Annual Report 2019
The Parish Council has strived throughout the past year to provide residents with the best services possible at a local level.
The primary source of income for Lynemouth Parish Council comes from the precept, which is a local tax collected by Northumberland County Council on behalf of the Parish. This money is required to run our Council and pays to maintain and improve the facilities, activities, events and services that we provide. The precept for the past year was £28000. This year (2019-20) Lynemouth Parish Council has set the precept at £29000; because of our increased tax base (the number of households eligible to pay) this means in effect that individual households have actually seen a decrease of 2.7% on their bill compared to last year. Other elements of the council tax bill over which the Parish Council has no influence – charges levied by Northumberland County Council, the Social Care Charge and Police Authority charge have unfortunately all risen.
Once again it is sad to report that a sizeable chunk of our 2018-19 expenditure went on repairing the bus shelters and other assets in the village, following continuing incidents of vandalism and anti social behaviour.
Anti-social behaviour impacts on everyone in our village. Damage to public property, street furniture or bus shelters cannot be condoned and we continue to urge every member of the public to report incidents to the police and name those responsible – they are costing each and every one of us money which could be better used elsewhere.
The Council regularly receives requests from charities and other organisations for grants or donations and during the year and grants money towards activities which are considered “to bring direct benefit to the area or any part of it or all or some of its inhabitants”. This year we have supported Lynemouth Miners Institute, North East Ambulance and the Craig Williamson Day amongst others.
Major improvements to the path along Barrons Walk have been completed this year, providing a better and more accessible walkway through the Dene. It was particularly great to see children from our village participate in the Woodland Trail which took place during the February half term, facilitated by Leading Link with funding from CELL. The weather for once was glorious and over a hundred children and parents took part. Not so great is the fact that wooden bench seating along the Dene has recently been vandalised and needs replacing. Several wooden bollards along the Green Belt – a large number of which were only replaced mid year - have also been removed.
Children were also heavily involved in Christmas activities. Abigail Grisdale was the winner of our first ever “Design a Christmas Light” Competition, with her design taking pride of place in the display along Bridge Road. Everyone has been complimentary about the lights and we look forward to further improving the display this year.
An Environmental Officer has been employed this year in an attempt to tackle the ongoing problems of dog fouling, litter, waste accumulations and fly tipping. Several Fixed Penalties Notices have been issued, but there obviously remains a select few within the village who still do not feel obliged to pick up after their animals or make that effort to put litter in a bin. Dog mess is not just an eyesore, it is a health hazard and environmental pollutant, associated with various diseases to which children playing in parks and green spaces are most susceptible. Picking up your dog’s waste is not just a common courtesy, it’s a health imperative.
Several community litter picks have taken place throughout the year and special thanks go to Louise Waldock for organising these. I’ve received comments about how great it is to see children participating. As a community we are ALL responsible for our surroundings and our immediate environment. It cannot be just a “council responsibility”. Once again we urge residents to report offenders – the more information we have the better. The Environmental Enforcement Officer’s contact details are on the Parish Website and anything reported is treated in complete confidence.
The Parish Council was proud to once again fly the flag for Merchant Navy Day this year. Special thanks to Lynemouth Day Centre for providing refreshments for the veterans and to Mr Wise, our librarian for chatting and entertaining them so well. Our annual Remembrance Day Service was as always well attended.
The Council’s large allotment site remains a popular amenity within the village and following concerns about high water costs, a new meter was installed during the year. The Allotment Working Group continues to monitor the situation. Rents are set at a level which aims to make the allotments self financing, but which does not create a barrier to accessibility on financial grounds.
We continuously monitor our expenditure, and examine very closely how and where we spend money. Every project is considered and evaluated in terms of cost-effectiveness, and benefit to the community at large. We have agreed a budget for the forthcoming financial year, but are mindful that Town and Parish Councils may come under increased pressures in the future to take on more and more responsibilities.
Recently we have seen new members co-opted to the Council – Mr Wayne Parker and Mr Paul Dajoux. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Councillors, past and present, for their time spent serving the council and also just remind everyone that the position of all Parish Councillors, is unpaid and no remuneration is received by any of the members. Parish Councillors give their time freely in an effort to contribute to the well-being of our village.
Thanks also to Keith, our Parish Clerk, who provides this Council with independent, objective and professional advice and support, and to Steven Common, our Parish worker, who works extremely hard in an attempt to make a real difference to the village.
Councillor Liz Dunn
Chair of the Parish Council
1st May 2019