Chairman’s Report

The latter part of this year has been a testing year for most businesses and organisations and Breage Parish Council has been no exception.

COVID 19 and its restrictions have impacted upon us all in one way or another in varying degrees. Up until March of this year the Breage Parish Council managed it affairs in the conventional manner but since the introduction of “lock down” a new and different arrangement has been introduced. Whilst not ideal, the system has allowed the business of the Council to carry on employing lawful and safe procedures and to be safe for our staff, contractors and parishioners.

All communication has been carried out by written procedure or electronically with isolation measures that have been put in place to allow safe contact with the Clerk who has, during this crisis, maintained self isolation in the Parish Rooms.

During the pandemic the Clerk has maintained an updated list of contacts and information from central government, Public

Health England, Cornwall Council and statutory authorities for use by Parishioners.

The list of parishioners and organisations who have stepped forward to assist during this ongoing crisis is truly humbling and demonstrates the strength of community throughout the parish.  The Council is very grateful for their support both now and in the future.  The hope of all of us is that this crisis will soon come to a successful conclusion and we can all return to normality as soon as possible.

Councillor Will Perrin resigned due to changing work commitments and the Councillors thank him for his contributions to the work of the parish. Councillors Caroline Carver and Nicola Roberts were both co-opted on to Breage Parish Council over this reporting period: both have quickly established themselves as valuable members of the Council and have taken various committee roles.

Our regular Parish Council meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month at 1900 with planning meetings held on the last Thursday of the month, again at 1900. In the forthcoming year the planning meetings will change to the last Wednesday of each month at 1900.  All of the Council’s meetings with just a few exceptions are open to the public and we would be delighted to see you at the Parish rooms. The Parish office and public rooms have been refurbished to allow meaningful business to be conducted and have electronic data facilities to enable the Councillors and public more efficient access to information.

The Council has been successful in being awarded the Lengthsman contract for a second year: this enables the parish to determine the rate and effort put into clearing drains, ditches and culverts, cleaning road signs and general B roads, C roads and unclassified roads to have safety grass cutting.  It is largely due to this effort that the parish experienced very little flooding over an extremely wet Autumn and Winter.

The public rights of way network is being continually improved and maintained by Breage Parish Council under the supervision of Councillor Phil Darby.

The public toilets at Praa Sands are still under a tenancy-at -will currently, with the Council resolved to take full responsibility for them post legal sign off. They are currently closed IAW the COVID 19 Regulations.

Breage Field Committee has reformed in order to manage the field and the play equipment for the benefit of the village. The current equipment has been refurbished. In common with the other parish recreation areas,  Breage Parish Council has arranged for monthly safety inspections to take place IAW ROSPA guidelines.

Ashton has been supplied with a brand new set of children’s play equipment, picnic tables and the area has been generally refreshed.  Trees and hedgerow plants have been planted on the boundary to offset the parish carbon foot print.  Thanks to Cllr Macleod for planting them.

At Praa Sands the basketball pitch has been refurbished and keep fit equipment installed for the benefit of parishioners and visitors and is proving very popular.

Byway 47 has at long last and after countless lobbying of Cornwall Council been regraded and tarmaced.

Praa Green has been maintained and improved over the reporting year in order to preserve its community value.  Cornwall Council was requested to repair the central steps leading to the beach as they had been eroded by the sea over the winter period.

All the street lights in the parish have been transferred back to Cornwall Council thus relieving the precept of the running cost and maintenance charges.

Various traffic regulation orders have been agreed and should be in place this year subject to the lifting of the current COVID 19 regulations.

As stated in last year’s Annual report, the Parish is engaged in producing a Neighbourhood Development Plan which is now in its third year. Given the uncertainty of the release from lockdown, the steering group will in all probability be at Pre-submission edition completion and through its statutory consultation period during the course of the 2020/21 financial year.  Parishioners will be informed of future progress.

Breage Parish Council is extremely grateful to Councillor Ralph and the Steering group for the diligent production of what is a complex and detailed document.

It is anticipated that work will be able to start on the refurbishment of the open Cemetery in the late Spring and enable the additional land to be enclosed.

The Council is currently at its full complement and I would like to record my thanks to all Councillors for their support over this reporting year and the work completed on the various committees.

The work of our Clerk/Responsible Finance Officer, Mrs Carol Macleod, has been particularly challenging this year with the difficulties that have arisen through the lockdown and the Council is grateful to Mrs Macleod and Mrs Orpin for their continued efforts.

Thanks are also recorded to Breage Cornwall Councillor John Keeling for his efforts on behalf of our parishioners

Finally thank you to the parishioners for supporting the efforts of Breage Parish Council and your active participation in the production of the Neighbourhood Development Plan.

Please take the best possible care of yourselves and your loved ones during this pandemic and we all look forward to normality and our social activity being resumed as soon as possible.

Councillor Tony Woodhams – Chairman Breage Parish Council

In an ever-changing scenario with regard to local government, Breage Parish Council has discharged its specific functions as defined by the various Acts over the past year.

I have attended various civic functions to represent Breage Parish Council in our neighbouring Towns and Parishes

Through prudent financial planning we have been able to achieve a zero percent increase in the Parish precept for this financial year in contrast with the massive circa 6% increase levied by Cornwall Council.

All services and projects have been maintained or enhanced with additional projects commenced and in their early stages. These include:

Completion of the transfer of Ashton Amenity Area to Breage Parish Council.

Commencing a bid for play/exercise equipment for Carleen and Ashton.

Establishing a steering Group to take forward the Neighbourhood Plan for Breage Parish: this will allow much more influence to be exerted upon planning decisions once complete and will become a material consideration.

Refurbishment of the Clerk’s office and the Parish Rooms is still ongoing in order to provide a more efficient business environment and a better experience for the electorate who attend our meetings.

Plans to upgrade all streetlights in the ownership of Breage with a view to hand them over to Cornwall Council.

Clean up of the Basketball Court area at Praa Sands. Thanks are recorded to Mr Matt Gordon, M2 Construction for generously donating both time and materials to enable this project to happen.

A circular walk has been created at Praa Green, partly to add interest to the current walks and to provide alternative routes to alleviate wear and tear on the regular paths.

After protracted discussion with Cornwall Council and agreement reached on the way ahead for the future management of Praa Sands Public lavatories, Breage Parish Council re-established a “tenancy at will” with Cornwall Council in order that the facility can remain open for our Parishioners and visitors. In addition financial measures have been put in place to ensure its operation during this financial year 2018/19.

Breage Parish Council has requested that Cornwall Council investigate an alternative system of operation in order to reduce the running cost and the financial burden on the Parish precept. This is currently in progress with a new system that substantially reduces water usage and the cost of emptying. This new system will be installed initially in the ladies facility and is expected to be in place by the end of May 2018. This will cause some inconvenience during the installation phase for which we apologise.

Running concurrent to this project Cornwall Council have agreed at the request of local businesses and some residents to explore the establishment of a Community Interest Company in order to allow the business community to have a greater input into the management of the facility. Breage Parish Council wholeheartedly supports this imitative.

Planning events in and around Ashton have seen the formation of the Ashton Residents Association to ensure that parishioners’ views are made clear to the planning authority and also demonstrate their views regarding matters in that area.

Godolphin Cross Community Association is to be congratulated on its overwhelming success and progress with the Old Chapel Community Centre and its continuing varied program of entertainment and community events. Breage Village hall continues to provide a valuable service to the villagers and the Parish generally.

Praa Sands Community Centre continues to be busy and well supported, as does Carleen Village Hall who will hopefully see their exercise equipment installed very soon.

The Parish Council will be welcoming old friends back again to commemorate the N461 Sunderland seaplane event of the Second World War. This will take place on the 2nd June 2018 at Praa Sands with further details published closer to the date.

May 2017 saw the local authority elections; eleven Breage Parish Councillors offered themselves for re-election and were returned which resulted in a cooption as the poll was not claimed and Mr Tony Best was co-opted, returning the Council to full complement.

Cllr Christine Toms resigned during 2017; this created an additional vacancy with the poll not being claimed. This vacancy was filled by the co-option of Mr William Perrin.

The Council has established a Finance and General Purposes committee under the Chairmanship of Cllr Tony Best; this committee is already having a beneficial impact on council business and is currently in the process of reviewing all council policy documents with recommendations being presented to full council.

The business of Breage Parish Council is work in progress and as such is under constant review in order to provide the best possible service and value to our Parishioners.

The Planning policies of Cornwall Council continue to be a challenge and occupy a large part of the Council’s time and resources. We continue to represent the views of the parishioners at both the Western area and Strategic planning committees as appropriate, supported by your comments received by email/letter or presented at public participation at our regular meetings.

The Parish is currently being inundated with planning proposals and if unchallenged these would very soon outstrip any infrastructure resources that remain or are expected.

In closing I would like to thank my Vice- Chairman Cllr Rosie Wyvern Batt and all my Councillor colleagues for their support and contribution to the Council’s business over the past year. We are all supported by Mrs Carol Macleod, our Clerk/ Financial Responsible Officer and by Mrs Sarah Orpin who manages to keep the administrative offices spic and span. My thanks go to you all.

Councillor Tony Woodhams – Chairman Breage Parish Council