WICKHAM MARKET ANNUAL PARISH MEETING 2012
The Wickham Market Annual Parish Meeting was held on Monday 16 April 2012 at 7.30pm in the Village Hall, Wickham Market.
23 persons attended. The Parish Council, Wickham Market Partnership, Suffolk Coastal District Council, Suffolk County Council, the Good Neighbour Scheme, Parish Environment Group, the Parochial Charities, and Wickham Market Village Hall were represented.
The meeting was chaired by Mr Mike Argent, former Chairman of the Parish Council.
Apologies were received from Mr G Jones, Mrs E Salmon, PC Dave Burrell and CPSO Sally Anne Chatten-Berry
Minutes of the last Annual Parish Meeting held on Monday 18 April 2011 were signed as a true record.
There were no matters arising from the minutes.
The Chairman reported that the year had been as busy as usual and the outlook appeared to be that more and more would be asked of parish councils, particularly large parish councils like Wickham Market.
His report considered the contested election in May 2011 for parish councillors for the Wickham Market Parish Council, an unusual event. He also expressed regret at the loss of the out of hours medical facility at the resource centre due to Harmoni moving to Saxmundham. He stressed that any problems this might cause for village residents should be brought to Harmonis attention.
Last year's reorganisation of the Safer Neighbourhood Team had resulted in an officer with specific responsibility for Wickham Market. Levels of crime had been at the lower end of the severity scale but villagers must be diligent and report relevant matters to the police as soon as possible. This way the police would get an accurate picture of crime levels in the village and ensure an appropriate level of police
Unfortunately Government funding for Deben Court had been withdrawn from Flagship Housing and it now looked like the demolition of Deben Court and its replacement by new housing was unlikely to go ahead in the near future. However a number of other sites were being considered for housing in the village.
The new Co-op site was coming on well and the store was likely to be open in the “autumn”. When opened a signed and illuminated route from the store to the Hill would be created.
The Wickham Market Library had been taken over and would be managed by the Wickham Market Partnership and a group of volunteers. The library would be open for more hours per week and would provide other services for the reader. The Parish Council would be giving a grant of £1,000 per annum for the first 3 years of operation. At the end of this period the matter would be reviewed.
Finally the Wickham Market Family Carers Support Group had been set up leading to 18 trained support volunteers able to give some respite to carers in the village. They had been presented with their certificates at a ceremony attended by the High Sheriff, local MP and officers from the County Council who had given help and support throughout the early days of the scheme.
Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team
Mr Hoe reported that over the last year there had been 104 crimes reported which was a drop from 119 crimes in the previous year. He urged villagers to join the police direct service. Mr Hall complained about the number of undetected crimes but accepted that some crimes were not easy to detect, some of the crimes were very minor and that often witnesses were unwilling to come forward. It was agreed that everything should be done to encourage parishioners to report crime and come forward as witnesses.
Wickham Market Partnership
Mrs Errington reported that the last year had been spent largely on trying to prevent the out of hours doctors service from leaving the village and the possible closure of Wickham Market Library.
Unfortunately the doctors service had left the village for Saxmundham which had resulted in a serious loss of income for the Partnership. However the Library had been saved from closure by the eventual formation of a Library Management Committee which would run the library on a day to day basis with overall responsibility in the hands of the Partnership.The Partnership would take over management on 1 May 2011 and from then opening hours would increase from 22.5 to 35.5 hours per week. In addition community rooms in the Reource Centre would be available for hire to raise funds for the building.
The Partnership had obtained a business grant to put up brackets on the Hill to hold Christmas trees and had given a grant of £1,000 to the Youthbus and a grant towards the cost of the gate on the youth football field.
County Councillors Report
Mr Bond reported that in the last year1,400 people had left the employ of the County Council but that still left 24,000 employees and 450 nurses had been taken on. His principle aim was to ensure that the county got maximum value for every pound that the County Council spent. As an example the new Chief Executive was now on a fixed salary with no performance related bonuses.
He expressed concern at the lack of understanding of the responsibilities of the different levels of local councils and how they worked together in providing services. There were about 1,000 requirements on the District Council which had about 350 staff to carry them out. This was totally unacceptable. He was also concerned at the level of borrowing at Suffolk County Council which was usually around £350-400 million with annual interest payments of about £13 million.
District Councillors Report
Mr Hall reported that Suffolk Coastal's Council Tax had been frozen as had last years and the partnership with Waveney DC was due to save about £1 million per annum. Planning was becoming a major issue for parish councils with the new National Planning Policy Framework, the Localism Act and the soon to be Local development Framework. He could help with information on how these changes might affect Wickham Market. He felt that housing associations were under greater pressure as a result of funding constraints, Deben Court was an example.
Parochial Charities Report
The meeting received a report on the performance in the year ending 30 November 2011 of the Wickham Market Relief in Need Charity, the Barker Educational Foundation and the Wickham Market Townlands Trust. Whilst the charities were small they had helped a considerable number of people in the period reported.
Village Hall Report
It was reported that lettings were down from the previous year possibly because the facilities provided were not as good as they were in some neighbouring halls and business was being lost. The Hall was ageing and it was now time to consider works to either replace or repair the Hall and bring it up to date. An energy efficiency audit and a structural survey of the building were being carried out and these would give an indication of what works were needed. The Management Committee thanked the Parish Council for its increased financial assistance to help with the costs of the playarea.
Parish Environment Report
Miss Westover reported that it had again been a busy year for the group with the main activities being planting and after care/pruning. She outlined the areas where work had been carried out including the playing field, sports field, cemetery, Chapel Lane, Dallinghoo Road, Beehive Field.
The Group had shown the directors of the Co-operative Society around the village following a community dividend fund award of £150. Terry Peake had been awarded the Greenest Hero accolade at the Greenest County awards ceremony. The meeting congratulated Mr Peake for his efforts.
A number of ideas were coming forward for Diamond Jubilee projects, including a walk, linking villages with trees, community orchard and publicity leaflets.
Good Neighbour Scheme Report
Mr Hoe reported that the Scheme had carried out 742 jobs in the last year and currently had 16 befreinders. They helped the hospice with “Heels for Hospice” and collected over 150 pairs of good shoes in the village. They had produced a fridge magnet containing their phone number so it was always handy for possible users. Finally they needed more volunteer drivers to meet demand.
Finance Report for the Year 2010/2011
The Clerk reported on the receipts and expenditure of the Council, giving full explanations for the various areas that fall within its remit. No questions were raised.
The meeting closed at 9.20pm