Newton Solney Parish Council

Annual Parish Meeting 

ANNUAL REPORT BY FREDERICK HILL, CHAIRMAN OF NEWTON SOLNEY PARISH COUNCIL for the year 2019/2020

Due to the Covid 19 situation this is the report produced for the meeting of 8 May 2020, subsequently postponed and not published.
REPORT BY FREDERICK HILL, CHAIRMAN OF NEWTON SOLNEY PARISH COUNCIL for the year May 2019 to May 2020.

It is my pleasure to introduce this report on the activities of the Parish Council over the last year and to highlight some of the more significant events.

2019 was a year for election as Councillors had completed their full term of four years. There were seven applications for the vacant positions and they were eventually formally adopted, a full complement. The Councillors being Mrs. Debbie Smith, Mrs. Kerry Haines, Mrs. Lynne Charles, Mr. Graham Plowman, Mr. David May, Mrs. Anne-Louise Sedgewick and Mr. Fred Hill. The Councillors hold office for four years. At the first meeting of the new Parish Council in May 2019 Councillors Hill and Smith were re- elected Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively.

The Neighbourhood Watch scheme continued to be administered by Mr. Roger Charles who is still endeavouring to extend his data base to enable rapid circulation of police notices and criminal activities to all parishioners. There has been limited success in this but the Parish Council encourage all parishioners to participate in this data base to help Mr. Charles in his role especially as we seem to be having increasing numbers of crime to report. Thanks to Mr. Charles for his efforts in providing this valuable service.

Newton Solney continued to be involved in Area 2 of the Mercia Safer Neighbourhood Initiative and the South Derbyshire Area Forum. The meetings were held on the same evenings and focus on the specific needs of the villages. Local crime remains relatively low in comparison with other areas but we all need to remain watchful.

The Bonfire Working Group continued to organise the bonfire and fireworks on behalf of the Parish Council who is grateful to all the volunteers who make this event possible. Unfortunately the 2019 event had to be cancelled because of flooding making the Common Land  unsafe. (Post report note-The bonfire had been constructed but due to continuous flooding and inclement weather, despite several attempts to burn the bonfire it remained in place for a considerable number of months leaving the Common Land in an unacceptable state and in an unsafe condition. Eventually the site was cleared in July 2020 after a period of nearly 8 months. This is not acceptable and the future of a bonfire in the coming years will have to be discussed in detail. It is a fact that flooding of the Common Land over the years is becoming a more regular occurrence and causing problems.)

The continued operation of the Newton Solney Pre- school being a vital part of the village school, it’s continued existence, a vital part of the community and one that the Council feel deserves the full support of the Parish.

No organised football has been played on the Recreation Field this year.

South Derbyshire District Council’s “clean team” has provided an excellent response when problems relating to fly tipping have been reported to them. However litter is always a problem on the verges and we are grateful for a number of villagers who pick litter when out walking. Perhaps an organised village “litter pick” can be arranged and actioned at some time in the future.

 Dog fouling has again been a problem from time to time but fewer complaints have been received this year than previous years. However notices have been posted and posters displayed urging dog owners to clean up after their dogs. Any problems should be reported to South Derbyshire District Council web site under “Report dog fouling”. Dog owners who do not clear up after their dogs are liable to a significant fine.

The Parish Council continues to provide support to the Village Hall Committee on any projects that they seek assistance and also to the Newton Solney Village Hall Monthly Newsletter.

All relevant information of Parish Council, Village Hall activities and the Newsletter continue to be displayed on the village web site and this is looked after by Mrs. Kerry Haines and thanks go to her for that. All societies should endeavour to regularly update their information and inform Mrs. Haines of any changes and events due to take place so that the site is kept up to date and be as informative as possible.

The Parish Council continues to comment on numerous planning applications and strategic documents relating to the development of the East Midlands region. Planning applications that are received and subsequent decisions are included in the Parish Newsletter, Parish Magazine and on the Newton Solney web site so that all parishioners can be made aware of any proposed development. The Parish Council makes representations to the Planning Authority, where appropriate, at their Planning Meetings on issues that are considered unacceptable and will continue to represent the views of the village and Council on matters in the future.

From the bank statement of April 2019 there is a positive balance of £1,996.59 in the Parish Council account plus a further £6,000.00 held in an account with South Derbyshire District Council.

The “Trim Trail” that was being considered for the Recreation Field  received little or no support from the village and as a result the idea is not being pursued. However money ring fence in the accounts, £1,000 from Tesco and the remaining £1,000 from the “sports club” is to be used to provide one suitable piece of equipment for the Field. This is ongoing.

Damaged posts on the Village Green caused by vehicles cutting corners have been replaced at a cost of £650.

As well as the activities mentioned above the Parish Council have been involved in;

Providing mobile play equipment for children during the summer holiday supplied and supervised by South Derbyshire District Council and we give them our thanks;

Cutting the Recreation Field, grass verges and area around the play equipment together with clearing footpaths and cutting nettles and Himalayan Balsom adjacent to the river. This is undertaken by South Derbyshire District Council and a private contractor, the works being part of a regular maintenance contract.

Providing a green bin for the Village Hall;

Trimming hedges;

Being represented at the Remembrance Service at St. Mary’s;

Providing poppies;

Maintaining the defibrillator at the Villlage Hall;

Donations to the Parish Newsletter, Royal British Legion and Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre

Reports on the condition of the roads in the Parish;

A survey of the footpaths in the Parish;

With careful management the Parish Council has undertaken these activities and remains with a positive balance in the accounts.

The proposal for improving the security of the Common Land adjacent to the river has been approved by the regular users who need vehicular access and a competitive quotation to implement the scheme in the amount of £3,328.75 including £554.79 VAT has been obtained. The VAT is recoverable giving a net cost of £2,773.96. The proposal is in the form of a locking horizontal swing barrier together with a pedestrian gate to one side.  The gate has been purchased and fixing of it and a pedestrian access is hoped to be in place in August/September 2020.A grant is being sought to cover the majority of the cost involved.

Parish Councillors have now completed one year of their term of office leaving three years left to serve. The Parish Council is in place to look after the needs of the Parish and I urge all Parishioners to take an interest in the affairs of the Parish Council and to bring to the attention of Councillors any problems that they may have so that the Council can do their best to help. When the present term of office of the Councillors comes to an end in May 2023 please consider putting your names forward for election as a Councillor. Without you there will be no Parish Council.

In conclusion I would like to thank my fellow Councillors and the Clerk, Mr. Ron Parker, for their hard work over the last year and the support that they have given which has been invaluable. In addition I would also like to thank County and District Councillors Linda Chilton, Andrew Churchill and Kerry Haines for the advice and support that they have given over the last year, their contribution has been significant and most welcome.

FJH – 5 May 2020