The New Ward Committees - what are they?
Before Agenda item 1 the Police were invited to give an update.
PCSO Thompson provided an overview of crime, crime prevention and policing in the Ward. It was noted that they are still working on the old ward boundaries and therefore crime figures for Copmanthorpe were also included in the report and that Skelton figures were excluded.
Burglaries - PCSO Thompson reported that there had been an increase in burglaries in Poppleton and that these had tended to be at vulnerable premises. A number of arrests have been made. It was noted that spikes in the number of burglaries in both Copmanthorpe and Poppleton accounted for much of the increase in figures. It was reported that cycle thefts were also on the increase. New property marking equipment has been purchased and PCSOs will be visiting villages in the Ward with this equipment during the next couple of months.
Speeding – Whilst efforts are currently focussed on 3 main areas: Millfield Lane, Tadcaster Road and the A59 at Hessay, there are a number of other areas which are also being checked. There have been 165 violations this year, two of which resulted in a summons. PC Thompson reported that the North Yorkshire Police now have high vehicle data logging equipment to check and investigate problem roads.
Neighbourhood Watch - In response to a query, PCSO Thompson reported that a number of Neighbourhood Watch schemes do operate in the Rural West area. The Police are able to put out messages to scheme contacts, who can then disseminate that information.
Ward Committtees - New Arrangements - Cllr Steward outlined the new arrangements around neighbourhood working, including the Ward committee, Ward team and Ward budgets. Such arrangements have been designed to empower local residents and to support Ward members in identifying, developing and delivering on local priorities. There is also budgetary devolvement to Wards for allocation to local priorities.
Ward Budget - The Ward budget for 2015/16 is as follows:
Pride in York Fund (One-Off) £4,091
Pride in York Fund £7,912 *
Community Grants Fund £5,934
Community Care Fund £2,967
Highways Programme £9,890
(*reduced pro rata to £3,956 for the remainder of 2015/16)
General Ward Budget - Community groups are welcome to submit applications for grants under the Community Grants Fund. It was noted that Parish Councils are now also eligible to apply for such grants.
Ward Highway Programme Budget - It was noted that the Ward Highway Programme Budget was in addition to the highways services already provided by the Council. The Council is due to publish a list of their forthcoming highways schemes in priority order in November and wards will be able to use the budget to do schemes lower down the list. It was further noted that this budget could be carried forward into future years to fund a more significant scheme if this was deemed appropriate.
Grounds Maintenance – Residents were provided with a copy of a spreadsheet detailing the grounds maintenance work carried out within the Ward. The spreadsheet was split into two colour coded lists: those which require specialists (highlighted in red), and those which could be picked up using resources within the Ward, perhaps through volunteering (highlighted in green). It was noted that £3,054 needed to be cut from these costs in the first year. Cllr Steward explained that these were the types of decisions which now needed to be made within the new Ward framework.
Action – In response to a query, it was agreed to find out why the time taken to maintain St Giles’ Churchyard in Skelton was far in excess of similar jobs listed.
Cllr Gillies encouraged residents to complete the Ward priorities questionnaire designed to help the decision making process. It was noted that the next Ward Team Meeting for partners eg parish councils was due to be held on 26th October 2015.
Both Councillors emphasised that the new Ward working arrangements were an evolving process.