Parish Council News May 2021

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The Parish Council did not meet in April. The Annual Parish Meeting and the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council take place on 6 May 2021 via Zoom and all are welcome to attend (see links for details). This is currently the last date on which virtual council meetings can take place. The Government is consulting on extending powers to councils to hold virtual meetings but new legislation would be required. The Parish Council has found virtual meetings effective in carrying on its business during the COVID pandemic and would welcome having the flexibility to hold virtual meetings, or for virtual attendance for those who would have difficulty attending a physical meeting place. 

Whilst not meeting in April, the Parish Council has been active:

Hesket Lonning Footpath -The Footpath Working Group met Mike Johnson, Allerdale’s Leader and our County Councillor, on 12 April to walk the Matthew Rudding option and then along Hesket Lonning. Before concluding on what Allerdale would do to support the footpath, Mike Johnson has asked that we look closely at the merits of an alternative route for a footpath and if this might provide a credible option, albeit this would not provide the direct link between the villages alongside the road as set out in the original 2005 Parish Plan and which 72% of those responding supported in the 2019 Consultation. 

Caldbeck Public Toilets – We are working with Allerdale to see if the facilities can be opened as soon as possible. The Parish Council wishes to ensure that Allerdale will carry out an upgrade prior to the transfer of the facilities, including making the facilities as disabled friendly as possible, but would be prepared to take on the servicing of the facilities prior to the upgrade, if that is at all practical. We expect to meet Allerdale on site to decide what can be done but other Allerdale priorities, including COVID and elections, have prevented an early meeting. Given further easing of COVID restrictions and many more visitors to Caldbeck, the Parish Council is very keen for the facilities to be opened.

Parish Maintenance – The Parish Council has been concerned how the County Council has agreed its programme of work and particularly why some roads have received significant investment when they are little used, for example the recent work carried out between Hesket Bridge and the Banks. We have provided Mike Johnson with a briefing. Mike Johnson is now a member of the County Council’s Allerdale Highways Working Group and we will do what we can to support him in pressing for investment on what we consider to be higher priority work in the Parish such as Hesket Lonning, Hesket Newmarket to Howbeck, The Street, Upton, and the various fell roads south of Calebreck. Some of this work is now progressing but improvements to other roads have long been promised, such as around Caldbeck pond, but are not yet scheduled.

Caldbeck Green -The Biodiversity Working Group under Alison Young Poole’s chairmanship met on 8 April, the one wet day in the long spell of good weather. The Group spent 90 minutes visiting Caldbeck Green and identifying discrete areas where biodiversity might best be encouraged for the Parish Council to consider. The aim is to encourage greater biodiversity in a number of areas which are not greatly frequented and open up these areas with pathways and bridges over the issues so that people can see what develops, with most of Caldbeck Green remaining very much as is. Alison Young Poole has drawn up a report which the Parish Council will consider at the meetings on 6 May and decide on what changes, if any, should be made to grass cutting arrangements and management of Caldbeck Green.

Lake District National Park land disposals and car parking on common land – The Parish Council has continued to push for completion of the purchase and we hope that this will be achieved shortly.

Parish Council final accounts for 2020-21 and internal controls – The draft accounts and related 

documentation have all been reviewed by internal audit. The Parish Council will approve the Governance Statement on 6 May. As the Parish Council had income greater than £25,000, because of the £10,000 donation for the National Park land purchase, the accounts and Governance Statement will be subject to external audit. Accounts and financial records will be available for inspection 14 June to 23 July.

For further information, please contact Simon Smith:

Email: Telephone: 016973 71008