Parish Council Report 2011-12
1 Introduction & Summary
I am pleased to report a successful year with a number of significant achievements. It has also been an eventful year with a number of retirements and the election of four new councillors. As a result, we have been able to put more effort into Youth and Neighbourhood Watch activities.
The Allotments are a major Village asset. Investment in the boundary hedge restoration programme and improving the general infrastructure continues. A significant number of new tenants have joined the Allotments.
In cooperation with Dacorum Borough Council (DBC), we achieved the Green Flag Award again for The Common and its maintenance programme. This is the fourth year running. The Mayor, Gillian Chapman, graciously agreed to raise the Green Flag at Blackwell’s, underlining that Chipperfield is a leading Green Flag site.
The Common is perhaps our most valuable asset and we owe a great deal to all those who look after it and try to maintain its unique environment. Special thanks should go to the DBC Trees and Woodlands Team Leader, the Friends of Chipperfield Common (FoCC) Group and CPC Staff and whose members give their time, so effectively and so generously.
The Council is pleased to report that the Parish Council’s finances are under control and in a healthy state. Expenditure and reserves are on target and we have been able to maintain a zero increase in the budget.
The Council is supporting the Jubilee Village day and we hope that all the community will take part in some way inthis celebration.
Cllr. Mike Bradshaw, Chairman
2 Council Members and their Prime Responsibilities
Council members are: Mike Bradshaw, Chairman, Executive member of the Herts. Association of Parish and Town Councils; Harry Laverack, Deputy Chair, Finance and Allotments; Steve Mant, Highways Road Safety & Transport; David Nobbs, Planning; Guy Kempston, Open spaces, Malcolm
Leach, Youth and Education, Peter Ingram, Police and Neighbourhood Watch. Mark Jarrad, Martha Anson and Pauline Southworth - Consultants.
The Council wish to thank Jo Deacon our Clerk, Malcolm Durrant the Village Warden and Andrew Orchard the Common Ranger for their hard work and commitment.
The Warden and Ranger help to maintain the tidiness and safety of The Common. Their performance continues to be a significant factor in our success in winning the Green Flag Award for The Common. The Ranger also helps to maintain the infrastructure of the Allotments.
Jo Deacon is the focal point for the Council’s activities. Her dedication to the task has helped significantly to make this another successful year.
Cllr Mike Bradshaw
4 Police Community Support Officer and Neighbourhood Watch
Chipperfield continues to be a relatively low crime area, thanks in no small part to the vigilance of our Community Support Officer, PCSO Bardhyl Agallili (Bardi). However, in view of the general need for vigilance in these difficult times, Council has decided to strengthen our support in this area with particular emphasis on Neighbourhood Watch (NW) schemes. Nearly half of the roads in the Village have NW schemes in place but for maximum benefit we need full coverage.
A NW coordinator has been appointed and via email all contributors will receive automatic up-dates on relevant information. In the interests of us all, we strongly encourage you to join this worthwhile activity. There are no costs involved. Cllr. Peter Ingram
The Parish Budget for 2012-13 remains unchanged from 2011/2012 and stands at £42,826. The Council decided to avoid any significant spending increase in what remain difficult economic times.
The budget is made up of the Precept and the Concurrent. The Precept is raised from homes in the Parish and will be £25,450, which is the same figure as for the year just gone. The Concurrent finance is allocated to Parishes by the principal authority in an annual lump sum to be spent on services concurrent to both authorities. Your Council utilises these funds to support a wide range of service for the local community most of which are allocated as grants.
Despite the significant cuts suffered two years ago we remain confident that for the year ahead we will protect the key services within the village, however once again grants may have to be reduced.
Accounts: The Accounts for last year were submitted ahead of schedule for external audit. I am pleased to report that the auditors approved the accounts promptly.
Reserves: As a result of continued prudence, your Council has maintained appropriate financial reserves. During 2011/12 the main investment has been on further work to the allotment boundary hedge restoration.
Grant Aid: We have been able to provide grant aid to all applications received with grants given to the Junior and Senior Football clubs, the Cricket Club, the Village Hall, the Youth Club, Chipperfield clubs (Blackwell’s) and a contribution towards the maintenance of the graveyard. A contribution was also made for the continuing work on the compilation of Chipperfield History.
Cllr. Harry Laverack
The Parish Council submits its views to Dacorum Borough Council on all planning applications for development within Chipperfield. At the time of writing 52 applications had been dealt with in the past year a 60% increase on the low number received in the previous year. Part of the reason for this is that more applicants are applying for Lawful Development Certificates seeking Dacorum Planning Department’s assurance that their planned development is permitted under the government’s relaxed rules. There were no major developments to report.
The Council monitors enforcement issues and draws Dacorum’s attention to those for which the time taken to reach a resolution has been protracted. A case
in point relates to the Two Brewers where, as part of changes to the signage
and illumination, inappropriate work was done without permission and where
eventually the owners have agreed to conform to our requirements.
The Council has responded to 8 planning consultations, national and local, during the course of the year. These included those related to the Localism Bill and the National Planning Framework. We were encouraged to see that in Parished areas, the Government considered that Parish Councils are the appropriate body to control neighbourhood planning and that the existing protection of the Green Belt would be maintained Cllr. David Nobbs
7 Highways Road Safety & Transport
Chipperfield highways have shown significant improvement and we continue to benefit from our strong relationship with Herts. County Council Highways. Several major projects have been completed this year, the most significant being the drainage clearance and repair on Tower Hill and the implementation of the safety scheme at the Tower Hill/Dunny Lane crossroads. A ditch clearance has also been completed on Dunny Lane, although there is a small drainage issue still to be addressed. The potholes which caused such a problem following last winter have been repaired, however further Roads and Footpath surveys are being undertaken.
Our focus will remain on safety as we look to reduce traffic speed on main roads to appropriate levels and encourage a drainage investigation and resurfacing on Langley Road. Cllr. Steve Mant
8 Youth, Education& Health
The Parish Council reached full strength in October and resources were allocated to focus on YH&E. The bulk of the work to date has been a series of meetings with organisations within the Parish who support the young people of the village and to engage with the youth as a whole. Meetings to date included St Pauls School, Sure-start, Youth Football Club, Cricket Club, Tennis Club and Blackwell’s Village Club. Further meetings are planned with the Church clubs. These meetings are predominantly to establish areas where the Parish Council might assist further in supporting their youth activities. So far and as a result, applications have been received from several clubs to purchase equipment and help with improvements.
Youth forums were scheduled for 5th and 12th March, with the purpose of engaging with the youth of the Parish to let them have their say about current activities and to elicit new activities which might be of interest.
The John Nichols and the Liz Holliday Prizes have been presented to the children of St Paul’s School again this year, for their excellent work in writing and illustration. Well done the School! Cllr. Malcolm Leach
As a result of the rent increase last financial year, a revenue neutral position was achieved and loss avoided. Rents are now more in line with the National average.
The third stage of the five year plan for the allotment hedge restoration has been successfully completed. This involved the pruning of hedge three (the football side) and the establishment of a four meter perimeter strip. The final restoration phase for hedge four (The White House side) is scheduled for 2012.
Whilst completing restoration work to hedge three, other general areas of the allotment field have been tidied and additional allotment plots created. We have been able to accommodate 7 more Chipperfield villagers on to the allotment field. With further plots becoming available, we would encourage villagers to apply for these additional plots.
Once again we would like to thank all tenants and neighbours who have co-operated in the strategy to improve and maintain the infrastructure of the Allotments. Cllr. Harry Laverack
10 Open Spaces
CPC in cooperation with DBC successfully retained its Green Flag status for the Common. The Lady Mayor, Gillian Chapman attended Blackwell’s on 21st September to mark the achievement, praising the contributions of all those involved.
An ecological survey of The Common has been undertaken by a consultant to provide an overall assessment and to help plan future works. Additional recycling and fox proof bins have been provided and installed on the Common. Interpretation Boards for the Burial Mounds and Apostles Pond are awaiting installation. These boards will be particularly valuable for educational purposes.
The recent filming for “Hyde Park on Hudson” was successful and a realistic fee established. This confirms Chipperfield’s standing as a very desirable location for filming.
In cooperation with DBC and the British Legion, the Council is facilitating the planting of a Commemorative Tree on behalf of the Village for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The choice, site and maintenance of the tree have been agreed with Legion and the Green Flag team to harmonise with and preserve the environment.
The FoCC has continued its good work over the last year under the guidance of Colin Chambers of DBC. Works carried out included re-cutting and maintaining gorse and glade, restoring an overgrown old glade and work at Apostles Pond.
Council has advised and supported the Village Steering Group, keen on the provision of further burial space within the village, and helped facilitate discussions with DBC. The steering group survey established that a considerable number of villagers are in favour of extending the Church graveyard in principal. The proposal is at an early stage and discussions are on-going.
Cllr Guy Kempston
I wonder what the criteria are for the much vaunted Green Flag. I hope it is not to have a tidy, urban park with wide, hard surfaced paths everywhere. Next there will be litter bins and lighting. What is happening to our woods?May 16, 2013