Chairman’s Annual Report to Abberley Parish – 20th May 2020
Although the AGM, elections and Annual Parish Meeting are postponed until next year I thought that it would be of benefit to give an account of the Parish Council activities to date.
This will certainly be known to future generations as the time of Covid as the effect of the virus on the whole world has been staggering; not a single person on the planet has escaped the consequences both social and economic. It has certainly propelled Abberley and many other Councils into the world of Zoom meetings and finding different ways to communicate without putting ourselves and others at risk. After a certain amount of trepidation I think we can say that we have embraced the new way of doing things. How long that will last is a matter of speculation but, as a tool, I think virtual meetings are here to stay.
The year began uneventfully enough with the Parish Council conducting business as usual in matters preoccupying any rural Parish – flooding, pollution, overgrown hedges, litter, the inevitable Planning issues and, specifically to us, trying to assist Astley and Dunley Parish Council in combatting the illegal use of Shaver’s End Quarry.
We were delighted to welcome Mr Joel Turvey as the new Head of Abberley Parochial VC Primary School who began his tenure with a very firm wish to cement relations between the school and Abberley.
There was a Security Marking Event in September which was a very interesting exercise in how to make our belongings more secure.
We also held an extremely well attended community dance and hog roast in September in the Village Hall – the Abberley Shindig – a wonderful Ceilidh. Many thanks go to Cllr Jim Gibson, Lisa Walker and Sarah Crabbe for organising a memorable evening.
We also took that opportunity to advertise the thriving clubs and groups and committees manned by dedicated volunteers who contribute so much to Abberley life. And it was also another chance to publicise the progress of our then nascent NDP (Neighbourhood Development Plan).
A glorious day in October saw an army of volunteers striding through Abberley and its environs wielding grabbers and bin bags; our version of the Great British Tidy Up.
The Abberley NDP is now ready to present for an eight week Public Consultation after which the final draft will be written, ready for examination.
Cllr Kate Andrew stepped down as Chair of the Steering/Working Group and I want to thank her for the years of hard work that have gone in to getting us to this stage.
Cllr Jim Gibson resigned from his role as Path Warden, due to work commitments and I would like to thank him for tackling quite a time-consuming task so diligently – Abberley has many, many paths. Cllr Andrew has volunteered to take his place.
At this point I would like to thank all those who have contributed to the life of the Parish in so many different ways and are continuing to do so; our County Councillor, Dr Pollock, and our District Councillor, Mr Paul Cumming, for their presence and approachability, always ready to answer those difficult questions and to point us in the right direction; and indeed all the Parish Councillors who have taken on various roles and responsibilities, doggedly pursuing what they believe to be in the best interests of the Parish.
A special mention must go to our Lengthsman, Mr Chris Bunn, who as usual has kept Abberley looking its best.
And last but not least I would like to thank Mrs Carole Hirst, our Parish Clerk, whose advice, dedication and hard work have ensured the smooth running of Parish business especially at a time when the world as we knew it went topsy turvy.
Catherine Knight – Chair
Abberley Parish Council