Cockfield Parish Council
Chairman’s report for the Annual Parish Meeting 12th April 2018
1. We welcome our new Clerk Steve Ball who took up post on the 1st April and thank Doug Read for his excellent efforts in keeping us on course with procedures and robust administration for the past three years. We wish Doug well for the future in his other commitments and opportunities.
2. Introduction: It has been another busy year for the Parish Council with it nine members.
Parish Council meetings are held on the last Thursday of every month except for August and December due to holidays.
This year we have also seen an uplift in the number of residents attending and contributing at meetings.
3. Emergency Services; Ordinarily we have no services representation at meetings and Cllr Cutting-Keyton keeps us informed of incidents and priorities. As in other years we find the focus is financially driven where initiatives and response is to localities where challenges exist. I.e. not Cockfield.
4. County and District Councilor
The Parish Council thank both Clive Arthey and Robert Linsey for their endeavors to secure responses and input to the village from the District and County Council. Unfortunately, this is with varying degrees of success due financial the pressures and apparent lack of motivation at these bodies with re-location and orgnasiation.
5. Local Needs Housing: As no doubt many of you are aware the local needs mixed development project at Mackenzie Place has now received planning approval. This has occurred after many frustrating years of hard work following our previous success in other locations within the village. The resilience of Cllr Morley an Clive Arthey in driving this must be applauded, together with the involvement from Babergh and Orwell Housing and the ultimately the mindedness of the County Council to facilitate and unlock the difficulties. With the efforts that have gone into this we see the outcome will give a superb development with other enhancements to the area.
6. Planning: We have seen more planning applications over the year than previous years and a number of residents have expressed concern over some of these. The Parish Council as a statutory consultee endeavors to influence the outcomes and offers consistent and constructive comment. It should be recognised that generally applicants are “taking advantage” of the provisions of the Babergh Core Strategy 2014. With these provisions being met we are therefore seeing an increase in development across the village.
7. Financial Matters:
With a flurry of residential developments, the village should receive reasonably substantive Community Infrastructure Levy payments to fund village projects. These projects must be within the rules of this framework.
We would thank our Internal Auditor Lyndon Mills for his work to ensure all matters are in order prior to examination by our external auditors. Our accounts for 2017-18 currently with him.
8. Greens Report: Great Green is in good order. Thanks go to Carl Brinkley and the Football teams for their consideration of the conditions during the winter.
Thanks, are also to those hardworking individuals whose efforts keep all the other greens in excellent presentation.
The Council are currently investigating improvements to Cross Green that is suffering through bad weather and ongoing work in the area.
We also thank a former resident Paul Brinkley who unfortunately is not in the best of health for his dedication in volunteering alongside Cllr Morley on a number of projects.
9. Earls Meadow / Bruffs Line: The joint project with the Community Council, Rodney Williams and his work groups keep up the good work in this area. The project shares its knowledge with other tree wardens and local environmental groups. They successfully hosted the tree group forum at the back end of 2017.
We anticipate that further opportunities for these area will present themselves as part of the Mackenzie development.
10. Parish Paths: Ralph Turner reports on the Path situation, this is always challenging with the county council financial resources given to maintenance. There is a continued reliance on local land owners and volunteers to keep paths open and we thank them for their efforts
11. Cemetery: Rodney Williams and Ralph Turner have again kept the cemetery grounds in excellent condition despite the ever-challenging weather conditions.
12. Pavilion: There has been an increase in general usage and initiatives from the Football club to also make wider use of the facility.
13. Highways: Roads and pavements continue to deteriorate with little attention from Highways. The council sort support from Cllr Linsey and a further direct meeting with county highways engineers. The matter is still a concern and recently we escalated the situation to County Cllr Jane Story who attend our meeting to hear of our frustrations. We are awaiting an update on these questions. The overall message is the lack of money determines the priorities which are not the back roads of Cockfield.
The Parish Council like other villages is looking to self-deliver some low risk tasks such as pavement clearing and verge cutting as this appears be the only way to improve the safety of our environment.
The speed awareness device is being deployed we see with success and support although sadly this was victim to a recent apparent vandalism attack.
14. Emergency planning: Despite some recent bad weather there were believe we no major issues. Cllr Morgan is updating the plan and we would welcome further volunteers from around the village to be part of the contact network
15. I would like to thank all the Councilors for their work during the past year and we are looking forward to the challenges for the remainder of this year.
Derek Southgate – (Chairman)