SELECTION OF ITEMS FROM DECEMBER 2015
The First Edition of Garrison News was well received and we hope you enjoy this edition. With a recent RDC meeting raising several contentious issues some are included in this edition. There is reference to the 'aspiration' of the Conservative administration at RDC to have a 0% Council Tax although most other councils have now abandoned this idea and agree that you should pay your way. The fear locally is that the lost Council Tax will be clawed back by steep rises in fees and charges which are likely to be approved at the December meeting. We will wait and see but we will hold your local councillors to account by declaring how they vote on issues that directly affect you.
The editorial team would like to wish you a happy Christmas and prosperous New Year.
Electoral Register - All 3 Parishes
Are you on the new Richmondshire Electoral Register? It has just been updated. The closing date for the present one has now passed. Not being registered can affect your credit rating and means that you miss out on voting. You can still apply to RDC Electoral Services or the easier and quicker way is to apply on line to: www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
Colburn Sewage Treatment Works
Cllrs Dale, Grant and Cullen have recently visited the Treatment Works to ascertain whether there is sufficient capacity for the new developments in the three parishes. After detailed discussions it is clear that there is no problem in capacity but one issue that needs resolving is the mixing of sewage with rainwater run-off in many of the MOD pipes that cause overflowing at certain points. Cllrs Angie Dale, Helen Grant & Paul Cullen
Increase in RDC's Fees and Charges Many in attendance were not very amused by the following response from RDC's Tory council leader Yvonne Peacock who, in trying to defend the proposed increases in fees and charges for services (4% - 25%) said that people could choose whether to use RDC services rather than them being essential! It was, she said, possible for people to compost rather than have a bin collection. “They can put the heating down; they can put a coat on, they can boil the kettle and put it in a flask so the kettle isn’t boiled and the electric isn’t used and all the things that they can do to keep their costs down to keep their head above water.” !!! Cllr: Paul Cullen Hipswell.
Proposed 17% increase in Green Bins Despite RDC's November Corporate Board agenda stating that Green Waste Charges would not go up by 4% but stay at £17 a last minute proposal to increase the charge by 17% was proposed and agreed by the Conservative majority. Local Conservatives Cllrs Grose and Glover (seconder) supported this unexplained large increase in the charge from £17 to £20. Cllr Angie Dale Colburn.
RDC's October Council Meeting
There were several very contentious issues asked of the Tory Leadership at the last Full Council Meeting which included the following:
Why members will no longer be allowed to put items on agendas without the 'permission' of the Chair of the committee - no reason given!
It would appear that the Community Opportunity Fund (COF) is under threat with any funding likely to be used to follow the Conservative mantra of low tax - no explanation given!
The Leader was unaware that RDC Council Tax had only increased by £6.80 over the last four years i.e.an average annual increase of only £1.70 and was asked how the Conservatives intended balancing the budget to achieve their aspirational 0% charge. The answers were very unclear but we now see that you will probably have a low Council Tax but will pay for it in other ways such as large increases in Fees and Charges. A stealth tax!
A proposal to reduce the number of District Councillors.When asked whether it was to save money at the expense of democratic representation no answer was given!
Dissatisfaction with the lack ofInternal Scrutiny since last May and a perceived lack of understanding by the administration of the functions of scrutiny.Two of the main threads being to hold the decision-makers to account by challenge and to monitor council performance. The general view is that neither appears to be happening!
New figures show that only one-in-ten council homes sold off under the Government’s Right To Buy policy has been replaced by a new home. The shortfall comes despite a promise from the Government that every home sold would get an affordable replacement. Between April and June 2015 2,779 homes were sold by councils through the scheme in England, but only 307 were started or acquired using the money raised.
House prices Workers need to earn about £38,000 a year to afford a mortgage in Yorkshire and the Humber region, a report said. The National Housing Federation inquiry shows a worker paid the region's average wage of £23,405 would need close to a £15,000 pay rise to qualify for an 80% mortgage. The average home in the region costs almost £166,000, more than seven times the average salary.
Soccer Madness hancellor George Osborne has been criticised for handing over £3million of taxpayers’ money YOUR MONEY - to fund 5,000 new coaches in the world’s second-richest nation China when grassroots teams in the regions are battling to survive. Critics say local authority funding cuts have prompted councils to increase fees for community clubs to use pitches and sports halls, while some facilities have been closed altogether. I'm sure clubs in the garrison parishes would have liked to have had such support!
Trains Virgin Trains West Coast has been named as the rail operator with the highest rate of complaints in Britain for the 11th quarter in a row. It received 196 complaints per 100,000 passenger journeys between April and June this year, according to regulator the Office of Rail and Road (ORR). Virgin said it encouraged feedback so complaints were "not the best way to measure" passenger satisfaction. Virgin East Coast was second on the complaints list with a rate of 142.3. This East Coast route was handed to Virgin after it had been run very efficiently and profitably by East Coast. Wonder what checks had been done on Virgin before they got the franchise - whatever it was has been shown to have been flawed.
Councils say no more cuts! Tory Council leaders across England and Wales have presented a united front with Labour and Lib Dem-run local authorities as they warn the chancellor, George Osborne, that another round of funding cuts would devastate local services and harm the most vulnerable in society. In a letter to the Observer, council bosses representing every type of local authority in England and Wales, as part of the Tory-controlled Local Government Association (LGA), say they have already had cuts of 40% since 2010 and cannot find more savings without serious consequences for community life and social care, and knock-on effects for the NHS.
Garrison Area Partnership – this body meets 4 times a year and has funds to distribute to worthwhile causes in up to £500 grants. It is an information sharing body, open to the public to attend, listen and take part. Cllr Helen Grant has been the chairman of the Partnership for three years and hopes that the new residents from the MOD will take the opportunity to learn about the wider garrison community by attending.
Joint Burial Board (Colburn, Scotton and Hipswell) – is the body which runs the civilian cemetery at Hipswell St John’s Church. It is made up of 3 councillors from each of the parishes of Colburn, Hipswell and Scotton. The clerk is Jon Rutherford who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org The board recently received a COF payment which will allow the repair of pathways within the cemetery.
Hipswell Parish Council meets on the 2nd Monday of each month in the village hall Hipswell Village starting at 7pm. Members of the public are encouraged to attend and to give their views.
I have attended all Hipswell Parish Council meetings and my recent monthly reports have included some of the following issues: that the core funding provided to the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership was to be increased from £8,000 to £20,250 particularly as it has assisted in the funding for the A6104 improvements; that in the devolution debate it looked as though North Yorkshire would end up combined with the East Riding and possibly Hull - that it looked likely that 30 refugees (still unclear whether they are families or individuals) would be settled in Richmondshire; my concerns on how the ruling group at RDC will manage to achieve a 0% Council Tax without substantial rises in fees and charges. Also pleased to say that following my written support the following two Hipswell projects were successful in receiving funding from RDC's Community Opportunities Fund; The Beacon for Homeless Veterans to fund a Therapeutic Baker who will be central in helping with the development of a strategy that will re-focus the Veterans Artisan Bakery as a community resource.; The St John's Centre to replace the heating system and carry out further roof insulation and double glazing to improve heat retention. Cllr Paul Cullen
Having assisted the vicar Rev Cromarty with fellow councillor Angie Dale in submitting an application to the Covenant I am pleased to say there is great news that the St Cuthbert’s Community Rooms have received an Army Covenant Fund grant of £20K which will go a long way to refurbishing the facility.
From my locality budget I am hoping to pay for the new toilets in the Village Hall. I am also able to say that I am funding a new kit for Colburn Town Football Club and lastly I have put in a bid for equipment and art products for the Veterans Art Project which is based at St Cuthbert’s Community Rooms. Cllr Helen Grant
Scotton Parish Council meets on the 1st Monday of the month in the Village Hall starting at 7pm – members of the public are welcome to attend. .
Great news for Oak Tree Avenue! Funding has been found to improve the little play park which suffered so much damage in the floods a few years ago.
Really pleased to say that I have been able to fund a new cooker at the Village Hall out of my Locality Budget. Maggie Smith and Co along with myself will look forward to using it to produce the Older Persons Christmas Dinner!!! (Sadly this did not happen as Maggie has not been very well).
I am still trying to find a way to fund the pathway at Oak Tree Avenue down to the snicket into Grebe Avenue – might be able to report a good result next edition. Cllr Helen Grant
SOCIAL AND COMMUNITY CLUBS
There are 3 clubs in the Garrison area which provide community events and social activities for all ages for very little annual subscription. All of them need your support so don’t delay contact the one nearest to you now:
Scotton Social Club 01748 833689
Hanson Club Colburn 01748 832289
Travaux Club Hipswell 01748 830349
Colburn WI celebrated its first birthday in November by hosting a Titanic Evening. This WI has been a great success with over 30 women of all ages meeting together on the 3rd Thursday of the month. Come along and give it a try in Colburn village hall. Contact Emily Towers 01748 830838.
Colburn Gardening Club is over 50 years old – meets on the first Wednesday of the month in St Cuthberts Community Rooms. You are guaranteed a warm welcome – inexperienced gardeners are most welcome. The club is growing!!
Football clubs! I am pleased to say that I am funding 2 sets of junior goals. One for the team which operates at Earls Orchard in St Martins, Hipswell and the other for the Garrison Junior Team which Neil Rooney runs. Cllr Helen Grant
Useful email addresses/websites for councillor contacts, clerk contacts
Clerk Scotton PC – Jon Rutherford
Clerk Colburn TC – Philippa Graves
Clerk Hipswell PC – Christine Stedman
Clerk St Martins PC – Helen Grant
RDC (for minutes, meetings etc)
Richmondshire Independents www.richmondshireindependents.co.uk