Welcome to the latest Chairman's Report. You can find previous reports below, and we welcome your comments and feedback using the form provided in each report.
2014 Chairman's Report (Jim Coley)
As my second year in the chair draws to a close I think that on balance the Groby Parish Council “ team” have had a pretty successful and productive year. We've been party to quite a f few successes, but as with all things, there have also been some disappointments along the way.
A couple of improvements to our day to day life in Groby that we have helped support have been:
A46/A50 junction: This has been a key issue that I have had on my radar since I started as a Councillor and I'm pleased to say that since the work was completed we have a better and safer access/egress to the village. Your Parish Council has certainly played its part in the pressure to achieve this and looking back through past council minutes it seems that the pressure to do something started way back before 2007 so it's been a long haul for our Parish Councillors, Borough Councillors and County Councillors past and present. Although not perfect, the incidence of accidents appears to have diminished greatly and it is now possible to exit the village during the morning rush hour in a few minutes rather than the 10 to 20 minutes it took previously!
Broadband: Another gripe I have had for years has been the slowness of Broadband in the Village which has this year been mainly resolved with speeds available up to 80Mbps. I, and other local representatives have been attending regular Broadband Forums at County Hall for the past few years. The national plan for superfast Broadband across the Country is driven in Leicestershire by the LCC and the Broadband Forum and although there are areas in our Parish who will still “suffer” from slow speeds for a while most of them will have been improved within the next 12-18 months by the completion of the contract LCC have with the providers. There are still some questionable areas but now that the contract has been let and the finer details are being distributed we can put on pressure to try to get those areas included in the overall plan.
Some of the other principal achievements of your Parish Council over the past year include:
Garden of Remembrance: The completion of the new Garden of Remembrance at the Cemetery, which originally was going to be an “up to 3 year” project but was actually completed this year by using various methods such as the Probation Department's “Community Service” workers and additional in-house labour. Consequently we have completed it at least a year ahead of the original planned time-scale.
Cemetery: January of this year finally saw the completion of the footpaths around the cemetery topped with tarmac further enhancing the aesthetics of the cemetery grounds.
Christmas Lights: The expansion of the Christmas Lights into additional village areas which have been widely admired.
Quarry Park enhancements: These include:
improved drainage across the park
the re-location of the outdoor gym equipment;
the completion of the new car park as phase one of the Multi Use Games Area.
The proposal to start the second phase of the actual MUGA itself, is being presented by the Finance Committee as a recommendation for final approval at May's full council meeting for a planned completion of Summer 2014.
Parking: The introduction in 2013 of the revised no-waiting scheme was a long time coming and I know that it has caused some additional issues but the principal aim of improving access to the village shopping centre and Church areas and improving the safety in some quite dangerous spots in the village has been achieved. However your Parish Council are well aware that the new restrictions have driven some of the commuting parking into new areas. One plus point is that this has now stimulated the village's largest employer to write to the Parish Council requesting a joint working party with two of their managers so that together with your Borough and County Councillors we can hopefully resolve some, if not all, of those parking issues. The working party has only recently been set up but there is already some positive movement. In the mean time I must commend Cllr. Ozzie O'Shea and the Leicester Highways department representatives in quickly resolving one of the issues arising from the shift in street parking – one which directly affected the 28 bus route, by obtaining and invoking an Emergency Traffic Order to help resolve that particular problem.
Finance : One area that is key to all that we do in your Parish Council is our annual budget and as I reported last year we were able to reduce the 2013/14 precept by 4.6%. Unlike many other authorities and with much effort by your Parish Clerk and her team we are now able to continue into 2014/15 with a zero increase in the precept and no reduction in your services. However 2015/16 is likely to be much more challenging due principally to the widely advertised reductions in Leicestershire County Council's budgets, not least in the area of the Libraries of which I'll go into more detail later.
This coming year is already presenting issues which will affect our village, including:
the decision by the Judicial enquiry to return the Bloor appeal back for a further application
the issue of the planned Traveller camp at Wallace Drive
the reduction in funding of the county Libraries including Groby Library.
the probable reduction in finances being passed down to Parish level caused by other proposed LCC budget cuts.
Bloors' Land East of Groby Cemetery: As this application has now been returned for resubmission and as that application will be made in the light of the now discredited H&BBC 5 year land supply figures, the Parish Council are going to have their work cut out to achieve another win in this long standing battle but we are determined to continue the fight.
Traveller Camp Wallace Drive: This battle is slightly on hold at the moment awaiting the Judicial Review of other site(s) in the borough and is being driven principally by our Borough and County Councillors, but the Parish Council are also fully supporting our local residents in the area.
Groby Library funding: Most Residents will now know something about this issue and the majority of people I've spoken to wish to retain our local Library so, depending on the results of the “consultation” by LCC Library department and the results of the Judicial Review taking place in several other counties on similar issues, we will most probably have to take one of three avenues.
Let the Library close and use either another “nearby” library or a mobile library.
Gather up to 30 volunteers (LCC estimate of numbers required) and the put together an organisation in Groby to take over and run the library.
Raise funds to cover the proposed £16k a year reduction in funding from the LCC Libraries budget and feed that back into the Library service to enable the retention of the existing staff and facilities of our Library. This would mean on average about 50 pence per Groby household per month or to put it another way, a 10% increase in your Parish Precept.
These are very simplified statements and there is much more involved but those who went to the Consultation meeting on 6th May will be more aware of the issues!
Future Finances: Your Parish Council's Finance and General Purposes Committee who, together with the Responsible Finance Officer (your Clerk), add direction to the finances, are well aware that there are various financial changes afoot but rather than take a knee jerk reaction and just up the precept to raise a large surplus without knowing what will actually be needed, we have taken a more pragmatic approach to take on the changes as they come and then react with actual knowledge. This has already included the setting up of a working party to investigate the changes and needs of the Parish workers and contractors as regards transport, outsourcing and other issues. This does not indicate that we are looking to make any wholesale changes but rather identifying areas where we can make savings or increase income which can be acted upon as they are found and will add up over the long term.
|Chairman’s Report #1 » Chairman's Report - 2012/13 (30 June, 2013)|
Click on the link below to download the Chairman's Report for 2012/13.
|Previous Chairman’s Reports:|
|#2||Chairman's Report 2011/12 (30 June, 2013)|