Chairman’s Annual Report

Nether Alderley Parish Council

May 2023

I find it hard to believe we have already come to the end of yet another hectic but very productive year. The year started with the resignation of two councillors – Norman Howick & Yvonne Bentley and the Clerk, Barbara Thorpe. Thankfully we were able to recruit replacements for all three which has maintained a vibrant, active and friendly team.

Sadly, I must report that two long standing councillors, Jenny Shufflebottom and Simon Lewis, who between them have 25 years of service on the Parish Council, have not stood for election at the 4th May elections.

Simon has been Chair of the Burial Board for many years ensuring our Burial Grounds are maintained in superb condition and to the highest safety standards; he has also maintained the estates owned by the Council and brought extensive business acumen to our debates.

Jenny has been Chair of the Planning Committee for many years bringing wide ranging knowledge to the many and varied applications received by the Council. She has also been involved in the Joint Management Committee for the Parish Hall, been an active member of the Burial Board, produced the Newsletter since its inception four years ago all in addition to holding the position of Chair of the Council for four years. In all a truly remarkable service to the Village.

I would like to personally thank them for their help, guidance and friendship over the last five years.

At the start of this last year there were a number of large and quite daunting projects ahead of us; recruiting two new councillors and a new clerk.

Geoff Linnell and Lesley Gleave joined as councillors and David Naylor joined as clerk. All three bring enthusiasm and wide ranging experience to the council.

Further on the personnel side, I am delighted to report that Lesley Gleave has recently been voted in as Vice Chair and I look forward to working closely with her.

The Neighbourhood Plan

At the start of the year, I think it was fair to say everyone in the Parish Council felt there was a lot of work to be done on the then current draft document. However, with a lot of hard work from everyone we managed to get it into much better shape.

It was approved unanimously by the Parish Council and, at the public consultation, was met with approval by the public including the influential Nether Alderley Rural Protection Association (NARPA).

With the help of Lesley Gleave and her daughter we produced a very slick, professional looking document. One in which I think we can all be proud.

The Section 14 public consultation period will come to an end on 29th May 2023 and so far there are only a few relatively minor amendments to make before the Neighbourhood Plan moves to the inspection stage. Well done everyone.

Hall Refurbishment

Not quite the success story I had hoped to report. For the Parish Council to carry out the necessary refurbishment, the Hall must be owned solely by them (due to local government regulations). Discussions are still on going with the Parochial Church Council (PCC) and hopefully will be resolved soon.

All other planning and regulatory approvals have been obtained. We have the final outline plans in place and have appointed a new QS to assist. As tends to be the way with this project, the ups are followed by the downs. The combination of the new QS and the delays to the start of the work have resulted in substantial increases in costs. These increases are still being investigated as we speak.

Funding for the refurbishment has also been challenging. Unfortunately, we were turned down by the Lottery Fund. We had asked for £300k but policy changes at the Lottery Fund meant our project was no longer eligible.

We have now prepared a proposal to go to the Alderley Edge Institute seeking funding to cover the replacement heating system, and we have established a Just Giving page for general donations.

Carrying on from our achievements of this year our major priorities for the next year will include:-

  • Finalising and publishing the Neighbourhood Plan
  • Coming up to full strength numbers of councillors
  • Pushing forward with the Hall refurbishment
  • Finalising funding to achieve the refurbishment

There are also many more issues that we have to address including:-

  • Signage at our boundaries
  • Potholes on both our major and minor roads and lanes
  • Improving pavements on Congleton Road
  • Building a cohesive community and involving that community in the running of our village

Finally, I would like to thank the councillors and the clerk for their hard work and ongoing support.

Angela Farrell

Chair Nether Alderley Parish Council (2022/23)

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