Mitford Parish Council Chairman’s Annual Report 30th April 2019
It has been a relatively quiet year with a number of recurring themes. Increasing traffic on St Leonard's Lane and speeding issues, particularly in Tranwell Village and Tranwell Woods continue to be raised, erosion on the Font remains a concern, and the prospect of a boundary review rumbles on. I have provided a brief update on each of these.
Repair and resurfacing of St Leonard's Lane was completed in May and has addressed the long-standing concerns regarding the condition of this road. Speed calming measures in the form of improved signage have been introduced but residents have again raised concerns over both traffic volumes and excessive speed. A further traffic survey is scheduled which will help to inform a review of traffic calming needs. There has also been a persistent problem with overflowing drains on Spital Hill and this is being investigated by Highways.
Tranwell Village residents continue to raise concerns about speeding in the village and this has been taken on board by County Councillor Glen Sanderson. A traffic survey is scheduled and will be followed by a review of speed calming options. Residents have also been encouraged to log and report incidents of speeding construction traffic to the St Mary's developer and the Parish Council.
Morpeth Town Council (MTC) continues to move towards initiating a boundary review that would impact three adjacent parishes – Hebron, Hepscott and Mitford – proposing that the town boundary be extended to encompass the new housing developments on the fringes of Morpeth. In Mitford's case, it is proposed that the western boundary of Morpeth be redrawn along the line of the A1 bypass. A survey of residents impacted by such a move revealed overwhelming opposition. MTC representatives outlined their thinking at our July meeting and proposed drawing the boundary tightly around the Lancaster Park development so as not to impact existing residents. No confirmation of this suggestion has been received. In effect this proposal amounts to a transfer of tax from the parishes to Morpeth and the Parish Council has determined to oppose the proposed boundary change.
The Parish Council continues to monitor the condition of the river bank below the allotment at Fontside, taking photographs every 3 months. Two trees in the river bank have been pruned back to reduce the risk of wind rock loosening the bank.
A defibrillator has been installed in the village, the unit kindly donated by Bruce Shepherd, the location on the outside wall of the Plough provided by Richard Gill, and the installation funded by the Parish Council. The defibrillator is registered with the North East Ambulance Service.
During the year we have continued to manage the environment in Mitford Village through the work of our Warden. Now that funding commitments towards village hall improvements are largely behind us, it is intended to redirect this funding provision towards projects that improve the environment in the villages and wider parish. We will be seeking residents’ views on potential projects and priorities.
I commend our Clerk for the accuracy and clarity of the accounts presented. Gross expenditure for the year was £6354, excluding a commitment of £1800 funding towards upgrading the village hall kitchen. The effective carry forward at 31 March 2019 was £10,352, and a budget of £8485 has been set for 2019/2020. Given the healthy state of the finances, the Parish Council determined to keep the precept unchanged for 2019/20.
Finally, I would like to thank our Parish Councillors and our Clerk for the excellent work that has been done over the last year, and our County Councillor both for his support and for brokering meetings with decision makers at County Hall. I also thank PC Andrea Teasdale for her support and advice to the Parish Council during the year.
Dr. MRG Sharp
30th April 2019