Chairman’s Report for 2007/08

We commenced this year with a change within the council. Three new councillors were welcomed (two were new – one returning) and the two new ones have since attended “How to be a Good Councillor” training sessions.

Our Committee reports give you much of the information concerning the work carried out throughout the year. I attend all committee meetings and see at first hand the amount of work carried out by my fellow councillors. Michelle, our Clerk, has worked very hard to achieve the CILCA (Certificate in Local Council Administration) qualification this has allowed us to submit our application for quality council status. This to be assessed at the end of April. I would personally like to thank Michelle for all the hard work she has put in which has allowed us to put our application ahead at this early stage. Watch for our next newsletter.

During the year we had a request from the playing fields committee for cash assistance to help with the refurbishment  of the childrens play area. This was discussed in full council who decided to make a donation of £2000.00  We managed to achieve a Parish Plan Quick Wins Grant from the Forest of Dean District Council. This has paid for a new notice board, which was badly needed. Also it has enabled us to arrange for our website to be redesigned and this is currently in hand. A village directory  plus our years newsletters have also been produced. We were also able to produce a village guide and circulate copies within the village and to many information centres before Easter which we hope has benefited the village.

Many things have been attended to around the parish we always endeavour to keep as up-date as possible, amongst them we arranged for the Church gates to be sand blasted and repainted. Our efforts helped us to be highly commended in the Best Kept Village competition (Bledisloe Cup) We were awarded a plaque which can be seen on the wall outside the Assembly Rooms. Many of you also assisted and we thank you for your help.

Again this year we will run the Remembrance Sunday outdoor service, which many of you have attended over the past few years. The format will be as before so we look forward to seeing you there.

Should you have any problems during the year you can always contact the Clerk or any one of the councillors, who will endeavour to assist you.

Derek Marshall – Chairman St Briavels Parish Council

Planning Committee

Our planning committee continues to meet twice a month if necessary in order to review any planning applications which are received for the parish. We pass our comments on to the District Council, who then make the decision whether to permit the development or not. Over the past year we have seen an increase in the number of retrospective planning applications – this is where people are going ahead with development without planning permission, and then applying afterwards.  This is unfortunate because it does not give District Council officers the chance to negotiate details to ensure the best quality development to fit in with the area.  There are particularly rigorous rules applying to our Parish since a large amount is in the Wye Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the centre of the village is a Conservation Area. Residents should be notified by the District Council about planning applications on neighbouring property, so we would ask you to be vigilant, and although some development is allowed without planning permission, if you believe development is taking place which you believe should have planning permission, please contact the District Council or the Parish Clerk to check out the situation.

Finance Committee

The finance committee has closely monitored the Parish Council’s finances over the past year.  We were expecting a budget deficit this year due to the election expenses, for which we had been setting aside funds over the past four years.  We were approached by the playing fields for a donation towards renewing the childrens play equipment, and we decided we were happy to take some money from our contingency reserves to fund this, which has led to a reduction in our closing balance this year, however our financial position remains healthy and we have set a prudent budget for 2008/09.

Quality Committee

Over the past year the quality committee has overseen the preparation of our portfolio which has now been submitted to the panel which will decide whether we have achieved quality council status.  We hope to hear the result in May.  We have worked hard over the past few years ensuring that we have adopted best practice in our procedures and paperwork and ensuring that we comply with all relevant rules and regulations As part of this process our Clerk has achieved the Certificate in Local Council Administration qualification. The quality committee also prepared the specification for the redesign of our website which is currently underway. This should be up and running again in May and we hope it will be much more user friendly and interesting.

Footpaths Committee

The footpaths committee continues to meet about three times a year to review the condition of the footpath network and report problems to the County Council.  We have started to look at the circular walk leaflets which were published a few years ago and we hope to revise and republish some of these next year.

Cemetery Committee

The cemetery committee looks after both the Parish Council cemetery and the churchyard and also manages all the grasscutting for the village.  This year we have had the church gates shotblasted and re-painted and work done to lower the height of the leylandii trees around the cemetery. It is our intention to remove the leylandii altogether and replace them with slower growing native species. This work will be carried out in the late summer and autumn.

Balance Sheet

INCOME

Burials                                             866.00

Playing Fields rent                                2.10

Interest                                            599.15

VAT return                                        522.35

Grants                                             677.00

Precept                                        10350.00

Other                                                 75.23

Total Income                                 13089.73

EXPENDITURE

Salaries                                         2942.37

Expenses & Stationery                      947.33

Grass Cutting                                 2723.20

Room Hire                                        252.00

Training                                436.19   

Insurance                                         736.73

Audit Fees                                       135.00

Advertising                                           0.00

Subscriptions & Donations               2500.70

Election                                                     1323.93

Maintenance                                   1310.00

Parish Plan Project                         1287.06

Other                                               171.51                       

VAT                                                 645.51                                                           

TOTAL

Total Expenditure                           15411.53

 

 

Opening Balances 01/04/07           14269.95

+ Income                                      13089.73           

 – Expenditure                               15411.53

 

Closing Balances 31/03/07            11948.15