Great Shefford Annual Parish Meeting 12 April 2018

The meeting took place in Great Shefford Village Hall and was attended by about 40 people. As well as the speakers, there were also information stands for the Book Group, the Village Hall, the Allotment Society, and Great Shefford Parish News.

Chairman’s remarks

The Chairman of Great Shefford Parish Council (GSPC), Steve Ackrill, stressed that (contrary to what appeared on council-tax bills from West Berkshire Council (WBC)) there had, for the fourth year in a row, been no increase in the precept. This was £16,000 for 2018-19, an average of £39 for a Band D property.

He reported that the finances had received a boost from a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) payment from a developer of £7,600, most of which had been donated to the Great Shefford Flood Alleviation Association.

The main other points he mentioned were:

Speeding: although this was at times an issue the statistics had not so far warranted any intervention by WBC in the form of traffic-calming measures.
Defibrillators: there were now three in the parish (two in the village and one in Woodlands).
Vandalism: this had affected the Christmas tree, the litter bin and a public bench. The Council has some ideas how this problem can be addressed.
Silent Soldier: with the centenary of the end of WWI approaching, GSPC welcomes suggestions as to how this British Legion campaign can lead to a memorial in the village.
Playground: some repairs are required which (as is often the way) seem to be more expensive than predicted. GSPC is examining the tenders and deciding what work is essential.
Contacting GSPC councillors: Steve stressed that councillors welcome comments, questions and information from residents but said that these cannot be accepted by social media. Please click here for a list of councillors and methods of contact.

Neighbourhood Police

Chris Ward, the Neighbourhood Inspector from Thames Valley Police, addressed the meeting. His message as regards the village was positive: although violent crime was up about 9% nationally in 2017 compared to 2016, it had risen by only 5% in West Berkshire and had fallen in Great Shefford. He echoed Steve Ackrill’s comments that speeding was, although not being ignored, not an issue that was causing undue concern. The lack of a regular police presence in the village was, he said, a good sign: were there to be issues to resolve, this would change.

He also mentioned various TVP campaigns including Hidden Harm (concerning domestic violence), the Herbert Protocol (concerning dementia sufferers) and the increasingly common problem of cyber crime. For more on these (and other TVP campaigns) please click on the respective links.

For general information about policing in the large, horseshoe-shaped Downlands area, please click here (some of this information is specific to Hungerford but it includes many contact details and information about reporting crimes and incidents that are equally relevant to Great Shefford.)

4 Legs Radio

Chris Capel, the founder of this new local enterprise, explained that this was going live from 9am on Friday 13 April. He asked anyone with any ideas as to what might be covered to contact him. For more information, visit the 4 Legs website.

(The first broadcast took place the day after the meeting as planned. At present it will only broadcast live every Friday but you can use the listen again section to do just that for any programmes once they’ve been uploaded. It’s hoped that broadcasts on other days will be added in the future.

Trindledown National Animal Rescue Trust

Beth Kent explained about the work done at Trindledown and the other centres. For more information on all the work done there, including onformation about volunteering, donations and events, please visit the website here.

St Mary’s Church

The new Rector, the Rev. Miri Keen, explained some of her plan for her tenure, including stressing that the services will retain both traditional and more modern aspects. To contact her and to find out more about the church in general and the details of services, please click here.

Great Shefford Under Fives

Denise Herrington reminded the meeting that this organisation had now been in existence for nearly 50 years (the anniversary will be in 2021). She pointed out that it was easy for these kind of groups to fold: however she was delighted to report that the Shefford group had just had its busiest year ever. She was particularly gratified that children from neighbouring villages were now attending; also by the fact that the majority went on the Shefford Primary School.

She also referred to some of the challenges posed by the current funding restrictions, including the high threshold for inclusion (so spreading the existing funding more thinly) and the fact that transport was not provided for those unable to make the journey themselves. She pointed out that these factors didn’t encourage the levels of social inclusiveness that could otherwise be achieved. None the less, the story was very much one of success and achievement.

For more information about the  Great Shefford Under Fives, please click here.

The Great Shefford Flood Alleviation Association (GSFAA)

For the background to this organisation, please click here.

Steve Ackrill explained that a number of options had been considered by the Environment Agency (EA) and that he was glad to report that representations by the GSFAA had resulted in a fairly high-level scheme involving a mixture of larger-bore pipes and ditches being adopted. The total cost of the scheme was about £1,43m and he felt that the village’s requested contribution of £80,000 – though a large sum for such a small community – was not unreasonable. The raising of this sum was necessary before any work would start. Subject to this having happened, it was hope that this would start in the spring of 2019. In response to some questions from the floor, he said he was unaware of any time limit: if the money had not been found by then the project would be delayed until the next suitable window in the EA’s schedule of works.

The GSFAA has obtained charitable status (only the second such association in the country to have achieved this, following Eastbury a few years ago). This has not only helped make the association seem more serious and professional but also enabled donations to attract tax relief through Gift Aid.

The initial donation from the GSPC and the very successful quiz night in March, as well as other donations, have so far resulted the GSFAA having a positive balance of about £10,000 in its account. Other events are planned, including a quiz at The Swan on 20 March, a stag and hen party on 18 May (further information to follow) and a golf day on 17 August.

Penny Post Valley of the Racehorse e-newsletter

Brian Quinn from Penny Post then spoke briefly about Penny Post’s imminent launch of its Valley of the Racehorse monthly e-newsletter covering the area from East Shefford from Upper Lambourn and from Membury to Shefford Woodlands. This would follow the model of the successful Penny Post Hungerford e-newsletter which was launched in January 2107. The intention is to complement and not compete with the existing Great Shefford Parish News and Village News printed magazines.

If any organisation or individual who wants to contribute to this, please contact brian@pennypost.org.uk. To see a recent summary of the proposed e-newsletter, please click here. To subscribe to Penny Post, please click here.

 

This information has been compiled by Penny Post based on the Great Shefford Parish Council Annual Parish Meeting. Every reasonable effort has been made to provide a clear and dispassionate summary of the points covered but these may contain expressions of opinion which may not accord with Great Shefford Parish Council ’s official view on the particular matter. Links have been provided to other posts, on the Penny Post site or elsewhere, to provide additional information where this has been judged useful or necessary. The presence of such a link should not be taken to imply that Great Shefford Parish Council necessarily agrees with, endorses or supports any of the material contained therein.

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