06 May 2020ANNUAL REPORT 2019-2020
THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING which was due to be held on Wednesday 6th May 2020 was CANCELLED due to Covid-19 issues. The Annual Report on what the council has accomplished in the preceding year is presented to the electorate by the Chair of the Parish Council as follows:
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 2019-20 was £29000 and represented no increase for households. For the coming year (2020-21) Lynemouth Parish Council has set the precept at £31000, an increase of £1.97 for each Band D household per annum, allowing us to maintain our current plan of community priorities and to develop several future projects to improve the village. 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 risen by an average of 2%.
The Council’s vision is to work with the community to protect and improve the social and environmental well-being of our village and the lives of all who live and work here. We continue to 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 continue to maintain and improve the Dene and the area along Barrons Walk, ensuring it remains accessible and enjoyable for all residents. Unfortunately quite a bit of the fantastic artwork previously done by local children has been vandalised and damaged, and it is disappointing to see that once again our ambitions are often thwarted by a very small minority. Special thanks go to local resident DAVE BUTLER who spent hours of his time planting daffodil bulbs along the Dene, resulting in a glorious golden display this spring.
The Parish Council, with a view to improving environmental conditions within the parish, funded an Environmental Enforcement Officer (EEO) who was responsible on a part-time basis for dealing with any issues such as litter, dog fouling, fly tipping, accumulations of waste, and abandoned vehicles. Despite several fixed penalty notices being issued and other enforcement actions being taken, members reviewed the cost-effectiveness and benefit to the community at large and agreed to discontinue the role.
Unfortunately there remains a select few within the village who still do not feel obliged to pick up after their animals or make any effort to put litter in a bin. Northumberland County Council is responsible for the removal of litter from adopted highways, streets, and public areas. However, the Parish Council has set aside a modest budget to carry out environmental tasks identified by the local community as important, e.g. litter picking at all parish council owned areas and emptying parish council owned litter bins regularly all year round.
The Parish Council recognises the importance of creating strong links with our young people and we work to improve community awareness and involvement by strongly promoting the Lynemouth Council Award for Citizenship in conjunction with our local schools, William Leech Campus and Duke’s Secondary School. This year Councillor Dave Cotton liaised closely with Duke’s School and MW Design to realise a fantastic art project by the children of our village. All Lynemouth students at Duke’s School were encouraged to design a bus stop with the theme “Let Your Light Shine”. The winning design by COURTNEY TURNBULL was chosen for its celebration of all things brilliant about Lynemouth and its community; amenities that we should all seek to cherish and improve.
Children from William Leech Campus helped us all celebrate Christmas by once again performing their now customary Carols by Candlelight through the village. The Council is committed to improving the festive lights programme and we thank LYNEMOUTH PHARMACY and LYNEMOUTH CO-OP, who both generously sponsored 4ft artificial Christmas trees with LED lights on their premises. Our
second “Design a Festive Light” competition was won by ALFIE DIXON, whose Christmas pudding design was made up into a festive motif and took pride of place in Bridge Road. Well done to all those children who took part in the competition and to all those who made their own Christmas lanterns to carry in the procession. LYNEMOUTH MINERS WELFARE INSTITUTE (the ‘tute) showed fantastic community spirit once again by opening their doors and providing refreshments for all.
Our mining heritage has been further commemorated with the addition of a refurbished former pit tub at the entrance to the village beside Wellway Medical Surgery. The pit tub was kindly donated by Mr. Ken Johnson, (BSc, MSc, Mining Surveyor) and planted with colourful flowers, it makes a great visual impact as you come into the village.
The Parish Council provides allotments which are operated on a break even basis, in that each allotment holder pays a fee for their plot, and the Councils maintenance of the site approximates to the rent received. There are 48.5 horticultural (garden) plots [chains] and 98.5 equine (horse) plots, including a thriving Community Allotment, supported by CELL Big Local, Groundworks and the YMCA. In September, the Allan Dixon Trophy for the best kept horticultural allotment was awarded to IAN and JOYCE FENDER.
The problems of erosion and landfill at Lynemouth Bay have been a concern of local residents for many years and following a lot of pressure from the public and from local environment groups Northumberland County Council has committed £2.5m of capital funding towards seeking a solution to the problem. The Parish Council is in regular contact with the council’s Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Manager with regard to the programme.
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 Wansbeck Valley Foodbank, North East Ambulance, Age UK. 1st CELL Scouts Group and the Craig Williamson Day Event. Lynemouth Day Centre and Lynemouth Bowling Club have both benefitted from the Scottish Power Community Fund which the Parish oversees.
The Parish Council was proud to again fly the flag for Merchant Navy Day this year and special thanks go to LYNEMOUTH DAY CENTRE for providing refreshments for the veterans. Our annual Remembrance Day Service was as always well attended by veterans, serving military personnel, organisations, and members of the public, honouring and remembering those who gave their lives for their country and did not return.
The current Covid-19 pandemic has impacted severely on all our lives and we have been forced to cancel several planned events, such as Northumberland Day Celebrations, VE Day 75th Anniversary Ceremony and (possibly) this year’s Lynemouth Childrens Gala. Over the coming days, weeks and months it is vital that as a community we help each other as best we can to get through this time of anxiety and uncertainty and with this in mind, the Parish Council continues to liaise closely with all local community groups and volunteers to help support residents.
I would like to thank all Councillors, past and present, for their input and contribution. The position of Parish Councillor, 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.
Liz Dunn - Chair