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Alrewas Parish Council

Annual Reports

Message from the Chair

May 2024

The Chair summarised the Parish Council’s activities for the past year as follows:

The Parish Council was actively involved in the planning and preparation of the festivities around the coronation of King Charles III.

In response to concerns from residents about dangerous parking and speeding and as a result of feedback from the Drop-In group, Parish Councillors have been speaking to Staffordshire Highways about the possibility of installing some form of pedestrian crossing on Main Street. We have been advised that the first step would be a feasibility study to be carried out by Highways and we have been placed on a waiting list for this which may take up to a year. We will update residents when we have more information.

Traffic speeding through the village continues to be a problem and Councillors have been active in setting up a Community Speedwatch group, with trained volunteers targeting specified spots on Main Street, Fox Lane and Kings Bromley Road. The group is supported and supervised by Staffordshire Police. We have already seen a reduction in speeding when Speedwatch is in force and the plan is to train more volunteers and organise more sessions. Councillors have also been proactive in raising awareness of inappropriate parking via our Facebook page, in the distribution of leaflets and also through a successful community awareness session which was held outside the Coop and attended by our PSCO.

The Parish Council continues to support local organisations through the allocation of its annual grant fund. Applications are invited for decision each April.

A wildflower planting scheme is underway in the community garden on Deepmore Close to create a space for villagers to enjoy. The vision is of a naturally developed environment to encourage wildlife, with minimal mowing and formal cultivation. Fruit trees have been planted and there are plans for a herb garden and seating.  A volunteer group called Friends of Jubilee Gardens are working to establish the vision and would welcome help from any residents who might be interested in joining.

The Parish Council Quarry Working Group meets on a regular basis and keeps updated on any developments around the village. A Planning Officer from Staffordshire County Council recently attended a Council meeting to listen to concerns around compliance and over-development and the discussion was constructive.  Nominated Councillors and residents also attend regular HS2 and Cemex liaison meetings.

In response to recent extreme weather, a working group of Councillors and residents was set up to monitor surface water drainage and communicate any drainage issues to SCC Highways. As a result, many of our blocked drains have been cleared and Highways have established a programme of works that they are in the process of actioning.

The PC continues to actively comment on planning applications submitted to Lichfield District Council.

Finance & Staffing

We have reached a point where our Community Infrastructure Levy income is ending and through this, we are pleased to have recently supported local sports organisations in developing their facilities for the benefit of the community.

With regard to our annual income, the Precept has not been increased for the last seven years. This was initially due to the build-up of reserves and more latterly, because of the impact of COVID on the community. A review of spending, conducted in October last year, showed that reserves were running at a level not supported by the Council’s auditor and to bring finances back in line with best practice, an increase of £20 per household was proposed and agreed. This increase returns the Council to a sound financial footing

Our Clerk, Kathryn Powell, has retired after seven years in her role and the Parish Council has appointed Donna Moss as her replacement. Councillors have expressed their gratitude to Kathryn for steering the Council through some difficult years during her tenure and send their best wishes for a long and happy retirement. Councillors also warmly welcomed Donna into her new role.

Our long-standing Accounts Officer Jean Burton has also indicated her wish to retire from her role. Jean has been the Accounts Officer and previously Parish Clerk to the Council, for many years. Her advice and management of Council decisions have been invaluable for some considerable time and her steadying presence will be greatly missed. We also send our best wishes to Jean for a long and happy retirement.

The Council intends to review its administrative functions during the next twelve months, led by Donna as our Clerk. We also intend to engage specialist support to implement a new financial structure that makes good use of electronic accounting and banking facilities, with the ultimate aim of bringing the roles of Clerk and Accounts Officer together, thus ensuring that our administrative costs provide value for money for the community.

Next steps

This year will see the Council develop and continue its programme of works including:

  • Continuing to advocate on existing and future quarrying developments.
  • Hopefully organising a Christmas market with a focus on food.
  • Monitoring the progress of a feasibility study for a pedestrian crossing.
  • Continuing to monitor drainage issues and liaise with Highways.
  • Identifying possible alternative sources of funding following the cease of CIL income.
  • Liaising with other local Parish Councils to identify and jointly comment on  areas of common concern and work collaboratively on issues that affect our wider community.

Finally, the Chair thanked all Councillors at Parish, District and County level, for their hard work and commitment during the last twelve months.

Dave Whatton

Chair, Alrewas Parish Council

 

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