Notes of Annual Lea Parish Meeting 19th May 2022 held at 1900hrs in Lea Village Hall

Present: Cllrs F Anderson, H Leone, K Austin, J Austin, P Warner, P Wimhurst, E Bailey, G Barber, Barry Rooks(Parish Clerk) and 25 members of the public

Chair Cllr H Leone welcomed members of the public to the annual parish meeting.

1.  Apologies. None received.

2.  Minutes of the annual parish meeting held on the 13th May April 2019.  Accepted as a true record by Lea residents present.

3.  Outgoing Chair, Cllr K Austin, presented the annual report.



It is traditional for the Chair to reflect on the previous year and offer highlights by the way of a record. However the last village meeting was held in 2019 so there has been a three year gap  to this one. I don’t intend to go back that far but I will begin in early 2020. 


By February 2020 the Council had reviewed the four year village plan, introduced in 2019, as we were approaching completion of year one. We looked ahead confidently to year two - for example to organise a number of events to test the appetite and willingness of parishioners to come together socially and get involved.


But then, of course, we were hit by Covid and lockdowns. There was an urgent need to look after the vulnerable and Lea Parish Council set about requesting for volunteers to provide basic services for those in Lea who needed assistance. We quickly got to 30 volunteers and, through the organisation and coordination skills of our Clerk at that time (Graham Barber), we were quickly up and running. The scheme was a success and our thanks went to all involved.


The Covid restrictions initially prevented councils from meeting but an extension to the Government’s emergency powers meant we could then adopt virtual meetings. As a result Lea Parish Council only missed one meeting and was able to fulfil the schedule for the rest of the year using Zoom. In all we met this way 11 times before resuming face to face meetings in June 2021. All meetings were minuted and displayed on the 2 public notice boards and our website.


Council has a responsibility to communicate with parishioners and good use was made of Lea Life, our occasional newsletter for which we continue to receive encouraging feedback. Additionally we now have a much improved website (introduced in 2021), use social media and face to face meetings as much as we can. Councillors are often in Lea Park, working or walking through and are happy to stop and chat. We also have useful conversations with parishioners and others at the Pop-up Pantry events held in Butler’s Pantry introduced during last summer. 


During last summer we carried out a major engagement exercise based around a questionnaire. The responses were carefully considered in one of our Council workshops in which we drafted the actions which Council proposed to take. The analysis and results were then tabulated, formally adopted by Council and distributed to all households. The outcomes from this work provided a valuable input into our village planning process and Councillor Leone will be covering this in more detail. This exercise has given us strong evidential data which will help in preparing funding bids.


Council is responsible for a number of assets and the facilities which these provide. Lea Park is the largest and features strongly in the 4 year plan. Much improvement has been made, for example, in recovering several areas which had become overgrown, the introduction of a wild flower meadow and the planting of a large number of saplings. The Park was very popular during the pandemic and particularly following installation of new picnic tables and benches. The popularity of the Park continues today. 


Council however is concerned about the underutilisation of some assets for example Butlers Pantry. Several Councillors and volunteers continued the work begun before lockdown to clean and redecorate internally. This effort coupled with improved electrics, installation of a fridge and other equipment means we now have a more attractive venue with improved functionality. It is used to very good effect at Pop-up and during the Halloween event held last year which was a great success despite atrocious weather.


Two areas of the Park are covered by lease conditions with the Council as landlord. These are the tennis courts and cricket area. Cricket was severely disrupted in 2020 and 2021. The senior teams have not played in Lea for at least 6 years and will not return. In 2021 the club could only play a restricted league fixture list. Having first moved to the Roses ground they are now established at Marshalls and compete in the Bassetlaw League under the new name of Gainsborough Cricket Club. At a recent meeting with representatives from the club Council was advised that Lea & Roses Cricket Club still exists in that it has a constitution and a bank account. However there are no playing members and the club expressed only a hope of playing 1 or 2 friendlies at Lea this year. Recovery of the pitch to a playing standard will be a challenge. The 1985 lease has a 99 year term.


This situation leaves the cricket field area severely underutilised. However we have agreed with Lea & Roses that an area of the outfield can be used for a new football experience for u11s in Lea Park. This is a safer location than the current kick-about area which is very near the main road. So this means we will be able to locate new goalposts to be bought out of Louis Slack’s absolutely tremendous fund raising effort. Well done Louis. 


By contrast, and with encouragement from the Council, the Tennis Club began to promote itself to increase membership. A number of events have been held; this has met with some success although there are still only a handful of members who live in Lea. They also secured funding which has enabled the courts to be resurfaced and new nets installed. Some further boost to membership however is still required to assure sustainability going forward.


Very briefly just a few more statements to round off. 


* The cost of services continue to increase, such as grass cutting, but this does include reclaimed areas in the park. 


*Following a survey in 2020 we have adopted a tree management plan. Felling dead trees and pollarding others is also costly. 


*Council reviews its financial situation at every meeting ensuring a reconciliation of bank account sums with income and expenditure. Budgeting is carried out in the autumn from which we determine the precept - the monies you pay to Lea Parish Council. There is a display of finance data and Cllr Leone will say more on this later. 


*We continue to use the policies in the Lea Neighbourhood Plan and other supporting documents in our assessment of planning applications. We dealt with 16 during the last two years.


*People - over the period we had 3 councillor resignations but 3 others were co-opted. In December 2020 Graham Barber resigned from the clerk’s role after approximately 4 years and we were pleased to appoint another parishioner, Barry Rooks, in his place. As you will see Graham has since re-joined as a councillor.


Personal sign off:

Chair for 3 years, quite eventful with challenges. However I have benefited hugely from the support of councillors and both clerks during this time. The Council works very well as a collective. A chair does not have individual executive powers - but is charged with ensuring the council functions efficiently and effectively. Perhaps that is something that you, ladies and gentlemen, need to assess and offer your feedback. I am glad to have had the opportunity to serve in this important role. 

I know that Council leadership is now in the very capable hands of Councillor Leone.


Thank you.


So, any questions on hold for now please, as we need to move on to our guest speaker, PCSO Glenn Patchett. Glenn, over to you.


Keith Austin


4.  PCSO Glenn Pratchett – strategies for addressing issues of speeding through Lea. Questions and answers. PC Ian Shaw also present to answer questions.  Presentation and discussion regarding methods to reduce speeding. Community speed watch discussed.  Appeal for volunteers to become involved.  Cllr Bailey to investigate the possibility of team(s) to run the scheme.  

Cll Leone announced that communication had been received from Lincs County Council Highways Dept stating that Gainsborough had met the criteria necessary for reducing the speed limit to 30mph.


5.  A review of the current situation for Lea Parish Council and future plans - new Chair Cllr Helen Leone.

Annual Village meeting presentation- Cllr Helene Leone 19th May 2022

Good evening and thank you for attending the 2022 Lea Annual Village meeting. My name is Helen Leone and earlier this month I was appointed Chair of Lea Parish Council having served previously as a Councillor and then Vice Chair. I have lived in the village since 1996 and did, for a period of 3 years, teach at Lea Primary School, so I know the village well.

I would like to reiterate that this is not a parish council meeting but has been organised by the parish council as 1 of its statutory duties, to give the electorate of Lea the opportunity to meet, discuss our village and have a say in what you feel is important to our village for the future and also how the money you pay as part of your council tax is spent. I’ll come back to money later.

Firstly I would like to thank PCSO Pratchett for attending our meeting this evening and explaining what we, working together as a community, could do to address this issue that is a genuine concern for so many village residents. I will be talking more about highways in a few moments and you will be invited to sign up to help at the end of the meeting.

I would like to start by giving you a brief introduction to your Parish Council. Lea Parish Council is currently made up of 8 parish councillors, some new to the role and some longer established, and a Parish Clerk. We are all here tonight though only myself as Chair and Graham Barber as Vice Chair are acting in our official capacity and Barry Rooks, the Clerk to the Council will be taking minutes for future reference. We currently have 1 PC vacancy so if you would be interested in finding out more about joining the Council an information pack about the Role of the Councillor and a simple application form is available from Barry. However, even at full capacity, 10 people is not enough to achieve all we want to achieve in moving this village forward and, even if you don’t want to commit to being a Councillor we desperately need volunteers to support us, maybe with a 1 off event or a small amount of time on a regular basis, any help is welcome. You will hear more about this over the next few minutes.

Over the last few years Council has worked hard to become a much more proactive Council, listening to the residents of Lea and creating a 4 year rolling programme so we can work with a clearer vision of priorities and how our valuable but small budget is best spent to have the most impact towards meeting those targets.

The 4 year plan was originally devised based on what Councillors thought the residents wanted but following the questionnaire and conversations with residents at events such as the Pop Up Pantry,  which confirmed the Councils’ ideas, the PC now believes the 4 yr plan does reflect village priorities but it is hoped that this meeting will serve to improve it further. Copies of that plan can be seen on the parish council website and the display board over there.

This is a very exciting time for Lea as, following the development on Willingham Rd, we have recently received the 1st of 2 pots of money. The money we have received is £24,888.80. This has the grand title of CIL (community infrastructure levy). Whilst the Parish Council holds that money in a separate account it is to be spent in such a way as it benefits as many of the village residents as possible for as long as possible, so it can’t be spent on a knees up for the over 60’s! This is why the Council needs to hear from you, as residents, including new residents, as to how that money should be spent.

Later this year or early next year, as properties on the development become occupied, we will be receiving a second and larger pot of money called the S106 money. As part of the planning process it has been agreed where this money has to be spent. The largest chunk of this money will go on redeveloping the U12 play area in Lea Park. This is why no monies have been spent recently even though we are aware that an update is well overdue. We have gathered ideas and quotes over the past couple of years and these can be seen over on the display. The display also shows an outline of the process we are obliged to follow, including tendering and consulting with children at the school, before a final plan is agreed. We could achieve much more if we could make a successful grant bid, so if anyone has any experience of applying for bids, especially if you have been successful or you are willing to give it a try, then a contribution of a bit of your time to help the Parish Council could make a huge difference for the children of our village. Think about how rewarding that would be. Another part of this fund is to develop a safe pathway from the new estate, through the woods and into the park. There is unlikely to be any funds left after this, so we must make the most of this great opportunity.

I hope you have had a bit of time to have a look at the displays around the room, there will be time at the end for you to have a read and councillors will be on hand at each board to try to answer any of your questions or make a note of any suggestions you have to make.

This year the Council has received £20,000 via WLDC as part of the Council Tax you pay. This is called the precept. Council decided to raise our portion of the Council Tax by just 2.5% this means we have just £500 more than last year. That rise equates to less than £1/household for the entire year. Out of that money we have to pay the wages of our Clerk, who is paid for 40hrs per month but we are sure he does a lot more, our insurance, which this year is £802.31 and for Tivoli to cut all the grass verges around the village and all of Lea Park, amounting to £9450.00. We also have to have the trees in Lea Park regularly surveyed and pay for the recommended work to be completed. Last year this amounted to £5,550. This leaves very little for everything else we want to achieve, so you can appreciate how tight our finances are, and this is why volunteers are so important. The more help we get, the more we can achieve.

The notice boards around the room show the different areas within the village that we have recently completed projects on and where more are planned.

Within Lea we are very lucky to have Lea Park, which was bought in 2 stages by the parish council. Along with the privilege of owning this park comes a great deal of responsibility and expense. I have already explained the cost of grass cutting and tree maintenance. Over the years a great deal of additional work has been completed by the Friends of Lea Park – a group of volunteers, but they have now disbanded and we thank them for their work – including planting the orchard, the bluebells, daffodils and snowdrops all of which have looked beautiful this year. This means that such jobs as keeping the paths clear and covered with bark chippings, removing tree ivy, pruning trees etc is now completed by a few members of the Council and a few volunteers. By undertaking this work these volunteers are saving you money from your precept. However there is always more that could be done – could you help by joining a work group for a couple of hours 1 morning a month?

Following recent improvements such as the purchase of the now well used benches and tables to create a picnic area, Council also wants to make further improvements to Lea Park – enlarging the car park, improving the signage and creating clearer zones for dog walkers and dog free areas – as well as the play park development. Please let us know your opinion on these ideas and let us know if you would like to be involved in the development of these ideas.

The small green areas around the village also come under the responsibility of the Parish Council. If you live on the Cromwell, Cavendish, Churchill estate maybe you could organise a working party to cut back the growth at the base of the trees on the green at the entrance to your estate so that the grass cutters can properly maintain that space. Let us know if you could organise that.

Pictures on the Butler’s Pantry display show the changes that have happened there over the past 2 years. This building is 1 of 2 buildings left from the time of Lea Hall, but it is not a listed building. Money from the precept has paid to have the electrics upgraded, replace damaged guttering and the installation of a new window and extractor fans. The rest of the work such as a full redecoration inside and out has again been completed by a few councillors and volunteers. Part of the money to pay for this redecoration has  been raised by the opening of the Pop Up Pantry, which is again run by 2 Councillors supported by volunteers. This has been really well received, especially the cakes. Maybe you could help so that the Pantry could be opened more often. Money raised helps the Council make the money from the precept go much further.

The final main area that the council has as a priority relates to Highways, which is why we invited PCSO Pratchett here tonight to talk to us all. The speed of traffic through and around the village and the lack of a safe crossing have long been issues the Council has sought to address. It is over 5 years since Council formally requested a speed and traffic flow survey in the village and Lincolnshire County Council have repeatedly responded that we were on the waiting list. An excellent project on these issues was undertaken by some of the children from Lea School, please see their work on the display over there as well as presenting their findings to our local MP, but still nothing happened. However, not long ago the survey did take place and following a request from Council for some feedback I can now read you this email I received in response:

The results of the speed surveys on Gainsborough Road you have referred to have established that, subject to the approval of the Planning and Regulation Committee, we will be able to progress a speed limit order to reduce the existing 40mph speed limit on Lea Rd to 30mph. This is a statutory process which will take a number of months to complete.

With regard to the Parish Council’s request for a crossing on the A156, please can you provide further information on a preferred location for this facility, bearing in mind that a survey will be required to check its viability against policy criteria, so a genuine desire line where a higher number of pedestrians cross will increase the chance of justifying a scheme.

This is a major step forward towards making our village safer for all residents, but the need for some of the measures explained by PCSO Pratchett may be needed even more! I have been in contact with information about installing a crossing near The Green but am awaiting a response. I hope it won’t take 5 years! Council will let you know the progress of this via the Lea Life newsletter.

Finally I hope that you are all aware that Lea Parish Council is hosting a large event in Lea Park on Sunday 5th June to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Council are delighted that so many of the village societies have come together to organise this event. It is a long time since Lea had such an event. (Raffle Tickets are available to purchase from Jill so please be generous). Those of you who have lived here for many years may well remember the May Celebrations that used to take place annually. We hope as many as possible of you come down to the park to join in the celebrations. You will be receiving an invite and programme of events over the next few days. As I mentioned earlier, Lea Park was bought in 2 sections but the official opening of Lea Park as we know it took place 49 years ago – so if this year’s event goes well we have every excuse for a 50 year party next year – if we get enough volunteers to help!

I am sure I have said enough. We would like to hand this meeting over to you the residents to raise any issues you have, ask any questions or make any suggestions. I ask that just 1 person speaks at a time. Your comments will be minuted by Barry for Council to consider at future meetings. Any proposals made that are seconded can be voted upon but council is not bound to act on them. We plan to provide a summary of this meeting in the next edition of Lea Life. If you would like to let council know about anything but don’t want to say it in public, you can always contact council via email or phone – details are on the display over there.

Does anyone wish to make any comment or ask a question.

 6. Questions/discussions/issues from the floor.  Relevant discussions will continue at future Lea Parish Council meetings, which residents are welcome to attend. 

6.1  Dogs in Lea Park

6.2  Litter picks

6.3  Toilets in the park

6.4  50 yr party

6.5  Cricket pitch  

6.6  Volunteers.  A number of residents signed up to volunteer for various activities.


7. Summary of meeting from Lea Life June 2022 delivered to all village residents

Annual Village Meeting 19 May 2022

Lea Parish Council would like to thank all the residents who attended the Annual Village meeting. After a summary of the last 3 years, by Cllr Keith Austin, we were pleased to welcome PCSO Glenn Pratchett and his colleague to explain the concept of Community Speed Watch. Analysis of the recent whole village questionnaire highlighted excess speed through the village as being an area of concern. Community speed watch is a system whereby volunteers are trained by the Police to use hand held speed guns to monitor the speed of vehicles. Teams of 3 then monitor the speed of vehicles in the village. Several very kind, community minded people volunteered to become part of the village speed watch team but we need more. If you are concerned about speeding through the village this is your opportunity to do something about it. If you would like more information about the scheme or would like to sign up please do not hesitate to contact the Parish Council at or 07791088761. With enough volunteers, the commitment could be just an hour a month.

This scheme is soon to become more important because, after many years of campaigning by the Parish Council and Lea School, something is about to change in our village. This is an extract from an email recently received from Lincs County Council Highways Dept

The results of the speed surveys on Gainsborough Road … have established that, subject to the approval of the Planning and Regulation Committee, we will be able to progress a speed limit order to reduce the existing 40mph speed limit on Lea Rd to 30mph. This is a statutory process which will take a number of months to complete.

We need you to ensure that 30mph means 30mph. The more people who come forward to help, the more effective these changes will be. HELP US MAKE OUT VILLAGE SAFER.

 Other issues were discussed and will now form part of future Parish Council meeting agendas where they can be further discussed and decisions made:

Changes within Lea Park, such as increasing the capacity of the car park,

fencing off of areas to be designated as dog free and dogs on a lead areas with clear signage. Public Space Protection Orders recommend dogs on lead throughout the park, dogs banned from Play Area,.

Future use of the land leased to Lea and Roses Cricket Club

Over 12 provision in Lea Park

Public toilets in Lea Park

Litter – especially from Gainsborough take aways, and more litter bins

Identification of “registered” footpaths as recorded by National Geographic

50 Year celebrations of Lea Park

Overgrown hedges a problem at various points around the village

Please contact Lea Parish Council or attend a Council meeting if you wish to contribute your opinion on any of these issues.