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Posted 29 September 2016
Chairman’s Newsletter : September 2016
It is sometimes quite difficult to decide exactly which topics to include in my annual newsletter and this year has proved to be equally challenging.
It is probably best to start with the most current and emotive subjects that are being discussed and that is the future of Wadebridge library and Wadebridge Town Council’s request to Cornwall Council for a Governance Review to take place. It is quite possible that you have read recently in the Cornish Guardian that we were named as one of the local parish councils that are currently not prepared to contribute towards the future funding of the library. I would like to explain why that decision was taken.
As with all the other parish councils our Council unanimously agreed that this public amenity should not be lost. We realised, too, that for us to become involved in this project would require a long term financial commitment by the parish. By taking a cautious and pragmatic approach we were mindful of the fact that, like so many business ventures, the annual running costs in most cases increase rather than decrease. So our initial decision was not to become involved until we were provided with a more detailed account of the library’s current financial position. I have attached to this newsletter a copy of Wadebridge Town Council’s letter to Cornwall Council requesting the Governance Review, my initial response to that letter together with the reply received from Wadebridge Town Council.
You will see that there are a number of fundamental questions that need to be answered. If and when this information is made available to us, we will be in a much better position to review our initial decision. Any future updates in relation to either of these two issues will be posted on our website.
On a much lighter topic, in May we arranged for the Trigg Morris Dancers to visit and entertain the residents of Burlawn. The evening was a great success. Everyone enjoyed themselves both in watching and participating in the Morris dancing. I would like to say thank you to all those residents for making the Trigg Men feel so welcome - and for supplying the evening’s refreshments.
As a point of interest the Burlawn Residents’ Association, with the help of F.L.E.E.T (who are overseeing the project), have secured funding via the R.E.G. community fund and Councillor Jeremy Rowe’s community fund to purchase a defibrillator for their village.
In April this year the £50000 Community Fund from the R.E.G Wind farm at St Breock was allocated to all of those parishes that were beneficiaries under the scheme and their respective panels met and allocated their funds accordingly. The details relating to St Breock’s share of the fund and its successful applicants can be found on the website. The next £12500 allocation from this fund is due to our Parish in April next year. It is anticipated that, before that date, the council will review how this year’s fund was managed and if necessary take forward any constructive suggestions that might help to improve the format of the current system.
Earlier this year I made the decision to attend the monthly meetings of our neighbouring parish councils. My intention is to meet with their various councillors and to listen to the issues they deal with within their respective parishes. It quickly became apparent to me that we are all dealing with the same topics, such as planning, highways, footpaths, community funds etc. I have already attended the meetings at St Issey, Withiel, and Egloshayle but I still have St Mabyn and St Wenn to visit. I hope that by doing this it will help to improve and provide a better exchange of information between the parishes. If a closer working partnership is achieved it will enable us to consolidate our parishioners’ views and concerns and take them forward as one.
I would now like to inform you of the forthcoming capital expenditure which has been agreed by the council.
The first is in relation to the new St Breock burial ground. Burials and interments have already taken place but unfortunately due to the extremely poor condition of the site, problems have arisen in respect of access and parking. These necessitate immediate remedial work to be carried out. The car park and footpath areas need to be resurfaced in order for them to become safe and fit for purpose. You will appreciate that as a council we do have an ongoing duty to maintain all of our assets and for some considerable time the council has earmarked £34,000 within our precept to fund this type of project. This work has now been scheduled to take place in September this year.
The second expenditure relates to the installation of a set of speed awareness signs which will be sited either end of the 30mph stretch of road up at Whitecross. For years the residents in this area have complained about the speed of the traffic using this road and how dangerous the road has become. Our numerous consultations with the Highways Department have failed to get the problem resolved which has meant that we have to fund the project ourselves.
We have managed to secure funding of £7,000 for one sign and the council has agreed for this to be sited as traffic approaches Whitecross from the direction of Truro with the intention of installing the second sign at the Wadebridge end next year or sooner if the funds become available. It is anticipated that this work will be carried out later this year.
The dates, agendas and minutes of our Council meetings are posted each month on our website and parishioners are always welcome to attend any of our meetings to either comment on or listen to the matters that we deal with. The current venue for our monthly meetings which are held on the first Wednesday of each month will be at the Hawksfield Site on the main A 39.
Update on Wadebridge Library........
If you have been following the Parish Council’s Agendas for its recent meetings you will have noticed that the Wadebridge Library has been included under the items to be discussed. Over the past few months St Breock Parish Council together with its neighbouring Parish Councils and Wadebridge Town Council have been in discussions with Cornwall Council as to the proposed future of Wadebridge library. Under Cornwall Council’s devolution policy it is looking for interested parties to take over the ownership and running of the library. The main focus of these discussions has been directed towards Wadebridge Town Council as the library is located within their area of responsibility. At these meetings that have taken place details have been given by Cornwall Council as to the current staffing and running costs of the library and the local councils have been asked as to whether or not they are prepared to contribute towards them. At the last meeting of St Breock Parish Council it was decided that we are currently not able to contribute financially towards the upkeep of the library. It would appear that the other local councils are in the same position as St Breock. Our reply has already been sent back to Cornwall Council but it is obvious that further discussions will be held concerning this matter. It is anticipated that as more information is forthcoming we will keep you updated via our website.
Chairman St Breock Parish Council
posted 26th April 2016
Chairman’s Annual Report
The purpose of this letter is to provide a summary of the actions carried out and the issues faced by St Breock Parish Council over the past twelve months.
The Council agreed that it should go to the time and expense of producing and delivering this report due to the spread-out geography of the parish, with no natural ‘centre’. I would, however, draw your attention to our Website stbreockparishcouncil.co.uk which has been created and is maintained by Councillor Andrew Jones, to keep parishioners informed of our activities throughout the year.
We have continued our commitment to the Neighbourhood Plan together with our partners, Wadebridge Town Council and Egloshayle Parish Council. Its emerging recommendations will create a framework for the area’s development over the next twenty years. Without a Neighbourhood Plan in place, the opportunity for communities to have a mechanism with which to challenge controversial developments would not exist. Councillor Simon Malloni has worked tirelessly on this time-consuming project and, as one of the policy writing team, hopes that a ‘draft ‘ plan is available for public consultation early in the New Year.
I take this opportunity to reiterate how important it is for parishioners to take advantage of these local public consultations. This will be your opportunity to examine the plan in detail and to comment on its recommendations. Presentation events in Wadebridge – and possibly at the Showground – will be arranged and advertised on the website and in the local newspapers.
Planning considerations have been prominent in 2015 and I believe that the discharge of our duties, within stringent guidelines, has been professionalised by the establishment, in 2013, of a Planning sub-committee, ably chaired by Councillor Peter Starling.
With regard to Highways matters, the residents of Whitecross who live either side of the main A39 Atlantic Highway (30 mph speed restriction) have complained repeatedly to Cornwall Council, the Police and to the Parish Council about the excessive speed of traffic using this stretch of road. The Parish Council has decided to act by proving a long-term solution through the installation of flashing speed awareness signs. At our request Cornwall Council’s highways department installed their own temporary signs in October and they appeared to have a significant impact upon traffic speeds. We are currently in the process of obtaining funding for the installation of a permanent set of speed awareness signs at Whitecross and have written to the Royal Cornwall Showground, Tesco and other local organisations who benefit from this stretch of road, requesting financial assistance.
Earlier this year the Parish Council was contacted by members of our community who use the Forestry Commission woodlands at Bishop’s Wood, and around Grogley and Hustyn Downs, for recreational purposes. They expressed concern about the high number of mountain bikers now using these woods and the speed at which they travel. Horse riders were particularly worried by the sudden appearance of bikes rushing through the trees and across the paths. Working on the principle that conversation achieves more than confrontation, the council played a significant role, together with the local Forestry Commission manager, in arranging an open meeting for this matter to be discussed. A user group forum has been established and reports of problems have decreased, although issues such as parking and bio-security require ongoing monitoring.
The re-powered wind farm on the St Breock Downs is now fully operational and, under a Section 106 Agreement, St Breock’s first allocation of community fund will be available by the end of April 2016. It is necessary that, before this date, a panel is assembled to publicise and oversee the grant application process. If you would like to be a member of the panel, or have a community-based idea that requires funding, please contact our Clerk and she will forward your details to our newly formed community fund sub- committee. This process is in its early stages but, as it progresses, we will provide updates on the website.
The Parish Council was recently approached regarding a proposed community based wind turbine project to be sited at Scotland Corner. The Parish Council has decided not to support this new application primarily due to the fact that two community sites are already located within the parish, one of which has a public share option facility attached to it. The council also took into account the two previous occasions when applications for a similar project on this site were refused.
Each Remembrance Day it has been customary for the Parish Council to lay a wreath on behalf of the Parish and its parishioners at the memorial service in Jubilee Park, Wadebridge. I have recently been shown around St Breock church by Peter Tutthill who was a church warden at St Breock for 10 years. Whilst there I discovered on one of the walls a small framed tapestry honouring the 23 parishioners who gave their lives in the 1914-1918 campaign. The Parish Council feels that it would be appropriate that, from this year onwards, the remembrance wreath is placed inside St Breock church, alongside the tapestry.
I will end this year’s report by reminding you all that you are more than welcome to attend any of our monthly meetings. We try to keep our website as topical as possible, so we are hoping to introduce a photo gallery consisting of pictures taken within the parish by our parishioners. Each month one photograph will be chosen to appear on the front page of our website. Further details regarding this can be found under the heading of ‘Local News and Views ‘on our website.
Chairman St Breock Parish Council
posted 25th November 2015