April 2011- February 2012 - Chairman’s Report
This is my last report as Chairman of the Parish Council as my term of office finishes in April 2012. The two years have certainly flown by and I have enjoyed my time at the ‘head’ of the table! 2011-12 has been another busy year as you will see in the reports from the Chairpersons of the Committees.
Quality Council Status
As Chairman of the Parish Council I am delighted to announce that in 2011 Bishop’s Waltham Parish Council was accredited with the status of Quality Parish Council. The Quality Parish and Town Council scheme is a Government initiative for all Parish and Town Councils in England. The accreditation process is conducted by the County Accreditation Panel on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government, and coordinated with the support of the National Association of Local Councils. To achieve the award of Quality Status, Parish and Town Councils must satisfy a range of standards that aim to ensure that they are:
• Representative of, and actively involved in, all parts of the community
• Effectively and properly managed, with Members and Officers upholding a high standard of conduct
• Working closely with voluntary and community sector groups and articulating the community’s needs and wishes through effective communication
• Working in partnership with other local authorities and agencies and, depending on their size, able to deliver local services which give the best deal for the local community.
I would like to thank all the Councillors and the Council staff for their magnificent efforts to ensure that Bishop’s Waltham Parish Council is a Quality Council and is recognised for the excellent work that it undertakes on behalf of the parishioners
May 2011 was an election year. 11 of the sitting Councillors put their names forward for re-election. Clrs Bonnet, Fuchs and McLean stood down.
After the election we welcomed four new Councillors to our ranks. Cllr Pat Lambert, who was a regular attendee at Parish Council meetings; Cllr Terry Wilson who returned to the Council after a two year absence; Cllr Mrs Pat Wilson who had been an ex-officio member of the Tourism and Community Committee and a volunteer on the Market Town Healthcheck process and Cllr Barry Nicholson a well-known local landowner/farmer.
All of these new Councillors bring a wide variety of knowledge and experience to the Council. Cllr Alan Foster was not re-elected in May and so I would like to thank him for all his years on the Council and service for Bishop’s Waltham.
Last year my report referred to the discussions around the Sainsbury’s proposals. This year the application was given permission by Winchester City Council but only by the Chairman using his casting vote. Not only had the application spilt Bishop’s Waltham but it also appeared to split the Councillors on the Planning Committee in Winchester. Now we must all move forward and accept that things are going to change in Bishop’s Waltham. Sainsbury’s have promised to work with the community to ensure that the town centre remains viable and that our independent traders continue to thrive in these difficult times.
At the Parish Council meeting in January the Parish Council ratified the recommendations of the Finance, Policy and Resources Committee concerning the Council’s income and expenditure and precept request for 2012/13. The Committees of the Council began this process, as always, in September. Initial discussions took place on the current and estimated spend for the year and draft budgets drawn up. The initial budgets were then passed to the Finance, Policy and Resources Committee for consideration. In December the Finance, Policy and Resources Committee agreed the final figures and recommended the budget plus precept required to the full Council.
The figures are as follows:
Parish Council estimated income 2012-13 £82,480
Parish Council proposed expenditure 2012-13 £418,256
Precept required 2012-13 £335,776
Precept 2011-12 £335,304
Increase 2012-13 £472 (0.14%)
This is the lowest increase in the precept for many years. Councillors were mindful of the current economic climate and have produced a budget which will maintain the excellent services provided by the Council without putting additional strain on the parishioners of Bishop’s Waltham.
In August Dan Shepherd left the Council to take up alternative employment and Emma Stratton was appointed as the new caretaker for Priory Park.
Cllr Mrs Dorothy Quiney
In January I was very disappointed to receive a letter of resignation from the Parish Council from Mrs Dorothy Quiney. Many of you will know Mrs Quiney and the excellent work she has done for the parish both as a Councillor and member of many other organisations.
I know that Dorothy will not have taken this decision lightly and without a great deal of thought. I would like to wish Dorothy all the very best and thank her for her support during my time as Chairman of the Council.
I would like to thank all the Parish Council staff for another excellent year.
So, thank you to Lindsay Edge, the Parish Council Clerk; Kathryn Grover, Deputy Council Clerk; John Storry, Responsible Financial Officer; Steph Andrews, Assistant Clerk; Trevor Veck, Head Groundsman; Kevin Wyatt, Parish caretaker/groundsman; James Rushton, groundsman; Gloria and Richard Stratton, Jubilee Hall caretakers and Emma Stratton, Priory Park caretaker without you all we could not function!
Thank you to all my fellow Councillors for their support over the last two years. Thank you to Judy Marsh for serving as my Vice Chairman and being my right hand ‘woman’ at Council meetings.
I would like to wish my successor all the best. He or she will be taking on a very pro-active Council with many plans for the coming years. I think 2012/13 will be a very busy and productive period in the life of Bishop’s Waltham Parish Council.
Bill Gilling, Chairman, Bishop’s Waltham Parish Council