Past Chairman’s report
I was very happy to be re-elected Chairman of the Parish Council for a second term. I was also very happy to have Pater Acca elected as vice chairman. Between us both, we have been exceedingly busy on your behalf.
As usual, The Parish Council has met in every month except August
During the year there has been some turnover of Parish Councillors. Liane Asel, Chris Barnacle and Jim Morrris all left and we were pleased to welcome Richard Eastley, Dianne Beatty and David Young – all who have made a very positive contribution to the work of the Parish Council in a very short time. I hope that they will all decide to seek re-election. It is also warming to see that there is no shortage of volunteers coming forward with a desire to do their bit for our community. At this point I would like to point out to those of you considering standing for election in May that being a Parish Councillor is more than turning up for one meeting a month – it is a commitment to work for the good of the parish and that involves external meetings, coordination, leading, networking and at the end of the day getting the job done. It is not a soft touch.
The second section of the Exe Estuary Cycle/Walk Way was opened. This means that we can now walk or cycle from Lympstone to Exton and Topsham. (Or the Puffing Billy and The Bridge Inn if you prefer it that way!) DCC are still not willing to give any thought to Road safety in the Village arising from the opening of the first or second sections.
The Parish Council had a lively presentation by Jenny locket, the Exe Estuary Partnership Officer. The Council is very supportive of the work of the Partnership but is saddened that this may be restricted due to lack of funding support from principle Councils.
The parish Council was pleased to support the work of Leisure East Devon in bringing the Activie Village project to Lympstone. This has brought some long lasting activity here.
The parish Council received a presentation from District Councillor Philip Skinner about the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment. This helped the parish Council to formulate its response to this and to the local development Framework. Both of these are now under further review by East Devon.
This time last year we were in the middle of a fight to stop a very large development at Courtlands Cross. We won – and in no small way due to the massive support of the community – over 650 letters of objection just could not be ignored. However be warned that was only the fist battle and not the war – the developers will be back I suspect very soon.
The matter of dog fouling took up some time in our meetings. It is very sad to see that this is becoming more of a nuisance again. There is no excuse for this. The Dog warden and the Police will be on the look out for evidence to support formal action. The parish Council would prefer dog owners to take a responsible attitude and clean up after their pets.
The Parish Council had built up sufficient funds to meet the cost of works to the roof of the village hall at a cost of £23,500 including VAT, which the Parish Council has reclaimed.
The village website has been brought under Parish Council ownership and extensively revamped with the aid of a grant from Awards4All. The Parish Council has also purchased a Digital camera, laptop and Projector partly funded by the grant. I would urge the whole community to use the site – it is a Community web site and there for your benefit.
The training exercise in the Village for Young Officers of CTC RM was the subject of much discussion in the village and in the end it went very well. There have been two presentations about this and wholehearted support has been given to proceed again this year.
The final work associated with the Emergency Plan – Flood Proofing has been completed. The Environment Agency has cleared Wotton Brook and it is now up to our Flood Wardens to monitor the situation. Cllr Eastley has been a tremendous asset in getting completion of this exercise.
We experienced a prolonged spell of bad weather before Christmas – we received little support from either Devon County or East Devon District Councils but local efforts to keep facilities in the Village running made a great difference. Thanks are given to everyone who did something to help. This will in the future be a way of life we need to adjust to – The Big Society and The Localisation Bill will give small communities, like ours, a greater say about their future but at the same time place with them a greater degree of responsibility for providing services on a locally funded or volunteer basis. In 2011/12 this will be a subject the Parish Council will need to be heavily involved in.
This year the precept has increased slightly overall but the amount that you pay should remain the same as there are more households contributing. With the Parish Council’s Finances in a healthy state I am happy to pass over the mantle of responsibility to a new council in early May.
R G Longhurst
Chairman Lympstone Parish Council
29 March 2011
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