Annual Report 2017
WELCOME to Lynemouth Parish Council’s Annual Report. History was made in Lynemouth at the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council in May 2016 as the Parish Council unanimously agreed that Honorary Freedom should be conferred upon Councillor Gillian Thompson, MBE, and Mrs. Sarah (Sadie) Hannah Williamson, MBE, in recognition of their eminent service and contribution to the well-being of their area. The honorary freeman title confers no powers on the individual; it is an entirely ceremonial honour.
Two casual vacancies occured when Councillors Julie Tyler and Kris Spratt ceased to be members of Lynemouth Parish Council after resigning, and Lynn Bird and Carol Johnson were co-opted onto the Council. We currently have a full complement of twelve parish councillors.
The Council also appointed a youth councillor to be the lead young person representing the views and ideas of other young people locally in Lynemouth. The idea is give young people a say in decisions that directly affect them and make sure their views on local issues are heard. It is an excellent opportunity to encourage leadership development in the community. This is an unpaid position voted for by the current sitting number of councillors in May each year. The Youth Councillor must be between the ages of 13 and 18 and must reside in the parish of Lynemouth.
The Council’s large allotment site is a very popular amenity within the village but continues to generate a range of issues. Members have agreed that the Allotments Committee is no longer effective as a mechanism for involvement of plot holders in the management of the site and it was formally wound up after the meeting in March 2017. All allotments matters will be dealt with by the Parish Council at its monthly meetings, limited to a maximum time of 20 minutes. Any vacant allotments are quickly re-let to people whose application has reached the top of the waiting list and who live in the village.
The Council regularly receives requests from charities and other organisations for grants or donations. The Council's resources are wholly derived from public funds and we have granted money towards activities which we consider “will bring direct benefit to the area, or any part of it or all or some of its inhabitants”, namely £7,000 funding for Lynemouth Community Trust and £2,000 to Lynemouth Day Centre; Lynemouth over 50’s; Lynemouth Gala; British Heart Foundation; Poppy Appeal; Great North Air Ambulance; Ellington Colliery Band. We also donated £1,000 contribution towards the new 1st CELL Scout Group. We purchased more Christmas lights for the trees and the carols by lantern light event was well attended as we officially switched on the Christmas tree lights outside Lynemouth Miners’ Welfare Institute.
The Parish Council joined forces with the Rotary Club of Ashington to plant 5,000 purple spring-flowering crocus bulbs at the Pit Wheel Mining Memorial to publicise Rotary’s ‘Purple4Polio’ campaign to eradicate polio from the world.
The purple crocus symbolises the purple dye that is painted on the little fingers of children to show they have been immunised. Crocus tommasinianus, the woodland crocus, often referred to as 'tommies', were named after the botanist Muzio G. Spirito de Tommasini (1794-1879), who was Mayor of the city of Trieste. They are early or snow crocuses and are amongst the first to bloom.
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 the Council and pays to maintain and improve the facilities, activities, events and services that we provide. Lynemouth’s parish councillors voted unanimously to freeze council tax payers’ bills to fund the parish council’s budget for the 2017/18 financial year. The Parish Council considered what the Parish Council's financial needs will be for 2017-18 and decided that the current tax levied from residents (the precept) is adequate to cover costs. Therefore, individual payments will be kept at last year’s level. This will be a 0% increase or change on bills but will realise a precept for 2017/18 of £27,621 (an extra £846) as there is now a bigger Tax Base for Lynemouth. This money will be used to deliver on our commitments, improve facilities and services for local people, and run the Council. Members said they could not support raising payments at present as they did not wish to put a burden on local people.
We were all very sad to learn of the passing of County Councillor Milburn Douglas who regularly attended parish council meetings to report on matters of interest and who often liaised with Northumberland County Council on behalf of the Parish Council. With regard to ‘Dougie’s’ connection with Lynemouth, he proudly represented the Lynemouth Ward on Northumberland County Council and had a strong attachment to the village where he lived for over 40 years [1969-2011]. He was Mayor of Castle Morpeth in 2005-06; 2007-08 (2nd term); and Honorary Alderman 2009. Members observed one minute's silence in tribute to Cllr. Douglas and extend to his family heartfelt sympathy in their bereavement.
There are many other aspects of work of the Parish Council which are too numerous to discuss in a short report. I conclude by thanking all parish councillors for giving their time and expertise freely to contribute to the well-being of our village, and Mr. Steven Common who works hard to keep the village neat and tidy, making a real difference to the quality of life for residents.
The official motto of the Parish Council: Lumina spargo - "SPREAD LIGHT" - was chosen as a tribute to the village's mine-workers and in the expectation that the Parish Council will be a guiding light in the future. Looking to the future, we will be going ahead with a four year parish plan of community priorities after the local elections in May 2017. As well as maintaining current projects and improving them wherever possible, the Council wants to develop several future projects to improve the village. We would very much welcome feedback from residents and businesses regarding our vision for the parish over the coming year.
Councillor Liz Dunn
Chair of the Parish Council