Chairman’s report: October 2016

News about the 2017 Parish Council grants programme

Councillor Alan Shepherd, chair of the Finance Committee, writes:

Each year the Council makes grants to organisations within Wellesbourne and Walton who provide services and benefits to the local community.

Applications must be received by 1 November 2016 although grants awarded will not paid out until next May. While it is accepted that this gap before payment appears long, this is down to the wider budgeting requirements across not only the Parish Council but also Stratford Upon Avon District Council and government requirements. The Parish Council is required to submit its budget and Parish Precept (part of the council tax) to SDC during January and normally the Parish Council seeks to have the budget and Parish Precept agreed at our main January meeting (next year on 10th January).

The sums available vary from year to year, since grants are paid from the Parish Precept. The Parish Council has to balance the costs of maintaining our normal services, e.g. litter picking, grass cutting, Christmas lights, etc. with what we can afford to pay as grants and how this may impact upon the amounts we can raise through the Precept. It will come as no surprise to residents that this often creates strong views and discussions within the Finance Committee and usually takes two meetings of that committee before they can put a recommendation as to the budget and Precept to the full council.

While the Council will have limited funds for use in making grants, it is often found that applicants submit poor applications with insufficient information (at least one applicant last year did not provide all the information requested and did not receive a grant). It is always better to provide too much information. In the past 2 years, the Council provided presentations at an open meeting to those organisations considering seeking a grant in an effort to improve the quality of applications. However, these were very poorly attended and hence are not being repeated this year. While all applications are considered on their merits the more specific and detailed the purpose and how other funds are being raised for projects, etc. and the benefits to the community the better.

As set out in the Council’s Grants Policy, the Council will be requiring, as part of the conditions when awarding a grant, that the recipient organisation(s) provides a report (normally within 6 months of the award being paid) on how the moneys were used and how the grant benefited the community in Wellesbourne & Walton. In addition, the recipient organisation will be required to attend the Parish AGM in 2018 (normally March) and provide a display and other information showing how the grant moneys were used and the benefits which have accrued to the organisation and Wellesbourne and Walton Parish.

Further information on eligibility and the Council’s Grants policy (including an application form) can be found by clicking the link here or from the Parish Clerk.

Anne Prior, Chairman of the Parish Council, writes:

Christmas lights

As some of you will know, we have appointed a new contractor for the Christmas lights for the next three years and we are excited by their plans for the lights and the work they have already put into the planning. Initially, we had some difficulties about the lights in the precinct and on the village hall, but recently there was a very positive meeting between the Parish Council, the Street Fayre committee and representatives from Walton Estate. Walton Estate is very keen to support this village activity and we will now be able to put on an excellent display again and centre the switch on event in School Road as usual. By the time you read this, the Street Fayre Committee will have met and begun planning the event. The switch on will occur on Saturday, 29 November and there will be a street market, where you can begin your Christmas shopping, and other stalls and activities in the village hall. The weather will be better this year! I want to thank Walton Estate for their positive input and we look forward to welcoming everyone on the evening. To whet your appetite, I thought I would include a couple of pictures from last year. These include the Wellesbourne Fire Service who rescued Santa and delivered him safely to the switch on.

CAT Computer Access Terminal

After a number of teething problems with this service, I am pleased to report that it is up and running. If you wish to contact Stratford District Council about any matters, you can come into the Parish Council office during opening hours and use the terminal. Your communications will be confidential between you and SDC and you will be able to speak to, and see, a person.

SNT (Safer Neighbourhood Team)

I know that the SNT have an article in the magazine this month but I also wanted to report that the Parish Council had a very useful meeting with them to discuss policing in Wellesbourne. Currently we have PC Catherine Morgan and PCSO Charlotte Pereira allocated to the village along with PCSO James Squire, who is with us temporarily. You will see them patrolling the village. As well as these officers, other tiers of police are available for specific incidents. If you have any concerns about any incidents, please use the 101 phone number to report them. If what you are reporting requires an urgent response, please ring 999.

The Parish Council has been informed that sheds and outhouses can be the target for thieves. If you have any, do keep an eye on them as incidents can happen without you being immediately aware.

Parish Council opening hours

During the next month or so, the Parish Council Offices will be open as usual on Monday/Tuesday afternoon, Thursday/Friday morning but the opening hours on Wednesday will be morning not afternoon.

Wellesbourne Sports and Community Centre

The building is due to be handed over in October. We are still seeking Trustees and people to help with various tasks. If you would like to become involved, please do contact me.

Neighbourhood Plan

By the time you read this, the Council will have met to discuss the Neighbourhood Plan which has been updated following the recent consultation period and the constructive comments received from parishioners. We anticipate that we will sign off this important document in October. We want to thank all of you who have responded to the consultations as this document will become the village’s plan up to 2031 and will have status in any planning applications that come along.