I don’t think that there can have been many years in the long history of Yatton Keynell as important in determining the future development of the village as this last one and I am proud that we met the challenges.
Firstly though it is my pleasant duty to thank most sincerely those who are not Parish Councillors but who have been of invaluable support to us. Our M.P., James Gray, has always been available to help when needed and he gave up an evening of electioneering last May to attend the first public meeting concerning Church Farm development. Councillor Jane Scott who has somehow manager to cover her leadership of our County Council and her duties as our District Councillor to give us her unstinting support in this very busy year. Jane, thank you very much indeed. To Graham Whiting, thank you for tending the floral displays at the entrances to the village so carefully; for keeping the bus shelter habitable and friendly, tending the burial ground with such care.
Alison, a very special thanks for your superb work for the village when other pressures on your time have been increasing. I hope we can find a replacement very quickly. To CPRE for their prompt help in introducing Michael Burton to us to assist the Parish Council in its handling of the Church Farm development. Finally to our wives, husbands and partners for their support last year.
The year has been dominated with planning matters, two of which have been particularly time consuming but a satisfactory outcome being vital to the future look of the village. No planning decision is entirely satisfactory to everyone with an interest in its contents, but under Paul Baldwin’s stewardship and enormous amount of work with the support of the whole of the Parish Council and a pleasing number of villagers, I feel a satisfactory outcome has been achieved in the completion of the Church Farm application despite the attempted interventions of the planning officers. In this connection, I wish to thank Lindsey Minty and his fellow Trustees together with their agents in the person of Paul Oakley for their cooperation in achieving the outcome.
As Church Farm discussions drew to a close, we were faced in January with an application for the building of thirteen dwellings on the site of Countrywide Stores. With the support of the neighbours to this site we achieved a considerable number of improvements to the original plans and a further benefit to the village in the form of a financial planning gain.
Castle Combe Circuit has kept us busy with a 3 day hearing in the magistrates court where the Circuit appealed against a Noise Abatement Order from the District Council; the appeal being refused and later in the year a two day appeal hearing concerning the Rally School development, the appeal being upheld by the inspector.
We achieved second place in the Best Kept Village competition.
We have welcomed a Care Home into the village at Hunters Moon where no news we feel must be good news.
A basketball ring is soon to be placed on the YKRA playing field.
The whereabouts of drains, the deteriorating condition of some pavements, the attention to emergency planning, dealing with dog fouling, checking play areas, transport and village tidiness all receive regular attention.
Each Parish Councillor has had his or her responsibilities and thank you for your work.
With planning applications already piling up, there is no sign of the pressures on our time easing during the coming year.
On the subject of planning we would appeal to the District Planning Officers to pay more attention to the feelings of the Parish Council and the village residents when making decisions and not, as it would appear, continually hiding behind Central Government recommendations, the makers of which without doubt have never heard of Yatton Keynell but attempt to determine the size and nature of new developments here and elsewhere.
With elections in May 2007, I would earnestly ask villagers to seriously consider putting up for election to the Parish Council as Yatton Keynell needs an active Council to help keep the village as we all wish it to be kept.
Thank you all for the support you have given to me over the past twelve months.
Chris Dash, Chairman YKPC