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Clifton (Without) Parish Council – Chairman’s Annual Report

12th April 2017

We have had another busy year.

After a lengthy discussion and review of the finances the Parish Council have recently decided to keep the level of precept requested from the City of York Council for the 2017/18 financial year at £11,500. The Parish Council collectively felt this was an appropriate level of funding to request given the Parish Council’s current financial situation. Money will be taken out of reserves to make up to the usual precept figure. The Parish Council have worked hard over the past year to reduce the high level of reserves held by the Parish Council and are continuing to investigate new projects for the coming year.

Sadly, one of the projects the Parish Council was particularly excited about - to install adult gym equipment within the Parish did not come to fruition. Despite many meetings and a great deal of investigation it was agreed that sadly, at this present moment the Parish Council does not have any suitable land where this type of equipment could be sited successfully. However, this is a facility that the Parish Council would still very much love to see within the Parish in the future.

At the end of last year the Parish Council were very pleased to invest in improvements to the play area on Rawcliffe Lane and has since received some wonderful feedback from users of the park who are loving the new pieces of equipment that were installed, including a roleplay train, basket swing, monkey bars and a tyre traverse. Sadly over the past year we have seen increasing incidents of vandalism in this area, resulting in repairs to the swings, large multi play unit, benches and most recently our noticeboard. I think in light of this recent vandalism it is now all the more important that the Parish Council investigate the installation of a CCTV camera in this area. The Clerk is currently working on this.

One of the Parish Council’s successful purchases over the past year was a community access defibrillator which is now in situ on the external wall of Clifton Explore Library on Rawcliffe Lane. The Parish Council were extremely pleased with the turnout at the familiarisation session held on a Saturday morning in January this year, which was attended by 5 members of the Parish Council, library staff and 14 members of the public. The successful familiarisation session which was carried out by Kiri Frampton from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service received very positive feedback from local residents who advised us that they were very pleased to have received training on this life saving piece of equipment, although they never hope to actually have to use it. We have been advised that the defibrillator has been used recently so already it has proved to be invaluable. Working alongside The Press the Clerk managed to get an article in the local newspaper in February of this year, highlighting the Parish Council’s defibrillator purchase and installation.

Over the past year we have again seen a continued level of planning applications. The Parish Council were recently very saddened by the unauthorised felling of the beautiful, large Cherry tree on Shipton Road by the owners of the Dormouse public house. The felling of this tree alongside the installation of a number of signs, all without planning approval showed a clear disregard of the planning system. Having felt that these signs are very unsightly, not in keeping with the local area and a hazard to passing motorists the Parish Council were very pleased to learn that the City of York Planning Department has now refused planning permission for a number of the signs and this is now an enforcement case. We will continue to monitor the situation with this enforcement case and also the two original enforcement cases within the Parish - the hand car wash within the car park of the old Bumper Castle Inn and the used car sales within Melodie’s Golfing Range on Wigginton Road both of which have been ongoing for a number of years.

The Parish Council continue to make donations to local groups and societies via our Grants and Donations policy and over the past financial year have made donations to both Clifton Explore Library to purchase some well needed new toys for their play mornings and also to Clifton Alliance Cricket Club to enable them to offer more places, improve the quality of coaching and increase the number of games they are able to host.

Over the past year I have been very pleased with the improved communication and working relationship with staff at the Vale of York Academy School. The Parish Council are now receiving regular updates from Rob Orr, Community Coordinator, who also regularly attends our meetings. With school Principal, Helen Dowds now at the helm the Parish Council foresees a bright future for the school and very much look forward to seeing pupil numbers continuing to increase and the public’s perception of the school change for the better.

The Parish Council continue to work closely with our City of York Ward Councillors and were recently pleased to see 3 new dual litter bins installed within the Parish on the entrances to Clifton Backies on Minchin Close and Herdwick Close and also, as requested by one of our younger Parishioners, on Malton Way to try and assist with the issue of dog fouling in this area.

Recently myself and the Parish Council were very saddened to hear of the passing of one of our longest serving Parish Councillors, John Cartwright who retired in May 2015. Our thoughts remain with John’s widow Kathleen and all of the family at this sad time.

Finally, I would like to thank all members of the Council for their continued help and dedication to the Parish. All councillors dedicate a significant amount of time and effort to the Parish Council, all of which is done on a voluntary and unpaid basis. I thank you all for your dedication to the area in which we live and work. The Parish Council look forward to filling its current 2 parish councillor vacancies and bringing on board new residents who will bring with them new ideas and valuable opinions.

I look forward to continue working with you all in 2017.

Thank you

Jona Ellis

Chairman

Clifton (Without) Parish Council