Monday, 17 May 2010

Annual Parish Meeting - 12 May

Last Wednesday night I attended the Annual Parish Meeting in Barnacle. This isn't a formal parish council meeting, but is an opportunity for the community to come together once a year to hear reports and feedback from the different local authorities and community organisations that exist in Shilton and Barnacle. The venue of the Annual Parish Meeting alternates each year between the two villages.

This year, there were presentations from Shilton Parish Council Chairman Bill King,
Warwickshire County Councillor Phillip Morris-Jones, Rugby Borough Councillor Tony Gillias, and representatives from Shilton Village Hall Committee, Barnacle Village Hall Committee, Shilton Playing Fields Committee and the BASIS editorial team. Sadly, in addition to these people, there were only three other members of the public in attendance. Perhaps, in hindsight, more people would've turned out if there had been a keynote speaker on a topic of local interest around which the meeting could've been themed. Something to consider for next year.

It was heartening to hear of the many achievements and progress being made by the voluntary groups in the two villages. There are so many good things happening, it's a shame that they often don't filter down to the wider public, who remain largely unaware of the time and effort put in by so many volunteers.

I was interested to hear the report from Councillor Tony Gillias because he provided an update on the borough council's Gypsy and Traveller Site Allocations Development Plan Document. This is an important document in that it will identify where, within the Rugby borough area, provision for the 42 extra gypsy and traveller pitches that are needed between now and 2017 are to be located. (If you're new to this issue, it might be worth reading my
blog entry from January which summarises the progress made to date).

Sadly, the progress reported by Tony Gillias was that there hadn't been that much!
Delays in producing Rugby Borough Council's Core Strategy has pushed back the production of the Gypsy and Traveller Site Allocations Development Plan Document, meaning the current timescale for production is now:
  • Evidence gathering: February - July 2010
  • Consultation: January - March 2011
  • Publication: June 2011
  • Submission to the Secretary of State: October 2011
  • Examination: February 2012
  • Adoption: July 2012

So despite currently being in the evidence gathering stage, the final plan won't be formally adopted until the London Olympics are underway. It's a constant frustration for the parish council as to how long these planning documents take to produce. Looking back over the history of this, the plan's adoption has now slipped from February 2011, to summer 2011, now to July 2012. Let's hope there are no further delays.

On a happier note, Tony Gillias also reported that he was to become the Chairman of Rugby Borough Council's Planning Committee for 2010/11. Congratulations to Tony, and lets hope he can use his influence to ensure there are no further delays in the production of the site allocations plan.

Finally, the Annual Parish Meeting was the first meeting attended by our new borough councillor
Rachel Watts. The Chairman welcomed her to Shilton and Barnacle and congratulated her on her recent election victory.

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