The Council meets twice a month on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month (Full Council / Planning Committee), the meetings are open to the public and all the information relating to the meetings is published on our website.
For those of you that are unable to come along to the meetings, we thought it might be useful to give a more in-depth view of what the Parish Council does for its residents.
In this edition of the newsletter, we focus on the work of our committees and working groups; residents are welcome to join in with any of the activities our working groups promote.
There has been further delay in Stroud District Council making a decision on the Ecotricity planning application S.16/0043/OUT for a sports stadium at junction 13. We understand that it was to be considered in February but this is now more likely March or April. We will keep you updated through the ECN and our own Facebook and website once a date has been set.
The Parish Council is extremely grateful to its strategic planning working group of residents and councillors that have met monthly, sometimes twice a month, for the past 2 years and working behind the scenes spending many hours reading the planning documents, researching the impact of the Ecotricity application, meeting with planning officers and independent experts. This same working group also assists with reading and researching the applications associated with Great Oldbury (land West of Stonehouse) – to date we have had 33 applications to consider and comment on since the Outline consent was approved for 1350 houses.
As you can see, planning applications for the parish continues to be a huge area of work for the council and its volunteers.
Getting Around Group
We have a working group called “Getting Around” and their remit is anything that helps us to “get around” the parish better, whether it is highways related, or footpaths, or gritting the pavements in snowy weather; this working group regularly meets with our Gloucestershire Highways representative to progress matters that fall under County Council control (eg road safety).
It is through this group we were able to complete the village gateway project and the group organises twice yearly work parties to update the flowers in the planters. The group checks the grit bins and arranges for them to be topped up.
The Parish Council has a commitment to replace two stiles per year with kissing gates to improve access to our countryside footpaths, an initiative introduced by the Public Rights of Way Defenders.
Churchyard and Burial Ground Group
The Parish Council is responsible for the maintenance and health & safety of the closed churchyard at St Michael’s & All Angels, and also for managing the burial ground across the road from the church. Our working group carries out regular visits to ensure the grounds are safe for the public, annual “hands-on” inspections of the headstones and tree surveys every 3 years.
We are proud to receive many compliments about the burial areas and hope that visitors will soon be able to enjoy the new memorial garden which we hope to complete this spring.
This small committee manages the assets of the Parish Council, including the employees, and meets when necessary (about twice a year). The committee oversees all the contracts issued by the Council such as the grass cutting and ensures we are receiving good service and value for money.
The Parish Council has set its budget for the next financial year with a total expenditure of £87,480. The parish has a larger tax base than in previous years which means we can receive a higher precept (council tax) without a percentage increase on your council tax bill. The precept for 2019/20 will be £78,720 which works out as £119.86 for the year on a Band D property. We will make use of this unexpected increase to progress plans for improving the burial ground and installing a new bus shelter at Claypits.
Whilst the rest of Gloucestershire look forward to local council elections this coming May, Stroud District has a different schedule and our local elections will be in May 2020.
If anyone would like to know more about becoming a parish councillor please do get in touch with the Clerk (details below and on our website).
Housing Needs in the Parish
Just to let you know that there will be a Parish ‘Housing Needs Survey’ form delivered to every household in Eastington in March 2019.
This survey will help to inform us of the current and future housing needs of all our residents. It is important that as many households as possible take part, so that we can encourage the development that we really need whilst discouraging inappropriate development in the Parish.
Please look out for it with more information in the next ECN magazine, and respond as soon as you can. Thank You.
Julie Shirley, Clerk to Eastington Parish Council Tel: 01453 799616