Chairman’s Report for Annual Parish Meeting

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Annual Report 2020/21

The Council

The Parish Council (PC) usually meets on the first Wednesday of each month starting at 7.00pm at the Meadway Hall, Ham Lane, Compton Dundon. The public and press are invited to all meetings and members of the public are invited to speak on any subject relevant to the parish before formal proceedings commence. Additional meetings may be called as required. Notices of Parish Council meetings are placed on the parish notice boards and e-mailed to members of the public who so elect. During the past year the Parish Council held 12 formal meetings. Planning Applications are available to view prior to the meetings and are also available online at the South Somerset District Council (SSDC) website “Planning Search”.

To assist the Council in its responsibilities the following councillors were members of Council sub committees:

Planning – Geoff Walker, Christopher Swain, Greg Jones

Staffing – Steve King, Diane Churches, Tiffany Kearton

Appeals – Christopher Swain, Greg Jones, John Rowland

To assist the Council in its duties the following persons took primary responsibility for the following issues:

Parish Paths’ Liaison Officer – Christopher Swain

Parish Tree Warden – Tiffany Kearton

Parish Environmental Warden – Greg Jones

Responsible Financial Officer – the Clerk

Overview of the Councils Achievements

  • Funded and contributed to the Parish Newsletter regarding council business (planning, news etc)
  • Maintained a listing of all reported Highway problems and progress-chased repair status.
  • Contracted with the SSDC Parish Ranger scheme to carry out remedial work in the Parish including verge cutting and ditch clearance.
  • Supported Parish clubs, societies and Parish associated groups with grants.
  • Maintained the Broadband Facility at the Village Post Office, which includes wireless internet access in the village hall and a public call facility.
  • Conducted 28  Planning Consultations 4 Pre-planning consultations and discussed many other planning related issues.
  • Carried out routine safety inspections of the Playground facilities and SSDC Leisure executed quarterly operational inspections and RoSPA provided an annual safety inspection.
  • Maintained the Parish Council website providing information for the public. www.comptondundon-pc.gov.uk
  • Printed the Village Directory
  • Provided the Christmas Tree
  • Initiated the introduction of a new Digital Village Archive. (To be maintained by Cllr Greg Jones and Volunteers)
  • Participated on the Village Hall Committee.
  • Administered the Annual Parish Meeting.
  • Installed a new memorial bench in memory of lives lost in the World Wars in (2019) but officially commemorated the event this last year.
  • Support planting of trees throughout the parish. Nearly 1000 trees or hedging plants have now been planted, with another 3-400 planned for the next planting season.
  • Introduced a new Bridleway
  • Created a community herb garden
  • Published a regular Covid-10 newsletter to keep members of the community in touch and updated with vital information throughout pandemic
  • Installed a new Parish Noticeboard with another planned for Littleton later this year.
  • Provided Litter Pickers to volunteers keeping the Parish clean & tidy
  • Contributed to the cost of Video Conferencing Equipment for the Meeting Room in the Village Hall
  • Purchased a Speed Indicator Device and entered into an agreement with Somerton TC work together to combat speeding.

Communications/Newsletters

The Parish Newsletter, which incorporates The Herald (St Andrew’s Church newsletter) is issued more or less monthly. It includes a summary of the Parish Council activities and gives up-to-date information on how to contact your Parish Council members. The Parish Newsletter production has been upgraded to a laser printed version and continues to be funded by the PC. It is delivered to all households in the Compton Dundon and Littleton area.

Residents find it convenient to communicate with the Council via e-mail and the Council intends to remain responsive to this method of communication. Agendas and Minutes of Parish Council meetings are sent to an address list of 44 persons. The Parish Council Website www.comptondundon-pc.gov.uk is updated with agendas and minutes on a monthly basis.  The Facebook site www.facebook.com/comptondundon is maintained by the PC and cater predominantly for community information. They are edited on a voluntary basis by Cllr Greg Jones and Hugh Thomas with support from Simon Dore (Village Hall).

Precept

The precept for 2021/2022 was set at £33,993, an increase of £993, but in real terms a zero increase for a Band D Property.  In setting the budget, the Parish Council wanted to ensure that the financial pressures some residents may be experiencing from the last year are not made worse by the actions of the Parish Council. The Parish Council is having to take a greater role in the maintenance of the Village and so budgeted accordingly.

Expenditure

The Council’s financial year ends on March 31st so any March approved expenditure covered by cheques drawn in April falls into the 2021/22 financial period.

The major expenditure in the 2020/21 financial period related to ;

Clerk Salary and HMRC: £5680

Notice Board: £1508

Speed Indicator Device; £2618

Projector: £914  (Cost Shared with the Village Hall) & Video Conferencing Camera; £959

Laptop; £714

Amongst other expenditure were:-

St Andrews PCC towards the maintenance of the Churchyard: £1000

Rights of Way Volunteers: £240

Parish Ranger Scheme £2109

Village Hall & Allotments Hedge Trimming £546

Village Hall Broadband and Telephone Facility £871

Parish Newsletters and Directory £1,319

Village Xmas Tree £125

Village Playing field grass cutting £2080

Playground quarterly operating and annual safety inspections £222

Poppies for Remembrance Sunday: £180

            No Lorry Turning signs £101

            Sanitiser £204.72

            Bus stop Herb Planter £380

            Tree planting initiative £120.

Planning

  • Conducted 28  Planning Consultations (an increase of 64% on previous year), 4 Pre-planning consultations (an increase of 25% on previous year) and discussed many other planning related issues. We objected to 4 planning applications. 2 were withdrawn before decision was made by county, and of the remaining objections, one was upheld and the other refused, giving us a 50% success rate.

Highways & Rights of Way

The Parish Council has liaised with our Principal Authorities and communicated regarding highways related issues particularly concerns about speeding through the Littleton Bends.  As the Parish Council could only report anecdotal reports of speeding and County Roads ended their Speed Indicator Device scheme, the Parish Council agreed to purchase one Speed Indicator Device (SID), but have access to two devices due to a sharing agreement with Somerton Town Council.  The reports from the SIDs are sent to the police and as a result the police have sent their mobile speed camera along and caught a number of Speeding Drivers.

The Council has continued to contract with the “Parish Ranger Scheme” in the provision of 1 day a month maintenance service work in the villages and has worked closely with SCC Highways in monitoring necessary action to repair potholes and other road hazards.

The Volunteer Rights of Way subcommittee continues to be very active in the parish, supported financially by the Parish Council. The Parish Paths’ Liaison Officer is Christopher Swain. This is a scheme which was started in 2010 by Somerset County Council whereby councils were issued with equipment and information to enable them to carry out minor repairs / clearance to paths in the parish. The group often goes over and above their remit and help out with other jobs around the village for which the Parish Council is very grateful.  In addition to their normal tasks, they help to put up and take down the Christmas Tree and helped to plant trees along the new bridleway. Somerset has a greater length of footpaths and bridleways than roadways, so we value highly the work that our volunteers do.

Allotments

The Council has 26 half-acre allotments, each of which is currently let for £20 per annum. These are mostly “agricultural” allotments and consequently are mostly let to small holders and farmers. The Council would like to create garden allotments more convenient to residents of Compton Dundon and so would be interested to hear from anyone with suggestions of a suitable piece of Land.  To proceed with such a proposal the Council needs to see an actual demand from parishioners for garden allotments. Please contact the Clerk if you wish to be placed on the waiting list.

Conclusion and Thanks

Thanks Alan Dean for producing the colourful and informative Parish Newsletter .

Thanks also to Chris Perry Smith with help from Alan Dean & Dave Hancock for their work in keeping the Church Yard immaculate.

Jill Champion has continued to be a friendly face in our village post office, helped often by Mark Dennis. Jill continues to produce our useful village directory and provide support services for the Parish Council.

David Shears and many volunteers help keep our footpaths as beautiful places walk and explore our wonderful surrounding countryside.

Kate Towers with again, many volunteer helpers has performed the remarkable task of planting nearly 1000 trees or hedging plants in the churchyard, around the cricket pitch, at the village hall and the newly created bridleway, with many more plantings to follow.

We would like to thank also the late Angela Warren and her son Tony for hosting the parish Christmas tree this last year and for many years prior to this. It has been admired by not only our local residents, but the hundreds of motorists that drive by daily over the Christmas period.

Most particularly, I wish to thank my fellow councillors this past year particularly as their enduring levels of support and hard work were not to be assumed as a given in an unprecedented year of Covid. Our previously published emergency plan didn’t forsee a worldwide pandemic killing millions, but we coped with the many new challenges put before us. Undoubtedly future emergency planning will, unfortunately, need to address the possibility of future pandemics but will be much easier as we are now able to draw on our successful responses to this current virus.

I would also like to thank District Councillor Tim Kerley and District and County Councillor Dean Ruddle each for their hard work and ongoing support to the Parish Council and the residents of the Parish. Their wise words of advice have made our decision making much easier on many occasions. They are viewed very much as part of our team!

Thanks to:

Geoff

Di

Tiff (Tiff and John has had it particularly hard due to poor internet in the village and their need to take part in Zoom by phone … not easy and I applaud their patience and perseverance.)

John

Chris

Greg

Cllr S King(chairman):  Date: 5th May 2020