Nutfield Parish Councils Annual Parish Assembly took place on Saturday 13th April. We hand a modest number of attendees. Official minutes will be posted after next Council meeting in May, but please find the Chairman’s and Clerks report below…
Nutfield Parish Council –2018/19
Annual Meeting 13th April 2019
1 – Chairman –Introduction (10.10am)
Welcome everyone and thank you for coming today and I am pleased to open the Parish Assembly with has been called in accordance with the Local Government act 1972.
The main purpose of today’s meeting is to hear from our guest speaker Keith Smith from the Redhill Aerodrome based Air Ambulance, who will provide an oversight into the amazing work they carry out. After this there will be an overview of the Parish Council concluding with the Public Forum, so let’s begin with a couple of procedural matters.
We would like to welcome some new staff to the council – Both Simon and Maxine departed within the last year, and we are now happy to welcome Nicky Chiswick as our new Clerk and Sarah Alleban as our new assistant clerk and both are doing a Stirling job.
- Apologies received
- Approval of notes of last year’s meeting
- Introduction to Keith Smith, from Air Ambulance
2 – Air Ambulance – Keith Smith 10.15am 10.45am
3 – John Johnson – Chairman’s Report (10.45am)
During the last year we have digitalised the historical Cemetery records which is a project that has been outstanding for some time. It will allow us to properly record and map every plot in the Cemetery both occupied and available to purchase.
We have spent considerable time in improving the overall environment. We have renewed the main centrally located path and cleared a new viewing area in the Woodland Burial section. We have also radically pruned many trees which has opened up the look and feel of Cemetery considerably. We are devising a plan to assist in marketing the cemetery to local Funeral Directors in an effort to increase awareness and revenue.
This improvement work will continue going forward and will help the facility become more attractive which should attract increased revenue.
During the last year NPC were heavily involved in the formation of the TDC Draft Local Plan. Evidence provided by us assisted in the decision not to select Redhill Aerodrome as the preferred option site for an 8,000 home Garden Village. We believed this would have destroyed South Nutfield as it currently exists.
This process continues which the next stage being the examination of theDraft TDC Plan by a Government Planning Inspector in late summer. NPC will continue to contribute to this very important process to ensure that the rural environment of Nutfield Parish is protected.
Some units of Affordable Housing were built in South Nutfield within the past year but we were not supportive of the scheme as we disagreed with the methodology used.
Residents of Nutfield Parish did not receive the prioritisation that was promised and the entire development did not emerge as per the original planning permission granted.
NPC are supportive of the principle of Affordable Housing. We would even consider a proposal on Green Belt land if the residents of the parish would gain a significant benefit.
Although not selected as the TDC preferred Garden Village option this parcel of land is likely to continue to come under development pressure due to the rapacious development ambitions of the existing owners.
As an aviation facility we believe the existing businesses located there should be encouraged and supported as they provide considerable employment opportunities for local people.
Due to changing National Planning policy our local community may need to take a more pragmatic view of any possible increase in aviation activity at the Aerodrome.
If this proves to be the case then NPC think that it would be better to be actively involved in this process as opposed to maintaining a potentially unsustainable position of automatic opposition.
NPC intend to maintain their position of actively opposing inappropriate development in the Green Belt.
New Council Structure:
The Council have recently review their existing structure and decided that changes are urgently required. We intend to place greater reliance on more part time paid staff and expert help to provide greater efficiency and stability.
There is an election due on 2nd May but Nutfield Parish Council will not be involved as insufficient people offered to stand. This means that the existing Councillors are automatically returned.
We had two councillors leave during the year, Rob Holden and David Miller and I thank them for their time with us. We also have three existing councillors who have decided not to offer themselves for a further term, bring Phil Hanson, Paul Murray and Kent Sandiford.
It is a shame to see them go. Kent being the longest servicing councillor of 18 years so I suppose se he has earned a rest. Paul who was Vice Chairman and has put in so much over the 4 years he has service and Phil who has only been with us for a year, but has helped in many ways. I wish them well.
However we have 2 vacancies and 3 existing Councillors have decided not to offer themselves for a further term.
This means the Council are very short of numbers making our previous decision to change our existing structure look very sensible.
If you would like to help your community by volunteering as a Parish Councillor please feel free to discuss with us.
4 – Nicky Chiswick – Clerk – Finance
The funding of NPC may not be fully understood by parishioners and we will now provide a brief summary of how it is calculated.
NPC derive income from 3 very different income streams.
The Precept (collected via the Council Tax), CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) Funding and income from the Cemetery.
Each have a very different set parameters.
The Precept has been set for 2019/20 at £60,769. This equates for a band D property of a 57 pence a month increase.
We have an explanatory sheet available detailing how the increase was calculated, but in summary the increase is linked to the following:
- 3 Loans that we inherited from previous Council’s. The repayment of these 3 loans equate to 19% of the precept and they will run for up to a further 21 years. These loans are significant debts and do not generate any income for NPC.
- Increased IT costs due to GDPR and Security costs and improved computer facilities.
- Additional tree work caused by Ash Die back disease outbreak
- NPC Office update in the Village Hall. We aim to establish this as a full working office facility.
- Roadside grass verge cutting. A new responsibility passed to us from SCC and then TDC.
Income from CIL funding is very tightly controlled can only be spent on certain things. CIL stands for Community Infrastructure Levy and is a fee paid by developers in respect of certain planning approvals. The Parish Council receive this from TDC. We have no influence
on this income and we are required to spend this money on community projects and not to support the day to day running of the council.
For 2018/2019 the amount NPC received was £32,439.26. However we do not know what we could receive in 2019/20, this means we do not plan to use this income. We have recently opened a separate bank account with a different bank to protect the money under the existing Government backed Financial Services Compensation Scheme. This protects savings and provides compensation if a Bank is unable to pay out. It covers up to £85,000 of any savings held in each official UK financial institution. This was a financial prudent action for NPC to take.
The Cemetery, in theory, should pay for itself, but it has never previously been accounted for separately. We believed this was essential to assess the contribution it makes.
So in 2018/2019 we have, for the first time, split the cemetery income and expenditure from other Council monies. This permits us to properly assess how much it costs to operate the Cemetery and what income, and hopefully profit, it generates. This change was long overdue.
We can confirm that for the year 18/19 the Cemetery income was £28,217, so we have benefited from all the work that John has already mentioned.
The outgoings (including all costs associated with the cemetery, including staff hours) was £24,817. The small surplus created will now go to improving the Cemetery and enhancing the facilities there.
Although we charge a nominal Allotment annual fee, the fee does not cover the running costs of the allotment so we do not include it in our income.
The year 18/19 also saw Nutfield Parish successfully receive 2 community grants from SCC which we are very grateful for. One was to patch the road surface at the cemetery layby, and the other was to provide some screening for the bin area within the Cemetery.
The NPC Budget provides details of how, and on what we believe we will spend money during the year ahead.
It is formulated with an estimate of how much we believe the day to day running of the council will cost and is split into different headings to permit us to keep our costs under constant review.
Some Projects are included that will be undertaken for the benefit of the community during the forthcoming year. We also reserve money for the things that might happen so that we have a provision already set aside.
The budget for the year 19/20 has been set at just under £77,000.
Talking of the Cemetery – not sure how many people are really aware of our Cemetery and Woodland Burial grounds. We are very proud of both of these facilities which we intend to continue to enhance and improve going forward.
With that in mind we have an open day on the 11th May from 10am to 1pm, so please do come along so you can familiarise yourself with the facility and view the area.
We will be there to discuss the facility with you and answer any questions you may have.
5 – Public Forum until midday and then refreshments
Public Q & A