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Annual Report 2015/16

Chairman’s Report

As I was writing for our Annual Report this time last year we were just about to have our Birthday Beacon evening on Kempsey Common to celebrate the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. If you were there you will know how well it went. We as a council were very pleased to have put this event on for you. Our Neighbourhood Development Plan has progressed slowly, not for the lack of hard work on our part, but due to procedural technicalities encountered as other councils have had their Plans rejected by Appointed Inspectors. We have taken on board the reasons for these failures and trust that our Plan will be approved. Meanwhile, we are negotiating to secure a site for another sports field and new community centre/sports hall. Plovers Rise Playing Field will remain, but as many of you know our sporting activities have outgrown a single location. This last twelve months has seen the most intense road works disruption within Kempsey due to water mains, sewers and works associated with the building sites. We truly hope that this will not be seen again for many years to come. The parish precept, the amount of money that we request from MHDC, has increased this year in order for us to provide for our community. Because of the increased number of new houses though, the portion of your council tax that provides for Kempsey Parish Council will not be rising.

Recreation

Repairs to the pavilion roof were undertaken in October.  Some of the old felt had rotted and was replaced with a modern breathable variety.  The plastic verges which were exacerbating the water ingress issue were removed and six roof vents installed to improve ventilation.  A complete electrical installation safety check has been carried out and wiring for new extractor fans has been installed. One of the boilers that provided hot water to the showers has been replaced, much to the relief of visiting teams.
The unsightly container that was alongside the pavilion has been removed. 
A replacement has been installed adjacent to the others by the youth centre.
New signs clearly identifying the sports pavilion and the youth centre have been installed.  A new footpath is proposed to run from the pavilion to the tennis courts; various options for construction are currently being considered.
The play equipment and outdoor gym equipment continues to be well used. The bearings on the ‘spinner’ adjacent to the Napleton Lane entrance have failed. An order has been placed with the manufacturer for a replacement.
Dog fouling on the playing field continues to be a vexed issue. Whilst responsible owners keep their dogs on a lead, away from the playing pitches, and ‘pick up’ after them, there are many others who do not. This means that football and cricket teams have to routinely pick up dog mess on the pitches before use.  However, when the new PSPO (Public Space Protection Order) for dog control regulations come into force stricter enforcement will be enabled.
As ever the whole playing field site is managed by Kempsey Sports Association to whom we remain very grateful. 

Planning

This last year we have held 16 meetings at which we dealt with 53 planning applications. On top of these applications we have held several public exhibitions and consultations regarding new developments.

 

Environment

The focus for this year has been on making the main road safer and more attractive. Two areas have been cleared of bracken and rubbish and grass laid. Low branches have been cut near the Limes to enable the grass to be cut. Bollards have been placed near the shop to prevent parking on the pavement and the edge of the verge cut back by the bollards to widen the pavement for wheelchairs and double buggies. The verge has also been cut back in Old Road South where the pavement was very narrow. Some work has been done on the Rocky to cut back the vegetation and we are in the process of completing the Information Boards at the entrances to give historical information on the area. We have been working with the police and safer road partnership to try and reduce speeding through Kerswell Green. The VAS (speeding sign) has been placed at the North end of the village and one is on order for the southern end. Many rubbish bins have been replaced and new ones added to help keep the village clean and tidy.

Community Centres

With the acquisition by the Parish Council of the Kempsey Youth Centre building last year much of the activity of the committee has been taken up with improvements to the building for the benefit of the current user groups and enabling the facility to attract more business in the future. To date all the health and safety features have been upgraded, new heaters purchased and the toilets completely refurbished. Future plans will include upgrading of the lighting system, refurbishing the kitchen area and redecorating the main hall and passageway.
The Community Centre has had major improvements made to the access off the main road and continuing rolling maintenance over the last few years means the building is in excellent condition for its age as it continues to be an important asset to the community.
Both buildings are now being managed on a financially sustainable basis that will provide the parish with useful facilities for the foreseeable future.

Commons & Hams

Maintenance of the Commons continued during last year with mowing of Normoor Common and removal of old timber and vegetation from previous works along the western edge of the Common. Kerswell Green Common continues to be kept trimmed by a local resident for which the other local residents are appreciative and clearing of ditches has been undertaken.  No significant maintenance of Kempsey Common was needed last year following the extensive removal of gorse during the previous winter. Damage to the Common and public concern from horses grazing the Common during winter was less evident this year, but consideration is still being given to a voluntary Code of Practice for owners of horses grazing the Commons.
As well as the annual mowing of the grassland, clearance of the much overgrown verges of the Worcester Road across Stonehall Common was carried out. Years of litter had accumulated under the vegetation and several local residents tackled the task of collecting and disposing of the waste. Work on deepening the anti-trespass ditches on either side of the road will start shortly. Management strategies including intensified grazing continued on Ashmoor Common, consistent with its status as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Control of the soft rushes now dominating the vegetation, and eliminating the infestation of ragwort remain priorities.  An impressive flowering of wild orchids occurred on the Common last spring.  The Parish Council is examining ways to increase the biodiversity across all of its Commons and to encourage use of the Commons by parishioners. 

 

 

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