Coleorton Parish Annual Meeting 2015

Thursday 9 April 7.00 pm
at The Beaumont Centre

Each year since the Parish Council purchased Coleorton Wood we have held a “Field Day” in the wood to celebrate our parish and everything that goes on here. Because there has been a lot of work done in the wood over the winter months the ground needs a bit of time to recover. So this year the Field day will take place later in the summer. Watch this space for the date and details!

Parish Council’s Annual Report 2014-15

Introduction

Coleorton Parish Council has not previously issued an Annual Report but the Councillors felt it was a good way to inform parishioners of the Council’s activities during the year. It will also form the basis of discussions at the Annual Parish Meeting on 9th April 2015.

Membership and work of the Council

Coleorton Parish Council is made up of six Councillors and administration is carried out by the Clerk. During this year, we were sorry to lose Cllr Emma-Kate Fletcher who had to resign due to work and family pressures. There was no request for an election, so the Council co-opted Cllr Martin Farrand at its October meeting.

To date, Coleorton has been a single-ward parish represented by two District Councillors who cover Valley Ward within North West Leicestershire. During the year, the Boundary Commission recommended that North West Leicester District Council should have one-member wards and this will be implemented for the upcoming election. This means that in the future, Coleorton will have two wards – North and South. The North Ward comprises Coleorton Hall and the area around it to the northern boundary of the Parish. This will have one Parish Councillor and will be part of Worthington and Breedon Ward for the District Council. The South Ward comprises the rest of Coleorton and will have five Parish Councillors and be part of Valley Ward for the District Council. Both wards will remain part of Valley Ward within Leicestershire County Council.

Coleorton Parish Council meets approximately every six weeks – dates are advertised in advance – and had 10 meetings during 2014-15. (See minutes index)

Coleorton Wood

Coleorton Parish Council purchased Coleorton Wood on behalf of the Parish in December 2011. Since then, this area has been a significant project for the Parish Council. Very little management work had been undertaken over previous years, so there was much to be done. A management plan was drawn up and work started during 2012 with the hope that the most significant work could be done during the autumn of 2013. Unfortunately the unavailability of contractors and the weather beat us, but the work was carried out during autumn 2014.

During 2014-15 the Parish Council has made great progress with Coleorton Wood. The work completed includes:-

  1. Pitt Lane has had the large holes repaired.
  2. Contractors have thinned out the wood, having removed about 30% - 40% of the trees. This will allow the remaining trees to flourish as well as encouraging more flowering plants on the ground.
  3. The Volunteer Group has removed the old hedge on one side of the Post Office Field and this will be replanted over the coming months. The idea here is to create more manageable hedges throughout the wood, which in turn will provide improved habitat for birds, insects and other mini-beasts.
  4. New bench seats and picnic table have been manufactured by the Volunteer Group and these will be installed during the spring, increasing the recreational facilities in the wood.
  5. About half of the shrub borders along the rides have now been coppiced and thinned and the remainder will be coppiced over the next two years. This will create a range of habitats as different areas of shrubs are at different stages throughout the wood.
  6. All of the bird nesting boxes have been cleaned and put back following the thinning work. They had all been used last season, which is a good indication of the value of the wood.
  7. The Volunteer Group now has volunteers trained to use chainsaws and does also have all the necessary equipment. (Thanks to both The National Forest and The Parish Council) This will allow the group to better manage the wood.
  8. The Volunteer Group have extended the picnic area in the wood and there will be four new picnic tables in this area, making a great recreational area in the wood.

The Parish Council is grateful to the Forestry Commission for the substantial grants it has offered us to assist with this work; to John Macdonald, one of our Heritage Wardens and the Coleorton and New Lount Volunteer Group who have done so much work in the wood on a voluntary basis; to Angus Hancock of Cameron Forest and Garden who has managed the work for us, liaised with the Forestry Commission and sold the significant amount of timber that came out of the wood to help the Council defray costs; and last but definitely not least, those parishioners who unlock and lock the gate every day.

There are a number of tasks which have yet to be completed so if you are visiting the wood please be aware of the following:-

  1. The car park has yet to be cleaned up of a lot of waste that has been left following the thinning work (the timber was stacked in the car park before being taken away). This will not prevent the car park being used as there is still plenty of space. The Volunteer Group will tidy the car park over the next month.
  2. Some of the rides have still to be repaired following the heavy plant used during the thinning work. These will be repaired as soon as the weather is dry enough to do this work. Visitors should take care in these areas as they can be very slippery.
  3. There are a few stretches of fencing that are broken, although these will not cause inconvenience to visitors. The Volunteer Group will repair these during the Spring/Summer.
  4. There is a great deal of brash left from the thinning work on the floor of the wood. This will be left where it is to rot-down and feed the remaining trees; it also represents a great habitat for a range of species. Visitors walking off the main rides will need to take care as this brash can creating many tripping hazards.

Great strides are being made by both the Parish Council and The Volunteer Group and it is hoped that this will create an enhanced local facility for both parishioners and other North West Leicestershire residents. The biodiversity of the wood will slowly be improved which will also make it a more interesting place to walk. We hope to see more local people using this facility.

Work on trees on Parish Council owned land

The Parish Council arranged for a tree survey to be undertaken to ensure the safety of the trees on land it owns. This concluded that there were no immediate problems but that there were a number of trees that could prove dangerous in the not too distant future. These have therefore been felled or cut back to ensure they are safe. Tree Management Plans are being drawn up for the land behind Overton Close, Beaumont Green, Peggs Green Rec and the land behind Zion Hill. The Council will therefore be able to arrange for work to be carried out as necessary to maintain the trees and the woodlands.

Planning

Coleorton Parish Council considers every planning application within the parish and provides feedback to the District Council that makes the decisions. Despite what you might have seen if you watched The Casual Vacancy, the Parish Council has no say in planning decisions and can only comment on behalf of parishioners as they can also do themselves. The Council was disappointed that despite its objections and those of affected residents, NWLDC passed the application to erect two wind turbines on land off Farm Town Lane.  However, another site close by had recently been approved at appeal so it was likely that the application would have been approved when it reached that stage. Due to recent complaints by residents of Farm Town, the work that had started on the site has been stopped as the company had not fulfilled all its obligations under the Planning Conditions. No doubt these will be sorted out fairly soon and we shall see work recommence, although with no construction traffic using routes through Farm Town itself.

There have been a number of applications to build new properties outside the limits to development, all of which the Parish Council has objected to. To date, all these have been refused by the NWLDC Planning Committee. One site off Zion Hill has been refused at appeal.

Communication

Through the efforts of Sandra Dillon, our webmaster, the Coleorton website and newsletter continue to thrive. There are well over 100 email addresses receiving the newsletter and much local information can be would on the website. Sandra has also represented the Parish Council at meetings with LCC on the introduction of superfast broadband. Parts of the Parish are now connected and the rest should be completed during 2016.

The Parish Council maintains four noticeboards, on The Moorlands, at Viscount Beaumont School, on Beaumont Green and outside the Beaumont Centre. It posts notices and summaries of meetings and other information of interest to parishioners. During the year, the Council decided that it was happy for local businesses and groups to put up notices on the boards as long as they did not detract from those posted by the Council. We are also grateful to Stella Lucas at the Post Office for the use of the Parish Council board and suggestion box.

The Parish Council invites the Police to attend each meeting and they do so when they are able. They provide monthly crime figures for the Council who provide feedback where appropriate. The Council also asked the District Council Housing Officer to attend a meeting this year to talk about the work they were doing with the Police to improve the situation around The Moorlands flats.

Parish events

The Annual Litter Pick took place in April 2014 and as always collected an amazing amount of rubbish using the equipment provided by the District Council. Once again, Macdonald’s provided vouchers for children who helped and also sent along some of their young members of staff to assist.

The Parish Council also organised an Annual Parish Field Day in Coleorton Wood in May. Several local groups attended along with some parishioners. This fulfilled the requirement for the Council to hold an Annual Parish Meeting, but the Council felt such an event would work better in the summer so has reverted to an Annual Parish Meeting at the Beaumont Centre for 2015. There will be an event in the Wood later in the year.

Finance

Coleorton Parish Council raised a precept of 14,000 this year which was spent on administration, Coleorton Wood, tree management, grass cutting, maintenance and donations. The Council decided not to increase the amount paid by parishioners for 2105/16 although because of an increase in the number of properties paying Council Tax its income will increase by just over 100 next year. The detail of individual payments can be seen in the minutes of the meetings that are available on the website and the full accounts will be available for inspection during May – the details will be on the Post Office board in due course.

We hope to see you at the Annual Parish meeting on Thursday 9 April, and indeed you are vey welcome to attend any of the Parish council meetings when there is a period set aside for parishioners questions and comments on any of the agenda items.

Download Coleorton Parish Council Annual Report (pdf) >>

Last year’s Field Day >>