Chairman’s Report 2017
Once again the year has passes at an even faster rate.
We continue to meet on Tuesdays of alternate months for regular meetings, and at various times in between as and when required for planning application considerations.
The Government and County are still enforcing cuts. In fact the cuts are so deep that the Council practically no longer exists.
Schools are still under threat. Newcastle. Ruth Gittins continues to run the school with flair and efficiency. And governors are continuing to support the school to ensure its progress. However, each year passes with uncertainty as to the future.
The Local Joint Council continues to meet to obtain information, and, perhaps to act as a channel for putting pressure on the Authority to listen to us. It no longer has funding for small projects provided by the council, but has managed to obtain some funding by other means. It is hoped to develop those by involving businesses and contributions from Parish Councils.
Once again I would urge people to attend the LJC meetings, which are public, and designed to give people the opportunity to voice opinions and to bring to the committee areas of concern. I would also urge you all to let me know if there are things happening – or not happening- in Bettws, which may usefully be taken to meetings.
This year there has been some funding of small local projects, and much focus has been on the plight of SpArC. However, because of the efforts of some very hard working people, at last there seems to be hope for its continuance. The fund raising has been extremely successful, and the organization now has charity status. A number of well informed and extremely experienced fund raisers have brought about the possibility of the SpArC s becoming a hub for sports and leisure, and, while there was great regret when the previous theatre organizer moved away, the appointment of another person to run the theatre activities has been a great success. The local community has formed a charity – SPORTS AND ARTS IN THE COMMUNITY SOUTH WEST SHROPSHIRE (SpArC)which has a CHARITIES AID FOUNDATION bank account,and fundraising continues apace. The charity is working closely with Shropshire County Council to ensure the development of a business plan that will, it is hoped, guarantee SpArCs sustainability in ways approved by the local community for many years to come.
The project also had the support of Philip Dunne, who has made representations to various organisations.
I think it has fair to say that Highways seems to have become a lost cause. We have all notice the increasing number of pot holes, and parishioners are encouraged to photograph them and inform Shropshire County Council.
There has also been little or no consultation with Parish Councils. As a result of this – smooth highways have been created on little used roads, while well used roads have been woefully neglected.
You will all have noticed the state of our roads. We do report potholes and draw attention to what needs to be done, but funding continues to be abysmal. The effect of the state of the roads can be damage to cars through hitting them, or accidents through suddenly swerving to avoid them.
Precepts this year was minimal as the clerk constantly finds ways to keep costs down by scrutiny of insurances etc. We are fortunate in that our Clerk has two other Parishes and a Town, so that costs of training continues to be shared.
The accounts can be made available to anyone who is interested, and are externally audited annually.
Last year I reported that the planning department had suffered from cuts. resulting in long delays. There has been some improvement recently. There seems to be a slightly more cohesive structure.
All this year’s planning applications were approved by this council.
Members of the public are sometimes present when planning applications are discussed, and their views are welcomed.
The Parish Hall Committee runs the Parish Hall on behalf of the Parish Council, which acts as trustee. Yet again I should like to thank, on behalf of us all, this excellent committee of dedicated people who work hard to maintain and improve the Hall, car park, and garden. They do not meet often, as a committee, but work hard for year on year improvements and the
garden improves annually. You will notice the improved state of the hall, which has been funded by some highly successful events – such as a quiz nights and a concert, as well as coffee mornings and other events throughout the year. The committee is extremely enthusiastic, and the Parish is generous in supporting all events.
The Parish Plan is with the Printers
The Garreg Llwyd Hill Wind Farm company is offering some compensation to the people in Bettws y Crwyn who are affected by the sight of the turbines from their properties. As a result a reduction on the electricity bills of those in particular postcodes will be applied. In addition there will be a sum available for community development. The details are not yet available, but as Bettws is more affected than other parishes we shall benefit from this. A committee will be set up to determine exactly how the money will be used. There are restrictions on what it may be used for, again, the details have not been determined
Councillors Trevor Wheeler and Keith Richards attended the meeting where these decisions were announced. Both spent a considerable amount of time and energy preparing for the meeting. Thank you both for your diligence.
As always my thanks and gratitude go to councilors and all others whose work and dedication to this parish help to make it so special.
My thanks also go to all those who are prepared to serve the community in any way, attending meetings of all the committees that work to keep this parish going, turning out in all weathers for meetings and supporting events. Come rain, wind or snow, the residents of Bettws and beyond remain undeterred in their support of events.
I am, of course, ever grateful to those volunteers who give me support and encouragement, on this council on other committees, and in the community generally.
As always these thanks, from all of us, are extended to our Clerk, who makes council work so much easier than if we were struggling alone.
At this point I should like to congratulate Gwilym on his appointment as Town Clerk for Bishop’s Castle. His being there will, I am sure, benefit us all.
As I have said many times before, Bettws is good at getting things done. We are a small community, but a there is plenty going on. There are good groups of people (or groups of good people) who give generously in all ways, to make this such a special parish.
Tuesday, May 24, 2017
Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.
If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito – to which this year, I shall add – mosquitoes also buzz – and so does Bettws.