Town Mayor’s Annual Report for the Year
This report covers the period 1st April 2018 to 31st March 2019.
The year has been very busy for Bawtry Town Council. A significant effort has been made to raise the profile of the Council. Council members have made regular attendances at Bawtry Residents Group meetings. I attend the meeting and give an overview of Council meetings and answer questions from residents. Regular posts on the Council Facebook page have also improved communication with residents.
The Council is taking positive steps to improve Bawtry (including the submission of a Neighbourhood Plan, which will shortly go to a public referendum). However, it is not doing this alone, consultations with the Bawtry Retail Association and local community groups have enabled the Council to move forwards with its plans for the town. Most local community groups are represented at the Town Council Events Working Group. This group successfully arranged the senior residents Christmas lunch and a fancy dress disco for our younger residents. Bawtry Town Council members also volunteered for the Big Wheel at the Bawtry Christmas lights switch on. New litter bins a notice board at Market Hill and sponsorship plaques have also been purchased.
Donations were made to Bluebell Wood and the DRI Children’s ward with grants to third parties additionally made during the year.
All planning requirements to relocate the war memorial to the grounds of Bawtry Community Library have now been satisfied. Hopefully work will commence during May 2019. DMBC have kindly provided funding for the relocation.
As of May 1st 2019 the Council will run its services from the New Hall in Bawtry with current members of the view that the Council should manage its own facilities.
The Council has also approved expenditure for improvements to Market Hill. The work will be carried out in three phases. The Council decided to take responsibility for the maintenance of the footpath (with work to start in the spring of 2020) following unanimous approval from all of the premises owners. The second and final phase, the resurfacing and possible enhancement of the Market Hill car park, will take place after the Council take back the control of the car park in April 2021.
However, a potential short fall in funding for the third phase of the Market Hill improvements needs to be addressed over the next 18 months. The first two phases will impact heavily on the Council financial reserves.
Although financial support and resources from the principal authority, DMBC, is limited we continue to try and influence issues that directly affect our town – traffic, dog fouling, litter, unsafe pavements etc. Thank you to our DMBC ward councillor Rachael Blake for the work she carries out on our behalf.
But there are challenges ahead for Bawtry Town Council.
The Council have made a significant investment with Bawtry Action for Recreation and Sport (BARS) for the multi sport and community building at the Memorial Sports Ground. An annual grant of £8,500 is awarded to BARS to assist with the ground maintenance. It is hoped that in the near future BARS can become financially sustainable so that the £8,500 can be used by the Council for investment into other projects. BARS must also continue to maintain their Wharf Street play area.
The precept remains a long term problem for current and future members of the Council. Many believe the precept should fund the routine expenditure of the Town Council – but it presently falls short of this. However a balance between the precept and routine Council expenditure will take many years to achieve. The significant period of zero precept increases and a reliance on Market Hill car park revenue has caused an imbalance in Council finances and caused some irritation for residents and retailers.
The impact on the infrastructure of Bawtry by the expansion of local villages is a concern. The Council regularly comments on the various planning applications issued by Bassetlaw District Council and DMBC that impact the town. The Council also has two representatives on the airport consultative sub-committee with training flights appearing the most significant issue at present.
The loss of the bank and the post office has been of significant concern to residents and retailers. Whilst the bank decision is irreversible, I have been involved in meetings with our local MP, Caroline Flint and senior Post Office officials. These meetings are exploring several options to enable the restoration of postal services to our town.
Finally, the elected Bawtry Town Council members are all unpaid volunteers and residents of the town. The views of residents and retailers, positive or negative, are always welcome. If we don’t know about problems we can’t address them. Council meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month at the New Hall, Bawtry, starting at 7pm. There is an agenda item specifically for public participation.
A monthly newsletter is published in Bawtry Today with the Council’s meetings minutes and agenda available on our website, as are details about The New Hall bookings procedure. www.bawtrytowncouncil.co.uk
Town Mayor, Bawtry Town Council
New Hall Caretaker
(Application by CV or summary)
Parish Precept Increase 2019/2020
At the Town Council January Finance Meeting an increase was agreed to the Bawtry precept income. The precept is the element of Council Tax that is payable to Parish and Town Councils. This income is used to fund Town Council services. Historically the Bawtry precept level has been one of the lowest in the district. The present Town Council has the view that a policy of reliance upon car park revenue is fundamentally flawed; it makes us financially dependent upon a process that aggravates residents, retailers and ultimately deters visitors.
The Town Council are progressing several large projects. The relocation of the town’s War Memorial, refurbishment of Market Hill and the running of its business from the New Hall. These projects require significant levels of investment from the Town Council. Although the Town Council has cash reserves, we have to ensure these remain at a reasonable level in order to meet our obligations to services and staff.
The current Market Hill car park contract expires in approximately 2 and a half year’s time. If parking charges and charging hours are to be reviewed this may also result in a reduction of income to the Town Council.
Two years ago, the Town Council made a start to increase its income from the precept with a small increase of 10%, a much bigger increase last year of 33% and an increase this year of 38% – however the precept has been at such a low base that this means an average “Band D” Council Tax payer will only pay an extra £10.19 this year, or an additional 19p per week.
A balance between the precept and routine expenditure will take several more years to achieve.
Chair, Bawtry Town Council 29th January 2019
SYP Alerts launched by South Yorkshire Police
SYP Alerts will allow members of the public to sign up to receive free, tailored messages from the police via text, email and voice alert.
Initially, the messages will be sent by the Corporate Communications team but as training is rolled out across the force to Neighbourhood Policing Teams we will see local cops and PCSOs using it on a regular basis.
How does this differ from Twitter or Facebook?
South Yorkshire Police have an outstanding social media presence as a force but they can’t rely on that alone as there is an increasing demand for the public to be able to easily access information that is tailored specifically to their wants and needs. As such, the police need to ensure we have a variety of ways that people can get their information . SYP Alerts will allow officers to send messages to anyone registered in their area, but they will also be able to;
Instantly alert the public to critical incidents
Target messages to a specific street/area
Target messages dependent on information that the subscriber has given us i.e. vulnerable people, people who have said they have CCTV
Send out messages in different languages
Consult with the public
This system will replace the Neighbourhood Watch Confirmer system but will be available to any member of the public who wishes to sign up.
It is quick and easy to register at www.sypalerts.co.uk, requiring just name, address and email. Once signed-up, users can adjust the settings to suit their interests
Sign-up now at www.sypalerts.co.uk #SignMeUp