2016/03/21 Annual Parish Meeting

21st March 2016

11214 Unconfirmed Minutes: of the Annual Parish Meeting for Silverdale held in the Gaskell Hall, Silverdale on Monday, 21st March 2016 at 7.30 pm.

11215 Present: Chairman – Councillor T.G. (Terry) Bond, the Deputy Clerk – S.D. (Sue) Hayward, Mrs Julie Bell, Head of Lancashire Libraries, Museums, Culture and Registrars, City Councillor N. (Nigel) Goodrich, Mr Bob Cartwright, Secretary of the Westmorland Red Squirrel Group and 29 members of the public.

11216 Apologies for Absence: Councillors J. (John) Bennett and A.J. (Tony) Houghton and the Clerk – L.D. (Denise) Challenor.

11217 Minutes of the Previous Annual Parish Meeting
The Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on 16th March 2015 were approved then signed by the Chairman.

11218 Matters Arising

11219 Police Report
There was no representative from the police present and their report was not available. The Chairman advised that police representatives rarely attend parish council meetings, due to time constraints and other priorities, and that the situation is the same for many other parish councils.

11220 Library Report
Mrs Julie Bell introduced herself as the Head of Lancashire Libraries, Museums, Culture and Registrars. She explained that there will be a reduction in the number of libraries across the county from 74 to 34 from April, in the light of cuts to the budget. In addition to the library other services will operate from the remaining library buildings (e.g. Welfare Rights) which will be known as Neighborhood Centres. Mobile libraries will be retained. There are 34 planning areas and one library will be kept open in each area. Silverdale is in the Lancaster Coastal area. The Property Aspect Group, in discussion with the County Councillors, is looking at every building owned by Lancashire County Council (Lancs. CC) in order to assess which they would prefer to keep – this is a massive exercise. No decisions have been made as yet. The list of buildings and preferred options for each will be made known on 16th May which will be the start date for a 12-week public consultation period. Decisions will be made on 8th September (after the consultation period). Mrs Bell encouraged members of the public to participate in any consultation exercises and to express their views at any time. All letters are logged as well as responses to surveys/ questionnaires. There are a number of epetitions on the Lancs. CC website (in support of various services) which can be signed online. Expressions of interest can also be registered should communities be interested in taking over buildings. Information packs and further details will be sent out to all those who have expressed an interest on 25th April.

Mrs Bell gave a report on Silverdale library for the year 2015/16: registered members have increased from 555 to 564; the number of active members has also increased although the weekly footfall has gone down slightly and there have been 1,000 less visits than in the previous year. Many different activities have been arranged during the year including: an author visit, drop-in sessions for people with dementia, ‘knit and natter’ sessions and events around World Book Day. The library provides books for a number of reading groups.

A member of the public asked that plentiful supplies of paper questionnaires be made available during the consultation period as not everyone has access to the internet. The Chairman added that the library is the only place in the village offering the public access to the internet.

11221 Report from City Councillor Nigel Goodrich
Referring to Mrs Bell’s report Councillor Goodrich encouraged members of the public to respond to consultation exercises. With regards the Lancaster City Council (Lancaster CC) budget he advised that there will be a 1.99% increase in council tax for 2016/17 (being the maximum increase allowed) and that £2m in savings are to be made. Cuts will include the closure of Carnforth, Hornby and Heysham community pools and a reduction in the amount of grants paid to parish councils for maintaining public toilets. An annual charge of £30 per bin is to be made for the emptying of green bins.

He recommended that if residents wish to object to the plans for Whinney Fold that they write to Lancaster CC and refer to the National Trust’s guidelines on planning and the National Planning Framework; the planning application for this proposed development will go to Committee in May.

Councillor Goodrich noted that County Councillor Alycia James has not been attending parish council meetings, but offered to try and help with County Council issues where he can.

11222 Presentation from Mr Bob Cartwright, Secretary of the Westmorland Red Squirrel Group
Mr Cartwright explained that the Westmorland Red Squirrel Group is a registered charity and is run by volunteers. The Westmorland Group formed to protect the native red squirrel in South Lakeland; there are equivalent groups covering all of Cumbia, the groups work together and share best practice. The number of red squirrels has declined due to predators, viruses, changes to the landscape and the introduction of the grey squirrel from America in the 1870s – the grey squirrel is the primary cause of the decline of the red squirrel, it eats seven times more, is bigger and breeds more frequently, it also causes damage to trees by stripping bark and plunders birds’ nests for eggs and young birds. Grey squirrels are classed as vermin in the UK and it is illegal to release them back into the wild once they have been caught. Red squirrels are a protected species. Shooting or trapping and dispatching grey squirrels is considered to be the only way that they can be controlled. Mr Cartwright showed maps indicating sightings of the red squirrel and of areas where the culling of grey squirrels has taken place – it seems that red squirrels move into areas where grey squirrels have been culled. Mr Cartwright asked the public to report sightings of red and grey squirrels online at www.westmorlandredsquirrels.org.uk or by phone: 07836 584201/01539 821714.

11223 Playground Report
The Chairman advised that the playground is inspected quarterly by Lancaster CC. The roof panels to the two towers are to be replaced – this will be paid for by the Parish Council.

11224 Chairman’s Report
A copy of the Chairman’s report had been circulated to those present and is appendaged to these minutes.
The Chairman updated those present on the situation regarding the bus service – Traveller’s Choice have been given the contract for running the newly timetabled bus service. Lancs. CC will print and distribute copies of the timetable. Funding has been provided for one year only and, if there is any chance of the service continuing, it is vital that it is used. The Chairman advised that bus companies are reimbursed for only 50% of the adult fare in cases where a bus pass is presented and, as it is important that as much revenue as possible is generated, passengers in possession of bus passes might consider paying full fare for occasional journeys.

11225 Matters Raised by the Public
1. Whether or not any forward plans for the provision of a bus service for 2017/18 and beyond have been made – the Chairman replied that there are issues around funding as the cost of the parish council running a service would require the precept to be increased by a very significant amount.
2. Have any plans have been made with regards the possible closure of the library? The Chairman advised that this matter will be on the agenda of the next parish council meeting (4th April).
3. The up-to-date position regarding the planning application for a Multi-Use Games area etc. on the Silverdale Institute field – the Chairman explained that the parish council has been given an extension to the deadline for its
response in order that the application can be discussed at its meeting on 4th April. The deadline for the public to respond is 30th March.

11226 The meeting closed at 9.15pm.

Sue D. Hayward, Deputy Clerk to the Council
Appendix 1

Annual Newsletter & Chairman’s Report to the Parish Meeting
As the Chairman of Silverdale Parish Council I would like to present my report on the Council for the year 2015-16.
Parish Council
The Parish Council is the lowest tier of local government and plays a significant role in representing the interests of Silverdale and local villagers. Our Clerk, Denise Challenor supports all of us and manages the day to day tasks of the Council. The Deputy Clerk, Sue Hayward, is also a great help. This past year there were 92 items of correspondence plus numerous e/mails so it can be seen these roles are important. The Council operates on a budget of £23,264 per year from which it pays the clerks, the contractors, maintains the toilets and fulfils its statutory duties. The Parish Council meets usually on the first Monday of each month at the Institute on Spring Bank. These meetings are open and members of the public can attend to hear Council business or to express a point of view about an issue. Last May Cllrs Bradfield and Woods stood down, the other councillors were re-elected and welcomed new members David Sandiford and John Bennett.
Planning and Related issues
During this year the Council considered 41 planning applications and made comments to Lancaster City Council, which is the legal planning authority. Although we make comments, and sometime objections, the City Council does not always concur with us. On-line access to plans has sometimes been quite difficult, the City Council site not being the easiest to navigate.
Two issues have dominated the planning side this past year. Plans for the Institute Field were the subject of a special meeting last year, although the application was later withdrawn. A revised version has been lodged within the past few weeks. Plans for the development of Whinney Fold have also caused a great deal of discussion. The original scheme put out for public consultation last November was opposed by many. A revised scheme has now been submitted and again the council has lodged objections to the proposal.
In recent months the Council has also submitted comments with regard to the overall development planning policy for the AONB.
Our local Parish Contractor service continues to operate well, they maintain all Council property, including 39 seats and benches around the village and the maintenance of the playing field, the new contracts will be awarded in April. The contract for the toilet cleaning was agreed at the March meeting and this also includes replenishing the free dog waste bags at four sites within the village. New dog waste bag dispensers have been purchased along with much more biodegradable bags.
Community Aspects
We continue to maintain good working relations with the AONB, RSPB and the National Trust and local charitable groups. There has been little contact with the local Police; they no longer attend council meetings which makes maintaining a good relationship difficult. We have requested the provision of a Speed Indicator Device to go at places around the village to tackle those motorists who continue to exceed the legal speed limit.
The Woodland Management Committee continues to oversee the safety and environment of the four areas owned by the Council. Volunteer work parties have carried out conservation work on Burton Well Scroggs.
With cuts in budget the County Council have had to reduce expenditure in many areas. Subsidised bus services were heavily reduced, threatening the Silverdale Shuttle and the 51 service. The council campaigned against these and have been able to secure funding for a reduced service which will incorporate parts of the old Shuttle and some of the 51 to Carnforth. Much of the credit for this success should go to Cllr Bennett.
The provision of better broadband service within the village has moved forward. BT has finally been able to provide their new service, albeit with a few glitches along the way. However, B4YS, the hyperfast service, has expanded its area and before long will reach the village. This service will far exceed that proposed by BT. The council has invested £5000 into the scheme helping it to reach the village and benefit this community.
On a more positive note, this past year the Council put money into provision of Christmas trees in the centre of the village, something which seems to have been enjoyed by many. Grants have been given to a number of local schemes: Field Day, the Open Gardens, Friend of Silverdale Station and the Parish Rooms.
This finalises my report on the past twelve months. Silverdale has a very ‘young’ council in comparison to some and this has been shown by the input and work done not only in council meetings but in the various representations upon local bodies that takes place. My thanks to all councillors for their work, and also to the two Clerks, without which we would be sorely hindered.
Cllr Terry Bond MBE, Chairman, Silverdale Parish Council 10/3/16