Egremont Town Council
Chairpersons Report 2018/2019
This has been a year of challenges and rewards for the town council which once again have been managed by our competent staff and the challenges brought to positive conclusions.
Some of the challenges were brought on by staff sickness and accident injuries but the bulk has been, and will be in the future, the change in legislation that enforces changes in how we work as a council and how we deal with personal information we hold about our staff, councillors, residents and partners. The legal requirements have changed regarding how much and what kind of personal data we keep and sometimes that can conflict with what we need to run the council efficiently.
I have no doubt we will be able to solve the issues and run the council as efficiently in the future as we have in the past, yes we will get there – we always do, it will just take time and patience.
Now for some of our successes in the past year.
Once again the Jubilee Garden won an award from Cumbria in Bloom, it was the outstanding award – Top award for the 4th time in a row.
The council entered the whole of the cemetery for the first time and won runner up of the provincial insurance trophy in the churchyard category.
Nelson Shepherd (our cemetery worker) recycled some bird boxes which were donated by Works 4 You Ltd, now there are bird boxes in many trees and bushes throughout the cemetery grounds.
Praise keeps coming in regarding the cemetery and the way it is kept. Nelson treats it as if it were his own garden at home and is always improving the look of the grounds which brings praise from everyone who goes into the cemetery including visitors from other parts of the country and abroad.
Thank you Nelson
The Market hall has seen many improvements this year including a brand new fitted kitchen with a cooker and new flooring and new lighting.
It really looks good and should hopefully widen the scope of the people who hire the hall to include more dinners/weddings and conferences.
There have been improvements to the upstairs supper room too with new lighting and worktops.
New windows have been fitted to in the kitchen and toilets and new lighting in the cloakroom has made a vast difference to the aura of the place.
To ensure security the intruder alarm system has been upgraded, this should also prevent false alarms that often used to bring Lee Groves (Caretaker) out at all sorts of weird times to attend in case there had been a burglary.
The hall is still well used and this year we have additional classes of martial arts and self-defence.
Many of the users remark how accommodating Lee is and he is always willing to help in any way possible.
Thank you Lee.
The allotments can be challenging with a major leak at this site costing over £3000 this year, let’s hope this will now sort out the enormous cost of the water bill for this site.
The bollard which we erected on this site to deter cars from using the road as a race track, this was damaging the road and causing flooding into the allotments.
Pest control has been carried out with monthly visits from the pest controller it appears to have worked and certainly there has been less reports of rat sightings.
East Road Site
We improved the access road to East Road allotment site as there are a large number of garages on this site and the condition of the road had deteriorated very badly over the last few years. It will hopefully prevent the chances of any vehicle damage from pot holes.
Bridge End Site
There is one vacant plot on this site and therefore it can be offered to people outside the parish, other than that, this site appears to run by itself with not many issues arising.
The allotment and garage rents have risen to
£50.00 per allotment
£60.00 per Garage
There is no planned increase for 2019/2020
Calderwood House are given free rent for a plot on the East Road Site.
This should enable the centre to grow some of the vegetables and fruit to help their budget stretch a bit further.
The bowling green and its members are working hard to encourage new members to join and this effort has been helped by the Councillors on the Bowling Green committee by holding successful school tournaments for the last 2 years and another one planned for this year.
The general idea is to introduce primary and secondary age pupils to try the sport and hopefully get some interested along with their parents.
Good luck committee.
Cumbria in Bloom
This is the first year we have entered the town in the competition and we did very well really, we achieved a bronze medal award in the category “Pride in your community 2017” and are aiming even higher this year.
We have received confirmation to be part of Egremont’s entry from the Fire Station, The Core, Calderwood Allotment and the Bowling Green and Bookwell Primary School have agreed to take over the sensory garden in the castle, so hopefully onward and upwards for Egremont in this prestigious competition.
The Town clerk and Nelson are working on new ideas that include an assortment of recycling displays.
The lengthsman scheme is working well, this is year 2 of a 2 year scheme and the town has certainly benefitted from it so next year a decision will need to be taken with regards going forward with another scheme.
The Copeland Pride of Place scheme has been disappointing in that not many businesses took up the offer of up to £5,000 match funding from Copeland council to improve and enhance their premises.
The new recycling scheme appears to have been a success with the Town council giving out over 2000 lids for the boxes, let’s hope they are all well used and less plastics get into the oceans of the world.
Egremont Town Centre
The dilapidated buildings on the main street continue to stand idle although the briefing from the elected mayor on Tuesday 15th May promises things are at last moving forward. Getting these buildings improved would certainly benefit the parish and its residents.
The councillors continue to carry out monthly inspections of the main street and the buildings and highlight issues to the relevant parties, we are determined to keep the pressure on until some improvements are made.
The council have started these improvements by refurbishing the poster point (which is well used), replacing the old/damaged litter bins with new ones and painting the street furniture. The County Council had done their bit also by painting all the street lamp columns and levelling the uneven kerbs which posed a danger to the public.
The actions I feel that has had the most impact on our town is the regular community litter picks carried out by dedicated councillors, residents of Calderwood House, staff from the Cooperative stores and others. I would like
to thank them personally for all their hard work over the past year and hope it continues and more residents get involved.
Good Citizens Award
The good citizens award went to Steve Foster who has been Chairman of the Crab Fair committee for many years and who has not only led the celebrations but improved them year on year.
The crab fair brings visitors to Egremont from all over the world, the money they spend benefits the businesses and for a week at least, Egremont is in the spotlight nationally and globally – long may it continue.
The council has given many grants to a variety of organisations and clubs some of the larger ones being:
£10,000 Special celebration year for Crab Fair
£1350 Foodbank to enable an advice worker to continue for a further year
£100 ¼ page advert in the Calderwood event programme
£110 Planning costs for Moor Row School to display banner
£200 Rosehill tickets and travel costs to enable the Core members to attend and event
£500 Lowes Court – another £500 pledged (and since paid) for 2018/2019
£50 towards booking fee for Calderwood’s race night
£500 Egremont Rugby Union – towards flood defence works
My budget is all spent up, but I think it made some people happy, well I hope so.
£140.53 to the Bowling Green for floral provision
£10 gift for ex CC Henry Wormstrup
£60 ticket for Calderwood event
£30 Flowers in thanks to the retired clerk for her help in the office.
£38.76 Christmas presents for staff
£34.33 Gift of a pen for retiring reverend Lee.
The remainder will go to Calderwood house to purchase necessities for residents moving on to a place of their own, and good luck to them.
As you can see the council is moving forward very positively and being well managed by loyal and competent staff and I would like to thank them all for the effort and commitment they have once again shown to the council, the councillors and of course to the residents of the parish.
Thank you Geraldine, Cheryl, Lee, and Nelson and of course over the past weeks to Nicola as well, may you always show the same support to the councillors and may it always be recognised.
Finally I would like to thank my fellow councillors for the support they have shown me over the year, the chair may be the figurehead but ALL the councillors’ work for the parish.
Thank you all.