This is the first Newsletter for 2002 and is being compiled to coincide with the introduction of our new Web Site (for anyone who is not reading this on the Internet, the site is www.silverdale-pc-lancs.gov.uk).

Earlier this year our Clerk, Malcolm Westwood, had to resign from his post as he was moving to Scotland. We understand that he is now settled into his new home and enjoying life, although he must (of course) miss Silverdale! He has been succeeded by Peter Challenor, from Arnside. Peter has been a Parish Councillor and he is now also the Clerk to Arnside Parish Council, in addition to Silverdale.

Quite a lot of Council time has been spent in revising the accounting system in order to meet the changing demands of the Audit Commission. The idea is to make things easier and cheaper for Parish Councils, so that your representatives can spend more time attending to those things that matter to you (the electorate), without having to spend too much of your money on the audit fee. It is too early to make a bold statement, but it does seem as though this one might actually work!

Your councillors, at Silverdale, have experienced some frustration (exasperation, even), as a consequence of the Government’s new Model Code of Conduct and all the bureaucracy that goes with it. However, all members decided to sign the relevant undertakings. One of our long-serving and devoted councillors, Cyril Beckford, had already decided that it was time to retire from his Council work, before he was faced with the latest phase (registration of interests), so, knowing that he will have retired by the time the Standards Board get round to doing anything about it, he has registered his “protest” instead. The rest of the councillors have registered their “interests”, so that they can carry on – copies of the register entries are held by the Clerk and are available for inspection at meetings of the Council, or by prior arrangement. We shall certainly miss Cyril’s input to the work of the Council, but we thank him for all he has done.
Moving on to a matter which is enthusiastically supported – “Vital Villages”. This is a scheme which is partly funded by the Countryside Agency and which will eventually assist us in getting grants for improving community services and community transport (possibly other things too). The initial stage is to produce a Parish Plan, so that we know where we are trying to go, in Silverdale. We have done some preliminary consultation work with various sectors of the community and have been very impressed with the level of support and encouragement, particularly (but not only) from our Neighbourhood Watch group. Perhaps we should also mention that the production of a Parish Plan might enhance our say in the future ‘Planning Regime’, which has been heralded in the Government’s Green Paper and further publicised with John Prescott’s reported determination to have the recommendations implemented as soon as possible.

Future newsletters will be produced as and when we have something to say and will probably incorporate the specific new items which will appear at the head of this page. The hope is, however, that we will produce at least four newsletters per year, for promulgation on this Web Site.

In closing this newsletter, we would just like to thank our Parish Church for including the Minutes of our meetings in each of the monthly Parish Newsletters (even ‘holding the presses’, when we have had to re-schedule a meeting).