LAPWORTH PARISH COUNCIL REPORT
Thanks and flowers were presented to Warwickshire County Councillor, Jose Compton, who has served this community tirelessly. She has been the Lapworth representative at the County Council for 16 years and the Parish Council has benefitted greatly from the active interest she has taken in the community. She has also served on the Warwick District Council and as a Leek Wootton Parish Councillor. April will be her last Lapworth Parish Council meeting and she will be much missed.
The Annual Parish Assembly was given over to guest speakers and about 60 members of the public attended. This was a great turnout and information was available about Neighbourhood Watch, traffic and speeding surveys, feedback from the recent Housing Survey Questionnaire, the Local Plan and Village Communications. Suggestions and feedback were sought regarding the event and Parish Priorities whilst analysis has yet to take place early indication would suggest that the event was well received and speeding traffic a key priority.
Highlights of the reports are précised below as it not possible to publish the full breadth of activities carried out.
County Councillor Mrs Compton reported that Warwickshire County Council in common with most councils continue to battle with the budget. However there will be no reduction in the services for gritting routes, Fire & Rescue Service, Highways , the delegated Transport Budget or Safer routes to School. Major schemes proceeding include Kenilworth Railway Station and Stanks Island. Warwick Museum re-opened after a refit funded by the Heritage Lottery along with WCC funding. A million pounds will be used for LED lighting across the County and Broadband coverage will improve as work carries on to strive to reach the rural areas in 95% of the County. More funding has been announced for Rural Industries which includes farming.
The Warwick District Council report presented by Councillor Whiting and Councillor Mrs Gallagher highlighted that, not surprisingly the Local Plan is almost certainly the most significant single item with which the Council has been grappling with. Current indications are that modifications made have satisfied the vast majority of the Inspector’s reservations, with any remaining changes capable of being handled through the final consultation process. The Council is therefore hopeful of having an approved Plan in place later this year.
In common with the County Council the ongoing challenge is the management of the District’s finances against a background of sharply reduced government funding. The grant received from Central government has fallen from c£4 million to less than £1 million over the past 5 years, and is expected to be eliminated in the 2019/20 fiscal year. Despite this, the Council has maintained (and in many instances improved) the vast majority of the services that are provided. This is becoming ever more challenging, with any clear efficiency savings having long since been made.
One example of the type of approach adopted is Leisure services. While the contract has yet to be signed, early indications are that the move will not only cover the interest cost of the ongoing significant investments (some £15 million) in improving facilities, but also deliver savings to council taxpayers.
The proposed relocation of the council’s offices from Riverside House to the Covent Garden site in Leamington is another example of a major investment designed to save money (at least £300,000 per annum) over the long term. Considerable amounts of preparation work have already been undertaken,
Acting Head Teacher of Lapworth School, Mrs McCluskey, reported that the school continues to grow and has 154 children on role. There are spaces available in all year groups and when numbers dictate an additional class will be opened.
The school’s results last year were extremely good and were ranked 3rd in the county and in the top 1% of all primary schools in England. This is obviously cohort dependant and will alter from year to year, however the aim is always to provide the best quality of education for all learners. An Ofsted inspection in May was graded as good. A new entrance foyer was built enabling parents and visitors to wait in the dry and modernising the building. The focus for this academic year is to enhance the grounds and develop the teaching of science throughout the school.
Chairman of the Lapworth Charity, Dr Nicol explained the origins of the Charity which are that between 1440 and 1729, ten different individuals gave land or money for the benefit of the Church or the poor of Lapworth. Out of these various gifts emerged the Combined Charities which since 1962 has been known as the Lapworth Charity.
In the last financial year, the lands that were given and the funds that derived from those lands provided income for the use of Charity. In the previous year about one third of the income supported the 11 almshouses at Pound Close.
The next third provided grants to various local organisations including St Mary’s Church, Lapworth School, Elderberries and Lapworth Pre-school. The largest share goes to Church reflecting the fact that a number of the original benefactors specified the Church as their primary consideration.
The final third provided grants to individuals which include help towards the cost of winter fuel; towards the cost of Chiropody not eligible for funding by the NHS; towards the Studying & training expenses which are not covered by the Government Student loans scheme; towards the cost of a bus pass for travelling to and from School; one grant for medical therapy not covered by the NHS and one grant for specialist tuition which the state had declined to fund.
The Charity’s governing document restricts the benefit of the Charity to matters of health, social care & education of the residents of Lapworth, particularly those of low income. Within these criteria the trustees are always to consider applications for assistance.
Councillor Mrs Ludlow who not only sits on the Parish Council but is also Chairman of the Village Hall Committee reported that once again this had been a busy year and the Management Committee had worked hard to maintain and improve the hall and its surroundings. Amongst the many improvements made there have been new stage curtains, CCTV and window locks fitted, health and safety checks, upgrading of car park lighting and bulbs planted by the WI to make the hall surroundings look bright and welcoming. During the year the committee room was dedicated to the memory of Edith Gennard
Plans for this coming year include a new contemporary frontage to the hall, enhancement of the committee rooms and a barrier to restrict height at the car park entrance in order to protect the grounds.
All this is only possible with the time and hard work kindly given by committee members. Fundraising events this year have included:
- A family afternoon of traditional activities followed by a skittle evening for adults
- Two evenings of bridge and a quiz night
- An evening of music from the 60s and 70s with Racketts and another of songs from the shows performed by Queensbridge Musical Theatre Society.
Residents were thanked for their continued support of these events that enable the Village Hall to be so well used and maintained.
A written report from the Lapworth Surgery advised that over the last 12 months there has been a gradual but steady increase in the numbers of patients looked after.Despite this increase it remains the smallest practice of the 35 in South Warwickshire. This year the team has been enhanced by the addition of a healthcare assistant so nurse appointments are now available Monday to Friday.
Patient satisfaction scores were the highest in South Warwickshire again this year. Should there be significant housing growth in Lapworth it is anticipated that a few hundred extra patients could be managed without too much disruption but 500-1000 would represent a serious challenge!
A representative from the Warwick District Council development services, Lorna Caldicott, gave an overview of the lengthy Local Planning Process. Which has culminated in the following draft proposals for Lapworth
- Four sites taken forward
- Meadow House and Kingswood Farm (30)
- South of The Stables (6)
- r/o Brome Hall Lane (12)
- West of Mill Lane (8) (now built)
Whilst the final approval is awaited from the Inspector it is hoped that there will be no change to this.
Chairman Cllr Henderson explained the role of the Parish Council, its membership of 9 councillors appointed in elections held every four years. Their key responsibilities are to safeguard the parish assets (the Village Hall, the Village Green and the Allotments), consider and comment on planning applications to the WDC planning authority, pass on local concerns and problems to Warwick District Council, Warwickshire County Council and other agencies, responsibility for maintaining the War Memorial, the Village Hall playground and the toilets in the Bromehall Lane car park.
He summarised the council’s income and expenditure for the year, presented some key demographics of the parish and summarised the good points and bad points and concerns expressed by residents in the 2014 Parish Plan and the 2016 Housing Needs survey.
Over the last 12 months the council held 12 Monthly Meetings, considered and commented on 85 Planning Applications, contributed £500 towards Lapworth Cricket Club’s Rural and Urban Capital Improvement Grant Bid, input to the Post office opening hours consultation, sponsored a Housing needs survey (230 replies – 30% response rate – identified local requirement for 5 new properties), followed up flooding issues in a number of locations on OWR and Rising Lane, considered residents’ complaints about traffic, parking and speeding. The Dorridge fun run organisers attended to discuss concerns raised re litter clear up, the route, road closures and their timings, Packwood Lane speed reduction to 40 mph was supported, the Boot Bonfire arrangements and parking were discussed with organisers, Canal & River Trust towpath upgrade – Kingswood Junction to the Boot – cost of materials £10,000 supported through grant from Warwick DC and support from Parish Council (£980) with the work to be carried out by CRT Volunteers, Ongoing specific reports throughout the year on potholes, roadside verge damage and obstructions placed by nearby residents, overgrown hedges and dangerous trees, new recreation spaces sought.
Following residents’ speeding concerns 3 surveys were commissioned by the Parish Council on the OWR (in the 40mph and 30mph areas), the summary results presented were:
- Bear House Farm 29 June to 6 July 2016 – 52.9% westbound, 50.6%
eastbound at over 40mph speed limit, 22.5% & 20.5% over 46mph
- Bromehall Lane 23 – 30 January 2017 68.2% westbound, 75.4%
eastbound at over 30mph speed limit, 27.3% & 35.9% over 36mph
- Post office same dates, 80.1% westbound, 63.3% eastbound at over
30mph speed limit, 49.4% & 32.1% over 36mph
Those present at the Assembly numbered over 60 and from comments submitted it was judged a success and the format is likely to be developed and improved in future years.
The Parish Council meets the second Monday of each month at 7.30 in the Village Hall
Parish Council website www.lapworthpc.org.uk
Clerk Contact details – phone 01676 533258; email firstname.lastname@example.org