Monday, 24 March 2014

Parish Annual Meeting Chairman's Report

At the parish's annual meeting on March 13th in the Town Hall I talked through the following issues and said I would post them on the blog.

The Parish Council elections in May 2013 was an opportunity for the seats on the parish council to be contested and the turnout was high. In Town ward nearly two thirds voted. There were similar experiences in other parish councils in Cornwall with some wards being contested for the first time in many years. Although the role of a parish council is limited it is an important first tier of local government. There has been competition too for the vacancy left by Pauline Davies - a by-election in Grampound Town Ward. Pauline had to step down because of a change in her personal circumstances - we thank her for all the work she has done for the parish council and wish her well.

You need to be registered to vote - and you need to vote to ensure your point of view is represented. I'd encourage all residents of Grampound with Creed to register to vote if they have not done so already and particularly young voters. You will have noticed a campaign by Cornwall Council to get younger adults to register. It is a national campaign around 'National Voter Registration Day' launched on February 5th this year. Only 56% of those aged 19 - 24 are registered to vote compared with 94% of those over the age of 65. I'm sure we would all encourage those fellow residents to register to vote.

The Parish Council has been busy over the past year. It has provided financial support to the Grampound Village Store for its planning advice and setup costs, and the Football Club's application to Sport England for the resurfacing of the recreation ground. It has worked with the Post Office to enable the continuing provision of service - following the closure of Hollies Store - through the "Post Office Outreach" in the Town Hall on Tuesday and Friday mornings. It has formed a maintenance committee with the view of addressing more efficiently items such as additional work to footpaths, flower beds, various highways fixtures and features, and the town hall. Thanks in particular go to County Councillor Bob Egerton, fellow parish councillors, and Mr Jonathan Gould for their hard graft digging mud along the Fal footpath prior to surfacing work. The governance of the Heritage project has changed and we welcome its new officers Liz Fisher as Chair and Terry Tyler as Treasurer. The Heritage project has now become a sub-committee within the Parish Council. Your council also helped change the plans for the new bus stop on Fore Street to be more in keeping with what residents of Grampound expected. It has also taken over responsibility for weed spraying the main roads from Cornwall Council.

The extreme weather this winter has now seemed to pass and thankfully Grampound was not as affected as the previous year. This may have been due to the pattern of rainfall but we are also grateful to Cormac for the preventative work clearing gullies and drains along the main highway in December.

The Tannery development has progressed rapidly this year and the new residents of Grampound have been involved in many of the community activities. Also, there are two plots of land neighbouring the development - a small field, and some old Tannery buildings with lime pits - that the parish council may lease following an offer from the land owner. The council is exploring the opportunities that these areas may provide.

This coming year will see the first grant money from the Garlenick turbines which will be administered through a charity called Grantscape working with a local advisory panel - the Grampound Community Fund. The Parish Council has supported its early development by administering the election of panel members and nominating a member for the panel.