Parish council AGM: Chairpersons remarks

Chairpersons Report 2019/2020

This year has again brought many challenges. Being elected to chair the council the first time has been a great honour and I hope over the last year I have improved my performance. Following on from the previous chairs- Cllrs Mike McVeigh and Lena Hogg is difficult as they have so much experience and knowledge. I have benefited greatly from their advise and help in many issues. We have said a farewell to former councillor Leigh Mossop who had to retire due to ill health and would like to again thank him for his hard work and dedication and we have gained a new councillor in Ryan Fitzwilliam and welcomed him to the council.
After the recent elections saw the boundaries change so we now have only two within the parish -North and South wards. The council retained the excellent works of Ryan Fitzwilliam, Tom Higgins, Lena Hogg, Jean Lewthwaite, Mike McVeigh, Sam Pollen, Wilf Sibson and of course myself – we now have had to say bood bye to two more councillors- Jacqui Smith and John Burns. I wish to thank them both for the work they have done in their time on the council. The council has gained two more new additions Graham Calvin and Steven Bell. I give them congratulations and welcome them in joining us and look forward to working with them in the future.
We have commemorated the 100th anniversary of the great war. The armistice celebrations though sombre were all well attended. We place our own display of flowing poppies, silent soldiers and Neslon planted a display for the RAF opposite the cemetery. Moor row also commemorated the centenary with an amazing wall mural.
The town council is lucky to have excellent and dedicated staff which once again managed us through difficult but also many positive issues.
There have been new challenges facing all businesses apart from the usual of sickness and injuries – the implementation of the GDPR ‘general data protection regulations and a data base for the information which meant we have had to take on another member of staff and now there are new regulations for cemeteries and burials to implement also. We have also had to raise the towns precept – That’s the allowance the council receives from the council tax. We have had to do this in response to the continued government austerity which means many of the tasks that both county and borough councils can no longer perform have to be done by town or parish councils.
I have no doubt we will be able to solve these issues and any further problems with the help of the fantastic staff that we have and run the council as efficiently in the future as we have in the past.
Now here are some of our successes – and future challenges from over 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.
We must thank again the hard work and amazing dedication of our Cemetery curator- Nelson Shepherd. Without Nelson we would not have such an fantastic cemetery which is the pride of community. The cemetery receives many accolades from afar but it is the accolades from near that mean the most and all of the parishioners say the same that the grounds always look fantastic. Nelson has recently constructed a greenhouse so he can grow plants for the cemetery instead of the council having to always purchase them. This once again shows how fortunate we are to have him working for us.
Thank you again Nelson

Market Hall
The Market hall had seen many improvements the previous year – a new kitchen, flooring, work tops in the supper room, new windows and lighting as well as security system. We are looking to improve the market again with extending the WI-FI coverage to encompass the whole building and to have possible air conditioning units or fans fitted.
The hall is still well used and this year we have many different types of classes including dog training, dance, fitness, martial arts and self-defence as well as event like Crab fair, Chrstmas and furs n feathers.
The stage looks great with a new mural painted on the rear wall. The mural of the castle gate house really sets the feel of the main hall and all who see it say how lovely it is.
There are challenges however. The main challenge is that whilst we have regular users who contribute well we don’t have enough bookings- this is not only our problem but a nation wide problem with many clubs being underused or even closing but hopefully with our continued investment and dedicated staff we can attract more to fantastic hall, hopefully we can widen our scope and include more dinners, weddings and conferences.
Our hall caretaker – Lee Groves continues to do a great job in maintaining the facility. His continued diligence and works mean that we can continue to cover the events and workshop that already take place and hopefully we can gain even more.
Thanks again Lee.

All allotments can be challenging but Sandholes is on its own.
Last year alone we erected -twice, cut back both sides of the embankment and had a major water leak. Over the last year there hasn’t been as many issues – we have once again filled the potholes on the entry road but the biggest problem is that many holders having asbestos and other such thing hidden from view as well as major fly tipping. These cost the council much money. whilst it is no problem for us to solve these it is a waste of recourses and hopefully won’t continue.
Pest control has continued to carry out monthly visits. it appears that having them monthly has worked and certainly there has been less reports of rat sightings. Ee have recently changed these visits to quarterly however this can be increased in the rats return.
East Road Site
Last year we improved the access road to East Road allotment site with tarmac. We had a issue with weeds growing throughout this has since been resolved. Many allotments have been underworked and unfortunately through ill health many have become vacant. Hopefully all new tenants will work the plots has diligently as the previous as the site has always been well maintained and has always looked lovely.
Bridge End Site
Like east road the Bridge end site has seen an increase in the number of vacant plots due to tenants ill health. This has meant that this normally beautiful and well maintained site has become less so. We have also had many issues regarding waste collecting on perimeter hedges as well as a rabbit infestation We have had a major issue in regard to the boundary wall which is now being resolved with the help of CBC.
The allotment and garage rents have remained the same.
-£50.00 per allotment
-£65.00 per Garage
-There are no planned increases for 2020/2021
Calderwood House are once again given free rent for a plot on the East Road Site.

Bowling Green
The bowling green and its members continue to work hard to attract new members to join the club and this will hopefully be encourage by its increased profine through the school tournament which was into its third year as well as a Councillors vs Bowling Green committee.
I wish the committee Good luck and thank them for the dedication.

Cumbria in Bloom
This is the 3rd year we have entered the town in the competition and as we had done the previous years we achieved great result receiving the Silver-Gilt medal for 2018. Once again this year we aim to achieve even higher awards. Many thanks must gain go to Nelson Sheperd and Geraldine Pritchard for their endevours as well and the works4you/lengthsment team for their hard work and performing miracles especially with the extreme heat last year and ensuring the flowers and plants were so well maintained,
Part of this years Egremont entry will be from the Fire Station who recieved an award also, The Core youth club, Calderwood Allotment, the Bowling Green who deservedly recieved two awards, Bookwell Primary School who also recieved an award and who continue to look over the sensory garden in the castle, St Bridgets and Orgill Schools are also planting the castle this year so hopefully it will be onward and upwards for Egremont in this prestigious competition.

Joint Working
The lengthsman scheme continues to work well. We have continued with our allowance for scheme and the town has certainly benefitted from it. We hope to continue to work in partnership to ensure that the parish remains as attactive as it can be.
The previous year Copeland Pride of Place scheme had been disappointing in that not many businesses took up the offer of up to £5,000 match funding -however this year many of the businesess decided to take part and have now improved their shop frontages and the main street looks the better for it.
The second faze of the scheme began fully from April 2018. The second faze is public relam. Copeland have offered each major town £75,000 with additional funding of £18,000 for designs. Sellafield LTD have match funded the scheme. We have been working with the Copeland team over the last year to first create a scheme and then to implement it. Initial designs haven’t met the criteria the council would like for it to benefit the town and more meetimgs and new designs will be taken into consideration. We hope for a sucessful outcome and much needed investment into the town centre.
The new recycling scheme continues to be a success and the town council continues to help with the issuing of boxes and lids. The main street looks much better for more recycling occuring.
The sellafield Park n Ride scheme began from March 2018. Initially it was a limiited success and further implementation meant more on street and estate parking by worker and staff alike causing problems and endagering the public. Several meetings have taken place and nuch more thought and reassesment from SL regarding the further implementation of the shceme has helped to resolve many of the issues.
There was also the fantastic news of the £8 million flood defence scheme get the go ahead and financing meaning that Egremont estates will now be floodless. There will be new water holding ponds as well as new pipe works for both Skirting and whangs becks and investment into the dilapidated former redgrar sports area.
We have been working will Sellafield ltd on possible further investments into the town and parish and other joint working with the borough council on the town plan as well.
Egremont Town Centre
The dilapidated buildings on the main street continue to stand idle and falling further into disrepair. Former Red lion inn has had to scafolding put in place to hold the frontage up and is set to be demolished, it appears that the former Tommy Kellys store will follow in the same way. This will make it safe but a hole will be in their stead. The toilets remain un opened and falling further into disrepair also has are several other properties. Several more businesess have closed leaving more empty shops. Some good news is that the we have had most of the main street road resurfaced, along with chapel street including the carpark and the road by the castle. The former cinema site is to be developed, the half built works nearby have also shown signs that it will be completed and the CBC public realm scheme will be completed by the end of the year. Getting these new buildings in place, new homes built and completing the public realm will certainly benefit the parish and its residents.
The councillors continue are to carry on with the 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 completed the refurbishing the poster point (which is well used), the council also replaced several old or damaged litter bins with new ones and painted the street furniture. We continue to work with County Council where needed – especially with street lighting , lamp columns and uneven kerbs and on street parking which continues to pose a danger to the public.
We have continued with the the regular community litter picking, seven this year, which are carried out by dedicated councillors, residents of Calderwood House, staff from the Cooperative stores and other town and parish residents. I would like to thank all who attend these regular events for the hard work and dedication. Without their help the town would not look as good as it does and I hope more events happen again over this next year and into the future to help restore pride in our amazing parish.

Good Citizens Award
The good citizens award for 2018 went to Mr James Pullin for the tireless work he carries out every year selling poppies to raise money for the Royal British Legion doing this despite of his health in all weather conditions.
Best wishes to him and hopefully he can continue to raise funds and awareness for the veterans club.

Grants & Donations
The council has given many grants to a many organisations, clubs and charities over the last year. some small , some larger.
With the sad news that the amenity committee couldn’t find any more funding the Christmas event was the last however the council have taken over the Christmas lights to the cost of £15,000 for three years.
As you can see the council is continuing to move forward – positively and constructively. That it continues to be well managed dedicated to beyond what is needed staff and I would like to thank them all for the effort and commitment -It can’t be said enough-I would like to thank you Nelson, Lee, Geraldine, Cheryl and Nicola. Thanks from all the councillors for all your help, advice and support

Finally I would like to thank my fellow councillors for the support they have shown me over the year.

Thank you all.