I’m afraid the PC article wasn’t included in this quarters CHADRA newsletter, so I’m putting it here for those who may have wondered where it had gone. 

Charfield Parish Council

Hello folks. In another section of this newsletter we’ll cover what’s afoot with the Neighbourhood Plan, but in this article I want to concentrate on one subject and that’s the empty seats on your Parish Council. I’ve been a Parish Councillor for almost ten years now and I’ve chaired it since 2009. In that time we’ve seen a lot of change, some for the better and some… well, there’s no doubt in my mind that the job is a bigger one now than when I took up the chairmanship. Being a Parish Councillor is one of the ways (and there are many) members of a community can make that comunity better. It’s a form of service, a recognition that where we live is valued and worth working for.

Having fewer Councillors than we are supposed to means that the Councillors we do have need to do more to carry the responsibilities of the Council. I don’t ever want the work we do to become an unsupportable burden or face the dilemma of a failing Council. I am therefore asking each of you who are eligible to consider the idea of being a Parish Councillor. I’ve put a kind of job description onto the Parish Council web site at www.charfieldparishcouncil.org.uk which covers the role and the reasons why we work together. If you’d read it I’d be grateful. If anyone wants to meet me or any of the other Councillors for a chat about the role do get in touch. We enjoy doing the work we do and we’ll happily tell you why.

You’ve recently had your Community tax bills for the forthcoming year and I hear some of you have picked up on the increase in the Parish Precept. I know it’s only small beer in the overall scheme of things – mine went up by less than a pound a month and I can’t buy much for a quid nowadays – but I’d like to offer a couple of thoughts. Firstly of course we are your Parish Council and all the budget is agreed in January and itemised in the published minutes, and you can read the details of the spend if you check the public web site. You are of course welcome to attend budget meetings as you are all public meetings of the Parish Council. We are your Parish Council and we seek to be transparent in our work.

Secondly I’d note that although the county council’s tax has risen by a smaller amount the actual cuts in spend have been substantial, some £43M thus far with £35M planned. South Gloucestershire state “Inevitably this will affect some front line services” and that more savings will probably be needed. Charfield Parish Council is determined to try and uphold local services where it can, and continued support for youth services in the village which would otherwise have been ended is one example of this, grants to local and community organisations who have found other funding options drying up is another. This community is better for the investment we all put into it (which is a line I could have used in the first two paragraphs too, eh).

Now, as I type I’ve had some more news, and that is that David Jellings has decided not to continue as our Parish Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer. This will be old news by the time you read your CHADRA but it’s worth mentioning here that we are starting a new process to advertise the position. If we cannot function well with a shortage of Parish Councillors we cannot function at all without a Clerk and RFO! While we work through the selection process we will be using a locum Clerk and no doubt we will be prioritising where necessary to keep all our balls in the air. Please bear with us. Emails and letter will continue to be dealt with, but the contact telephone number might change from time to time.

Finally… and I can scarcely believe this. There are folk living in Charfield who have said that they were unaware of the impending developments in Charfield! No, really. So… There was a presentation recently by Crest Nicholson at the Hall on the new build at Charfield Green. I think it could have been better advertised and I asked for and obtained online access to the displays they used in their presentation. I’ve put a link to them on the Parish Council web site. The other publicly known about development at Day House Leaze is currently in two forms and you can see their outline proposals on the South Gloucestershire planning portal. Get in touch if you need help accessing that.

Thanks for reading this far! I hope, as spring moves toward summer, that the brighter days treat you well.

Mark Rosher – Chairman
Charfield Parish Council