Thursday, 30th January, 2003
Area Council Members: Councillors Mrs June Butler, (Chair) Mrs Scaife and Horne.
Co-optees: County Councillor M. Hindley and Lesley Jackson.
Residents: . C. Achaski, J. Ahmed, R. Ainscow, J. Baron, K. Briars, J. Clarke, R. Clugston, R. Collinge, C. Crook, T. Fisher, T. Foster, S.M. Freza, G. Newton M.B.E., C. Hammerton, D. Haworth, S. Haworth, F. Hoyle, A. Kinsella, N. McIntosh, G. McMillan, Mr & Mrs Masterman, L. Pilkington, G. Preshoa, Rev. M. Dowd, L. Scarr, G. Smale, P.A. Smith, A. Snowden, S. Southward, I.M. Waddington, S. Waddington, M. Woodruff.
Officers attending: Dan Sherry, Stephen Kenyon, Steve Watson, Steve Tanti, Linda Dean, Ann Harwood,
Janet Simpson, LCC, B. Emmett and G. Lawlor, LCC Youth & Community
J. Ahmed, Hyndburn C.V.S.
Police Attending Inspector O’Reilly, PS 392 Langley, Gt.Harwood Police.
810 The Chairman welcomed residents to the meeting of the Rishton Area Council.
Apologies for Absence
811 Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of J. Achasi and A. Presho.
Minutes of the Meeting of 18th September 2002 and 17th October 2002
812 The minutes of the two meetings of the Area Council were submitted (Paper A).
Resolved - That the Minutes be received and approved as a correct record.
Feedback on the Open Forum
813 The Chairman reported that three open forum questions had been received at the last meeting and one submitted during the Open Forum session.
Two questions had been submitted by Mr. Parker, who was not present at the meeting. Replies to these questions would be sent to him directly.
The third question related to Holt Street Recreation ground and was replied to later in the meeting by Councillor Myles.
What’s Happening About
814 Spring Street/Cliff Street Traffic Calming Scheme– Councillor Scaife advised that the consultation period on the 20mph speed limit had now finished and following no objections being received the scheme would soon commence with completion expected in Summer 2003.
Chapel Street flats site: Councillor Horne reported that a further request to tidy up this area had been made and that assistance from local groups had been sought to assist with this problem.
Buses below the bridge: Councillor Butler referred the residents to the response received from David Chapman the County Council’s assistant Bus Services Co-ordinator, included in the pack provided.
Councillor Butler reported that both sides of the bus problem had been discussed at a recent Bus Forum and until the 9th March 2003 Prime Coaches would continue to operate below the bridge. A further 3 coach operators had submitted tenders for the routes.
Parker Street Traffic Calming–Steve Watson referred the residents to details in the information pack on the accidents which had been recorded in the 5 year period to December 2001.
Butler Street Traffic: Councillor Horne reported on the traffic problems on Butler Street and advised that the Highways Department were anxious to receive information from the residents about the problems.
Steve Watson advised that a chart of the area was on display in the hall for residents to mark particular traffic hazards. This information would then be passed to the Highways department for them to consider possible solutions to the problems.
Councillor Butler welcomed Inspector O’Reilly to the meeting and proposed him as co-optee.
Councillor Butler also wished to thank Phillip Anderton for his services to the community and welcomed Abigail Winstanley, also from Eaves Brook, as his replacement. Both Inspector O’Reilly and Abigail Winstanley were proposed as co-optees, both proposals were moved and seconded.
Setting the Budget
815 Stephen Kenyon, Head of Accountancy, explained that the purpose of the meeting was to inform residents of the process used by the Council to set the budget and of the options available to the Council in order to balance the budget.
The residents were advised that this was their opportunity to influence decisions made by the Council by completing the questionnaire distributed in the hall and returning it the Council.
Stephen Kenyon provided a presentation of slides which guided the residents through the process of setting the Council’s budget and explained that the figures used in the slides referred to the budget for year 2002/2003. A copy of the slides were available to all the residents to assist their understanding of the presentation.
Stephen Kenyon explained the current valuation banding of properties in Hyndburn and advised that the properties were last valued for Council Tax purposes in 1991. The total Council Tax Bill for the year 2002/2003 for each band was also provided.
The presentation slides identified the various departments within the authority and Stephen Kenyon gave a brief explanation of each department and its purpose. The residents were advised of the services provided by the Lancashire County Council and Lancashire Police Authority and how these costs were incorporated into the Council Tax paid in each household for the year 2002/2003. A further breakdown of the 2002/2003 Revenue Budget, detailing the departmental spend in the authority was also explained to the residents.
Stephen Kenyon explained how the total spend of the authority was funded by income from the Council Tax, Business Rates and Government Grant.
The presentation continued with provisional details of the Revenue Budget for 2003/2004 which identified proposed cuts and costs for consideration by the Council. The provisional means of funding for 2003/2004 were explained to the residents and the provisional shortfall in funds, to be funded from Council Tax was identified.
Stephen Kenyon explained a short list of proposed growth items and advised that further items, considered as priorities would be put forward by the controlling group together with the outcome of this consultation process.
The residents were informed that each 1% increase in the Council tax generates an approximate increase of an additional £40,000 for the Council to spend.
Stephen Kenyon explained that there are to be a further seven of these special budget meetings to be held at each of the Area Council venues to broaden consultation on the issue of budget. The proposed budget would be presented to Cabinet on the 11th February followed by presentation of the final budget to full Council on the 25th February 2003. The Council tax bills will be issued on the 14th March 2003.
816 Q: What sort of improvement grants are available?
A: Stephen Kenyon advised that there are disability adaptations, where renovation take place to bring properties to a good standard of repair. These are provided for in legislation and have to be means tested when submitted to the Council.
Q: Where in the budget are Health Centres catered for?
A: Stephen Kenyon advised that Health Centres were part of the NHS budget controlled by Central Government.
Q: Why is there such a high spend on Leisure?
A: Councillor Myles explained that the Leisure Services included parks play areas, Haworth Art Gallery and many other amenities throughout the borough. Whilst appreciating the generosity of the residents of Rishton Councillor Myles explained the high costs involved in maintaining the parks and pitches.
Q: A resident asked why the County Council element was so high?
A: County Councillor Hindley replied that the County provides the statutory services such as Education and that this was decided by National Government and neither District or County Councils can alter the equation.
Q: Over the last 10 years there have been 5 restructures, services have not improved so why another restructure?
A: Stephen Kenyon advised that following changes in the Works department there would be a number of savings which would contribute to the savings of £700,000.
Q: Where is the Council Tax from Rishton spent, it appears to be all spent in Accrington.
A: Councillor Barton replied that the Area Council councillors are continually keeping an eye on spend and ensuring that Rishton gets its fair share.
Q: What has happened to regeneration in Accrington, as discussed at the last Area Council meeting?
A: Councillor Horne advised that the regeneration was for the 4 most deprived wards of Accrington and the SRB scheme was designed by the Government and spent as directed by the Government, although there were attempts being made to extend the 4 wards across the Borough. Central Government finance the SRB fund, it does not come out of the Council Tax.
Q: We want more flower beds, hanging baskets in the Rishton area. There are plenty in Baxenden and Accrington but they stop on the boundary of Rishton.
A: Steve Tanti advised that the authority attempts to spread the budget for floral decorations and ground maintenance across the Borough.
A resident stated that due to the 9% increase required by Lancashire County an ideal increase of 3 to 4% could not be afforded by many of the residents
A resident asked if there was any part of the budget, which dealt with roads sinking, due to the level of traffic in the estates.
Dan Sherry advised that the County is responsible for road repairs. The district has a small budget which is for paths and community lighting. He advised the resident to contact his County Councillor on this issue.
Q: Is the element in the budget for Hyndburn First to attract funding or to put cash into the scheme?
A: Dan Sherry advised that the Hyndburn First budget is used to seek out additional funding such as match funding from Central Government.
Meeting adjourned for 5 minutes.
817 Luke Scarr gave a presentation on the Youth Council which provided a back ground on the activities of the Youth Council. He explained the aims of the Council and encouraged the youth of Rishton to make their expectations and opinions known. Luke advised that the joining age was 12 and that meetings were held at the Youth Complex in Accrington on Tuesdays, after 4pm.
Luke thanked the residents for listening.
Holt Street Recreation
818 Councillor Myles provided an update on the Holt Street recreation and advised that there was no intention of changing the land from green belt to brown. In the Council’s Best Value review in 2000 the Council agreed to reduce 20% of its land held within the Leisure portfolio. The rec. was one of the pieces of land allocated to the 20%. reduction. To change this would require a change to policy and although this is possible consideration should be given to utilising alternative pieces of land, for example Chapel Street Flats. Councillor Myles agreed that there is a need for play provision both above and below the bridge and ideally local community groups could work together using local knowledge to produce the best option for the recreation areas.
A member of the Friends of Rishton Youth advised that with the full support and co-operation of all the residents, both above and below the bridge, progress could be made.
Councillor Myles stated that the problems with improving the rec. included the renewal of the lease with the Dunkenhalgh estate.
Councillor Myles reported that there had been extensive improvements this year on 5 play areas in the Borough and that there are approximately 30 play areas in total across the Borough. The aim of the Council was to improve 4 play areas each year.
819 The Chairman invited residents to have their say on any matter by asking questions or completing the appropriate form.
A resident had asked if tarmac or gravel could be laid on the walkway from the end of Walmsley Avenue through Eachill gardens. The path currently being a mud bath and a hazard for all users.
Councillor Butler advised that enquiries were being made of the property section to establish if it is a public right of way. If it is then funding to do the work would be sought.
A resident asked if the bollards at the end of the guinnel could be replaced. Councillor Butler advised that this would be put on the agenda when the path had been repaired.
Councillor Butler reported that following a letter in the press both herself and Councillor Scaife had contacted the LEA regarding the change in the catchment area for Norden County High School, which now affected Rishton students. She advised that discussions were continuing and that an update would be provided at the next Area Council meeting.
The residents discussed the Armistice Day band and route taken. A representative of the British Legion advised that the change in route was to accommodate the senior members of the British Legion and that despite strenuous efforts they were unable to engage a band for the event.
A resident complained about the condition and in some cases lack of road signs in Rishton and asked for these to be checked and repaired/replaced.
A resident complained about the drain work in Cuttwood Park and wished it to be recorded that the work was not satisfactory. The pathway past the goal posts had only been partly repaired and that two thirds was still in a dangerous state. The resident asked if the cost to repair the remainder of the path was determined and considered for funding from 2003/4 Area council budget.
Councillor Scaife agreed that the path had partly sank and stated that the parks and open spaces officer would be contacted to determine what remedial action could be undertaken.
Residents expressed concern at the dangerous fencing brackets leading down to the canal.
A resident forwarded the information that Prospects with Hyndburn Borough Council and the Waterways intend to make improvements to the pathway down to the canal. The brackets would be covered up with flowerbeds and this work should be completed by the 10.05.03.
Resolved - That where applicable, action taken be reported to the next meeting of the Area Council.
820 Councillor Butler advised that the lights on the Christmas Tree were white to conform with latest legislation requiring low voltage lights to be used. Coloured lights would be used in 2004, although the speed camera near the Parker Street tree dictated that coloured lights could not be used on that tree should it be replaced next year.
Pavements and Highways
821 Councillor Scaife reported that following a number of complaints about the condition of the pavements and highways below the bridge, especially around Butler Street, Lancashire County Council had been asked for details of their repair programme.
Councillor Scaife advised that LCC annual budget included patching/repairs to the carriageways and re-surfacing to the footways. Presently LCC have one inspector who relies on reports from the public to schedule repairs. Highways have now arranged for an inspection to be carried out and if necessary to mark up and place orders for remedial work to be carried out.
A resident asked for Talbot Street to also be inspected, the road surface being very smooth and not providing any grip in poor weather.
Councillor Butler relayed a thank you letter received from a resident of Eachill Road for the excellent job done by the Roadsweeper/ Street cleaner.
Councillor Butler wished to convey her personal thanks for the sterling efforts by the residents of Bridge Street in celebrating Christmas.
Annual Traffic Regulation Order 2003, Schedule 1 - 12
822 Councillor Butler referred the residents to paper E in the pack which gave details of proposed measures for inclusion in the 2003 Annual Traffic Regulation Order.
Steve Watson explained that Traffic Orders mainly dealt with waiting restrictions and the alteration of yellow lines and that by producing one report a year only one cost would be incurred.
The proposed Traffic Orders for 2003 included proposals for Henry Street, St Peters Street and Harwood Road.
The residents discussed the proposals and agreed for their implementation.
Councillor Horne wished it to be noted that he had reservations with back streets, such as St Peter Street, being made one way.
Hermitage Street Plaque
823 Councillor Butler directed the residents to Paper F of the pack which gave details of the plaque erected in Hermitage Street in recognition of Sir Ernest Marsdens work in physics.
New Voting Arrangements
824 Steve Watson referred residents to Paper G in the pack which gave information on the new way of voting by postal votes. The Pack included contact names and telephone numbers for those residents who required more information.
Grants and schemes funded by the Area Council
825 The residents were referred to paper H which stated that the remaining Rishton Area Council budget for 2002/03 was £854.35.
The residents were asked to consider two new grant applications and one deferred from the last meeting.
1. Eachill Gardens Luncheon Club
This application was for a CD player for the Eachill Gardens luncheon club.
The residents were advised that this CD player would also benefit the residents of Eachill Gardens.
2. Lords House Farm
This application was for road markings outside the Farm. Steve Watson advised that the Highways department did not consider that the proposed road markings would not prove to be effective. Road markings only being effective to new users of the road. The Highways department suspected that the problems were being caused by frequent users. Councillor Butler stated that Area Council funds would only be used on public highways and that it was uncertain if the proposed road markings would be on private land.
3. Sands Estate and Bridgefield Association Application
Residents were advised that this request was for Computer equipment which had been deferred from the last meeting due to the shortage of funds.
Resolved (1) That the Area Council approve the grant of £153.32 for Eachill Gardens Luncheon Club to purchase a CD player;
(2) That the Area Council refuse Lords House Farm funding for road markings; and,
(3) That the Area Council approve a grant of £500 as a contribution to the purchase of computer equipment to Sands Estate and Bridgefield Association and that additional funding for the balance be considered from the 2003/04 Area Council budget.
Steve Watson referred the residents to the latest map of Rishton and asked that it be checked for its accuracy. The residents were asked to mark the map should there be any errors.
The residents were asked to use the open forum letters between meetings to let the Area council team know of any issues which needed to be considered.
Next Rishton Council Meeting
826 The Chairman thanked residents for attending the Rishton Area Council and indicated that the next meeting would be held in May, 2003, date yet to be advised. .
WEDNESDAY 25TH JUNE 2003
Area Council Members: Councillors Mrs June Butler, Mrs Scaife and Councillor Miss Jackson.
Residents:C.Achaski, J.Achaski, J.Baron, G.Byrom, P.Chisholm, J Clarke, B Clugston, A.Cooper, T.Fisher, M.Flanagan, W. Flanagan, Father C Dowd, C. Graham, B. Griggs, C. Hammerton, D. Haworth, J. Hogg, G.Hoyle, R..Hyland, A.Kinsella, K.Maguire, A.Masterman, N. McIntosh, F.Moyec, E O’Neill, J.Pilkington, D.Pinnington, A. Presho, I. Presho, P.Schaffer, A.Snowden, M.Worden, N.Yates..
Officers attending: S.Watson, Linda Dean, Ann Harwood,
Nigel Rix, director Hyndburn FIRST
Steve Todd, Head of Environmental Health. Janet Simpson, LCC
J.Simpson, Lancashire County Council, Partnership Office
Police Attending Inspector O’Reilly, PCSO K.Stretton.
Steve Watson, the Rishton area council co-ordinator opened the meeting and welcomed the residents. He welcomed Councillor Lesley Jackson, a newly elected Councillor to the ward.
He informed the residents of the procedure to follow should a fire occur and the facilities available within the building
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of County Councillor M.Hindley, A.Winstanley, A.Leah, S.Wood, J.Newton, R.Collins, C.Cooper and B.Moorcroft.
APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN & VICE CHAIRMAN 2003/4
The residents were informed that following the elections in May 2003 the chairman and vice-chairman of the Area council required to be elected.
Proposed: that Councillor Mrs June Butler be appointed as Chairman of Rishton Area Council for the municipal year 2003/4
Resolved: that Councillor Mrs June Butler be appointed Chairman of Rishton Area Council for the municipal year 2003/4
Proposed: that Councillor Mrs Ann Scaife be appointed as Vice Chairman of Rishton Area Council for the municipal year 2003/04
Resolved: that Councillor Mrs Ann Scaife be appointed as Vice Chairman of Rishton Area Council for the municipal year 2003/04.
Minutes of the Meeting – 30th January 2003
The minutes of the Meetings of the Area Council held on 30th January 2003 were submitted (Paper A).
Resolved - That the minutes of the meeting held on 30th January 2003 be received and approved as a correct record.
Feedback on the Open Forum
The Chairman reported that three open forum questions had been submitted during the Open Forum session at the meeting held 30th January 2003.
Residents were advised that these were shown in Paper B of the Agenda together with contact points to deal with any queries on the items. Responses to the questions would be provided at the Open Forum section later in the meeting.
Residents were advised that Paper B of the agenda also included information on local issues, either raised at the Area Council meeting or received from residents. Contact information for these issues were included in Paper B and the members of the Area Council team would also be available to assist with queries.
What’s Happening About - update
Spring Street/Cliff Street Traffic Calming Scheme– Councillor Butler reported that the scheme would be completed by the 9th July, when the 20-mph zone would come into effect.
Cutt Wood Drainage, paths and signs: Councillor Butler reported that further options to investigate the drainage problem at Cutt Wood were being conducted. The cause of the problem being due to compaction. Councillor Butler advised that options to resolve the parking issues at Cutt Wood were also being considered. One option for consideration would be to convert part of the wood to a small car park. This would entail removing some trees in the wood.
A resident asked if Cutt Wood Lane was an unadopted highway?
Councillor Butler advised that this was the case and that car parking on the park side of the lane was in order. Residents advised that stickers had been put on their cars by residents of Cutt Wood Lane whilst parking on the park side.
Councillor Scaife reported that she had made visits to the park by invitation of the residents and had noted that some cars were restricting access to and from the residents properties.
Councillor Butler advised that signage at the park would be looked into.
A resident suggested that as the entrance at the bottom end of the park is frequently flooded, could this be considered for a car park.
Residents stated they did not want any trees to be cut down.
Heskdale Site – Residents were advised that the Planning Department had inspected the site on the 23rd May 2003 and they had agreed that as the site was not easily accessible and not visible by residents, except for the entrance off Shuttleworth street, a section 215 writ would not be issued to the owners. In order to avoid the site being tipped on the owners would be approached and asked to properly fence and gate off the area and to conduct some general tidying up. The residents were advised that the Building Control section of the authority had been in correspondence with the landowners to attempt to resolve problems with the empty properties of 82 and 84 of Spring Street, under the Building Act 1984, Section 77 – dangerous Building/Structure. The residents were advised that the Area Council team would be pursuing this issue.
Walmsley Street Clamping Notices– The residents were informed that the clamping notices had now been removed.
Remembrance Day Band- The residents were informed that the Area Council were trying to book a band for the procession and service on Remembrance Day to assist the British Legion. Burnley Alliance band had been contacted and they may be able to assist if the time or route could be changed.
Councillor Butler informed the residents of three options for consideration:
- Have the procession in the afternoon
- Walk up to the Church with no band
- The British Legion to provide a bugler at the service and escort the residents to the War Memorial and back to the Church.
A resident also suggested that the procession could start half way up the main street and residents join the procession as it progressed to the Church.
A resident asked if Norden High School had a band available?
Steve Watson advised that he would enquire about this.
Councillor Butler suggested starting at Holt Street and possibly two or three members of the Boys Brigade escorting the residents to the Church.
Steve Watson advised that he would make enquiries of the Boys Brigade availability.
APPOINTMENT OF CO-OPTEES
Councillor Butler referred the residents to Paper C in the pack which explained the rules and powers of co-opts and recommended that the maximum number of co-opts remain at 5 for the Rishton Area Council roles She explained that following Councillor Jackson’s election to the council in May and the increase of co-opts to 5, two vacancies now existed on the Rishton Area Council committee.
Councillor Butler recommended that the co-optees from the last municipal year be re-appointed. These being: County Councillor Michael Hindley, Inspector o’Reilly, and Abigal Winstanley from Eavesbrook.
Councillor Jackson suggested that a representative from PROSPERITY would be welcomed on the Committee.
Councillor Butler asked Peter Schaffer, a representative from ACA( Acorn Residential Association)
to consider taking a vacant post of co-optee.
Proposed: that County Councillor Michael Hindley, Inspector O’Reilly. Abigail Winstanley and Peter Schaffer be appointed as co-optees for the Rishton Area Council for the Muncipal Year 2003/4.
Resolved: that County Councillor Michael Hindley, Inspector O’Reilly. Abigail Winstanley and Peter Schaffer be appointed as co-optees for the Rishton Area Council for the Muncipal Year 2003/4.
Joan Pilkington, Interim chairman of the Community Network, gave a brief presentation on the Community
Network in Hyndburn. She advised that the network received £110,000 per annum and had enlisted 160 groups across the Borough. She reported that Rishton was poorly represented and encouraged groups to join. The purpose of the Network to bring all groups together to provide one voice to the Local Strategic Partnership and to raise awareness of funding available to the local groups.
A resident asked if Rishton Residents Association had been contacted by the Community Network.
Ms Pilkington advised that reaching outlying areas had proved difficult but encouraged all groups of residents to join the Network.
She reported that seminars on the work of the Hyndburn Community are held quarterly, the last one being 3rd April 2003 in Sparth House, Clayton Le Moors.
MAKING HYNDBURN A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE, WORK AND VISIT
Nigel Rix, Director Hyndburn FIRST, provided a presentation on ‘Making Hyndburn a Better Place’. He explained the Community Strategy which the authority had adopted and how this strategy had been formulated from residents views and concerns and in liaison with the Local Strategic Partnership, which consisted of representatives of all the public services supporting the community. He advised that the authority would be working with the residents and Local Strategic Partners to make Hyndburn a better place to live work and visit.
A resident asked for comments on the problem with private landlords in Rishton and the behaviour of the tenants.
Nigel Rix reported that the authority had adopted the Accredited Landlords Scheme which encouraged the landlords to work with the authority to improve their awareness of the needs of residents in Hyndburn.
A resident asked what Hyndburn was doing regarding provision of A level studying facilities in the borough.
Nigel Rix agreed that there was no current provision for A Level Education in Hyndburn. He advised that Lancashire County Council were being lobbied on this issue.
A resident asked for a transport service for the youngsters of Rishton to enable the youngsters to travel to Accrington to use the facilities available there.
Nigel Rix advised that the Neighbourhood Renewal scheme would be working to provide a subsidised bus service to encourage youngsters to go to Accrington and get home safely. Discussions currently underway with the bus companies.
Councillor Butler advised that the Hyndburn Bus Forum would also consider this issue.
A resident complained about the lack of street cleaning on Bridge Street.
Councillor Scaife advised that there had been a considerable improvement in street cleaning over the last three weeks. The issue of Bridge Street would be investigated.
A resident asked why children needed to go to Accrington for recreational facilities.
Nigel Rix advised that there had been substantial investment across Rishton from the canal to the all weather play facility provided at Norden School. The problems of the pylons and the lighting having been overcome by raising funding of £50,000 to resolve these issues and to ensure that there was adequate lighting at Norden School.
Nigel Rix informed residents that in September 2003 the authority would be subject to the Corporate Performance Assessment inspectors who would asses the authority on the services being provided to make Hyndburn a better place to live, work and visit.
THE FUTURE OF HOLT STREET RECREATION GROUND
Councillor Walmsley, the portfolio holder for Leisure reported that the current lease on the ground was to 2006 and that negotiations with the Dunkenhalgh Estate to obtain a further 10 years on the lease were at an advanced stage.
A resident asked if the option to secure the tenancy had been foregone by the authority.
Nigel Rix advised that the council needed to secure the new lease and forge a strong relationship with the Dunkenhalgh Estate.
Councillor Walmsley informed the residents that there would be two junior football pitches on the site for the current season.
A representative of the Friends of Rishton Youth asked the committee to receive a petition supporting the council which included a survey of the play areas in Risthon.
The committee received the petition and advised residents that Andrew Leah, Estates Manager for Hyndburn Borough Council, had offered an invitation to the residents of Rishton to discuss the Holt Street Recreation Ground.
Resolved: that the Area Council receive the petition.
Councillor Butler informed the residents that requests had been lodged for the site to be cleaned and tidied again. At a recent meeting with the Gardeners Residents Association, Friends of Rishton Youth and Rishton Prospect, ideas for a communal garden and parking spaces for the site were discussed. Details of the proposals were displayed in the hall for residents to view and make comment. Councillor Butler reported that the authority’s parks and open spaces officer had asked the residents to consider a planted buffer zone at the end of Chapel Street to prevent ball games against residents properties. Councillor Butler asked the residents if stones from the old council offices should be incorporated into the project. Councillor Butler advised that the project had been costed at £13,500.
The next meeting to discuss this project had been scheduled for the 2nd July 2003, the venue yet to be confirmed.
Graham Pinfield, Policy and Performance Review manager, referred the residents to the green response cards and stickers available at the meeting. He requested residents to assist the authority in improving the cleansing services provided, by using the green response cards to provide details of litter and cleansing problems in the area, and to use the map displayed at the meeting to indicate where these areas are. He explained that this information would be input to a geographical information data system which would produce a map of the borough for use by the cleansing services to improve the service provided.
He asked the residents to help the Council to make Hyndburn a better place to live work and visit.
Inspector O’Reilly provided an update on policing and crime in the Rishton.
He provided statistical information on crimes in the area and reported that in comparison to last year, crime was overall down by 10%. He reported that the problem of drugs was being addressed through schools and youth organisations throughout the area. He advised that forensic and DNA was being used to help resolve crime and that residents were now assisting the Police by reporting more crimes and providing information. Inspector O’Reilly replied to a residents letter, advising that the CCTV on High Street was working as a deterrent to crime, previously it had been identified as a problem area.
A resident asked for advice on dealing with the determined burglars, in particular where entry had been gained by windows.
Inspector O’Reilly advised that Community Policing would work with the residents to provide help and advice.
A resident asked why parking on double yellow lines outside the Midland Bank was being allowed.
Inspector O’Reilly advised that he would look into this issue.
The Chairman invited residents to have their say on any matter by asking questions or completing the appropriate form and either hand the form in at the end of the meeting or to send the form to the Council Offices for the attention of the Area Council Team.
A resident asked why the allotments in Rishton had been allowed to fall into disuse or turned into stables and buildings without planning permission.
Steve Watson asked to meet the resident at the end of the meeting to obtain more information.
A resident asked if the junction at Harwood road and High Street could be altered to stop vehicles mounting the kerb and causing damage to the footpath and kerb and creating a potential risk to children using the junction to cross.
Steve Watson advised that a response to this question would be sent directly to the resident.
A resident asked if improvements to the road surface on the walkway/ginnel from the end of Walmsley Avenue through to Eachill Gardens could be made to prevent the recurring problem of the route becoming a mud bath.
Residents were informed that two thirds of the path is owned by the Dunkenhalgh Estate and that they had given the Council access permission to repair it. The cost of the work would be £1814.79 and funding from budgets was currently being investigated. The Area Council had been asked to part fund the work, details which were included in the Grants section of the agenda and would be discussed later in the meeting.
A resident asked if it would be possible for a County Council roadshow, as a lot of questions at the meeting held 30th January 2003 were deemed to be the responsibility of the Lancashire County Council.
Steve Watson advised that there were a couple of options, the County could hold a borough wide roadshow similar to the one in Rossendale or an area council meeting could be themed around County issues.
A resident had asked for details of any plans in existence for the Master Barn Farm on Wharf Street since the retirement of the farmer, and who had responsibility for the maintenance of the hedge between the fields and the canal towpath.
Residents were advised that the premises were for sale by Ingham & Yorke and that the boundary walls and parts of the building were potentially dangerous. The Planning Services intended to contact the agent for details of the owner or beneficiaries to enable Building Control to request that the building is checked for safety and the premises made as secure as possible.
The Gardeners Residents Association asked for assistance with the problems of parking experienced by residents of Stourton Street and asked if ‘Residents Parking Only’ boxes could be painted on the residential side of the street.
Residents were informed that the Council could not install residents only parking signs as this would be in contravention of the Traffic Signs Regulations. Residents were advised that from April 2004 enforcement of parking restrictions would be transferred from the Police to the Council. Enforcement of parking regulations would then be the responsibility of the Council and the Parking attendants. This move of responsibility would enable the Council to consider parking schemes.
Residents were advised that residents could put up their own private notices provided they were attached to their own property.
The Rishton Prospects Panel requested an item on the next Area Council agenda to explain and seek wider community involvement of a scheme to refurbish and replant the ‘Top O the Heights’ landmark.
Residents agreed for this item to be included in the next Area Council agenda.
A resident had complained about the standard of the public footpath cycle route between Rishton and Great Harwood. Photographs had accompanied the complaint.
Residents were informed that the Footpaths officer had walked the entire length of the footpath with Councillor Shorrock and that the footpath was adequate for its purpose with no remedial work being required.
A resident reported that the steps from Gt Harwood were overgrown.
A resident asked what could be done about the private landlords who rented properties out to tenants who display no consideration for the residents of the town.
Nigel Rix explained to the residents the Accredited Landlord Scheme adopted by the Council which encouraged landlords to be considerate in obtaining and retaining tenants.
Resolved - That where applicable, action taken be reported to the next meeting of the Area Council.
Residents were informed of an email received which reported on a walk by Councillor Butler and two community police officers through Rishton on the evening of 13th June 2003. The resident thanked Councillor Butler for her demonstrated interest in public nuisance caused by the teenagers in her area and suggested that an increase in the interest shown by the Police and Councillors in this type of problem would have a positive effect on teenage nuisance in Risthon.
Grants and schemes funded by the Area Council
The residents were referred to paper E in the agenda pack which stated that the Rishton Area Council budget for 2003/04 was £10,277.38
The residents were asked to consider one application outstanding from the previous meeting, a new application, one late application and two schemes for consideration.
1. Sands Estate and Bridgefield Association Application
Residents were advised that this request was for computer equipment which had been deferred from the last meeting due to the shortage of funds.
Resolved: That the Area Council approve a grant of £500 to the Sands Estate and Bridgefield Association to assist with the purchase of computer equipment.
2. Eachill Gardens Sheltered Scheme
Residents were advised that this grant application had been requested to provide security lighting and fencing at Eachill Gardens.
Resolved: that the Rishton Area Council approve a grant of £2,018.00 for the provision of security lighting and fencing at Eachill Gardens.
The Acorn Residents Association advised that they would investigate the issue of overgrown trees and plants in the Eachill Gardens area.
Residents were advised that this grant application had been requested to assist with start up costs for the Petre Residents Association.
Resolved: that the Rishton Area Council approve a grant of £100 to assist with start up costs of the Petre Crescent Residents Association.
Residents were asked to consider the possibility of two Christmas trees in Rishton, located outside the library and at the end of Parker Street. The total cost would be £1,200. Residents also discussed the possible location of a Christmas tree at the end of Station Road. The cost of this would be approximately £3000 dependent on the electrics required.
Resolved: that in 2003 two Christmas trees would be displayed in Rishton, one at Parker Street and one outside the library.
Residents were asked to consider part funding a lamp poster display scheme which would provide 100 A3 poster displays to be used across Rishton, Great Harwood and Clayton. This application had been requested by PC Mark Skellorn on behalf of the local police.
Resolved: that the Rishton Area Council approve a grant of £500 to PC Skellorn on behalf of the local police, to part fund a lamp post poster display.
6. Footpath repair from Walmsley Avenue and Eachill Gardens
Residents were asked to consider part funding the repair of the footpath from Walmsley Avenue to Eachill Gardens. Total cost £1,814.79
Resolved: that the Rishton Area Council approve a grant of £814.79 as a contribution to the cost of repair work to the footpath from Walmsley Avenue to Eachill Gardens.
FAIR TRADE STATUS
Residents were informed that Hyndburn Borough Council were currently applying for Fair Trade Status. To achieve this the Council were asking shops and outlets to stock or serve fair trade products. Residents were advised that further information was available in paper F of the agenda packs.
PETITION FOR PARKING FOR RESIDENTS ON HERMITAGE STREET
The Area Council were asked to receive a petition from residents which requested parking on Hermitage Street. Residents were informed that this issue was being examined by the Area Council team linked with the Chapel Street site issue.
Resolved: that the Area Council receive and note the petition.
Residents were asked to use the feedback forms available in the hall to inform the Area Council team of any issues which the residents wished to discuss and to enable full enquiries to be undertaken on these issues prior to the next meeting.
Next Rishton Council Meeting
The Chairman thanked residents for attending the Rishton Area Council and indicated that the next meeting would be held on Thursday, 18th September 2003.
The meeting closed at 9.25pm.
Wednesday, 18th September, 2003
Area Council Members: Councillors Mrs June Butler (Chair)
Co-optees: County Councillor Hindley, P. Schaffer
Residents: P. & E. Aspin, M. Aubrey, J. Baron, J. Bellis, M. Bradshaw, D. Brown, D. Casey, P. Chisholm, R. Clugston, R. Colling, C. Cooper, S. Fish, T. Fisher, J.M. George, J. Goodall, B.A. Griggs, D. Haworth, G. Hills, M. Holden, F. Hoyle, G. Hoyle, A. Kinsella, A. Masterman, Y. Masterman, N. McIntosh, M. McKenna, M. Myers, S. Peer, D. Pinnington, A. Presko, L. Sanderson, G. Smale, A. Snowden, K. Topham, M. Waddington, S.G. Waddington, L. Wilson, S. Wood and M. Worden.
Press Attending: M. McKenna – Accrington Observer
Officers Attending: S. Watson, L. Dean, P. Baron, D. Peacock, E. Flynn and S. Gardner.
J. Simpson – Lancashire County Council
Audit Commission: D. Brown
Police: P.S. Mark Skellorn
637 The Chairman, Councillor Mrs Butler, welcomed residents to the Rishton Area Council. She pointed out that the Area Council was not quorate, as only one voting member was present and as such, no formal decisions could be taken. She informed the meeting that they were able to make recommendations that would have to be taken through the Council’s emergency powers procedure before they could be implemented.
Apologies for Absence
638 Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Miss Jackson and Mrs. Scaife, PCSO K. Stretton, N. Yates, J. Clarke, C. Hamilton, K. Hutton, R. Colling and J. Howarth.
Minutes of the Meeting of 25th June, 2003
639 The Minutes of the Meeting of the Area Council were submitted (Paper A).
THE AREA COUNCIL RECOMMENDED:- That the minutes be approved and accepted as a correct record.
640 The Chairman outlined that information relating to the minutes of the last meeting could be found in Paper B of the agenda.
What’s Happening About
641 Updates were provided on the following issues:-
Holt Street Recreation Ground – The Chairman reported that the Council was considering purchasing the land and the owner had been supplied with a copy of the draft for improvements to the ground and advised to undertake discussions with the Council. No problems could be foreseen with an extension of the lease. A meeting was in the process of being arranged to discuss this issue.
Peter Baron, Head of Leisure Services, reported that the Council were not anticipating any problems in extending the lease and that he had spoken to the Planning Section who considered that the proposed improvements would not be a problem. He suggested that they formed a Sub-Group to determine plans for the area and proposed that it consisted of three or four residents and three or four members of the Council. He estimated that £250,000 would be required for the improvements and that funding should also be considered from other agencies such as Sporting authorities. He informed residents that it was not the Council’s intention to wait to begin looking for funding and that he would investigate if the allotments at the top of the recreation ground also belonged to the Dunkenhalgh and consequently, if they would be part of the scheme.
Parker Street Site – Steve Watson reported that plans for the site were being drawn up and that it would include the replacement of paving stones to prevent skateboards and roller-skates being used. Other aspects of the plan included the existing flower beds being lowered, the use of exposed aggregate coping stones and the flower beds being filled with aggressive shrubbery. He pointed out that most of these measures had been introduced to deter youths from using the site as a meeting or play area. Steve Watson reported that there would be less money required to carry out the improvements than had been placed aside and as such some money would be put back in the budget.
A resident expressed concern that the area would be susceptible to litter but Steve Watson also pointed out that if youths did not stay in the area then there would be less litter. He also indicated that they were aiming to get a scheme in place to provide litter bins in the area.
Cutwood Drainage - Steve Watson reported that the Area Council had provided funding for a Cutwood drainage scheme but it had not worked as well as expected. He point out that the soil was mainly clay and this had been the main cause of the problems, however, he commented that a vertical drainage system had been suggested but it would be costly to implement if it did not work. He indicated that the Area Council would take ideas from residents for solutions if this scheme did not work.
A resident suggested that an area was in need of grass seeding and another referred to the poor state of the path. These complaints were passed to Peter Baron, Head of Leisure Services.
Chapel Street Flats – this item had been listed for discussion as a main item on the agenda.
Holt Street Garage – The Chairman reported that the owner of a derelict garage on Holt Street had not been located. The agents for the Dunkenhalgh Estate had been contacted and they were in correspondence with two previous occupiers of the site and had also agreed to contact the Dunkenhalgh to pass on a request that the site be tidied up. She indicated that the site was in poor condition and suggested that it would be better to knock the garages down.
Residents were informed that the Planning Section was trying to arrange a meeting with those owning the land and to resolve the matter through the Building Act. A letter had been sent to the owners to arrange contact and a meeting had been arranged for 22nd September, 2003.
Remembrance Day – The Chairman reported that they had only been able to secure the services of a Bugler to play the ‘last post’ at the Remembrance Service but that an appeal for a band had been placed in the Accrington Observer. A resident agreed that it was difficult to get a band to walk the distance from the Church to the Cenotaph and suggested a shorter route. The Chairman reiterated that a shorter route would be a solution to the problem.
Toddleworth Footpath – The Chairman reported that it would be difficult and expensive to improve the area and suggested that it should remain as it was because it was a country walk.
A resident reported that the steps up to the old railway line were overgrown and gravel covered the steps and warned of the dangers they presented. The Chairman agreed that the steps and the handrail both required attention. Steve Watson indicated that the Council did not include this area within its normal maintenance but that it had been reported.
Hyndburn Accredited Landlord Scheme - Steve Watson reported that residents had expressed concern over private landlords and outlined that the Hyndburn Accredited Landlord Scheme had been put in place to encourage landlords to maintain their properties to a defined standard (Paper B1) but that it was only a voluntary scheme.
Residents reported housing they considered to be in a poor condition and requested that the Council did something about them. The Chairman, however, informed the meeting that the Council could not take action on properties that were privately owned unless they were in a dangerous state. A resident suggested that CPOs be placed on properties in poor condition but was informed that this was a complex process. Steve Watson agreed to find out further information on CPOs for the next meeting.
Dropped Kerbs – Residents were encouraged to provide ideas for where they considered dropped kerbs should be constructed within Rishton and that would serve the needs of disabled people to the best effect.
642 Steve Watson reported that Rishton Prospects had nominated Mrs. Margaret Worden as a co-optee to Rishton Area Council and that Mandy Foster would be succeeding A. Winstanley, who had resigned as a co-optee. He thanked Abigail for her contribution to the Area Council. He reminded the Area Council that they would not be able to appoint the new co-optees because they were not quorate but the recommendations would be taken through the emergency powers procedures.
Rishton Area Council Award
643 The Chairman presented the Rishton Area Council award to Mark Myers in recognition of his work within the local community and for his commitment to the Boys’ Brigade.
Chapel Street Site
644 The Chairman reminded residents that they had demolished the flats on their request and that they were working on plans to regenerate the area. She reported that a group had been formed to look at future plans and invited residents to look at them.
Steve Watson indicated that it had been agreed with the Housing Department that the grass would be cut on a regular basis. He outlined elements of the plans and reported that the benches would be removed as residents had requested and replaced with shrubs. A resident clarified that the benches had initially been placed on the plans to help with fund raising. A resident enquired if the insurance query had been resolved but Steve Watson responded that they had received no further notification but the group would be chasing up issues of this nature.
Rishton Business Forum
Peter Aspin reported that they were looking into the process of setting up a Rishton Business Forum and outlined the successes of the Great Harwood Business Forum. He provided options to how the Forum could be organised and welcomed residents to their meetings. He indicated that they would be happy to provide help to other organisations who were thinking of forming similar groups.
Joy Bellis, Lancashire County Council – Head of Governor Services, gave a presentation on the shortage of school governors and encouraged residents to apply as Governors. She explained what a school governor did and how they made valuable contributions to the school and community. She outlined that most governing bodies met once per term and usually served a four year term and directed residents to the leaflets (circulated at the meeting) for further information and contact details. Mr. Holden, Governor of St. Charles Primary School, informed the meeting of his own experiences of being a Governor.
Policing in Rishton
645 P.C. Mark Skellorn, Community Beat Manager, provided residents with an analysis on the latest police issues. He reported that just over 30 crimes had been reported within the last 3 months and that they were working closely with schools to prevent juvenile nuisance and although there had been a gradual decline in this type of crime, it had increased again over the school holiday period. He pointed out that he was stationed at Norden High School and they were continuing work with the pupils there and would also be organising surgeries for residents on a two-weekly basis, commencing from 26th September. He indicated that the Police were aware of the problems on Spring Street and had plans in place to deal with them. He encouraged people to report complaints and gave details of how they could be contacted.
The Chairman explained that ten minutes of each meeting would be dedicated to progress reports and updates from local groups.
Acorn Residents’ Association – Peter Schaffer reported that they had formed Acorn Residents’ Association to address residents’ concerns on the estate and that they met regularly at Eachill Gardens. He explained that Eachill Gardens Residential Home had been having problems with unauthorised entries and that this had caused many residents great stress. As a consequence, he told the meeting that they would be purchasing CCTV cameras at a cost of approximately £1000 and that they should be installed by Christmas. Help the Aged had donated £500 towards the cost and Rishton Area Council the remaining £500. P.C. Skellorn pointed out that the residents of Eachill Gardens had also been provided with panic alarms.
Norden High School - Mr. Schaffer also informed the meeting that Norden High School was trying to attain Sports College status but required £50,000 before March or the initiative would fail. He indicated that they were working to acquire private sponsorship but would need one major donation. P.C. Skellorn informed the meeting that if the School got Sports College status it would receive extra funding from the Government, of which approximately one-third would go into the community.
Rishton Prospects Meeting - Residents were informed that Prospects meetings were held on the first Tuesday of each month and were held at Primetime. A general invitation was extended to all residents. Prospects informed the meeting that they had made improvements to High Street and that they had been working with the Gardeners Residents Association. They also outlined that they had planted trees in the north of Rishton to mark the Coronation and that they intended to remove the dead trees.
646 Steve Watson informed the meeting that four open forum questions had been submitted.
Mr. N. Yates, Wharf Street – he reported that the Master Barn Farm had been removed from the market and that the surrounds of the property and the out-buildings had fallen into further disrepair and suggested that there could be safety implications.
The Council’s response was that they were aware of the buildings but had not been informed that they had been subject to any vandalism and as such the Technical Officer had proposed that no action be taken until this became a problem. Residents were asked to inform the Council if the property began to attract unwanted attention.
Mr. D. Sutcliffe, Blackburn Road – he reported that there were few attractive features in the Municipal Garden. Steve Watson responded that the annual plant display was funded from a budget and could not be stretched further for extra planting, however, he agreed that the Council would check the display at the end of the season. He advised Mrs. McIntosh that the special Rishton Area Council meeting on the budget, arranged to take place after Christmas, could be the place to raise issue of how budgets were spent.
Mrs. J. George, Burton Street – she indicated that there should be a 20 mph zone on Parker Street and pointed out that all side streets above the bridge had 20 mph zones but not below. Steve Watson reported on aspects that prevented a speed zone from being implemented in this area and informed the meeting that the only type of measure that could be used would be minimal height and flat topped road humps, combined with a 20 mph speed limit order. However, the Area Council would have to fund the cost and this would take several years’ budget and therefore, it would not be feasible.
Residents expressed concern that the speed of vehicles on Parker Street were causing problems to residents and could cause an accident. County Councillor Hindley encouraged residents to report minor accidents so that they could be recorded as statistics to be used for determining where traffic calming measures were placed. P.C. Skellorn suggested that the Residents Association for Parker Street, contacted the factories and request a meeting with them to resolve the problems and perhaps suggest staggered starting times. Steve Watson indicated that he would contact the Officer with responsibility for roads and request a speed survey in the area and report back to the Area Council.
Elderly Targeted for Vandalism – a resident reported that an elderly couple had been subject to vandalism and nuisance by youths and asked if anything could be done for them. P.C. Skellorn indicated that he was aware of the problem and encouraged residents with any further information to contact the Police. He reported that they were dealing with this problem.
Steve Watson encouraged residents to complete and return the Open Forum sheet to the Area Council.
Grants and Budgets
647 Steve Watson reminded the meeting that they would only be making recommendations on the following grant applications and schemes, as they were not quorate. He outlined that there was £4,491.27 remaining in the budget. A grant application had been submitted from St. Charles RC Primary School and funding requests for two schemes.
THE AREA COUNCIL RECOMMENDED:-
(1) That St. Charles R.C. Primary School be approved £1,000 towards the cost of improvements to their football pitch;
(2) That the Area Council subsidise the ‘Trees Above Shops’ Scheme providing £60 to existing holders and £100 to those new to the scheme;
(3) That £1,000 be reserved for costs towards improvements to the Chapel Street Site;
(4) That Eachill Residents Association be approved £500 toward the installation of CCTV cameras.
648 The Chairman reported that the Area Council Annual Report for Rishton had been completed and was available to the public.
Next Rishton Area Council Meeting
649 The Chairman thanked residents for attending and indicated that the next meeting of the Rishton Area Council would be held on 12th February, 2004 but that a Special meeting on the budget would be held on 18th December, 2003. Residents were requested to complete and return the feedback form.
Thursday, 18th December, 2003
Area Council Members: Councillors Mrs June Butler, (Chair) Mrs Scaife, and Miss Jackson.
Co-optees: Margaret Worden
Residents: C. Cooper, J. Clarke, D. Haworth, J.N. Haworth, D. Heppenstall, B. Moorcroft, and C. Snowden.
Officers attending: Stephen Kenyon, Graham Pinfield, Steve Watson, Ann Harwood, Eunice Flynn, Dave Peacock and Ian Chaplin.
911 Steve Watson welcomed residents to the ‘Budget and Boundaries’ meeting of the Rishton Area Council. He informed residents of the Health & Safety instructions, which applied on the premises, and the location of facilities available.
Residents were advised that Councillor Mrs Butler would be leaving the meeting at 7pm and Councillor Mrs Scaife would chair the meeting from 7pm. Residents were informed that as the meeting was mainly for information purposes and that no decisions or recommendations would be made that the subsequent ‘inquorate state’ of the Area Council, following the departure of Councillor Mrs Butler, would not be relevant to the meeting.
Residents were referred to the agenda pack which contained Paper A, ‘Setting the Budget’ questionnaire and Paper B ‘AREA COUNCILS - ‘BOUNDARIES’ presentation and information sheet.
912 The Chairman informed residents that this was the 2nd year when a special budget Area Council meeting had been called and that this meeting would also provide and update on the Boundary Commission intentions.
The Chairman introduced Stephen Kenyon, Head of Accountancy and advised that he would be providing a presentation designed to outline key issues and figures involved in setting the Council’s budget.
Setting the Budget
913 Stephen Kenyon thanked residents for attending and advised that both Members and management of the Council were committed to involving the community in all major decisions, in particular setting the budget and the Council Tax.
He briefly explained the structure of Local Government and how the Council generates and spends its Council tax income. He reported that of all Council Tax received in the Borough, 15% was retained by the Council to provide services. The remaining Council Tax was collected on behalf of Lancashire County Council and the Lancashire Police Authority. Residents were informed that additional income for the Council consisted of income from the Business Rates and Revenue Support Government Grant.
The presentation provided financial details of spend by each of the services and identified areas where possible increases in costs would occur.
Stephen Kenyon advised that consultation with the residents through the Area Council meetings would continue through December and January. Proposals for the budget 2003/4 would be presented to Cabinet 18th February 2004, to full Council 2nd March 2004 and the Council Tax bills would be issued 12th March 2004.
This concluded the presentation and was followed by residents asking the following questions.
Councillor Mrs Butler handed the meeting over to Councillor Mrs Scaife to continue to chair the meeting.
Q: Is the authority looking for efficiency savings?
A: The Head of Accountancy advised that the authority were seeking a combination of efficiency savings and a Council Tax increase.
Q: A resident questioned the costs of running Hyndburn FIRST and asked what they did.
A: Residents were informed that Hyndburn FIRST was the largest department of the Council, providing property management services for the Council, dealing with the Council’s assets and buildings ensuring that the markets and industrial sites are run on a business basis. Hyndburn FIRST also deal with the Borough’s economic regeneration including formulating the bids for external funding, including SRB, NRF, ERF, and European funding.
Q: A resident asked if there are any efficiency indicators which reflect the efficiency of this authority in comparison to other authority’s.
A: Stephen Kenyon advised that there had been a number of Central Government initiatives including Best Value and Comprehensive Performance Assessment, for which performance indicators had been produced. He advised that an independent panel of inspectors had assessed the Comprehensive Performance of the authority and that these findings were currently with the Audit Commission to determine which of the 4 nation-wide gradings, would be appropriate for Hyndburn.
Q: A resident asked for comments on the current system of charging Council Tax per property and not per number of residents in the household. He also asked if the electronic payment system, to be introduced by 2005, would create further increases in Council Tax.
A: Residents were advised that it was Central Government who had stated that all Council transactions will be electronic by 2005 and it was likely that initial set up costs would cause an increase in Council Tax. In the long term the system should generate savings which would contribute to lower Council Tax bills.
Q: Are business rates collected on behalf of the Government and does the Local Authority get all Business Rates back.
A: Residents were advised that Central Government returns a proportion of the Business Rates, that share being determined by varying statistics of the community.
Q: As the authority is now responsible for administering the licensing of public houses, has Central Government provided any funds to pay for this.
A: Residents were informed that Central Government had provided some funding, but that this was unlikely to cover the total cost of administrating the policy. The income from the licences would be a contribution towards the cost of the administration of the policy.
Q: A resident referred to the expected Central Government settlement of £180,000, which had now been confirmed as £300,000, and asked why a Council Tax increase of ½ per cent would not be adequate to cover inflation.
A: Residents were advised that known cost increases in services needed to be provided for in addition to inflation.
Q; A resident asked what plans the authority had to re-coup the £1.8 million expected overspend recently reported.
A: Residents were advised that the authority will only be 1.8 million overspent if it continues to spend as at present. Work is currently taking place to identify where the overspend is, and preventative measures are being identified to control this.
Q: How did the £1.8 million overspend occur.
A: Residents were informed that major items were the insurance premiums, which dramatically increased after the budget had been set and significant losses in the Works department in the year.
Q: A resident asked which areas would be likely to be cut back to recoup the £1.8million projected overspend, a particular concern being any cutbacks in the parks and provision for young people.
A: Residents were advised that cut-backs would be across the board, all services were looking for savings of differing degrees. Cut-backs including vacancies, which occur up to April 04, would not be filled, non-essential expenses i.e. Training Courses would also be cancelled. A detailed full review of underlying costs of the authority’s services were currently being undertaken. Residents were reminded that there was still ¼ of the financial year left, to recoup the loss.
Q: When will we get to know what cut backs will be made
A: Residents were advised that potential savings have already been identified and would continue to be identified on an ongoing weekly basis. The draft 2004/5 budget will be put to Cabinet in February; this and the current year budget figures will be publicly put to Council in March.
Residents were informed that realisation of some of the authority’s assets and their financial benefits, were under consideration.
Q: A resident asked why the loss at Works was not recognised sooner.
A: Residents were informed that whilst operating the Compulsory Competitive Tendering (CCT) regime, accounts had to be completed in a specific way. Contracts had been taken on by the Works Department which required work to be completed by different divisions within the Works Department and it was not until the end of CCT that the true costs of each division could be established.
Councillor Mrs. Scaife thanked Stephen Kenyon for the presentation.
Residents were referred to Paper A of the Agenda, the questionnaire, and asked to complete it whilst the meeting adjourned from 7.15pm to 7.20pm
The Vice Chairman thanked residents for completing the questionnaire.
914 The Vice Chairman informed residents that following a Local Government Review of the areas boundaries, three options for the future of how local government in Hyndburn would be organised, by changing the Borough boundaries, had been received from the Boundary Committee.
The Vice Chairman introduced Graham Pinfield, Policy & Performance Review Manager, who gave a presentation on the options put forward by the Government and the varying effects these would have on the future of Hyndburn. Paper B of the agenda summarised the options.
Residents were informed that in September 2004 Central Government would be holding a public referendum to establish (1) which authorities preferred to have a Regional Assembly; and (2) how those Regional Assemblies would be organised by areas.
Should the result of the referendum produce a ‘yes’ vote then a Regional Assembly would be set up and the boundaries would change.
The Vice Chairman thanked Graham Pinfield and asked residents for their questions.
Residents Questions and views:
915 Q: A resident referred to option 1 in the Boundary Committee leaflet and asked if this would mean each council would have a Cabinet.
A: Residents were informed that the Boundary Committee had been asked about this but no definite details had been released.
Residents view: A resident stated that ‘bigger was not necessarily better’ and that an England Assembly Would be more appropriate.
Resident’s view: A resident stated that less government not more government was required, and that a Regional Assembly would only create another layer of Government.
Residents view: A resident expressed concern at the costs of the review and asked how change could be justified - ‘if the system works why fix it’
Q: A resident asked if Hyndburn and Ribble Valley amalgamated would Hyndburn residents share incomes and as such reduce council taxes.
A: Residents were informed that this would only be one of the possible benefits of the merger, although at this stage nothing was definite.
Resident’s view: A resident proposed that the boundary changes should be in line with the NHS boundaries.
Residents were asked to pass their views and questions onto the Boundary Committee. Leaflets produced by the Boundary Committee were available at the meeting and were due to be delivered to every household over the following weeks.
The Vice Chairman thanked residents for attending and wished all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Residents were informed that the next full Rishton Area Council was scheduled for 12th February 2004.
The meeting closed 8.00pm