Chairman's Report - 2017

This report covers my term of office which started in May last year.
Fulford Parish Council is one of the largest parish councils in Staffordshire serving an electorate of around 5,500 people with an annual precept for the financial year 2016/17 of £50,000. The 2017/18 precept will also be kept at £50,000.
We continue to communicate with all the electorate via our quarterly newsletter, our well populated website, the parish notice boards and of course through the Parish office that is open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 9.30am to 12.30 pm. More recently the Council has embraced social media by opening a Facebook page.

The last 12 months have seen a number of initiatives instigated by the Parish Council including:
- The purchase and installation of 6 defibrillators across the parish. Whilst the Parish Council purchased the equipment we are very grateful to Stafford and Rural Homes who paid for the installation and to the retail premises in the parish who have allowed the defibrillators to be sited on their premises. Three training sessions were also run for parishioners who wanted to learn more about the use of the machines;
- A successful 6 month campaign, in conjunction with Stafford BC, to rid the parish of unwanted dog fouling ended in December. The results were very encouraging with an 83% improvement across the 5 targeted areas. We will continue to monitor the areas with regular 6-monthly inspections;
- Undertaking to buy redundant telephone kiosks in Fulford, Saverley Green and Moss Gate;
- Major repairs to the entrance of Footpath 38 off Hilderstone Road;
- Tarmaced the pedestrian footpath into Grindley Park.

Over the year, the Council has responded to a number of consultation documents including the Plan for Stafford Borough and the Highway Infrastructure Asset Management Strategy.

The Council has been pleased to welcome two new councillors in Cllr Inscker and Cllr Mrs White both for Blythe Bridge ward.

The Council meets monthly with additional sub-committees and working groups meeting on a regular basis. Attendance at meetings continues to be very high with an average of around 85% attendance. Members of the public are of course able to attend these meetings, if they wish, and are always welcome.

Looking ahead it is very likely that over the next few years Parish Councils will be expected to take on more and more additional responsibilities, as principle authorities find their budgets shrinking, particularly in relation keeping their local areas clean and tidy. This could mean undertaking additional grass cutting, keeping footpaths clear and other minor highway repairs.
We will of course keep the electorate informed of changes through the Newsletter and on our website.

Roy Taylor - Chairman

Chairman's Report - 2015

This report covers my term of office which started in May last year.

Fulford Parish Council is one of the largest parish councils in Staffordshire serving an electorate of around 5,500 people with an annual precept for the financial year 2014/15 of £50,000. The 2015/16 precept will also be kept at £50,000

We continue to communicate with all the electorate via our quarterly newsletter, our well populated website, the parish notice boards and of course through the Parish office that is open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 9.30am to 12.30 pm.

The last 12 months have seen a number of initiatives instigated by the Parish Council including:

  - A regular cleaning regime and repairs to the various bus shelters owned by the council;

  - Purchase of 20 commemorative ceramic poppies as part of the WW1 celebrations;

  - Purchase of speeding signs for Stallington Lane;

  - A new interpretation sign for Rough Close Common using the Community Paths Initiative money;

  - A move towards the introduction of a Voluntary Car Scheme for the parish, with the setting up of an initial steering group.

Additionally the Council is working with Cllr. Parry and the Highways Department of the County Council to try and find a solution to preventing grass verges on Grindley Lane, Meir Heath being spoiled by a minority of people who park cars on the verges.

Over the year the Council has responded to a number of consultation documents including, the Electoral Review of Stafford, Minerals Local Plan for Staffordshire, Stafford BC draft statement of Community Involvement (2015 – 2030) and Department for Communities and Local Government Right to Challenge Parking Policies.

In 2012 the Parish Council in conjunction with Stafford and Rural Homes began a consultation exercise to determine the need and demand for affordable housing in the parish. The results showed there was a substantial demand for up to 37 units. Work to take the results of this survey has been continuing and Stafford and Rural Homes have now begun work to erect 22 affordable homes on Hilderstone Road. These houses will be available only to people who have a connection to Fulford Parish.

We have seen new addition to the council with Cllr. Jon McNaught joining the council as a member for Blythe Bridge.

The Council continues to meet monthly with additional sub-committees and working groups meeting on a regular basis. Attendance at meeting continues to be very high with an average of around 85% attendance. Members of the public are of course able to attend these meetings, if they wish, and are always welcome.

Wendy Jennings - Chairman


Chairman's Report - 2011

This report covers my term of office which ended with the appointment of a new Chairman, Cllr Colclough at the Annual Parish Meeting of the Council last month.

As you are probably all aware, Fulford Parish Council is one of the largest parish councils in Staffordshire, serving an electorate of over 5,000 people with an annual precept for the new financial year 2011/12 of £55,000. This money is raised from each and every household via Council Tax. The precept received is used to run the Parish on a day to day basis and undertake many tasks not covered by the Borough Council, County Council or by Government funding.

During the past twelve months we have tackled a number of issues on behalf of the Parish including on-going pressure on Stafford Borough Council with planning issues which we feel are not being correctly monitored, objections to planning applications in support of the public as well as the Parish, ensuring that litter is cleared to promote the Parish’s image, mowing of grass verges adjacent to the Highways, liaison with Staffordshire County Council for community works to be undertaken via Neighbourhood teams, funding of planters in all wards and donations towards Fulford Best Kept Village campaign in the form of planters. We aim to continue to maintain access to public footpaths and maintain benches in public areas as well as to maintain Grindley Park for the use of the public.

The need for activities for children were a key feature of the Parish Plan that was published at the end of 2007 and, as was reported last year, the Council were unsuccessful in their bid for central government funding to develop an adventure playground on Grindley Park, Meir Heath. However the Council were determined that all the hard work and effort put in by many sectors of the community was not wasted and thanks to a substantial grant from the Staffordshire Environmental Fund of £25,958 and use of the Council’s own resources, work on the playground and a Multi games area for slightly older children will begin late July/early August.

During the year, other areas identified as priorities in the Parish Plan have been actioned e.g:

• Need to reduce speed in the parish – the Council have worked with the Road Safety partnership to introduce mobile Speed Indication Devices on Hilderstone Road and Grindley Lane, we are also seeing the mobile speed camera van more frequently in our parish;

• Litter – as well as employing a litter picker the Council have organised clean up days in Fulford & Rough Close;

• Signage on footpaths – the Council has worked with the County Council to improve signage and introduce ‘kissing gates’ where appropriate.

The Council continues to meet monthly with additional sub-committees and working groups meeting on a regular basis. Attendance at meeting continues to be very high with an average of around 85% attendance. Members of the public are, of course, able to attend these meetings, if they wish, and are always welcome.

We continue to try and communicate with all the electorate via our quarterly newsletter, our well populated website, the parish notice boards in each ward to which we have added an additional board on Uttoxeter Road, Blythe Bridge and of course through the Parish office that has open access on most Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 9.30am to 12.30 pm.

May 5th saw a new Council elected for a further 4 years with two of our long standing Councillors, Ken Brayford and Grace Holmes deciding stand down this time round. I would like to take this opportunity to thank both Ken and Grace for their contribution and service to the Council over many years and wish them both well.

We welcomed one new Councillor in Rob Chesworth, who became a Parish Councillor for the Fulford ward. Other councillors moved to new wards and we still have 2 vacancies for Meir Heath ward if anyone is interested in being co-opted.

Over the coming year we will see the introduction of the Localism Bill which will have big implications for parish councils, some good and some not so good, but whatever eventually comes out of the legislation I am sure here in this parish we will rise to the challenge.

May I close this report by thanking all the Parish Councillors for their hard work and support over the past twelve months and to the clerk for guiding me in the right direction during my year of office. I am sure that under the new leadership of Cllr Colclough, ably assisted by Cllr Shaw our on-going work and objectives will continue to be achieved.

Joy Bennett - Chairman



Chairman's Report - 2010

This report covers my term of office which will end with the appointment of a new Chairman at the Annual Parish Meeting of the Council.

Fulford Parish Council is one of the largest parish councils in Staffordshire serving an electorate of over 5,000 people with an annual precept of £45,000 and as you can imagine the council have dealt with a range of issues during the past 12 months.

We continue to try and communicate with all the electorate via our quarterly newsletter, our well populated website, the parish notice boards and of course through the Parish office that is open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 9.30am to 12.30 pm.

One of our big disappointments over the year was the failure to secure government funding to develop an adventure playground on Grindley Park, Meir Heath. However despite this set back the Council are determined to ensure all the hard work and effort put in by many sectors of the community is not wasted and we are now setting about seeing how best we can go some way to providing facilities for young people on Grindley Park.

The Parish Council has again been able to progress some of the issues in our parish plan, for instance:

• a new bus shelter has been provided in Fulford;

• the grass verges across the parish are now in a better condition following the Council’s decision to take over the cutting. We now cut them 12 times a year rather than the 8 previously provided by the County Council;

• more dog litter bins have been provided, although we still think some dog owners could be more responsible than they are at present;

• an ongoing programme, in conjunction with the County Council, to repair and where necessary replace some of the styles on our public footpaths is continuing.

The Parish Council has continued to support the County Council’s efforts to ensure that Staffordshire’s proportion of the regional sand and gravel requirements was reduced from 65% to 55% and I pleased to report that this campaign was successful and should help us in our fight to ensure that sand and gravel extraction does not take place in our or neighbouring parishes.

The Council continues to meet monthly with additional sub-committees and working groups meeting on a regular basis. Attendance at meeting continues to be very high with an average of around 85% attendance. Members of the public are of course able to attend these meetings, if they wish, and are always welcome.

One of our Meir Heath ward councillors resigned during the course of the year, but I am pleased to report that Mrs Wendy Jennings has been co-opted onto the Council as a very able replacement.

Finally, despite taking on additional costs associated with the grass cutting, additional dog litter bins and of course the normal day-to- day increases in costs, your Council has been able to maintain the annual precept at the same level for the 3rd year running and we will continue to strive to ensure that the electorate of in the Parish continue to get value for money.

Kath Brayford - Chairman



Chairman's Report - 2009

This report covers my term of office which will end with the appointment of a new Chairman at the Annual Parish Meeting of the Council in May.

Fulford Parish Council is one of the largest parish councils in Staffordshire serving an electorate of over 5,000 people with an annual budget of £45,000 and as you can imagine the council have dealt with a range of issues during the past 12 months.

We continue to try and communicate with all the electorate via our quarterly newsletter, our well populated website, the parish notice boards and of course through the Parish office that is now open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 9.30am to 12.30 pm.

The Parish Plan was completed a little over 12 months ago and the Council is working to take forward the actions proposed in that document, for example:

• we have taken over responsibility for the grass cutting from the County Council and are now cutting the grass 50% more frequently than the County whilst keeping the increased costs of the work to 30%;

• additional dog litter bins have been provided and more are planned;

• efforts are being made to provide a school crossing patrol and/or a pedestrian crossing in Meir Heath to allow people to cross safely to the school and shops;

• an application has been submitted for government funding to provide an adventure playground for young people on Grindley Park and although our application for funding this year has failed we are planning a further submission for funding for 2010/11;

• an application for funding to repair some of the styles on our public footpaths has been submitted to the County Council.

Over the course of the year the Council has responded to several consultation documents including the Staffordshire Minerals Core Strategy, the Borough’s Local Development Framework and the Borough’s Sport and Recreation Facilities Strategy. The response to the Minerals Core Strategy was particularly important because of the potential impact some of the proposals contained in the document will have on our area. There is still a long way to go with the proposals contained in this document but your council will continue to oppose any attempts to quarry for sand and gravel in the area.

During the year we have also had some changes to the Council with 4 new Councillors joining us, the latest being Cllrs. Mrs McPherson and Mrs Weaver.

Finally, despite taking on additional costs associated with the grass cutting, additional dog litter bins and of course the normal day-to- day increases in costs, your Council has been able to maintain the annual precept at the same level for the 3rd year running and we will continue to strive to ensure that the electorate of in the Parish continue to get value for money.

Kath Brayford - Chairman



Chairman's Report - 2008

This report should be my last as Council’s chairman, as my term of office for 2007-2008 ends at our AGM in May, when a new Chairman will be elected.

The Parish Office, which is situated within the Meir Heath and Rough Close village hall building (Grange Road, Meir Heath) is open as usual on each Monday (except Bank Holidays) from 11am until 1pm. It is hoped that the number of days each week, and the hours of opening, will increase in the near future. This should follow the appointment of a new Clerk to Fulford Parish Council, as stated previously. As we go to press, applicants for the position of Clerk have been interviewed, and the appointment is being progressed.

The Parish Plan is now complete, printed, and soon to be distributed, although because of costs, the distribution will be restricted. However a copy of the plan will be held in the parish office for those residents wishing to read it, or to check on future progress towards the implementation of its proposals.

“Quality Status” for the Parish Council is still our objective although progress has been restricted by our failure to meet certain criteria for accreditation, which we propose to address as soon as possible. The council will elaborate more on this in future issues of the “Newsletter”. The Council has applied for the same amount of money (the precept) as last year - £45,000 – to cover the anticipated parish expenditure for the financial year 2008/09. This will enable us to meet our commitments, help to limit the increases in Council Tax, and maintain a healthy working balance of the Council’s funds.

Barry Shaw - Chairman



Chairman's Report - 2007

My year as Chairman concludes with the Annual Meeting in May. Whilst progress on council matters sometimes seems slow and laborious, significant progress has been made particularly with decisions re Quality Council, the Parish Office, and plans for Grindley Park.

The council has resolved to achieve “Quality Council” status and as part of achieving this, the council has initiated the preparation of a “Parish Plan”, which will be the result of consultation and cooperation with parish organisations. A questionnaire has been delivered to the 2,500 households in the parish, and to date over 900 have been returned, which is a particularly pleasing response to such an exercise. The analysis of this feedback by an independent person outside of our parish will then be used to set the goals and objectives for Fulford Parish Council for the next four years.

A decision to re-instate play equipment on Grindley Park has been made which will be subject to support from the Borough Council and applications for grant aid.

The local elections are to be held on the 3rd May 2007. All seats on the Parish Council will be up for election on that date. If you are interested in offering your services as a Parish Councillor, and would like to know what it entails (we have tried to explain much of this in previous newsletters), please contact the Parish Clerk, or one of your councillors. This is your chance to make a difference!

Martin Oxby - Chairman



Chairman's Report - 2006

A new year for Fulford Parish Council started with a summary of the last year’s progress at the Annual Parish Meeting.

The council has resolved to achieve “Quality Council” status and as part of achieving this, the council will initiate the preparation of a “Parish Plan”, which will be the result of consultation and cooperation with parish organisations, and for which grant applications are prepared.

Support has been given to the Borough Council’s plan to fence part of Barlaston (Rough Close) Common in order to permit favourable management through the re-establishment of grazing.

The village well in Fulford has been repaired which together with the County Council’s work, has very much improved this central feature.

A new notice board was provided at Rough Close, and a new bus shelter at Blythe Bridge.

The major planning issues have been the Gypsy site at Spot Acre, and the ongoing issues with developments at “The Wood” on Stallington Road, both of which had enforcement notices served.

Installation of new fencing and a kissing gate in Grindley Park was completed particularly to prevent the access of motorcycles and other such vehicles from entering the park and causing disruption.

In order to better utilise the Meir Heath and Rough Close Village Hall, we are supporting their Management Committee with their proposal to extend at the side of the building, which when complete will not only give more space for increased activities, but also allow facilities for the Parish Council.

Support was also provided to the start up of children’s facilities at Fulford and at Meir Heath, and also to the Windmill Group in their efforts to restore the prominent feature at Meir Heath.

With the above expenditure and together with those of its day-to-day administration and parish responsibilities such as grass cutting and bin emptying on parish land, the Parish Council was able to balance its annual budget.

In order to particularly address the provision for play areas and facilities for all age groups, the Parish Council increased its precept for the current year which resulted in an increase in individual properties rate demand, although this only results in £4.10 per year from a Band D household.

Martin Oxby - Chairman