December brought the dramatic General Election which saw Andrew Stevenson returned as our MP. Local boy, Christian Wakeford, also achieved his personal ambition by being elected as the MP for Bury South. Congratulations to both. Christian has been a stalwart of the Parish Council and has done an enormous amount for us in his role as a County Councillor. Given his new responsibilities it is not clear if he will continue with this but he deserves a huge thank you from the people of Roughlee.
Planning appeal – Thorneyholme
A planning application to build two large detached houses fronting Barley New Road to the east of Thorneyholme Hall had been refused by the Borough Council but this decision had been appealed to the Planning Inspectorate. It is pleasing to report that the appeal has been dismissed so the houses will not be built. The Parish Council fought very hard to prevent this development which would have been highly intrusive in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and would have looked out of place adjacent to Thorneyholme Hall which is a listed building.
Planning appeal – Blacko Bar Road
As one appeal has been dismissed we have been notified that another has been lodged. In this case it is against the refusal of planning permission to build two houses in a field off Blacko Bar Road. The appeal raises similar issues to the one recently dismissed, notably adverse impact on the AONB, and the Inspector’s report dismissing the Barley New Road appeal very much supports the Parish Council’s stance in objecting to the Blacko Bar Road proposal. We will be making further comments on the new appeal.
Roughlee Village Centre
The social events in December were very successful. The Senior Citizens lunch held on 11th December was attended by 40 people who greatly enjoyed the catering by The Cabin from Barley and the singing by the children of Roughlee School. The event is free to Parish residents of 65 and older but given the evident joy which the event brings to our worthy older residents the modest cost is definitely money well spent. Generous raffle prizes for the event were donated by Carlo’s Italian restaurant, Colne, and by the Bay Horse pub, Roughlee, so a very big “thank you” to them and to the people who gave their time in organising and helping with the event.
December also saw the Christmas Boogie arranged by the Village Centre Committee. We enjoyed a really great meal and live entertainment my Jessica Mary Music. The entertainment was much enhanced by those villagers who helped out with the singing. We have hidden talents lurking in the village! A great night enjoyed by those who attended.
2020/21 Budget and Precept
During our January meeting, the Budget for 2020/21 was set. Two new contingency fund categories were agreed: £500 for maintenance of the Village Centre building and car park and £500 for Capital schemes to cover match-funding and any overspend on projects. This allowance could also be used to fund new climate change initiatives that all local councils are being encouraged to implement. £1200 has been included in the Budget for the Luncheon Club but this depends on whether any funding is received and whether the service will continue as it is. A decision on the future of the Luncheon Club will be made in March.
It is estimated that £10,210 will be required to cover PC expenses in 2020/21. It was agreed to set the Precept at 2%. This is below the level of inflation and will reduce the PC funds to carry forward. However it is unlikely that the whole of the contingency provision will be used up and the Councillors wanted to set the Precept as low as possible.
Finally, PC Mark Dibbs has reported a spate of scams where people are approached by scammers claiming to be from HMRC and saying they owe tax and someone will call round to collect it. Please be aware.
— Andrew Walker – Chair, Roughlee Parish Council