although we were eliminated from the Calor Gas Village of the Year Competition in 2004, we did at least advance this time into the second round, but sadly, were let down at the last by the amount of litter lying around, particularly along the many footpaths that criss-cross the village.
This year, under the leadership of Geoff Croft, a new voluntary group, The Village Improvement Trust, has been formed, whose aim it is to tackle these problem areas, to attack the litter, enhance the overall appearance of the village, and to try to make Welton look as if it could be a winner this year instead of always falling at the last hurdle. We can all help here by taking our litter home, clearing away the dogs’ mess, putting out flower baskets and containers, and generally giving the village the wash and brush up that could do the trick. Geoff was presented last year with the first Parish Council Community Award for his work in the village and it looks as if he is now off on yet another initiative for the good of us all. We are making this award again this year. For the moment, however, the name of the recipient must remain under wraps!
Last summer, the Parish Council presented many Garden Award Certificates. There is no limit to the number of these certificates that can be given out. We shall be doing the same this year, and I for one, am looking forward to seeing all the gardens in bloom and particularly to revisiting Stonecliff Park. The gardens there were so attractive last summer, we ended up with nearly everyone getting a certificate. I should like to thank all the residents of Stonecliff Park for their efforts in making their corner of the village a beauty spot well worth visiting and an area where we shall certainly be gaining some extra points in the Best Kept Village Competition.
In May 2004, the Parish Council played host to the French contingent of the Welton – Monce en Belin Twinning Group. Families from Welton are paired up with similar families in Monce en Belin and exchange visits are arranged between the two countries. 2004 was the year of the 30th. Anniversary of the Twinning agreement and it was arranged that the Charter would be re-signed by both parties at a buffet supper with musical entertainment, arranged by the Parish Council, which took place at the Village Hall. Gifts were exchanged to commemorate the event. Later in the year, when the Welton families returned from their trip to Monce, they brought with them an extra gift in the form of an engraved silver tray and this was presented to the council at the Twinning Groups AGM in January. The Parish Council is very keen to preserve this link with France and hope that future events will be organised where we can all once again, exercise our tongues, getting round those tricky French vowel sounds!
The Parish Council has undertaken several major projects during the past year. Many are still ongoing, as all projects have to go through the correct procedure, which means they can take a very long time to come to fruition. Residents will now know that the village Traffic Calming Scheme, which has been in the pipeline for many months, has finally got under way during the past weeks. With the two refuges on either side of the bend outside the Co-op we hope that residents, in particular those who need just that little extra bit of time to cross, and the many mums with prams and toddlers, will be able to cross in safety without having to run for their lives to get across. We hope that the new configuration of the road, together with the refuges, will help slow down the traffic going through the village. A School Safety Zone is also being introduced for the better safety of children from the primary school, St Mary’s, as they cross the road on their way to and from school.
The Parish Council is responsible for the maintenance of the village War Memorial and it falls to the lot of the Publications Committee to oversee and make arrangements for its care and upkeep. To this end Councillor Mrs. Chapman and her team are organising a Home Produce stall to raise funds for this task. Further details of this project will be announced in the Welton NEWS in May.
The Parish Plan, mentioned last year, is forging ahead. The Parish Plan is a description of how our community would like to see the Parish develop within the local planning framework. It sets out an agreed community vision for the future of the Parish within the region. It concerns everyone in the village and we would like some input from all residents who would like a say in how the village develops, or does not develop, as the case may be. Councillor Turvey is working on this project on the Parish Council’s behalf, and he would be happy to discuss this with anyone having some good ideas on the subject.
Councillor Turvey has also been instrumental in advising us on the installation of a Parish Council Website. This has been a long time coming, as once again, these things take time, and along with everything else that is going on, it has had to take its turn. However, I am informed that the site is now on the launching pad, ready for take-off, so watch this space, or rather, watch out in the Welton NEWS for further information.
I mentioned earlier how all councillors bring their special interest and expertise to the council, for the benefit of the residents, and once again I have to mention a councillor by name, Councillor Peter Harrold, who has taken on the task of pushing forward the possible installation of a Skate park in Welton. It was a letter in the Welton NEWS that prompted me to ask the clerk about the best way forward to get this project off the ground. I take my hat off to the young man who wrote to the Welton NEWS asking the council to consider this idea, as that very often is a good way to get things started. Once again, a Councillor with an interest in this came forward and offered to take the project on, on our behalf. There have been several meetings already. A party of councillors went to the Skate Park at North Hykeham to see at first hand what was involved. A suitable site is being sought, and funding possibilities are being looked at. We shall keep everyone informed as to the Skate Park’s progress and we thank Councillor Harrold for all his time and effort.
Apart from the normal monthly Full Parish Council meetings and the committee meetings for Planning, Environment and Heritage, Publications, Highways and Utilities and Manor Park, councillors have attended many other meetings representing the Parish Council. Among these were a Fund-raising Fair, The AGM of the Lincolnshire Community Council, a Financial Management Seminar, and Local Strategic Partnership meetings at Welton, Bardney and Saxilby. Councillors were also invited to William Farr School by head teacher Mr. Paul Strong, where they were treated to coffee and biscuits followed by a three hour guided tour of the newest school buildings. The vice chairman and I attended two meetings at the school to discuss the new Music and Drama block and the effect it might have on nearby Welton residents.
As Chairman, I attended the Dedication Service of Lincolnshire County Council Chairman Mr. Charles Ireland in Lincoln Cathedral, the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the RAF Red Arrows Team at Scampton, the wreath laying at Welton War Memorial on Remembrance Day, 11th November and the presentation of the Lincolnshire County Awards of Merit which took place in the County Offices in Lincoln. Our own Councillor Eddie Reall received one of the awards, for social work in the Community. We would like, in public, to congratulate Eddie on this magnificent achievement.
Throughout the year there have been ongoing planning matters needing the attention of councillors. Several applications were received by West Lindsey District Council, for backland development, where residents were applying to use part of their gardens to build new properties. Although the Parish Council is only able to make observations on these applications to West Lindsey District Council, it nevertheless meant that councillors had to visit these sites in order to determine the impact such developments might have on adjacent properties and on the volume of traffic at sensitive areas in the village and thus be able to make relevant observations.
Residents of Mill Lane and Wetmoor Lane have become increasingly concerned about the use of the lane by heavy traffic, which, together with farm vehicles, was encroaching on the verges, eroding the road margins, creating large potholes on the carriageway and making passing in the lanes very hazardous. Several councillors attended a site meeting in Mill Lane arranged by County Councillor Mr. Charles Ireland, where, together with Mr. Neil Mc Bride of the County Highways Department, the problems were examined at first hand.
I must now move on to Manor Park. Over the past year, there has been a great deal of discussion and heated debate over the future of Manor Park. We are indeed very fortunate in having such a wonderful sporting facility in the village. Many boys’ and men’s football teams play from Manor Park and the changing, showering and social facilities are the envy of all the visiting teams who go there to play. The Bowls Club maintains its green to a standard second to none and the All Weather Surface is fully booked each weekday night during the football season. The pavilion is available for bookings for family events, and we have an Art class in progress twice a week.
The Parish Council has run the facility for many years now. We have at times employed a manager, a supervisor or a bar steward to be responsible for some of the administration, and during the summer of 2004, the office staff and councillors themselves took on this task when no replacement manager or supervisor could be found. Over the past several months, negotiations have been taking place between the Parish Council and a group of interested users of the facility. This group has now formed a committee and is called the “Welton Manor Park Community Amateur Sports Club”. Between us we have been working on drawing up an agreement between the Parish Council and the “users”, whereby the “users” could take over a large part of the running of the facility. The discussions are entering the final phase, and residents will be kept informed of major developments as they occur.
The business of the Parish Council does not begin and end on a fixed date. Some projects begun in one year will of course spill over into the next, so it is fitting perhaps to add some other on-going developments in addition to those specific items already mentioned.
Each building developer is required, when constructing new homes, to provide a certain amount of open green land for the amelioration of the site and the enjoyment of the residents. Once the areas have been brought up to a standard acceptable to the Parish Council, they will be handed over to the Council for future maintenance. There are several areas of Public Open Space under consideration in the village. The Ridge and Furrow P O S in Beck Hall has already been agreed, and hopefully two or three more will be handed over during the coming year.
Last year, I spoke of the intention of the Parish Council to strive for Quality Council Status. At the election in June 2004, we did not have the required 80% of elected members, as not enough parishioners had nominated themselves as candidates to make an election necessary. Consequently, the remaining places were filled by co-option following our reconvening of the council in the autumn. At that time we thought we would have to wait another four years before we could begin to look again at attaining quality status. However, the wind of change has begun to blow, and it looks highly likely that this percentage condition may be altered, which would enable us to move forward in the direction of pursuing this goal.
Together with all the on-going projects and without doubt some new ones coming along to challenge us, there will certainly be more goodwill and effort required during the coming months. Personally, I enjoy a challenge and I am sure that this council can meet and overcome most obstacles that come its way.
As I started with a quotation, I shall finish with another. With plenty of hard work, effort and good humour we can, and I quote, “stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood” and prevail. (With acknowledgment to William Shakespeare’s Henry V, Act III Scene I)
Pamela van Gelderen
Chairman Welton Parish Council April 2005