Chairman's Report for 2017/2018

When I looked back at last year’s report, my first as Chair of the Parish Council, I am immediately aware of the achievement of keeping the precept at its level. I am happy to report that once again we are able to keep the precept at £57,000 whilst maintaining our services and indeed making some increases.

This is due in no small way to the concerted efforts of the whole council together with those it employs to fulfil those service such as our grounds men, grave digger etc.

Our clerk and her assistant who also takes care of Netherton Village Hall give extremely good value. We have an excellent team and the council is prudent with your money.

For a detailed report of income and expenditure please see our published accounts.

As I report on the proceedings and work achieved by the Council over the last year I am constantly reminded of one of the current buzz phrases that of ‘partnership working’.

The Council works in partnership with Wakefield District Council and the elected members for this Ward, with West Yorkshire Police Force through the Neighbourhood Police Team for this the Wakefield Rural Area, other agencies and most importantly our parishioners. You who live in this area.

Let me tell you more –

Netherton Village Hall is a great asset to this Parish and over the years the Parish Council has invested heavily to ensure it is fit for purpose. We have also been fortunate enough to have a group of residents who together form the “Friends of Netherton Village Hall”. They work tirelessly to fund raise to help with the up keep and promote the hall as a venue for events as well as putting on events themselves. A good example of the Council and residents working together.

Similarly with Emroyd Common, where there are plans to upgrade the area so that walkers, horse riders and those interested in conservation can work together and enjoy the area. The Friends of Emroyd Common together with your Council have obtained grant funding from SUEZ Communities Trust and are making a second application to WREN to further this work. Together all organisations are working to turn a neglected area into a beautiful part of this Parish. Not content with Emroyd, some of these volunteers also work with the Sitlington Development Group and promote litter picking, planting of bulbs etc. Partnership working in action.

It is some time since Netherton Working Men’s Club reinvented itself as Netherton Sports and Social Club and the purchase of the building by the Parish Council paved the way for this. Since then the club have worked with the Parish Council and achieved many things. The venue is popular and supported by a hardworking committee and other volunteers who meet regularly with the Council. During this last year the Parish Council gave a grant so that essential electrical work could be carried out. Partnership working again.

On a smaller scale the council offers grants to help support local organisations and this year have paid out £1500 to do so. Denby Grange Sports Club continues to receive a substantial grant in order to maintain and improve its facilities.

How many are aware that statistically we live in the safest ward of Wakefield District and without our partnership working with the police force it would be unlikely that we would ever see a police presence in our villages?

Sitlington Parish Council invests in the Police Safe Scheme through the Neighbourhood Police Team for Wakefield Rural. This operates by inviting officers to use overtime hours to be in this area.

The Council meets monthly with the co-ordinator of the team to both give and receive information. We hear of any crime in the villages and are able to request the team to concentrate on issues raised by you the residents and by ourselves.

We have worked together over fly tipping, speeding on the roads particularly around our schools, off road bikes, safety on the roads including Blacker Lane. Speed enforcement is the role of our Police but speed reduction in its various forms is part of our working together with the police force.

We encourage residents to report any concerns to the police by passing these on to our Parish clerk who can direct these to the coordinator of the Scheme.

Recently we have set up a Road Safety Working Group involving councillors and some of those involved in the campaign for improvements on Blacker Lane. It is early days for this group but signs are that this form of working together will benefit the community. This year we also made a grant of £1,500 to both of our schools to enable them to pay their school crossing patrol (lollipop lady) as the District Council withdrew this from their budget.

The Council keeps in touch with locally elected members to Wakefield District Council who are able to support us in our negotiations with the District Council Departments.

An ongoing priority for the Council is safety on the roads, including Blacker Lane, Netherton. Following that, we will continue to spend wisely, to obtain grant funding where ever possible, speak up for community issues whatever they may be, and above all to serve you to the best of our ability.

Remember that your Parish Councillors are themselves volunteers - the first level of democracy in this area, the first point of call for any issues. If there is one message that I and the rest of Council wish to give, it is that we want to work with you all, and other agencies to get the best possible for the Parish.

Margaret Strong

Chair of Sitlington Parish Council

April 2018

Chair's report for 2017/18 can be viewed here