On Tuesday night I attended two meetings of the parish council - its AGM, immediately followed by its regular monthly meeting.
The AGM was the first meeting of the 'new' year, and our first meeting following the local elections held on 3 May. As such, we welcomed Kelly Smith to the meeting as a new parish councillor (our other new councillor, Dave Redgrave, was unable to attend because of a prior work commitment). Kelly and Dave replaced Ron Lissaman and Mike Randall, both of whom had decided to retire from the council after many years service.
The AGM appoints the Chairman and Vice-Chairman for the parish council for the next 12 months, and it was a great honour for me to be nominated by fellow councillors to be our new Chairman. I have taken over from Bill King, who has served the parish council as Chairman for the past decade. It was fitting that councillors immediately paid tribute to the dedication and commitment shown by Bill over many years in what can be an onerous (and often thankless!) role. Councillors then voted for Stephen White to become Vice-Chairman of the parish council for the next 12 months.
We then commenced our 'regular' monthly meeting. Three residents from Church Road, Shilton had attended the meeting concerned at a decision the parish council had recently taken not to replace a street light near to the entrance of the public car park in Church Road that had been damaged following a road traffic accident. This had prompted significant concern from residents in the area, worried about pedestrian and traffic safety caused by the darker environment.
At the time it made its decision, the parish council had been concerned that the cost of replacing the street light (£1,000 - £1,500) would need to be met from taxpayers because the driver responsible for causing the damage had not been identified. However, further discussions with Warwickshire Police's Safer Neighbourhood Team had now identified the driver concerned, and a claim against his insurance was being pursued. This, coupled with the strong desire from Church Road residents for there to be a street light at this location, led councillors to reverse their earlier decision and now agree that it should be replaced.
This incident provided a reminder to us all of the impact that the parish council's actions can have on local residents, and the importance of improving the awareness and understanding of the decisions that we make.
Councillors then welcomed borough councillor Chris Pacey-Day to the meeting. Chris had been elected the previous Thursday to represent the new 'Wolvey & Shilton' ward on Rugby Borough Council, and although he's still very new to the role, it was pleasing to see him stay for almost all of the meeting and getting up to speed with the important issues locally. The parish council also took the opportunity to place on record its thanks to Tony Gillias and Rachel Watts for the help, advice and support they had both provided whilst they were borough councillors representing the area.
The rest of the meeting was taken up with our regular items of business: reviewing the correspondence received during the last month, authorising expenditure and noting income, considering a planning application at a business unit on the Kiln Way industrial estate, and receiving updates on other on-going projects that the parish council is involved with.
Finally consideration was given to the notice board in Shilton. This needs updating and replacing, and the Shilton Village Hall Committee had recently been in touch to ask the parish council to help. We will be talking to the village hall committee further about agreeing a better site to locate the notice board, as well as arranging for a more suitable cabinet to be installed.
The next meeting of the parish will be held on Tuesday 12 June at 7.30pm.
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