2017/18 Chairman’s Report – Cllr. Charles Morgan
Presented at the Bishopsteignton Electors Annual Parish Meeting – 19 March 2018
The Chairman’s Annual Report aims to highlight the successes and progression of Bishopsteignton Parish Council over the past financial year (April 2017 to March 2018) and its aspirations for the future.
It’s my hope you find this report both helpful and informative and should you wish to comment on this or any aspect of our services please contact your local Parish Councillors or the Parish Clerk.
Sadly this report must start with what Bishopsteignton Parish Council has lost this year.
In June the council was shocked to hear about the sudden death of Councillor Jim Grimble. Jim was paramount in my decision to be co-opted on to the council in 2007 where he had been serving at both parish and district levels for many years before that. His wide knowledge of historical, current and ongoing parish matters was second to none and is sorely missed by us all.
Now we have been rocked by the death of Councillor Hazel Stuckey.
Hazel was aware that her illness may be terminal although her energy, tenacity and drive in overcoming ongoing problems both personally and as a Councillor was never diminished. Some of her projects were that she resurrected the Emergency Plan and initiated the Parish Management & Maintenance Plan hopefully will be a fitting epitaph once completed.
May they both rest in peace.
Finally I must mention Councillor Marianne Gollop who has unfortunately had to resign. Marianne was my link to the next generation of mothers, fathers and their children and promoted their needs whenever possible. It’s my hope that in future years she may stand again. Thank you Marianne.
My Mission Statement –
“To secure and maintain the best possible services and environment for the Parish of Bishopsteignton” and assist the council’s aim to provide Bishopsteignton residents with the service they have come to expect.
My report –
As we are well aware the reductions in funding from Central Government, are affecting the services provided by County and District council. This has meant that we have to be extremely careful over the management of our affairs.
The Parish precept has had to rise by over 13% this year to make up for the loss of services and funding that we are used too. The shortfall was exacerbated by having to hold a contested election to fill the Parish Council seat left vacant by the untimely passing of Councillor Grimble, resulting in an unbudgeted expense of £3,600.
Needless to say every ongoing project has to be considered and evaluated in terms of cost, effectiveness and benefit to the community at large. We continuously monitor our expenditure and examine very closely how and where we spend precept money as well as any additional funding we may be entitled to.
Our aims –
The Council have attempted to alleviate A381 traffic concerns after the ongoing spate of road accidents and perceived speeding offences, even going as far as petitioning our Member of Parliament. We were successful in our application to Rural Aid securing funds to purchase a VAS (vehicle activated sign) which would remind speeding motorists of the road limitations. Our County Councillor Ron Peart offered to purchase a second sign using his locality budget. Unfortunately the installation of the signs was unacceptable to Devon Highways because the speed and accident data, they use, did not meet their required level to warrant this, or any, intervention.
Again I would like to comment on what I call the usual suspects that blight our parish, parking, speeding, road and pavement maintenance, dog mess and weeds. These are always on our agenda and we will continually attempt to resolve them.
The Councils Achievements –
The Council had resolved to adopt the Teignbridge owned part of the car park in Bishops Avenue. You will be aware this has been muted for a long time and hopefully will be completed as soon as the ongoing legalities are concluded.
The Horse Chestnut at Bishops Avenue, a focal point of the village has been replaced by a Walnut tree, our thanks for the tree and its installation must go to Councillor Trevor Davey.
To continue to improve communications to the parish we are hoping to host our own web site where we will be able to supply far more links to official services, the Parish Clerk, Councillors and eventually a way of reporting your concerns.
The Neighbourhood Plan was “made” thanks to the sterling work of Kim who took up the mantle of the work after it had been passed on to the Council from the NP Team.
Already we are repeating the housing needs survey, last conducted 5 years ago, so the data held is as relevant as possible. Teignbridge have recently highlighted certain anomalies around our village boundary line and will be bringing these forward for discussion soon. It’s my hope that the plan will protect this beautiful parish for the foreseeable future and enable it to stay autonomous from our bigger neighbours.
We are commemorating the 100 years since the end of World War 1 on Sunday 11th November with the usual service at the memorial and service of Remembrance at the parish church, followed by, in the evening, the lighting of the Armada Beacon and a celebratory event in your Village Hall.
Future Plans –
An ongoing project is the Teign Estuary Trail, you may be aware that this Parish is the gap between two completed stretches although forward movement is being effected by the present financial situation. This Council is working on behalf of the residents ensuring that we have the safest route for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
We are in the process of acquiring permission to install a lighting mast for Devon Air Ambulance night landings on Michaels Field. Thanks must go to Councillor Peter Cahill and to Jo Head and her fundraising team for all their work towards this.
Bishopsteignton Parish Council have, in principle, granted permission and secured a small fund to enable the Healthy Living Group to build a Trim Trail at the Lawns. To progress this and other projects the HLG have recently secured charitable status.
An ongoing project that is the evolving is the Emergency Plan, this project was being led by Councillor Hazel Stuckey and is now Chaired by Roger Gallagher ably assisted by Councillor Crawthraw where further information can be obtained.
One other project, again conceived by Hazel, is the Parish Management & Maintenance Plan. It eventually will be the Parish Bible where all the assets owned by the Parish and maintained by the Council can be found. It’s worth, how and when it should be maintained, and it’s arboriculture.
The Clerk and I attended another a meeting with our MP earlier this month where we explained our Parish’s problems both on the A381 and within the parish, Rural Broadband, the lack of a Police presence and fly tipping.
My thanks for their help –
Special thanks must go to your Vice Chairman Councillor Trevor Davey whose maintenance work around the Parish goes unannounced and offered freely.
My thanks go to our County Councillor Ron Peart, currently serving as Mayor of Kingsteignton. And our own District Councillor Tim Golder who is presently Chairman of Teignbridge District Council. Both have always been a great source of information, help and advice.
Thanks to the Parish Traffic Management Team; those who volunteered to undertake the training, or turned up to help, so we can now set out and man the road diversion signs on Remembrance days for the village.
Thanks must also go to both Di Dixon and Peter Hepworth for the voluntary time they have given to reviewing any parish tree applications then providing the PC with a thorough & expert advice. Di has now resigned from the post after dedicating 5 years; Peter has kindly agreed to take sole ownership of these duties.
Special thanks to 1st Bishopsteignton Scouts for their sterling community efforts. As well as the usual attendance at any tidy or planting days held by the Parish Council and many bags of litter collected regularly they have conducted this year’s annual condition inspection of the public right of way network. The earlier this month hand delivered a Housing Needs Survey to almost every door in the parish. Great work by all the youngsters, leaders and parents which all helps to save parish precept funds.
We are extremely lucky to have the continuing services of Roger James our Lawns Recreation Ground Sports Area Maintenance & Facilities Caretaker.
Personally I would like to thank Bishopsteignton Garden Service for ensuring that our grassed areas are now worthy of admiration as these all contribute to the green “lungs” of the Parish. (BGS) have worked hard in both the closed and open cemeteries so they now worth a visit, especially St John’s historic tombs.
My penultimate thanks must go to my fellow Councillors who give up their time in service of the residents of Bishopsteignton Parish.
Last but not least my personal thanks must go to the Parish Clerk, Mrs Kim Ford.
She provides help and support to Parishioners, to me as Chairman and my fellow Councillors. Kim actively encourages residents to use the Parish Office as a point of contact for their concerns, observations and suggestions, where these can be dealt with and the ongoing results can be monitored. This village would definitely be poorer without her.