The Chair gave the following report:
The Chair welcomed Cllr Broomfield back to BiFOHH after his couple years break and also pleased that Cllr Tidridge remains a member. She also recorded her thanks to Nick Couldrey who was the former chair of this committee and who was not re-elected in May.
It had been a very busy year since the elections and these are some of the activities that have occurred.
On 27 May the Chair and Cllr Marsh visited Fair Oak Squash Club to see the improvements made to the facilities, following an award of funding from this committee. The changing room improvements, now means that membership, especially of women has increased significantly from single figures to over 100. It is a community facility that the volunteers who run and manage it should rightly be very proud of and the facilities beyond Squash and Racket, such as the gym are very good.
On 29 July the Chair had the pleasure of interviewing perspective organisations to take forward youth service provision at the Y-Zone, all those interviewed were of a high calibre, but it was awarded to Youth Options, the Council is now in the contractual phase and it is hoped that all being well the new delivery will commence early in 2022.
The Chair has continued to meet regularly with both parish councils – which is helping to ensure a much greater amount of communication and collaboration between us, as does our regular team meeting.
In September the Chair attended the opening of the outdoor learning centre, another Youth Options programme, she would encourage all members who have contact with local schools to encourage them to see if there is scope to work with Youth Options.
Recently, the Community Development Officer, Michael Gillam was appointed. Members will recall the funding for this post was agreed at our previous meeting.
Stoke Wood Surgery has received £65k as approved by the Committee for improvements to its rooms.
Other monies set aside have resulted in additional bins, and other community assets such as a new play area at Bow Lake in Bishopstoke and a new play area at Pembers Drive in Fair Oak.
Earlier this month the Chair attended the Bishopstoke Parish Armistice service to lay the wreath on behalf of the Council.
Some of the safety improvements near the y-zone have begun, with the reciting of the benches. Work to reduce the height of the hedge has been agreed and work to place additional benches as requested by our older residents is being finalised.
The medium risk tree works associated with the Planney in Bishopstoke are due to commence imminently now we are out of Bird Nesting Season.
There was probably far more I could mention but I hope this gives a good flavour and overview.
There are some concerns shared by this committee, especially in respect to Asset Transfer and Development Monitoring. The Chair had requested several weeks prior that a report on problems and action taken by planning enforcement be brought to this meeting, however it was not forthcoming and she was very disappointed. The Chair would write to the Executive Head of Housing and Economy and request that at the next meeting in January the Committee receive a response and update in respect to the case study presented this evening and to inform him that they will start a rolling program of site scrutiny. Crowdhill and the Chase were suggested as the first sites.
The Chair requested that it was recorded that at no time had the Chair or Independent Councillor members of this committee requested that meetings of the Local Area Committee be cancelled. Any cancellation had been at the request of officers, firstly to ensure a covid compliant venue and due to lack of substantive business, thereby saving the public purse from holding unnecessary meetings. Any officer requested cancellation was discussed and approved in conjunction with all Committee members. The Chair reiterated that going forward no meetings would be cancelled.