Chairman's Annual Report 2016
This year was of course dominated by the sad death of Richard Few (PC Chairman May 2008) in a farm accident. His ebullient character and self-confessed lack of computer skills (or at least his reluctance to use them!) led to personal contacts with so many Parish members. He put enormous effort into the Parish, always there to help with tasks such as spraying weeds at the Village Hall and Church car park, clearing up dumped rubbish, and planting trees on the Village Green. I cannot follow his footsteps, but having been honoured by the appointment as Chairman, I will do my best. Gerry McGrath has filled the vacant post.
Our Affordable Housing Project is progressing, even though it seems (to me anyway) painfully slow. Planning permission was finally granted in February 2016, and we hope that work on the 14 shared equity and rented homes will start in late summer. We are grateful to Felicity and Stanley Karger for their amazing continuing patience and support.
There have been some successes, especially in relation to the A48. Despite my scepticism, the establishment of three lanes at The Over roundabout has been remarkably effective in reducing the morning queues, and while we are undoubtedly pleased, we are bound to ask why such a simple measure was not done many years ago! The flooding at Downs Bridge appears to have at last been resolved. Thanks to the efforts of the land owners trimming back their hedges, and with support from Phil Awford, the path on the opposite side of the A48 has been cleared, and is now far more negotiable. Pot holes have been filled on the A48 and along the lanes, and the traffic islands near the Village Hall are well established, hopefully improving road safety. Following the tragic death of Wendy Jenner we have started a campaign for yet more road islands. We hope that these will improve safety for pedestrians, reduce traffic speeds, prevent over taking and provide more light at night but without being obtrusive to adjacent houses.
Planning is an important function of the Parish Council. We consider that there should be a fair and even distribution of the various types of housing in the village, and huge efforts have gone into attempts to achieve this. We still do not know the number of extra houses that we shall need to take as part of our ‘service village’ allocation, but we make sure that the voice of Minsterworth is well heard.
Big inputs from Tony, Cathy, Nigel and Steve are shaping our Village Resilience Plan, and Gerry and Tony have started a campaign to improve our abysmal broad band speeds.
Finally I would like to thank all my fellow Parish councillors, Tewkesbury Borough Councillors and especially Fiona, for their guidance and support as I rather shakily move forward in this new post. I would also like to say a big thankyou to the steadily increasing number of Parishioners who now attend PC meetings. It’s your Village – we can do so much more with your support!