In 2015/16 our main aim was to put in place procedures and processes to make the council transparent in its dealings and bring about more participation from parishioners in our locality. I believe we’ve gone a long way in this area, although we must keep working to improve our performance. To this end we are encouraging councillors to attend training throughout this year.
Our other aim, in previous years, was to have a more representative membership on the parish council as well as acquiring skills in the area of planning. We have been mostly successful in this aim; we have Angela Tyler an ex planning officer, Andrew Coultas who is a resident of Shelwick and for a time we had a representative from the Furlongs.
We did lose Sally Robinson; an ex Ward Councillor who’s hard work and skills we miss greatly. However, we now have a full membership on the parish council which includes: myself Mark Millmore, our Vice Chair Marc Mohan, Neil Jenkins from Wentworth Park, Neil Duggan who possess an intimate local knowledge, Jane Davies from the western end of the Roman Road, Angela Tyler and Andrew Coultas who I’ve just mentioned and our two new councillors Gitta Ferguson and Neil Flanagan.
So what have we achieved since the last Annual meeting?
The answer is quite a lot and much of it is thanks you the parishioners of Holmer and Shelwick – you have kept us informed and on our toes for example:
The dangerous Furlongs Footpath leading out onto Munstone Road – We Thank Judy Alan who brought it to our attention – this footpath, with its skateboard friendly slope blindly leading onto a 60 mph road, has now been closed.
Mike Andrews from Meadow Park delivered a survey he’d carried out on the lack of street lighting and parking space on the estate. This survey has helped shape our procedures for future large planning applications
For many years residents have complained about rat running speeding vehicles – Now after much badgering the powers that be we have begun our parish wide traffic calming project that the section 106 money was allocated for all those years ago. We set up a working group consisting of Andew Coltas, Marc Mohan, Neil Jenkins and with the invaluable help of James Fishlock, from Belfour Beatty, the project is now underway. A public consultation meeting will be held later this year.
This type of participation from residents has enabled us get better as a parish Council and I hope you all continue to remain involved.
The worn white lines on the Roman Rd at the Junction of Attwood Lane/Old school lane were a serious safety hazard – it took many months of repeat letter writing but we final got the job done.
Neil Duggan has increased the number of Notice boards within the parish so that we have a line of communication other than the internet.
Besides the notice boards at Coldwells Road, the Munestone bus stop, Shelwick, Shelwick Green and the western Roman Road we now also have one in the Fulongs and Orchard Close.
On the subject of the internet we have increased our website subscribers to 183 and with the tracking software we’re using we know most of those people are reading our newsletters.
The Burial Ground
We’ve just completed refurbishments to the Burial Ground (we apologise for any inconvenience during this process) – We noticed last year that the hedges and trees were vigorously taking over the landscape. We waited until the autumn when the trees were dormant and then had a massive cutback – in the process graves that had not seen the light of day in decades were revealed. 60 one ton git bags of debris were removed from the site (I would like to thank Marc Mohan who spent a number of weekends disposing of this rubbish). With the exception of replacing the notice board this work is now complete. We intend to continue ongoing maintenance so this will not be such a big job in future.
Dog Fouling Bins
One area where we could have done better was on the dog fouling bins – this got delayed after our old clerk resigned but it is now in hand and you should expect to see some progress in the coming months.
Holmer Park Spa
I would like to thank our old clerk Rebecca Gill for her work over the years one of her last acts was to organise the move of venue to Holmer Park Spa which is a far more comfortable location and I would also like to thank Steve Chadwick, the manager here at Holmer Park Spa, he was a frequent visitor at our meetings and offered this room free of charge as well as looking after our comfort by laying on tea and coffee.
It seems to me that toward the end of last year we got lucky – there was the move here then we got a new footpaths officer, Duncan Smart, who is doing a fantastic job on our footpaths. He began by making a survey of the entire footway network, he reported that the way mark and fingerpost signing needed improvement, liaised with the Locality Steward at Balfour Beatty on our behalf then, for a donation, got the Ramblers Association to undertake clearance work, He also reported that the Bridleway HO18 needed clearing and was not fit for equine use. On 3rd April this year he organised a four man Ramblers’ Working Party to clear the Bridleway right through to join up with where the Balfour Beatty team had chain sawed fallen and overhanging trees. To be honest we were unaware of the Bridleway and Duncan is worth his weight in gold to this parish.
Our New Clerk
The other bit of luck to come our way was the appointment of David Hunter-Miller as our clerk – I think we can all agree that in the short time he’s been with us he’s improved the performance of this parish council and I hope he’ll be with us for many years to come.
The Neighbourhood Development Plan
Finally the other major project we’ve begun – again with the enthusiastic support of the residences – is the Neighbourhood Development Plan – Lynda Wilcox from HALC came to two of our meetings and on the second meeting, which was attended by 40 parishioners, she gave an excellent talk which inspired more than 30 people to sign up for the steering group. A meeting was later held and Sarah Saville was voted to be the Coordinator. Unfortunately, there was a hiatus in pushing the NDP forward while we got the new clerk in place. But now things are moving, we’ve selected Kirkwells as our consultants and we’re now applying for the grant monies – so from now it’s full steam ahead.
I’d like to thank the Residents, Councillors, our Ward Councillor and all who have contributed to making this the best year for Holmer and Shelwick Parish Council.
Mark Millmore Chairman.