The Council staff comprised Nicola Smith (Parish Clerk from August) and Margaret Gibson (Responsible Financial Officer).
Activities in 2018-19
It is impossible to list everything the Parish Council has been involved in over the past year, but this Report provides a summary of the main items. It has been a busy year and in addition to the normal, routine work of the council, a lot of time has been involved with committees and working groups which have helped to progress more complicated issues.
Aero Club Liaison Committee
The Parish Council are represented at these meetings. The aim is to provide information on club activities and provide a forum for any complaints (chiefly regarding noise). The most recent statistics for 2018 showed 270 complaints, only three of which were from Sherburn (there were 265 from South Milford & Lumby).
Air Quality Working Group
Last year the Parish Council formed an Air Quality Working Group and we contacted Selby District Council about the lack of monitoring in Sherburn. We had up to date figures and were able to refute their argument that the number of vehicles going through the centre of Sherburn was too low to require the installation of air quality monitoring equipment. This was installed and the figures received showed that air quality is within the prescribed limits. However the lack of any frequent or recurrent breaches in our area have led to the District Council relocating the equipment to areas with known problems, a decision which we have challenged, but not yet received a response to.
The CCTV system which covers the village centre and other areas (including the Eversley Park Centre and the Fairways recreation area) is old and often lacks the quality to provide the required evidence if there is vandalism, crime or an incident. A new system with much improved quality is being installed. The system uses high definition cameras and has been designed so that if it is needed the system can be expanded to cover additional areas.
Currently the new CCTV system has been installed at Eversley Park Centre and the adjacent rugby club house, work is ongoing at the Fairways recreation ground and at the Cross (traffic light junction) and when completed will be continued to cover the Library and adjacent gardens area (Pocket Park). The new system will capture high quality images both day and night.
The Community Informer had been published four times a year by the Community Association and was delivered to every home in Sherburn. A variety of issues meant that publication was going to stop and to lose our community newsletter at a time when our population is growing and there is so much going on in Sherburn was a serious problem. The Parish Council have stepped in and provided a grant to the Community Trust and a revamped Sherburn Informer was launched with a new issue covering April and May 2019 and focusing on Sherburn Gala.
The Parish Council have also helped with the funding for a Welcome to Sherburn booklet which has been distributed to every home in Sherburn. It will provide an invaluable reference source on clubs, societies, events, facilities and is aimed at both new and existing residents.
Following an appeal for volunteers a Community Speedwatch scheme has been set up in Sherburn. Volunteers monitor vehicle speeds at approved locations and report the results to the police. Initially only two sites, both on Wolsey Croft, were available, but the group asked the police to allow other sites to be added. As a result two further sites on The Fairway/Pasture Way have been added and it is hoped that others will be allowed.
The equipment has been used on four dates, 315 vehicles have been checked and none were exceeding the speed limit. Parish Councillors have formed the vast majority of the teams carrying out the checks (ten councillors, two non-councillors)
There is a lot of building work in Sherburn. Work continues on the Redrow/Persimmon site off Low Street and activity has recently begun on the Hodgson's Lane site on the northeast side of Sherburn. Some disruption is inevitable, but there have been various complaints in 2018 and we need residents to let us know about problems. We have contacted Planning Enforcement at Selby District Council on numerous occasions and attended a meeting at Selby where we told the Council that Planning Enforcement was understaffed and underfunded. Some improvements have been made, but Selby District Council has received legal advice which makes them very cautious about taking legal action against developers.
Craft & Food Festival
The Parish Council have again supported this major event in the Sherburn calendar. For 2019 it has been rebadged as Sherburn Festival and the Parish Council are providing a grant towards the cost of entertainment on one evening.
An important feature of the last twelve months has been the preparation of a three year plan. This will include several major items which are mentioned elsewhere in this report. After considering various options the Parish Council decided that for 2019-20 the precept would not be increased. Section 106 money which is available as a contribution from the new housing totals £61,670 and money from the Community Infrastructure Levy currently stands at £1,756.
We have a three year contract for grass cutting which was arranged jointly with Church Fenton and South Milford and has saved the Parish Council thousands of pounds. This contract will expire in October 2019 and it will be put out to tender again.
High School sports development
The Parish Council has supported proposals to have the sports hall at the High School rebuilt to an improved specification so that it can be used for a wider range of sports and will also be available for community use. To help with that we have provided a £3000 grant for a feasibility study to demonstrate that there is a need for this within our community.
Land & Premises
The land and premises committee meet every month to discuss any repairs, improvements or project to council owned lands or buildings. The following items have been completed since May 2018 or are currently underway:
- Updating and extending the rugby club on Eversley Park which had become run-down. Planning permission has been approved and we will be tendering shortly
- A number of significant improvements to White Rose football club including new facias and soffit boards along with a new disabled ramp to maintain the property
- We are looking at improvements to support the allotments, including the replacement of the old dilapidated shed with a suitable alternative with options being put to the full council shortly
- A government grant has been obtained to pay for the renewal of the Library Garden Pocket Park and work will begin shortly.
- Rejuvenation of the all-weather pitch at the Fairways has been completed, ensuring the pitch is well maintained
- Dropped kerbs to the Eversley Park entrance have been completed to assist with disabled access (a grant from the Tesco Bags for Life fund paid for this work).
- New windows and flooring for the Eversley Park Centre.
The Parish Council remain strong supporters of the Community Library and along with other parish councils in the area they provide a grant which helps the volunteers to keep our library open. We were pleased to see that the library received a special certificate in recognition of the large number of new readers who signed up for the Summer Reading Challenge during the school holidays.
The Parish Council have a litter pick carried out in Eversley Park every morning and in addition there is a litter pick at the Fairways recreation area on three mornings every week. Selby District Council carry out a litter pick in the village centre on every morning except Sundays.
A campaign with posters and publicity in 2018 was successful in reducing litter and dog fouling, but we are aware that this is always going to be an ongoing process and in February 2019 we agreed further resources to give a fresh impetus to a reduction in dog fouling.
The Parish Council has always supported the Community Litter Picks which the Community Association organise and in 2018 one of the Parish Councillors organised a Spring Clean campaign which actually went from March to August. As mentioned above further resources have been agreed for 2019. The PC are looking toward an overarching strategy to deal with litter and its environmental impact which will seek to target hotspots in the area and also include the efforts of other agencies (e.g. Selby / NYCC where appropriate).
The Old Girls School
Probably the main village event recently came in September 2018 when the Old Girls School opened its doors as a community centre providing much needed extra facilities for our growing population. The Parish Council was pleased to provide a grant which helped to ensure that the refurbishment of this historic building was completed successfully.
The Outdoor Gym equipment was installed at Eversley Park in March 2018 and as well as being used by individuals on an informal basis, there have also been a series of instructor led classes.
The Parish Council were pleased to appoint Nicola Smith as the new Clerk in August 2018. She has brought a wealth of experience from her time at Knaresborough and Ripon Town Councils and this has allowed her to make a number of constructive suggestions regarding how the Parish Council operates. Margaret Gibson continues with the Parish Council as our Responsible Financial Officer.
Our Standing Orders and Financial Regulations were both updated and a full review of our existing policies is being carried out. We are applying for recognition under the Local Councils Award Scheme which allows us to show that we meet the standards set and have put in place the conditions for continued improvement.
The Parish Council has a separate Planning Committee who meet at least once a month and make comments to Selby District Council, who decide the planning applications. During the last twelve months we have received details of over 100 planning cases. We have had a succession of major planning applications in recent years and the proposal for 27 homes on land off Garden Lane is currently awaiting a decision.
The Parish Council had a meeting with the Police and Crime Commissioner in March 2018 and expressed our concern about the lack of continuity and the very limited police resources for Sherburn. The situation has improved since then and there is now normally at least one officer on both early and late shifts.
We have another appointment with the Police and Crime Commissioner in April and will be happy to raise concerns from residents then.
A Community Day of Action was organised by the Parish Council in September and the Police were closely involved in this. On the day Police and Fire Services and various local organisations and groups were represented.
The Parish Council have continued to work with Selby and District Rail Users Group during a busy period which has seen a 14% increase in passenger numbers. Sherburn Station now has trains up to 11pm and more trains during the day. By December 2019 Sherburn should have a 1 hour service from 7am running between York and Hull. South Milford station has had an upgrade and parking charges are being re-examined. An upgrade for Sherburn Station is due in 2019.
Sherburn Visiting Scheme
As well as providing transport for medical appointments, social outings and shopping trips, the Visiting Scheme also provide a Meals on Wheels service and run the Memory Cafe. NYCC recently reviewed their community based services and have ceased to provide any funding for the Visiting Scheme. The Parish Council have provided a grant of £10,000 to the Visiting Scheme as we are committed to the continuation of this service in Sherburn which helps reduce isolation and loneliness for older residents.
The Parish Council is seeking funding and agreement with landowners to enhance the appearance of the east side of Low Street in the village centre to reflect the improvements to the west side carried out two years ago. We have received financial and officer support from Selby District Council. The scheme includes: additional seating; removal of concrete bollards; better lighting; a clock; brackets for bunting; planters; and hanging baskets. The existing railings and metal bollards will be repainted to match those on the west side of the street and surface materials either cleaned and repaired or replaced. A finger post will be installed directing visitors to village facilities and features, such as the Library, the Old School and Eversley Park Community Centres. It is hoped the work can be completed this spring.
Over the last year various locations have been considered as possible sites for a youth venue, but there is a problem in that everyone is in favour of a youth club as long as it isn't near them. The library garage has been identified as a possible venue, but progress has been very slow because of difficulties over a lease and reorganisation of the NYCC Prevention team who work out of the building.
Monies received by the Parish Council from the solar farm just east of Sherburn have been ringfenced to be spent on youth. To date they total just over £7500 and if progress is made in providing a youth hub they can be used on this.
In the meantime the Parish Council are providing the funds for youth sessions which will be run at the Old Girls School Community Centre for two evenings per week on a trial basis between now and the end of the school year in July.
I am very grateful to all the Parish Councillors for the work they have put in during the past year. They don't get paid for this, but a lot of time consuming and excellent work has been done. I am also grateful to those residents who have provided constructive input; we are fortunate that Sherburn and the surrounding villages have a number of residents who are willing to volunteer and get involved.Paul Doherty
Chair, Sherburn in Elmet Parish Council