Following the easing of restrictions relating to the coronavirus situation, we were able to resume our schedule of parish council meetings, except in January of this year, due to the absence of 2 members, and the untimely death of another, which meant we did not have a quorum. The sudden loss of Rob Lomas, meant that we had a vacancy to fill, and we are pleased to welcome onto the council Jessica Job, who we hope will bring a different perspective into our deliberations, being much younger that the rest of us.
We have managed our expenses within our budget, and are pleased to maintain the precept on residents at the same total level as previous years, which has actually meant a reduction per household due to the slight increase in the number of residential properties in the village.
The modest funds carried over from previous years enabled us to commission a new Parish Council website. The previous one was becoming “dated” and difficult to maintain if problems occurred. Fortunately, one of our residents is in the IT business and has developed a new site for us, which is easier to manage (now that it has settled down) and for which maintenance will be much easier to manage.
We have continued to maintain the village assets for the benefit and enjoyment of our residents and visitors alike; this includes the Playing Field, (where we have cleaned, re-stained and put new plaques on the benches, and purchased and installed a new sign over the gate) the Pinfold and the War Memorial amongst other things. Unfortunately, someone decided to set fire to the litter bin in the park last December, and we are awaiting the installation of a replacement. We would like to thank Heinz and Joyce Offermanns for their work in maintaining the War Memorial area over many years.
Due to the relatively late lifting of Covid restrictions and the amount of notice required to be given to South Yorkshire Police and DMBC, the Royal British Legion was not able to organise the traditional parade to the War Memorial on Remembrance Sunday. A “reduced” ceremony was held in the Playing Field before the laying of wreaths. At this stage, due to changes in policy at SYP and DMBC, it looks as though there will not be a parade this year, or for the foreseeable future. RBL will liaise with us and the authorities to see what can be arranged for this year.
Despite the continuing, albeit less stringent, Covid restrictions, we were able to once again provide the Senior Citizens’ Christmas Lunch in the pub, which was attended by some 34 residents. Thanks to Sally and her team for preparing and serving an enjoyable meal, and to Jill for organising.
We also provided and decorated the Village Christmas Tree, and were once again able to hold the usual Carol Singing and Mince Pie and Mulled Wine event, led by Fr. Chris Herbert.
We have maintained our programme of litter picking along the various lanes leading into the village and taken part in the national Great British Spring Clean campaign. As always, we welcome any help with this never-ending issue, and we recognise and appreciate the efforts of those residents who continue to keep our roadsides clean outside of the organised litter pick events. Special mention must go to Brenda Grimes, who leads by example in this regard.. Anyone interested in joining in with this much needed activity can do so by contacting any member of the Parish Council.
DMBC support our efforts by promptly collecting all the litter we find and bag up, and they have also put up more signs on The Abbe’s Walk and Scorcher Hills Lane, though, sadly, this does not seem to deter those who choose to dump their rubbish at the roadside.
We continue to monitor the local Public Rights of Way and request maintenance and cutting back of trees and vegetation as necessary.
We continue to lobby both the Police and DMBC Highways regarding speed restrictions through the village, though our suggestions regarding speed monitoring signs were not able to be implemented due to our financial limitations and objections from residents in the immediate vicinity of the proposed preferred siting of such equipment.
We were pleased to meet with the new owners of Burghwallis Hall, sold after several years of waiting to see what would happen to this village asset. The owners have plans to remove much of the relatively new build parts of the property, and to restore it, at least outwardly, to something like its original appearance.
During the past year, we have lost a number of residents, John Moses, Ty Davidson, Dave Clark, Josh Briggs, Raymond Rounthwaite, and Parish Councillor Rob Lomas.
As a sign of sympathy for the current situation in eastern Europe, we are currently flying the Ukrainian flag.
In the near future (June 5th), there will be a Platinum Jubilee event in the village, based in the Playing Field and The Burghwallis pub. This is being organised by non Parish Council members, though members of the council are actively involved in planning the event and helping to manage it on the day. Publicity material is being/has been distributed around the village and the neighbouring areas in order to ensure a good turnout, and to hopefully raise a significant amount of money for a charity supporting those suffering from the situation in Ukraine.
We are currently in discussions about finding an alternative venue for Parish Council meetings, as there is an issue with using the Function Room at The Burghwallis. The long term solution is probably to use St. Helen’s church in the village, though this will not be available until the repairs are completed later in the year.
Now, an update on our Future Priorities statement from 2018.
As already mentioned, our litter picking activities carry on, with support from DMBC.
We continue to plant wildflower seeds in the Playing Field, and to maintain the hedging that we have planted, particularly along Scorcher Hills Lane. We also managed to trim back the trees in the Playing Field that overhang the pavement on Grange Lane, with the help of local farmer, Willie Seels.
Playing Field (and Pinfold) inspections continue to be made and reported weekly. We were able to perform maintenance work on the wet pour surfaces in the Playing Field, which were contracting from the perimeter edging.
The war memorial wall still appears to be stable. All other historic sites are in good order; we obtained and installed covers for the well and pond in the Pinfold, as a safety precaution.
We continue to support the “public” buildings in the village, and the church which has been closed for some time is scheduled to have the roof repairs completed later in the year.
We would like to thank the residents of our village for your continued support of our activities, and we hope that we can rely on your support in the future.
This report is presented at the Annual Village Meeting in May, and published on the website. If any residents have any queries or comments on the content, please contact us via the clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org.