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2003/03/24

24th March 2003

 
7295 Minutes: of the Annual Parish Meeting for Silverdale held in the Gaskell Hall, Silverdale, on Monday 24th March 2003, at 7.30pm.

 
7296 Present: Councillor Mr C.J. Eden (Chairman), Councillors Mr T.B. Fryer, Mrs J. Greenwell, Mr R. Henderson, Mr A.J. Houghton, Mr P. Roberts, the Clerk and 30 members of the public. Also present, for part of the meeting only, were Police Constable 874 Daley (Community Police Officer), Mr S.J. Eccles (District Librarian) and Canon P. Warren (Priest in Charge, St.John’s Parish Church, Silverdale).

 
7297 Apologies for Absence: Councillors Mrs S.M. Fishwick and Mr A. Graves, Ms Geraldine Smith MP, Chief Superintendent Walker, Chief Inspector Clayton and Sergeant Ralphson.
7298 Minutes

The Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on 18th March 2002 were approved, and signed by the Chairman.

 
7299 Matters Arising There were no matters arising from the Minutes, for discussion.

 
7300 District Librarian’s Report The District Librarian, Mr S.J. Eccles, referred to the trend for issues of books to have fallen over the past decade, but it was encouraging to note that issues in Silverdale Branch Library had risen during the past 12 months. His report continued with references to the increasing work with young people and to the slight increase in hours of opening for the Silverdale Library. As part of the People’s Network, a computer has been provided, giving members of the public free access to the Internet and associated computer facilities, which had been well received by local residents.

No progress has been made in the search for alternative premises, but the situation is being monitored in the hope for better news.

Mr Eccles paid tribute to the continued hard work and enthusiasm of the branch librarian, Mrs Jill Mason.

 
7301 Police Liaison

Police Constable Ged Daley (Community Police Officer) apologised, on behalf of the Police, for the last-minute submission of apologies for absence from Sergeant Ralphson. He then reported that there had been a dramatic decrease in burglaries over the past six months, which he believed to be a consequence of concerted campaigns and the work of Community Police Officers, such as himself. He encouraged members of the public to use his Voice Mail system (01524-596464), which he accesses every working day. He also made reference to the work of the newly-appointed Police Community Support Officer in Carnforth and mentioned the hope that additional PCSOs be appointed to cover rural areas.

PC Daley then informed the meeting that Community Police Officers in the area, including himself, are being detailed to “First Response” cover, as from 1st April and this would inevitably mean that he would no longer be able to provide the level of community policing which had been the case during the past few years. It also meant that he would be unable to attend many, if any, Parish Council meetings.

 

 
Although pressed for an explanation of why this change was being made, PC Daley stated that he was unable to provide an answer, as he had not been party to the decision.

The Chairman voiced what appeared to be the reaction of most persons present, by describing this change as being a very retrograde step and he wondered if anything could be done to reverse the decision. PC Daley stated that he understood that the decision had been endorsed by the Chief Superintendent and that he was unable to make any effective representations on the matter. He did however pledge to attempt to keep in touch with the community. Whilst it was apparent that the mood of the meeting was to make strong representations, it was agreed that this should be done on a formal basis, after having debated that matter (as an agenda item) at the next meeting of the Parish Council.

One member of the public drew attention to the recent spate of vandalism and asked what could be done about it. PC Daley advised that, if an apparent crime is in progress it should be reported on the 999 system, whereas other matters, such as the discovery of vandalised property should be reported on 01524-63333. It was important to insist that an attendance is made.

PC Daley was thanked for the work that he has done during his time as Community Police Officer, which was very much appreciated by the law-abiding residents of the Parish.

 
7302 Parish Plan Report

Councillor Mrs June Greenwell recapped on the background to the Parish Plan and the wider implications of the Vital Villages scheme. Not only does the scheme provide financial support for production of the Plan, but it has also enabled people with widely diverging views to come together and think carefully about the village – what they would like to change and what they would like to keep. The Plan will also assist those groups who progress to applying for grants in order to develop the schemes contained in the Plan. The highlight of the activity was the Parish Plan meeting last October, attended by almost 400 people. Out of this had evolved ten Action Groups although this figure has now been reduced to eight. A draft Plan is being compiled for consideration by the Action Groups, the wider community, and by other authorities. At this point representatives of various Action Groups were invited to speak about their own references.

In concluding her report, Councillor Greenwell paid tribute to all those who had entered so enthusiastically into the project and undertaken a great deal of work. She also made mention of the fact that Silverdale is the only Parish in Lancashire to be provided with free consultancy support, paid for by the Countryside Agency. This assistance had come from “Pathways” and we are much indebted to their staff.

The Chairman informed the meeting that he had recently spoken to the Senior Planning Officer for Lancaster City Council who had expressed considerable interest in the Parish Plan and indicated that he thought it would be very helpful.

 
7303 “The Work of the Church in the Community”

Canon Paul Warren gave an informative, and sometimes amusing, address highlighting the role of the Church prior to the formation of civil Parish Councils. At that time the Church would levy a Church rate in order to pay for the maintenance of both the Church and the roads within the Parish. The powers of the Church were quite strong, even to the extent of being able to employ bailiffs to extract payment of rates by the reluctant.

Nowadays the role of the Church is to serve the community, rather than to dominate it. Service through institutions can be witnessed in the village primary school, sponsorship of the

 

 
children’s uniformed organisations, the Parish Magazine, and the use of the Church buildings for activity groups for all ages, and as a large building for arts festivals etc.

The Church also provides a focal point for local history and as a centre to which people of all beliefs can resort in times of grief. He is particularly pleased to be able to state that the Church is unlocked from early morning until evening and is open for access by anyone.

 
7304 Charity Reports

Mansergh’s Charity: Councillor Mrs June Greenwell explained that the charity has been in existence since the 1700s and provides funds to apprentices within the old parish of Warton, to enable them to buy tools. Grants are available to persons aged under 21 who are undertaking practical training towards the award of an appropriate NVQ. The Charity wishes to encourage applications from both boys and girls.

Silverdale United Charity The Chairman, Mrs I. Dyson, sent her apologies to the meeting and in her absence, Councillor Mr Ralph Henderson reported. There had been two meetings during the year with £1030 being allocated to deserving cases. The wish was expressed that more persons should come forward to make use of the charity, which is available to all residents of Silverdale. Anyone who considers that they might be eligible should approach any of the trustees. Applications are dealt with in strict confidence.

Warton Archbishop Hutton Charity. In the absence of Councillor Mr Arthur Graves, the Chairman indicated that all properties are let and in good order. There are sufficient funds to maintain the properties.

 
7305 Chairman’s Report

The Chairman had circulated written copies of his report, but wished to make particular mention of the following:

(a) Mr Cyril Beckford had been a parish councillor for many years, during which he had provided devoted and very effective service. In noting his retirement, the Chairman wished to record his thanks for all that Mr Beckford had done for the community.

(b) The Council is still considering the possibility of entering into a Joint Parish Lengthsman scheme, although there are some misgivings about the currently proposed scheme. As an alternative, this Parish Council had advertised the possibility of employing a Parish Contractor, but there were only two enquiries, neither of which resulted in expressions of positive interest.

(c) Two major Planning Applications had been considered during the past twelve months but both had been withdrawn, for revision, following objections from the Council. An amended application for Scheme 1 at Ridgway Park School has just been received and will be considered at the next Council meeting, on April 7th. An amended application for Hazelwood Hall is still awaited. The Council has considered a total of 51 Planning Applications during the year.

(d) The Chairman reiterated his admiration for the work done by our Community Police Officer, PC Ged Daley, but also expressed his concern at the announcement (this evening) about the change of duties.

(e) The Chairman thanked his colleagues and the Clerk for their assistance during the past year and also indicated that his own contribution to village life is amply rewarded by the friendship and fellowship, which gives him great pleasure.

 

 

 

 

 
7306 Parish Council Accounts for 2001-2002

The Clerk introduced this item by outlining the changes made under the Government’s “New Lighter Touch Audit Scheme” and the consequential changes to the Accounts and Audit Regulations. Despite some ‘teething troubles’ and a few other concerns, the Clerk demonstrated that the new accounting procedures were indeed much simpler than in previous years.

Photocopies of the Statement of Accounts submitted to the Auditors, together with the Statement of Assurance from members of the Council and the External Auditor’s Certificate and Opinion, were distributed to those attending the meeting.

The Auditor’s Report is satisfactory and the accounts were deemed to be in order.

The Clerk drew attention to the amendments which he had been required to make to the Statement of Accounts and explained that these were made because the new auditors (HLB AV Audit) do not agree with the manner of recording certain items which had previously been approved by District Audit. The requirement to make changes to figures previously audited, approved and presented to last year’s Annual Parish Meeting, was a cause of concern to members of the Council. It had been resolved that the instructions be implemented, so that the audit could be completed and then the matter would be brought to the attention of the Audit Commission. The Clerk reported that it had come to his notice that several parish councils within Lancashire have complained about the manner in which HLB AV Audit have conducted their audit procedures and that these complaints had been taken up by the Lancashire Association of Parish and Town Councils. He had therefore brought Silverdale Parish Council’s expression of concern to the attention of LAPTC and is awaiting a response before writing to the Audit Commission.

 
7307 Matters raised by the Public

A member of the public raised the matter of car parking, with particular reference to the Gaskell Memorial Hall. As there have been 630 bookings for the Hall, during the past year, the car parking area has been heavily used. Unfortunately, because of the location of the Hall, and the lack of a public car park in the vicinity, there is a tendency for tourists to also use the car park. The question was raised as to whether it would be possible for other organisations to make land available for car parking.

The Chairman responded by stating that one of the Action Groups for the Parish Plan is exploring various possibilities, but that there would be great difficulty in obtaining permission for potential sites to be used for car parking.

 
7308 The meeting closed at 9.10pm and then light refreshments were served.

 

Peter G. Challenor – Clerk to the Council.
 

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