The Parish Council met on 11 January 2021 and agreed the Parish Plan update and budget for 2021-22. It confirmed the precept of £18,330 as flagged up in last year’s budget consultation. As part of the budget,the Parish Council agreed contract extensions for grass cutting and the lengthsman’s services for the three years 2021 to 2023.
The Parish Council discussed the work being undertaken at The Old Map Shop where the contractor has installed safety fencing which has encroached on the car parking area and restricted access to BT equipment. It was agreed that the Clerk should write to the owner and contractor to object to the interference with car parking and the erection of temporary fencing on common land and to ask if relevant permissions had been obtained.
Tim Cartmell, Chairman, reported on a meeting of the Footpath Working Group with Mike Johnson, Acting Leader Allerdale and County Councillor, and Allerdale officers who have held discussions with landowners to see if there may be scope for reaching an agreement on the Caldbeck – Hesket Newmarket footpath. Allerdale expected to provide details of landowners’ objections to the footpath so that the Parish Council could respond and propose how objections might be met, such as modifications to gates/fences/hedges etc. Landowners have argued that there are alternative footpaths which could be improved. The Parish Council pointed out that in 2019 the National Park and the County Council had looked at alternatives (particularly via Matthew Rudding) and had serious concerns about the costs of improvement and more significantly whether people wishing to walk directly between the villages would use an improved footpath. Alternative routes did not provide the direct, easy to walk, path linking the two villages which parishioners had strongly supported in the original Parish Plan and had confirmed during the 2019 Budget consultation. Mike Johnson confirmed that Allerdale supported the footpath and would be prepared to use its Footpath Creation Powers if agreement cannot be reached.
Tim Cartmell updated the Parish Council on recent developments concerning the reinstatement of the street light near the Parish Hall. The Parish Council continues to press for the reinstatement of what was a valued public asset and is working with Allerdale to explore cheaper alternatives. The Parish Council agreed it would make preparations to consult parishioners and Parish Hall users about the light, including how the reinstatement would be funded, and would seek discussions with all interested parties.
Parish Maintenance – Alison Young Poole reported on a flooded inspection chamber and concerns about surface water and ice which had resulted in damage to the road surface by Hesket Newmarket Green. A Highways team has since visited and drawn up plans to deal with drainage problems, including the major drain taking water away from Hesket Newmarket via the water course between the play area and the allotments. Alison Young Poole also reported on vehicles damaging the Green, particularly delivery vehicles. Mark Binney, the Parish Council’s lengthsman, had tidied the Green in a recent visit but his work could quickly be undone by vehicles. Hesket Newmarket Parish Councillors agreed to consider what the Parish Council might do when it owns the Green and draw up a plan. In Caldbeck Highways had progressed work on a broken pipe at Riverside, opposite the Oddfellows, where barriers had been in place for some weeks. Highways were attending to blocked gulleys by Midtown, caused by the blocked culvert at Riverside. Work was needed to deal with both the culvert and the gulleys. Norman Atkinson reported that cars were parking on the block pavement near Riverside and that it would be good to have the pavement marked with a white line. It was also agreed that white lines near the cricket club would help. The Clerk was asked to contact Highways. The Parish Council was pleased that gritting had taken place between Hesket Newmarket and Millhouse during the cold spell.
The Parish Council agreed that Alison Young Poole (Chairman) and Ian Shaw should form a Working Group to consider a pilot project for encouraging greater biodiversity on Caldbeck Green, supported by the Clerk, and that the Group should co-opt other interested parishioners. If any pilot project proposal were to go ahead in 2021, the Parish Council would need to approve the proposal at the May meeting, before the first scheduled grass cut.
Lake District National Park land disposals and car parking on common land – Tim Cartmell reported that Sam McAlister, Solicitor, has been appointed to deal with the purchase. The National Park solicitor had now sent a draft contract, but the all important plan of the land to be conveyed had still to been sent. Philip Petchey, Barrister from Francis Taylor Building, had agreed to provide his opinion on common land car parking issues for the fee quoted in April 2020. His opinion has since been received and gives the Parish Council the necessary assurances to proceed with the purchase.
Norman Atkinson reported on installation of electric charging points for vehicles. He had spoken to Kieran Macfadzean, Cumbria Action for Sustainability, Dalston Parish Council’s clerk, and contacted Charge My Street. The Dalston experience has been positive at nil cost to the Parish Council with Charge My Street taking responsibility for the site, installation costs, and maintenance. Following completion of the National Park land purchase, the Parish Council would look to identify a possible site for further consideration but would not wish to lose existing car parking spaces.
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