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Chairman's ReportSat, 30th May 2020

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Chairman’s Report #2  »  Annual Report    (May 14, 2012)

Chairman’s Annual Report for 2011/2012 to the Boxley Parishioners

It is my duty and honour to report on the key and interesting activities that have been undertaken by your Parish Council over the last year. This report is the last one I shall be making as I have decided to stand down as Chair and Parish Councillor after serving you for the last 11 years.

Firstly I want to express my thanks along with my colleagues on the Parish Council to all those involved in running community events for the pleasure and education of people in the community and those running  organisations based in Boxley Parish. Boxley Parish would be a lot poorer without these people who are working hard to make the difference. The austere economic climate is impinging on us all and I hope we will soon see a more secure and prosperous future for all of us no matter what age, colour or creed.

To all the Community /Village Hall teams my thanks. I have always championed the importance of these venues for community activities. Well done and every success for the future.

A special thanks to all those that served on the committees that have played a key role in progressing the business of the Parish Council. To the Chairs and Vice Chairs, thanks for your leadership.

The Parish Council team, Pauline and Mel, and the Beechen Hall team, Maggie and John, have performed an excellent job over the year and my thanks to all of them. To our PCSO, Andy, your community support has been invaluable and I appreciate all you have done in community relationship matters.

We have had an exciting an interesting year. Apart from the ‘Business as Usual’ stuff managed by the Parish Office, which is core to our success, some notable projects have been completed.

Beechen Hall has had a new ceiling installed along with fresh, modern and low energy lamps. All those years of cigarette smoke stains have gone making the Hall more attractive to hirers. A marketing plan has been followed making the venue more successful and my thanks to all those that have hired and enjoyed the venue from the ‘mystiques’ to ‘Brides and Grooms’ that have celebrated their marriages at the Hall.

The controlled pedestrian crossing at Grove Green by St John’s School is now operational making it safer for our children and parents. My thanks to all the stakeholders who engaged with the Parish Council to make this happen.

The Parish Office has new computers and will shortly launch the new Parish Council web site. Technology seems to be key to the success of many organisations and businesses and we want the Parish Council to enjoy that success too. Look out for our facebook page to be launched soon.

The 101 bus service to the Cobtree Golf course bus stop was restored after the Parish Council, local residents and Paul Carter intervened.  My thanks to Kent County Council for the changed layby alignment to allow the service to return.

However, after 6 years of working with KCC to gain ownership of Roundwood and improve it for the community, our patience has run out due to what appears, to KCC, as  a ‘too difficult and risky ’ to do situation. The Parish Council has asked KCC to put the woodlands into a Voluntary Village Green to protect it for the community. No doubt we will have more work to do with KCC to realise what the community has expressed to us.

The War Memorial on Boxley Green is undergoing work by stonemasons as I write. Preserving the memorial has never had more significance than now as our Armed Forces continue to serve in the Middle East conflict.

The Diamond Jubilee Orchard will be opened by Their Royal Highnesses, The Earl and Countess of Wessex on the 31st May and we are honoured and delighted to have been chosen amongst the many who wanted their Jubilee event marked with a dignitary. The event will go down in the history of this Parish and it is hoped that this community orchard will not only provide fruit but also become a community focal point. Many organisations will be invited along to enjoy this very special day. I hope you will come along and enjoy it too.

What often goes unrecognised is that the Council empowers residents when they experience problems. This year residents were helped to get salt bins, double yellow lines, to stop nuisances and get speed limits reviewed.

The Parish Council is also endeavouring to find land for allotments which recognises healthier  food production and family involvement in exercise and the enjoyment of gardening.

Much of my time as your Chairman has been occupied with the Concurrent Functions Grant scheme that MBC has operated so successfully which they want to change. We have had some success in arguing our corner in the face of a very determined Borough stance. Whilst we have secured the same grant level for 2012/2013 as 2011/2012 there remains much to do beyond that to secure the cash for future years. The cash is substantial and is about fairness between the Parishes and the unparished areas of MBC and the avoidance of double taxation. Rest assured your Parish Council will continue to fight for fairness for our Parishioners.

I was pleased to be able to keep the Parish precept at the same level this year as last. Our reserves are healthy and for those interested in balance sheets they will be available for inspection at the Parish Office.

My thanks to our auditors who are thorough indeed and advise us of our compliance to the accountancy rules expected and required of a Parish Council.

April saw the launch of the new and simplified  planning rules which will require understanding along with the Localism Bill. Localism is about giving the power to the local people. Please help your Parish Council to exercise it, get involved, express your views they are always welcomed.

So in conclusion, thanks to all the parishioners and people I have met over those 11 years, it really has been a pleasure.

Martin Pepper    

14th May 2012