Chairman’s Report – 13th May 2016
Welcome to the Annual Parish Meeting.
The past year has been one of steady endeavor involving a number of problems. As is the nature of Council business, progress and ultimate resolution, can be annoyingly slow and sometimes frustrating. Again, this year, matters of real concern, but outside our solution and finality have not been resolved. Typically, the ‘Enforcement’ case at Cornborough Road of a breach of planning consent and non-compliance with the related Enforcement Notices, which were issued in June 2014 yet no immediate end. As of today final action is still awaiting a date for a court hearing and action. Also an application to establish 10 holiday cottages on Land East of the Industrial Estate was approved recently by Ryedale District Council, despite detailed objections by this Parish Council.
Another unresolved issue stems from the long standing Coach Road dispute. Unbelievable, the original application to establish the status of this road, in whole or part dated back to 1995, whilst more recently, an official enquiry was held in March 2014, with the decision issued in June 2015. We have now a further appeal against the decision to be held here (Sheriff Hutton Village Hall) on Tuesday, 14th June. Support of the Village Group and Parish Council in the similar numbers as at the 2015 hearing, is asked for. Previously this strong support from the community was noted and commented on by the Inspectorate.
Moving on, Ryedale District Council and Parish Council elections took place on the 7th May 2015. This Parish Council was uncontested with the current serving councillors being returned as your local representatives. In September 2015, the Parish Council received the resignation of Councillor David Lea. Following a recruitment process Councillor Marcus Oxendale was appointed from a number of impressive candidates.
Planning applications are a regular and important feature of the agenda. This year, the number of applications was lower than recent previous years. For the record, the numbers considered were, approved applications 12, refused applications 2, withdrawn 1 and a Tree Preservation Order.
A major application featured was the development of a Solar Farm off the Cornborough Road. This is now operational. We will continue to monitor this site and are working closely with Ryedale District Council to ensure satisfactory land replanting and screening etc, as carried as part of the contractors long-term commitments on this site.
Other matters arising during the past year include the launch of the Council’s new website. This contains lots of update information and it is proving a valuable tool to display the necessary financial information and also to let residents know of important events that are always going on here.
A review of the number and siting of grit bins was undertaken by the County Council. They advised that they have now introduced an assessment criteria for the provision of grit bins and salt heaps. These facilities will only be provided by North Yorkshire County Council in the future where their criteria is met. They identified a number of bins and heaps within Sheriff Hutton which did not meet their criteria and as such would be removed. However, your Parish Council considered the current bins and heaps are an essential element of our winter service. As such, took the decision to retain all existing bins and heaps in their present position. We have now taken on this responsibility for filling and funding those items that are no longer included in the NYCC maintenance programme.
Fracking has become an important subject needing ever increasing review and attention. In December 2015 after an unanimous vote the Council agreed that it doesn’t support the introduction of fracking in Ryedale and as such passed a motion to declare this village as anti-fracking and advised both District and County of this decision.
Both the Chairman and Vice-Chairman have attended a number of meetings on this issue to gather as much information as possible.
In January 2016 the Council were advised by ‘INEOS Upstream’ that they have been appointed as the operator of a licence covering this area. We will continue to monitor the work of ‘INEOS’ closely and update residents as developments affect this area.
It is not generally realised that everywhere in York, except Copmanthope, Wheldrake and Fulford are covered by extraction licenses. Wide spread objections in increasingly large numbers continue to be raised throughout the district. North Yorkshire County Councillors are considering an application to start fracking in the Kirby Misperton area. It is these councillors that will decide whether to allow the fracking foothold in this area. NOTE: Since the Annual Parish Meeting this application has since been approved.
Two other matters are carried forward from the coming year. Work continues on the complicated issue of trying to register the Village Green to determine its official historic and ongoing status.
Another local matter of increasing interest is the provision of defibrillators in the village. Possible suitable sites have been identified but progress is being held up whilst Councillor Martin Dodd arranges for volunteer responders willing to take part in the necessary training. Real progress is being made in this respect.
A report on this year must include the open meeting held on the 6th August 2015 to discuss proposals for a housing development in Pecketts Yard. This was exceptionally well attended, with strong feeling expressed both against and in support. This application was subsequently withdrawn by the agent, but expected to return in the near future with a revised application.
More recently an application for a development including a number of five and four bedroom houses on land in the rear of Park View, Finkle Street was subsequently replaced by the developer by a reduction in the number of buildings proposed. The council considered that realistic changes had not been made from the original application and the main fundamental issues that had the basis of the opposition to the original application had not been recognised. Detailed objections were again resubmitted. As at this date no decision had been received from Ryedale District Council.
The provision of affordable housing is once again under discussion with the District Council Housing Enabler. Real progress is at last being made, albeit slowly. We have been assured recently that any property involved would only be let to local people, and be fully affordable in perpetuity as part of the letting agreements, (always subject to the Governments latest policy changes). Any local plans under these arrangements would require local public consultation and ensuring District Council approval.
Grass cutting has again been kept to high standard and continues to receive appreciative comments from residents and visitors from home and abroad. The same contractor is again appointed this year and has already made the first satisfactory cuts, despite the poor weather.
Just a few words on the 2016/17 precept and council tax. After detailed discussion it was agreed the total precept would be raised by 2% to £15,810. This small increase is necessitated by the decrease in grants given specially for grass cutting and the provision and filing of salt bins and heaps.
The Annual Audit Return will be available on the parish noticeboard in August/September and also be available for individuals by application to the Parish Clerk as notified in due course in the Village News.
We now have a full strength functional team, much they contribute is often unrecognised or acknowledged. Their time, background knowledge and experience is invaluable in maintaining standards and progress. Our Parish Clerk, Mrs Louise Pink, has quickly made her mark in her year with us by providing personal interest, dedication and support. In a word she is invaluable. I hope, like me, they have found some small satisfaction in making their own and the Council’s contributions to our activities.
Recognition must be extended to our District and County representatives. Mrs Clare Wood and Mr Eric Hope have continued to take personal and positive interests in activities and frequently contribute in their own way to our meetings and activities.
In conclusion we must continue to be actively involved and vigilant to ensure that local planning decisions and developments are made in the best interests of all. Whilst these may be accepted reluctantly by some, the green and unspoiled nature of our surroundings must be protected, as far is practicable.
Thank you for your individual and team contribution and tolerance of your aged Chairman.
Mr Douglas Wooles