2014/03/13 Annual Parish Meeting

13th March 2014

10617 Minutes: of the Annual Parish Meeting for Silverdale held in the Gaskell Hall, Silverdale on Thursday, 13th March 2014 at 7.30 pm.

10618 Present: Chairman – Councillor T.G. (Terry) Bond, the Deputy Clerk – S.D. (Sue) Hayward, Ms Diane Baxter, Lancaster District Manager for Libraries, Mr Craig McCoy, National Trust Ranger (Arnside and Silverdale), Ms Lucy Barron, AONB Manager (Arnside and Silverdale) and 31 members of the public.

10619 Apologies for Absence: the Clerk – L.D. (Denise) Challenor and City Councillor K. (Kath) Graham.

10620 Minutes of the Previous Annual Parish Meeting
The Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on 25th March 2013 were approved then signed by the Chairman.

10621 Matters Arising
A member of the public referred to item 10301, regarding the Silverdale Shuttle, and advised that the bus timetable does not fit in with the train times.

10622 Police Report
There was no representative from the police present and their report was not available.

10623 Library Report
Ms Diane Baxter, Lancaster District Manager for Libraries, reported on news from Silverdale library. The number of visitors to the library has increased by 70 a month with members of the public using IT, seeking information and participating in activities as well as borrowing books. A number of groups are involved with the ‘clay project’ – making a clay sculpture which will be hung on the wall in the courtyard. IT workshops are being held at Silverdale School and Ms Baxter thanked the Parish Council for contributing to the funding of these. Many activities are taking place to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War including the sowing of poppy seeds by school children and the Brownies are making 100 pennants. The library also involved children from Silverdale School in producing work on the Silverdale Hoard. An historic collection of glass sides showing scenes around Silverdale has been scanned and help is needed to index the slides.

10624 National Trust Report
Mr Craig McCoy, National Trust Ranger (Arnside and Silverdale), updated on the team members working for the National Trust Arnside and Silverdale office at Bank House Farm: Ms Gemma Wren – Countryside Manager; Mr Steve Bradley, Mr Ross James and Mr Craig McCoy – Rangers; Mr McCoy can be contacted on 702815 or craig.mccoy@nationaltrust.org.uk.

The team is working at engaging the public, becoming more visible and providing public access for all whilst trying to maintain a balance between access, conservation and farming.

He explained some of the strategies used by the Trust: maintaining areas of woodland which provide dark habitats; felling trees to provide lighter areas; coppicing to create open ground and to allow older trees to survive/ spread out – the cavities in dead wood provide valuable habitats for fauna; the use of livestock as a conservation tool – some of the older breeds of cattle eat re-growing scrub; retaining the right amount of bracken to create dappled light for violets which provide food for the caterpillars of Fritillary butterflies; removing ragwort from cattle-grazing areas but leaving it in others as it is valuable for insects and wildlife. The effect of such strategies are monitored and the information shared with partnership organizations including the AONB.

Mr McCoy mentioned problems with sheep worrying and advised that, unfortunately, posters are necessary to remind dog owners of this.

Risk assessments are carried out where trees are in danger of falling down and action taken accordingly – trees that are well away from footpaths might be left for the wood to rot and provide a useful habitat whereas trees overhanging footpaths might be cut back.

The Trust relies on members of the public reporting issues and giving feedback and is very grateful for its volunteers who carry out important tasks such as repairing dry stone walls. Anyone wishing to become a volunteer should contact the office (details above).

Members of the public asked about:
1. deer management – there is an issue with roe deer in the area, the deer cause damage to gardens and carry tics. The Trust policy is to control the roe deer population and to monitor this;
2. squirrels – there is a lot of work in place to control the number of grey squirrels in parts of the country where there are red squirrels;
3. rabbits – there is no Trust policy on rabbit control – tenant farmers are allowed to make their own decisions as to what action they take.

10625 AONB Report
Ms Lucy Barron, AONB Manager (Arnside and Silverdale) described the AONB area as a fantastic habitat for a variety of species which thrive in wetland, limestone, grassland and woodland; the area is also special being a transition point between North and South.

The AONB have a statutory partnership with Lancashire County Council, Lancaster City Council (Lancaster CC), Cumbria County Council and South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) and work also with the parish councils, the National Trust, the RSPB and a number of other organizations.

The AONB team of 5 is based in the Old Station Building in Arnside which serves as an information centre as well as an office. Their role is to generate policy and to carry out practical work on the ground. They are in the process of developing a new Management Plan for the area – there has been a rigorous consultation process over an 18 month period and the Plan now needs to be formally adopted by its statutory partners – once this has happened the parish councils will be contacted and asked to endorse the Plan. A new AONB map and guide is also about to be launched.

Ms Barron referred to the volunteering programme – thousands of volunteer hours go into caring for the area (e.g. replacing fingerposts and litter picking); volunteers receive training in a variety of skills such as hedge laying and dry stone walling.

All the parish councils in the Arnside and Silverdale AONB contribute funding to their work and the AONB are very grateful for this; they are also involved in projects which attract external funding to the area.

Members of the public asked about:
1. the main differences between the new Management Plan and the previous one – a lot of the policy context has changed although the priorities are similar to before;
2. finger posts – the AONB replace these (like for like if possible) if they are in disrepair or cannot be read easily from a distance; the AONB rely on problems being reported by the public, there is no maintenance schedule;
3. planning – Lancaster CC and SLDC are looking at their Local Plans at the moment and have made a commitment to produce a joint plan for the AONB area – this will be ready in about 18 months. Meanwhile Lancaster CC’s Core Strategy covers the policy on planning in the AONB area.

10626 Report from City Councillor Kath Graham
Councillor Graham was not present at the meeting and her report was not available.

10627 Playground Report
Councillor Ribbons, a member of the Playground Management Committee, reported that Lancaster CC’s quarterly inspection of the playground and the Parish Contractor’s weekly inspection help to keep the Parish Council abreast of maintenance issues.

Fresh bark chippings have been delivered for the aerial runway this week.

Councillor Ribbons advised that a pub quiz raised £152 for the playground but explained that funding for the playground is a concern especially as the equipment is 8 years old and showing signs of wear and tear [the playground belongs to a separate charity] and he made a plea for volunteers for the fundraising committee.

10628 Chairman’s Report/ Matters Raised by the Public
A copy of the Chairman’s report had been circulated to those present and is appendaged to these minutes.
The Chairman thanked all the volunteers who have helped in various ways over the year such as by joining the woodlands’ working parties and raking the bark in the playground etc.

Members of the public raised the following:
1. sites for new-builds – the Chairman explained that there is a need for affordable housing and for smaller housing units;
2. the possibility of the parish council offsetting the cost of the shuttle bus in future years – the Chairman advised that the council would need to know the income and expenditure involved but added that this was worth investigating. Another member of the public added that the bus is under-used and perhaps other options should be looked at e.g. a taxi service to and from the station for school children using the train;
3. a representative from the Silverdale Youth Group thanked the parish council for donating the goalposts on the Institute field;
4. two members of the public thanked the parish council for actively looking for a site for a skate park;
5. the village centre/ development of The Royal Hotel – the Chairman advised that Lancaster CC will be holding another consultation meeting about development this year at which this issue can be raised.

10629 The meeting closed at 9pm.

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 2013-14. This is my seventh report as Chairman.

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 101 items of correspondence plus numerous e/mails so it can be seen these roles are important. The Council operates on a budget of £18673 per year from which it pays the clerks, the contractors 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. The Agenda and Minutes of the Council are displayed on the Notice Board outside the Gaskell Hall, and are available on the Council’s website at www.Silverdale-pc-lancs.gov.uk The attendance of Councillors at the past 12 meetings was: Cllrs, Bond – 11, Houghton – 12, Mason – 10, Williams – 11, Palmer – 10, Ribbons – 10, Woods – 8 & Bradfield – 8.

Planning and Related issues
During this year the Council considered 31 planning applications [a 30% decrease] 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. There have been few contentious issues this year, the Council supported the application for housing on land at the Golf Club, but this was refused by the City Council. The Council itself has a planning application currently with the City Council for erection of a toposcope near the Jubilee Memorial [AKA the Pepperpot]. The site that has caused most angst and produced several items of correspondence from residents has been the Royal Hotel, particularly since the erection of fencing. It is unfortunate that the actions of a few, such as prolonged overnight parking and the selling of cars, prompted the landowner to take the action he did. It has had a regrettable impact upon parking in the village, especially on Saturdays. There are as yet no firm proposals for this building.

Our local Parish Contractor service continues to operate well, he maintains all Council property, including over 40 seats and benches around the village, as well as 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.

There have been some changes in rail services to Manchester, and a petition was supported by the local MP, David Morris. The 20mph scheme has been operational for over a year now although there has yet to be any enforcement exercises to educate drivers. The Council would like to extend some of the existing 30mph limits and are in discussion with County highways regarding this.
Bus services have greatly improved, although they do not appear to be well used and given the future budget cuts will be under threat and may result in this service being removed.

Community Aspects
The Council continues to maintain good working relations with the local Police, the AONB, RSPB and the National Trust, and local charitable groups.
In January a new subcommittee, the Woodland Management Committee, was formed to look after the four areas of land owned by the Council, namely; Woodwell, Bankwell, Burtonwell and Burton Well Scroggs. Several trees in these areas needed urgent attention and three community working parties have helped to enhance these sites, particularly the Scroggs. The new committee will look at improving safety for the general public and the need for managing the land itself.
Last summer saw some dissension in the village with regard to the provision of a skate/scooter park for the younger residents. Given the lack of suitable land owned by the Council it was decided to approach the Trustees of the Institute, but after some lengthy discussion they rejected the proposal. Other areas of land have been investigated but as yet it has not been possible to locate a suitable site with an amenable landowner! The Council are currently looking at the cost of hiring a temporary skate park during the summer holiday period.
Broadband has been a matter of concern. The rollout by BT was originally in September, then March. As yet no update has been received and there appears to be some reticence on the part of BT and the County Council to provide this. The original plan was for the provision of two boxes in the village, both outside the Exchange, the speed of broadband reducing the further away the recipient is; for example Levens Way will get better service than Bottoms Lane or Clevelands Ave. A community initiative BAYS, which has support from the Council, is investigating a faster service.
The Council are pleased to report that they have provided financial assistance for; the IT workshops at the behest of the library, the Art Mural in the library courtyard and on the Co-op wall, and also Field Day.
Last October saw Autumn Watch at Leighton Moss. This resulted in an increase in visitors as well as putting Silverdale on the map! It also had some impact on the local economy.

In conclusion, I would like to thank all the Councillors, Parish, and District & County for their hard work throughout the year we as your Parish Council will continue to serve this village to the best of our abilities and seek your support in doing so.

Terry Bond MBE
Silverdale Parish Council 07/3/2014