Lea Life December 2021
PC Meetings:14th December, 24th January, 7th March, 11th April, 16th May. Meetings are held in the Butler’s Pantry, starting at 7:00. Members of the public are welcome to attend. Any date changes will be advertised in the Parish Council notice board.
Lea Parish Council Clerk: Mr Barry Rooks 07791 088761
Lea Parish Council can have up to 9 Councillors and a Parish Clerk. For most of this year the Council has functioned with 6 Councillors and a Clerk, though recently the number has risen to 8. Lea Parish Councillors are Keith Austin, Helen Leone, Fiona Anderson, Graham Barber, Joyce Austin, Paul Warner, Paul Wimhurst and Emma Bailey, the Parish Clerk is Barry Rooks. Contact details can be found on the Parish Council website Lea Parish Council (lincolnshire.gov.uk) and on the Parish Council notice boards.
Council are saddened that recently there have been several posts on social media criticising the Parish Council for decisions and actions that do not fall within their remit. The Parish Council is a group of volunteers working many hours to try to do their best for as many of the village residents as possible, with very limited funds.
SO – Council have decided that this newsletter should tell you about what your Council has to do legally AND all the extra it has been busy doing in order to save the residents of Lea money. Council are working to try to meet the residents suggestions from the recent survey and have developed a 4 year plan for the village.
First the legal bit - what does a council and councillors do?
A council has a range of powers to act and statutory duties to perform all set out in various pieces of legislation. A parish council is the tier of local government closest to its electorate. It follows documented procedures and National Financial Regulations and signs up to a Code of Conduct based on the 7 Nolan Principles.
Council’s role is to provide services (such as regular grass verge cutting), manage assets (Butler’s Pantry, bus shelters, Lea Park including the children’s play area), operate as landlord (cricket field and tennis courts) and handle the finances of the council. One essential power is the right to set a local levy - the precept - collected as part of your Council Tax and this is the main source of income. It is council’s duty to spend this in support of the Parish. Accounts are regularly scrutinised: by full Council approving the bank reconciliation at each meeting, an internal audit carried out independently of the Council and an annual external audit the data for which is also published for public examination.
Formal business is conducted in meetings usually held every six weeks; agendas are published together with the minutes (notice boards and Council website). Council is an apolitical corporate body and takes decisions collectively; all councillors are required to implement these as appropriate. Council is required to inform and engage with parishioners and other bodies/interested groups. This is achieved through this newsletter (Lea Life), website, social media and more formally through meeting minutes and, most recently, the 2021 Survey delivered to every household.
Lea council introduced a 4 Year Village Plan in 2019 setting out priorities and a way ahead for the plan period (this has been reported separately). Some other current and on-going duties include: assessing planning applications against the requirements of the policies set out in the Lea Neighbourhood Plan and supporting documents; provision of bins in the village; preparing to handle the monies due from the Willingham Road development and the projects which these will finance; village clean-up; facilitate some and run other events especially in Butler’s Pantry and Lea Park for parishioner enjoyment and well-being; and devising/ implementing a Tree Management Plan.
What else has been achieved this year
In February Council appointed Barry Rooks as Parish Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer and, in November, 2 new councillors joined, so 1 Councillor vacancy remains.
In Lea Park an in depth condition survey was commissioned of the trees in the woods, in order to comply with insurance and ensure preservation of the woods. To save village funds, Councillors, and a few volunteers (to whom Council is immensely grateful) undertook the ground level work, such as removing the ivy around the trees, whilst a qualified team was employed to complete the high level work and felling. Regular maintenance tasks were completed, such as keeping footpaths clear and spreading bark. Successful bids were made to the Woodland Trust for new hedging plants and trees. These were planted and watered by the same group of volunteers. The newly planted wildflower meadow brought colour and delight earlier in the year. Council are not happy about the provisions in the under 12 play area, but, as previously stated, money paid to the village as the result of Willingham Road development MUST be spent on the redevelopment of this facility. Initial plans have been commissioned and these will be shared with residents for their input at the next Pop Up Pantry and the school and other village groups will be involved. The Play Park is subject to a monthly visual inspection and an annual external inspection. No immediate concerns have been raised.
Butler’s Pantry is a valuable asset in the village, being the only part of Lea Hall which remains and without an investment in maintenance and repair this building would quickly deteriorate. Council agreed on a programme of works to reduce costs and make monies received from Council Tax go further it was agreed that council would undertake as much work as possible with the help of their families. It was also decided to open a take-away called the Pop-Up Pantry serving cakes and tray bakes, made by 2 Councillors, and drinks on several Sundays throughout the summer. This has proved to be very successful and has so far raised money to paint the outside, repair and replace guttering and install a new window. Following on from this success it was decided to organise the first Parish Council run family event in Lea for many years – the Halloween Pumpkin Trail. In spite of some spells of atrocious weather the day was a resounding success, enjoyed by all. Similar events have been requested, so watch out for future news alerts! Did you know that the Butler’s Pantry is available for private hire? Contact the Clerk for more details. Please join us at our Christmas Pop Up Pantry on December 12th from 11:00.
Through the village the Council have repaired and repainted the village pump and held village litter pick events. Council has employed our grass cutting contractor to cut back the edges of the footpaths along Gainsborough Road – 1 side is done and the other will follow later.
The whole village survey consumed a huge amount of time this year with Council, supported by Lincs County Council, devising then circulating, collecting and collating the responses. This gave all residents the opportunity to have a say on future plans for the village. The outcome of the survey was delivered to all residents. The responses have helped the Council review and revise the 4 year plan for the village.
Council has maintained contact with WLDC planning department and other relevant agencies with regards to planning applications and the Willingham Road development. Regular contact is also made with Lincolnshire County Council with regards to a number of issues relating to highways.
Finally the Council also ensure the ‘Tommy’ silhouette was placed on The Green for Remembrance Day and that the tree on The Green is decorated with Christmas lights.
It’s your village too. The Parish Councillors in Lea have lots of ideas for the village and residents have also contributed through the recent survey, but 8 enthusiastic Councillors can’t do it all by themselves. If you have an idea for a club or event and you think that the Parish Council could support you then please let us know. As stated in previous newsletters please, please let us know if you are willing to give some time to support your community. Could you help with some of the work in Lea Park, are you a registered tradesperson who could help with plumbing/ building/electrics, could you spare a morning to support a litter pick? We particularly want to hear from anyone who has been successful in writing funding bids. All these things help to save money for the bigger things, make Lea a better place to live and help us develop a stronger sense of community. Council could then form a database of people willing to help with so we can contact you directly.
Louis is leading the way as a village supporter!
Louis is a 7 year pupil at Lea Primary School and is a regular visitor to Lea Park. He is passionate about football. He suggested to his mum during a recent visit to the park to play football that the nets needed to be improved and came up with the idea that he would raise money by himself to pay for the costs involved. He personally suggested to do a 5k run from Levellings Memorial Field to Lea Park in January or February 2022 and hopefully raise the £500 needed to replace the goal posts and a net at Lea Park. Louis is only 7 years old so 5 kms is a very challenging distance to run. He will need to practice and train before the event and during the fundraising period. Any money raised that exceeds the goal can hopefully go towards any other facility improvements required at the park. Lea Parish Council is proud to support Louis and will give whatever help they can. Please keep checking our website and Lea Life Facebook page for details of his Just Giving page which should appear soon. We are sure everyone wishes Louis every success with his fund raising.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!