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BARFORD ST. MARTIN PARISH COUNCIL CHAIRMAN’S REPORT ON THE PARISH BUSINESS PLAN 05/06 The Chairman’s report is shown in italics 1. To maintain effective communications between Councillors and all members of the village community. Allow parishioners to speak at Council Meetings It is disappointing that there is little public interest in the operation of the Parish Council despite regular advertising. Nevertheless, the few that do attend Council meetings are free to speak. Make copies of minutes accessible to public – target within 3 weeks of meeting The minutes are provisionally approved by me within 3 weeks and are then posted up in the Barford Inn, the school and in the church porch. They are also posted on to the web site. Minutes are formally approved at the next Parish Council meeting. Publish details of budget on Notice Boards and web site – target immediately following agreement at November meeting Done Publish information in Barford Bulletin – target last Wednesday in each month A number of articles were written for the Barford Bulletin including an explanation of the budget and how the precept derived from it. The Bulletin is also used to seek public opinion, the potential plan to relocate the play area being an example. Additionally, the Editor receives copies of the minutes of Parish Council meetings and Keeping You Posted Notices. These are either drawn on by the editor or reproduced in full. Publish significant deviations from or additions to the Parish Business Plan on village notice boards There were none during the year. Maintain and develop web site The web site was maintained up to date throughout the year. In particular the Diary of Events is updated monthly. The minutes of meetings are now added to the web site under a separate heading. We have linked to the Cranborne Chase AONB web site. Publish ‘Keeping You Posted’ notices from time to time - target at least 6 times per year 5 Keeping You Posted Notices were written during the year and posted up in the village. They also are posted on to the Notices section of the web site. 1 Publish on main notice board planning applications affecting the village, call public meeting and notify SDC of Parish Council recommendations – target within 14 days of receipt from SDC Notices were posted up and meetings called. On only one occasion we were unable to meet the 14 day deadline because of holidays but submitted comments nevertheless and on one occasion there was not a quorum. On no occasion did either any member of the public or applicant attend. 2. To provide and improve facilities in the village Provide skips at least once per year – target June Skips were provided in June with an assurance from the supplier of the skips that if contaminated waste were found in the skips it would be removed without cost to the Parish Council. No such waste was found on this occasion (although other Parishes were not so lucky) but the cost of meeting this risk would be prohibitive and no skips will be provided in the future. Maintain and consider improvements to the play area and its fencing and ensure safety requirements of ROSPA are met - target no high risk observations Following the ROSPA report the play area was closed while repairs were carried out and new bark was ordered and delivered. The total cost of this work was approximately £1000. Introduce disability provisions to play area on a phased basis Given that the remaining life of most of the play equipment is 5 years the Parish Council is now considering relocating the play area to a site within the village where the mandatory disability provisions can be better met. WCC have been approached about relocation to the school field and a reply is awaited. Barford residents are being consulted through the medium of the Barford Bulletin. Seek to achieve the NPFA’s standard of recreational open space – target by end 2005 This has not been achieved. Maintain all assets in good condition – target no criticisms from auditor Work needs to be done to the roof of the pavilion in the school field to replace the temporary action taken. Otherwise assets are in good shape and there were no criticisms from the auditor Seek to ensure that Rights of Way are maintained in good condition at all times In common with other parishes we have been concerned about the use of footpaths by motorcyclists and 4X4 vehicles. We have maintained contact with the Wilton Estate, WCC and the AONB but there is little that the Parish Council can do. The extent to which acceptable claims by the Trail Riders Associations have been made and whether the legislation recently approved by the House of Lords has helped the situation remains to be seen. Support right to fish in river upstream from Bridge opposite Dairy Rd As in previous years George Stephenson, the owner of the Hurdcott Estate, gave permission for residents of Barford to fish the river Nadder upstream of the wooden bridge. The Wylye Fishing Club was notified of this. Tuition by a member of the Salisbury Angling Club was organised but was not well attended. There was no charge for the tuition. 2 Progress the provision of affordable housing in conjunction with Dinton Parish Council, Raglan Housing Association and SDC This is the most important project that the Parish Council has been associated with. At the end of 2005 solid progress had been made. A site in Catherine Ford Rd in Dinton had been picked as the most suitable of various sites identified in Barford and Dinton and agreement on price had been negotiated by the Raglan Housing Association with the landowner. Detailed designs of the houses and a layout for 12 houses had been drawn up by the architect, endorsed by both Parish Councils and submitted for approval to SDC who had been involved ab initio. Both the design and layout were rejected by SDC and Raglan were instructed to renegotiate with the landowner and submit a revised design and layout. At the same time an alternative site in Dinton on Westfield Park was identified which would never have delivered anything like 12 affordable houses and most likely none. This set back is extremely disappointing, to say the least. At no time have the District Council communicated directly with the Parish Council. It is sad that the District Council, who appear to declare support for affordable housing and who by all accounts have received central government funding for affordable housing, have not been able to give this project more positive support. Maintain contact with the Wilton Estate on the possibility of the construction of housing in Barford In order to maintain focus on the Catherine Ford Rd site this potential additional site has deliberately not been pressed. Consider the installation of bus shelters in appropriate locations We registered an interest in purchasing a second hand bus shelter from the District Council but we were pipped at the post by another parish. No further action has been taken. Maintain benches in cemetery The benches were varnished towards the end of 2005. Continue to provide Christmas lights in churchyard – target early Dec 2005 Christmas lights were put up in the churchyard in November and were formally switched on on 2 December accompanied by mulled wine and minced pies and the Wilton British Legion Band. Despite poor weather it was a most enjoyable occasion and thanks must go to Cllr Alison Davids for organising the evening event, to Peter Booth for hanging the lights, to the Barford Inn for providing the mulled wine and to the church for providing the electricity for the lights. 3. To improve the safety of villagers by the introduction of appropriate measures Pursue measures to slow traffic and improve safety on the B3089 Negotiations took place with the Camera Safety Partnership who took readings of speed of traffic with the result that camera signs were put up and the camera van appears from time to time. No feedback is provided so we have no means of knowing what the impact has been. Review speed restrictions and signage on A30 A petition signed by the residents of Shaftesbury Rd (A30) expressed concern over the speed of traffic approaching and leaving the village. The suggestion that a traffic island might be an answer was rejected because the road was too narrow. However coloured gateway markings have been promised. These were apparently successful in Fovant. 3 Pursue with WCC the introduction of measures on B3089 opposite entrance to Hurdcott Estate to reduce the accident rate Enhanced white centre line markings were introduced and roadside signs were put in place although one was almost immediately taken out by a vehicle. It is understood that the road will be resurfaced. Take appropriate steps to deter or deal with abandoned vehicles particularly where a hazard to children or the environment is concerned There has been no problem with abandoned vehicles during the year. 4. To improve the visual appearance of the village by liaison with the proper authorities Maintain view across water meadows on B3089 (Riverside Project) – target trim tree growth twice per year Two trims were undertaken during the year ( see also hedge trimming comment below). Maintain tidy appearance of churchyard, cemeteries, play area and other areas that are parish responsibility by grass cutting – target 9 cuts per year – and hedge trimming We have been very well served by our grass-cutting contractor who was in his second year of a three-year contract. As only one of the contractor’s many customers and probably one of the smallest we have had to keep a close eye on the administration of the contract to ensure that we only pay for work actually performed and that we pay at the correct rate for each cut. We changed our hedge-cutting contractor (following a competition) during the year to obtain an improved response to our needs. Introduce floral enhancements subject to the availability of funds No funds were made available for floral enhancements. 5. To act efficiently and in accordance with legal requirements Satisfy audit requirements – target no major observations The audit submission was more complicated than previous years mainly because for the first time we had borrowed money. Additionally we were selected by Mazars as one of the 5% for a more detailed check of our systems. It is to this Parish Council’s credit that we had systems such as an asset register and risk assessment in place. The auditors were satisfied and made only minor observations. We have to thank the Parish Clerk and our internal auditor for this. Pay rates and other disbursements when due – target no reminders All disbursements were made on time. Collect rents when due – allotments target by end December Allotment rents were called for and paid on time. 4 Produce and maintain Parish Business Plan – target annual update to coincide with budget Completed on time Produce budget and set precept to meet objectives of Parish Plan – target by end November Done Produce Community Emergency Plan – target by June 2005 Through the medium of the Barford Bulletin an attempt was made to attract someone to take on the task of producing an Emergency Plan to no avail. However, a plan was downloaded from the internet that could be used as a model and the County Council Emergency Planning Unit have been consulted. Furthermore, I have made start on a draft Plan. Whilst recognising the importance of having a Plan, it has had to take a lower precedence to other Parish Council business. Maintain asset register – target up to date before District Audit submission in June The Asset Register was updated in November 2005. Pay invoices within 30 days – target 100% All invoices were paid within 30 days and many within a week of receipt. Keep Business Procedures up to date The Business Procedures were reviewed in March 2005 and posted onto the web site. Maintain risk register – review to be complete by audit submission in June 2004 The Risk Register was reviewed in January 2006 and posted onto the web site. Seek Quality Council status at the earliest opportunity Even though many of the practices required by a Quality Parish Council are already in place in Barford it has been made clear that Quality status will only be accredited to Councils who have a qualified Clerk. Small Councils can rarely justify enforcing this on Clerks. Peter Batt Chairman May 2006 5
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