Council Chairman’s interim report September 2020 to May 2021
I am very proud to be a Parish Councillor for Great Linford and play a part in the wider Great Linford Council team. I am very pleased to have been elected to the role of Chairman in August 2020 to continue contributing to the strategy and great work this Council delivers to its residents in all 12 of our areas. I also want to continue the good work of previous Chairs and Councillors who have helped build the Councillor team into what it is today. The Office team are the lifeblood of the Council to which we, the Volunteer Councillors would really find it difficult to function, cost, implement and carry through ideas / projects for the good of our Community.
I have also been hugely impressed by projects developed and bought to life by members of the team since joining the Council in 2017. The desire to achieve for the good of our residents is top of GLPC’s list. Here’s an overview of what is new, what we’re working on and what is in development. As always you are invited to watch our Council Meetings through Facebook live in late 2020 / 21 or by invite through Zoom!
Marsh Drive Football Ground - The biggest project by far is the expansion of the Marsh Drive Facilities which you’ll see develop over the coming months. Work has started and we are at a very exciting stage. So many people to thank for helping this reach fruition.
Neighbourhood Watch Scheme – GLPC have actively created a closed group on Social Media “GLPC NHW” which hopefully keeps members up to date with issues in the community
Community Larder – A new scheme that has already proven, without a doubt that this is a great initiative. For more details email Ruth on firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 01908 606613. Feedback has been tremendous from the early subscribers who are finding it excellent
Love where you Live - A campaign that we run to do just this. We all unfortunately have to accept that the local authorities aren’t able to impact as many local issues as they used to. We’ve decided to help local residents who flag up that they have a small group together who want to tidy, cut, clean and prune their street. We’ve had great success in Great Linford High Street and even bigger success with the residents of Hartley, we also joined forces with a voluntary group called Keeping the Kindness.
A similar scheme is in operation with residents in Downs Barn and Pennylands. We’re hoping to get some residents together from other estates to start…Loving where they live
Covid-19 – The new normal - Obviously it’s been a traumatic year all round for the world with the advent of Covid -19 and what the implications are for our wider society and local communities. As a Council, we’re very aware that we must reboot our vision for the foreseeable future. We need to further embrace Social Media while not forgetting our support for the non tech generation. We are undertaking a candid and honest review over the coming weeks of everything the Council does so we can show further support to our residents old and young whenever they need it, for whoever needs it. We are looking to add Covid19 support via a local based new group called Covid19FamiliesUK. More details to follow shortly
OUR MISSION HASN’T CHANGED THOUGH
GLPC works hard to facilitate a proud community, we’ll be fully engaged in local matters, contributing to a great living area that is well maintained, with high quality facilities and services that meet the Community needs.
Council Staff - At the time of writing, the Council employs a team of eight staff, all part-time, including Clerk to the Council, Responsible Officer, Community Liaison Officer, 3 Admin Staff and 2 Rangers.
Other services are contracted with self-employed individuals / companies providing a Project Support Officer, Caretaker and an Enforcement Officer.
Great Linford Council Facilities - In Summary the Council owns or is responsible for: Marsh Drive Sports ground, Great Linford Cricket ground, Community Orchard, 6 Allotment sites, Rocla Art trail and Gyosei Art trail, Peartree Pond, Long term rented offices
Working in partnership - There are many active community groups and charities that have made themselves known to the Parish in one way or another and GLPC works with many of them to help provide services that the community has need of, GLPC operates a grant system where local group can apply twice a year for funding (April & October), but we don’t stop there, we will work with any group or activity that has our Parish Communities at their heart and support comes in many different ways for example:
a) Via Breakfast Club provides 12 events throughout the year and hosts a variety of partners talking about Food Bank, Money Matters, Mental Health Smart Motorway, Healthwatch,
Parks Trust, to name a few.
b) Citizen Advice Bureau – CAB provide free advice to residents on a variety of matters – last year this meant helping 156 residents with 262 problems, clearing debt of £7,858
and claiming benefits of £28,643.
c) Little Bookshop partners have created a community café and community fridge and host numerous events, educational talks and opportunities for people to just meet up.
d) Big Local Conniburrow has worked with the Rangers to tackle issues around that area. We will continue working with the BLC in the coming months to promote Conniburrow positively
e) Carers MK support local people who are the long-term carers for their family or partners – being able to go out once a month provides advice and mental support for these carers.
f) Local residents have helped GLPC to build and locate 3 book exchanges – free libraries managed by the community for the community to swap and share books.
g) Working with Thames Valley police to bring community forums to the Parish, giving residents the opportunity to talk with the Police about the issues and concerns they have.
Some of the grants that GLPC have endorsed are Conniburrow Children’s Centre, MK Food Fest, YMCA, Peartree Pond and Little Bookshop.
Environment - Speed watch is run at various times throughout the year monitoring drivers in areas all over the Parish. On an average week the group of volunteers have recorded over 812 vehicles and reported 32% of them to Thames Valley Police for speeding on our streets. Speeders receive letters in the post and can lead to prosecution by the Police. Speeding is unacceptable and as .anti-social as littering or letting your dog foul the street unfettered. However, the repercussions on speeding can have truly devastating consequences. Abide by the speed limit at all times, ignorance is not an excuse…
Love where you live – events and activities bringing together members of the Parish Council, Rangers, volunteers and businesses – lots of activity to clean up the area from litter
picking, repainting old play parks and cutting back shrubs. As described earlier, we are collaborating more than ever with residents on this project
Did you know our Rangers clear approx. 720 bags of rubbish in a year!
Tidy up events also removed approx. 90 bags (4 large events). The largest being 150kg from the Spring Clean activity.
At least once a month, every month there is an estate tidy up, these yield on average 23 bags per visit.
Persistent fly tipping and dog fouling is investigated by the Enforcement Officer who regularly patrols areas to try and educate dog owners / litterers / fly tippers and give them fixed
penalty notices if they are caught. Cameras with HD video and sound are employed in trouble spots and we prosecute offenders to the full extent of the law.
Working with MKC to trial solutions to the recycle bag problem. Our solution was to offer the click and collect option to residents – providing them with another way of collecting bags
while helping MKC to reduce the number of bags being used for other activities not recycling. We’re watching with great interest, the new mixed bin scheme trialled by Milton Keynes Council
Finding and removing knives from Parish locations – updating the Police to notify them of potential hot spots. Removing needles/drug paraphernal and providing the intel to Police to help them target areas.
Planning - As a consultee we take our responsibility very seriously to review planning applications small and large, responding to them based on the planning policy, guidelines and Plan MK.
GLPC Represent residents’ comments on larger planning applications and try to ensure that all local comments are put before the MKC planning committees, for instance representing the community on Linford Lakes, Little Linford Development, Yeoman’s Drive and also on the national plans such as Plan MK. Some recent statistics include:-
43 applications reviewed of which 65% GLPC made no comment and 35% GLPC made an objection or asked for conditions. Of the 15:
i. 2 were withdrawn
ii. 3 were approved without changes
iii. 6 were refused
iv. 2 were approved with revisions
v. 2 were approved with conditions as requested by GLPC
Plans and Priorities for 2019/20
1. Marsh Drive Redevelopment – matching the surveyed responses to sport and leisure provisions with the existing facilities and the opportunity of developing community facilities to fit a wide demographic of the parish and beyond. Now we have planning in place, GLPC contractors are excavating and adding new power for the car park lights before they resurface the Car Park. The Foundations for the extension are being dug as I write this, therefore the ongoing development of the Marsh Drive new additional Community facility continues on schedule and on budget for delivery early 2020
2. Rocla Art – working with the project board to deliver the art from the S106 monies, taking on the maintenance of the works which compliments the Gyosei Art Trail implemented
previously. Phase 2 starts soon
3. Neath Hill Play area – Working with MKC to revamp and revitalise this area for the Children of Neath Hill
4. Working with St Monica’s on Neath Hill and MKC to ensure that parents park considerately and trial a scheme called 3PR which enables tokens to be attained by children whose Parents park in safe zones that children can walk easily to the School. Tokens are taken to class and the class with the most tokens win the 3PR cup and certificate for the month. GLPC have been awarded some funds to trial various schemes including 3PR. Parents in every estate can do their bit, park considerately and think of safety for all, not just your convenience. Is it healthier for your child to walk to school with some friends?
Promoting awareness of issues within the Parish such as knife crime and speed campaigns by featuring on the BBC Look East programme.
Working with MKC Highways on parking issues on some estates, promoting the consultations and ensuring affected residents get the right to have their say. This has resulted in Resident permits being introduced in some areas.
Redhouse Park and Avant Homes issues including working with CityFibre to finish the Fibre upgrade for everyone on the estate.
Consultations – obtain resident input to determine needs and wishes.
Working with MKC to develop a community transport with other parishes in our neighbouring areas.
Reviewing the MKC cuts and the implications of the cutbacks. Devolution appears to be the way forward in many cases of cutbacks to services so as a local area Council we are constantly reviewing cost implications and services that we feel we can help provide so the impetus isn’t lost on the Community
GLPC are revaluating and Increasing the environments services that your Council can offer to ensure that the redways are cleaned, swept and free from weeds. Continually liaising with MKC and Serco to deliver cleaner looking streets with managed foliage regimes wherever possible
Increasing outreach events to different venues and different times to reach a wider audience.
Holding another mental health event as the feedback and requests from residents was very supportive
Championing a YOUTH Information Service - counselling for young people in the Parish.
Purchasing data capturing SIDs which move around the Parish to provide more evidence to the enforcement teams.
Launch of the new, user friendly website to provide easier access to information.
Active and proactive Facebook page with the potential to reach 3.5k people with information on cultural events, problems in the area, disruptive roadworks, community groups.
North by North East magazine is released three times a year and a subsequent rethink or refresh may be necessary in this new normal. We need to ensure the reader base that we aim for that is off the digital wall is being reached properly in these strange times and also whether we look to go part digital for the time precious part of our resident base.
Marc Whelan – Chairman- October 2020
Patricia Lawar – Vice Chairman – October 2020