Chairman's Report - Chairman's Report 2009

 

Halford Parish Council
Chairman's Report
Cllr Neil Liddell

Parish Assembly April 22nd 2009

Karen Parnell

The Parish Council (PC) recruited a very capable and colourful new Clerk this year, namely Karen Parnell, Karen is already a proving to be a fantastic acquisition for the council. She has a vast knowledge local council policy and is currently studying for a Degree in Local Policy and Community Development.

Meeting room

The Parish Council are pleased that since moving their meetings to the Halford Bridge Inn function room, public attendance has increased. It was the councils wish that this would be the case when they decided to move from the village hall. To become a Quality status council, this will be covered in more detail later, the PC need to be encouraging dialect with the people of the village.

The PC continues to support the Village Hall with a donation equal to the cost of what they used to pay for hiring the hall.

Planning Applications

In April 2008 the PC met with villagers and liaised with Stratford District Council Planning Officer Lucy Hammond regarding two contentious planning applications submitted by village residences requiring the partial demolition of the 'cob' wall in Idlicote Road.

Halford Parish Council has no executive powers in deciding planning applications - this is the prerogative of SDC, which is the Planning Authority.

However, it is mandatory for the Planning Authority to consult the Parish Council on all applications in its area. The Parish Council can then comment as it sees fit on any application; however, the Planning Authority can disregard these comments if it considers them to be inappropriate. In this case the planning applications were considered lawful and permission to demolish said wall was granted.

Rose Garden

Throughout this year it has become apparent that the upkeep of the rose garden has been impossible given the money the precept allowed. After taking advice, the PC was advised that the garden needed a major overall. The PC put the question of the rose garden's future up for discussion.

A meeting was held which resulted with many differing ideas. The villages agreed that the PC should put together three ideas and put them before them at a future meeting.

The PC is now close to being able to present the three schemes. Landscaping work will commence soon after the decision is declared.

Village Traffic Speed Issues

At last years Parish Assembly a pedestrian crossing was requested by those attending. The PC met with David Mathewson at Warwickshire County Council to discuss. This resulted in the idea being quashed due to sighting and obstruction issues.

A further Meeting with Mr Mathewson took place later in the year. This was to discuss and clarify Warwickshire County Council's (WCC) recently completed measures to calm traffic speed on the A429 Fosse Way, with particular reference to road markings and increased signage in the immediate vicinity of Halford. This process has begun and more traffic warning signs have and road markings have started to appear.

Traffic calming and streetscape improvements will be covered further later in this report



Halford Village Fete

July 2008 - Halford Parish Council attended a stall at the fete. Illustrations of the traffic calming measures submitted by WCC were on show and the opportunity was made available for the public to comment on these issues.

Working Towards a Quality Status Council

By acquiring 'Quality Status', parish councils can demonstrate that they are representative, in touch with their communities, competent and capable of taking on an enhanced role. This enables projects and initiatives which reflects the need and preferences of the villagers to be more easily realised. It also allows the PC to represent you with greater authority.

Milestones achieved this year in becoming a quality status parish council include:
* The newly launched website
* Qualified Clerk
* Tightening up and reviewing of procedures
* Councillors attending training courses
* Proven communications with residents.
* Adopted of paragraph 12.2 of the model code of conduct which is a requirement.
* 100% of councillors are elected. (80% must be to obtain the status)

Website

A successful application for a 500.00 communications grant was realised from Warwickshire County Council, this was used to set up the now live Halford Parish Council website.
www.halfordparishcouncil.co.uk

Feedback and ideas would be welcome, please email any of the councillors with your thoughts or ideas on how the site could be enhanced.



Play Area

The works to the play area have now been completed with the erection of fencing around the perimeter.

Dog Bins

Following public requests a dog bin has been installed by Henrys Meadow with one planned to be installed adjacent to The Close and the footpath across the fields to Stepmoles.

Mill Lane

Detailed liaison with Severn Trent Water took place to ensure that residents in Mill Lane were kept informed of progress as work proceeded on the repair of the defective Pumping unit.

Fosse Roundabout North of the Village
Long and difficult negotiations with WCC took place to ensure that the dangerous flooding problems at the Fosse Roundabout, north of the Village were solved. This work is now complete.

Drain Jetting.
Continual negotiations with the District Council regarding the clearance of flood drains took place throughout the year. Still we wait; it is well over 12 months since they were last done.
The PC will continue to pursue this matter until they are cleaned

Green Areas

The problem of parking on verges and leaving refuse bin out on the road has been brought to the attention of those involved. The PC is optimistic that these problems will be resolved.




Burial Land

The PC is responsible for providing land for burials, existing land will not last forever and a careful long term plan has been in place for many years. As such we are in liaison with Halford P.C.C. in connection with the provision of an extension to the existing Burial Ground within the Church environs. Works are planned and all the preparatory work has been completed in negotiation with Church Architects to obtain underlying quotes for the Burial Ground.

The Parish Council do have burial land funds that has been carefully built up and invested over many years for such a time as this.

Village Image.

The PC has been involved in meetings with WCC to take forward the concept of improving the Image of the Village as seen from the Fosse Way. This is to include some efforts to calm the speed of traffic passing through the Village on a daily basis.
The purpose of these meeting was to ascertain how much support Halford Parish Council could generate from Warwickshire County Council for its novel plans to improve the village image and safety.

Halford is in a conservation area but this appears hidden as you drive through the village. We would like to see some character brought into this historic village by diminishing the massive impact of the road and improving the quality of the streetscape.

Our concept plans are to recover our village from the very busy main road (A429) that dissects the village in two. The PC is very pleased to announce that they have had a very positive response from WCC and there is a real opportunity for change to take place in this village. A grant from the WCC Area Committee of circa 5,000.00 has just been awarded to the PC to scope out the proposed scheme. This latest news is so new that the PC are still awaiting the exact sum.

It is now the time for the people of the Village to decide how this idea should develop. The PC will be organising a brain storming event or something similar, in the near future, with the aim of gathering all your ideas of how you would like the centre of Halford to look.

Conclusion

This has been a very positive & progressive year that provides some very exciting opportunities for the future Halford.