2005/03

Silverdale Parish Council

Newsletter 21.05.03

Elections – your new Council

Publication of this quarterly Newsletter has been delayed for three weeks, in order to take account of the Elections, held on May 1st and the subsequent legal procedures which have to be completed, before the new Parish Council was formed.

The elections are held every four years and it is alway desirable for there to be a ‘contested election’, so that the successful candidates can feel that they have been truly “elected”. In most parishes this rarely occurs, in fact it is often difficult to find enough candidates to fill the seats. This year there has been an added incentive with the publication of terms for “Quality Parishes”, whereby only those councils which have more than 80% of seats filled at the election can be considered for “Quality” status. Those which fill all seats at a contested election get full marks on that particular element of the assessment (there are many other elements, as well!). This year the residents of Silverdale did an excellent job. We had ten residents contesting the eight seats and 60% of the electorate turned out to vote, so we are off to an excellent start. Thank you to the candidates who were not elected – you have contributed to the excellent standing of this Council by participating, and thank you to all who voted – you have shown that you care.

Parish Plan

The compilation of the Parish Plan is now entering the final phase of drawing together the results of the public consultation exercises and the work of the various action groups and compilation of the draft Plan. There are five action groups, which are hoping to take forward specific subjects which have been highlighted during the past 10 months. For each of these groups we now have one (or two) member(s) of the Parish Council to act as ‘link persons’ between the groups concerned and the Council. They are:

Tony Houghton Sports & Recreational Development
John Burrow Village Centre
Peter Roberts and Ralph Henderson Transport & Traffic
June Greenwell Children’s & Parent’s Interests
John Eden Public Services

Children’s Playground

The Children’s Playground, on the Playing Field at Cove Road, has been a matter of some concern to the Parish Council and we have repeatedly agreed that “we must do something about it” (but, of course, it will cost a lot of money). All the equipment complies with the British Standard which was applicable at the time of installation, and our insurers have confirmed that this continues to be acceptable, provided we have regular safety checks and carry out necessary maintenance. Users of the area will have noticed that the 10′ high swing frame was removed just over 12 months ago and has recently been re-installed, but is now somewhat shorter. Although the modification was not essential, Members were concerned that the height might be excessive, when assessed on the new European Standards, and we therefore decided to take action in the interests of the children who use the swings. We are also aware of the fact that the slide does not strictly comply with the European Standards, because it does not have a short level section at the top. However, it is totally acceptable to our insurers and it passes the independent safety checks, so it does not seem reasonable to deny our children the enjoyment of using it, for the time being.

The main concern now is that the “Impact Absorbing Matting” beneath most of the equipment is in need of replacement. Rather than launch straight into doing the work, we have been most encouraged by the enthusiastic involvement of a ‘childrens playground’ action group, working with the Parish Plan. This group has engaged the services of several bodies and manufacturers, and has come up with some provisional suggestions for the partial, or total, renewal of equipment in this area. We have seen a plan of what they are considering and have found it most impressive – we are keenly awaiting the final proposal. At the moment, the Parish Council has a total of £7,000 set aside for renewal/development work on the Playground, but we are well aware that this is a very small sum compared with the cost of making a good playground area. No doubt there will be some money-raising to be done, so watch this space (and many other spaces, in the village).