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Annual Report

ANNUAL REPORT 2015/2016

Report to the Annual Town Meeting to be held on Thursday 7 April 2016

 

Town Councillors: The following were town councillors during the period, all were elected except where stated:

Cllr Val Bugden-Cawsey (elected January 2016)

Cllr Paula Bullen (elected January 2016)

Cllr John Conway

Cllr Roger Creagh-Osborne (elected June 2015)

Cllr Ashley Crapp (resigned September 2015)

Cllr Kirk Denton (elected January 2016)

Cllr Dave Gordon

Cllr Alex Folkes (resigned October 2015)

Cllr John Harris

Cllr Brian Hogan

Cllr Brian Keighley

Cllr Graham Facks Martin MBE (died September 2015)

Cllr Jane Nancarrow (co-opted)

Cllr Paul O’Brien

Cllr Leighton Penhale

Cllr Steve Phillips (co-opted May 2015)

Cllr Tony Sandercock

Cllr Rob Tremain

Cllr Margaret Young

All elected councillors received an allowance of £185.73 for the year.                             

THE TOWN MAYOR

The Town Mayor from May 2015 was Cllr Brian Hogan.  The Deputy Town Mayor was Cllr Margaret Young.

The Town Mayor chairs the full Town Council meetings and is also Chairman of the Lawrence House Museum Trust.   The Town Mayor also chairs the annual parish meeting. 

The Mayor writes: When asked to jot down the highlights throughout the year of my role as Mayor of Launceston, I thought to myself how long is a piece of string?  There have been so many high points, but here are just a few.  At Christmas I visited all of our Local Emergency Services, the local schools and residential homes, and was taken aback by people’s kindness and friendliness in all these situations.  Thank you to all.  Visiting a local nursing/residential home to meet two ladies who were 100 years old.  Travelling around the town to local events, and up and down the country the welcome has always been constantly cheery, just being able to have a chat and discuss all manner of subjects.  Over the past year I would like to say thank you to everyone that I have worked with and come into contact with as Mayor.  Most of all I would like to say thank you to my family, for without their support I would never have been able to fulfill my role.

AWARD OF APPRECIATION

Awards of Appreciation were made to Mrs Cherry Warne, Ms Jacki Ellis Martin, Mr Jim Edwards, Launceston in Bloom and Launceston Police Cadets at the Mayor Choosing ceremony in May.

MEETINGS

All Town Council meetings and committee meetings are open to the public.  Dates and times of the meetings are published on the town hall notice board, on the website and in the library.  There is time allocated at the beginning of each Town Council meeting, and each committee meeting, for members of the public to speak. 

COMMITTEES

Committee membership is reviewed annually at the Annual Meeting of the Town Council held in May.    The committee structure consists of Finance & General Purposes (Chairman: Cllr O’Brien), Planning and Economic Development (Chairman: Cllr Rob Tremain), Lawrence House Management (Chairman: Cllr Tremain), Environment and Open Spaces (Chairman: Cllr Keighley), Properties (Chairman: Cllr Hogan), Tourism and TIC Management committee (Chairman: Cllr Young) and Staffing (Chairman: Town Mayor).  Most councillors receive agendas and papers for meetings via email to save on postage and stationery costs, but some still prefer paper copies and so a parallel system is in place for the time being.

FINANCE

The precept for 2015/16 was £397,101. This was an increase of £35,771 on 2014/2015, a percentage increase of 9.9%. 

Additional income came from bank interest (again, much reduced from previous years), the Westgate Street car park, Launceston Cemetery, the lease of the Green Room to LADS, the allotments, Southgate Arch and the Town Hall.   Income is also received from Cornwall Council for carrying out grass cutting and other horticultural works on its behalf.  

All income and expenditure is reported to and approved by the Finance & General Purposes Committee, which meets monthly.  An independent internal audit is carried out three times a year, and an independent external audit takes place in May.  Copies of the accounts for 2015/16 will be available for inspection by the end of May.   All payments made are posted on the Town Council website.

The Council banks with HSBC.  Its reserves are now held with Lloyds Bank and the CCLA Public Sector Deposit Fund as well as HSBC.  Additionally the Council has placed money with Cornwall Council, a ‘call account’ which gives the Town Council the benefit of higher interest rates while allowing immediate withdrawal of funds when needed.

STAFF

Both Kate Stark (Town Hall Assistant) and Helen Gribble (Accounts Manager) returned from maternity leave.

Anne Jones, who had covered for Kate, then took on the work of updating our cemetery records on a consultancy basis.  Anne has done excellent work and we hope that the cemetery records will be available online for family history research very soon.  Terry Liversidge, groundsman, had his contract extended to September 2016.  Andrew Frain celebrated 30 years of service with Launceston Town Council in February 2016.

CONFERENCES AND TRAINING

The Town Clerk attended a number of seminars and training days run by the Society of Local Council Clerks and the Cornwall Association of Local Councils.  Other members of staff attended training on safe use of horticultural equipment, customer service and First Aid.    

COUNCIL REPRESENTATION

The Town Clerk continued to represent Cornwall on the National Executive Council of the Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC).   Cllr O’Brien is Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Cornwall Association of Local Councils (CALC).  Other councillors represented the Council on outside bodies and their reports can be found at the end of this overview.

TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE

Launceston TIC was awarded a Silver Award in the Cornwall Tourism Awards and was subsequently awarded Silver in the South West Tourism Excellence Awards.  This is a major achievement for our TIC, which is run on a very modest budget. 

The TIC is run by a full time manager, Alison Jeffery, and by an Assistant Manager, Ruth Maunder.    Ruth joined the Council in October 2015.  The small office upstairs is now home to the Development Officer for the Charles Causley Trust.  This is part of the Council’s ongoing support for the Trust.

The TIC has a wide range of retail items, which include local art and craft, books, maps and guides. The TIC offers local artists the space to display their work on a sale or return commission basis.

The TIC is a ticket agent for the Eden Project and Cornish Rivera Box Office events which include FLIC cinema ticketing and the Charles Causley Festival.   The TIC also sells Theatre Tokens.  Visitors to the TIC can purchase postage stamps, cards, postcards and a small selection of Launceston souvenirs. 

Launceston TIC and Tamar Valley Tourism Association offer joint membership to tourism businesses; members receive wider promotion and save money when opting for this.

LAUNCESTON YOUTH COUNCIL

The Launceston Youth Council was established in November 2009.  It consists of representatives from Launceston primary schools, Launceston College and St Joseph’s.    It is run by the young people involved and its objectives are to celebrate the achievements of young people in Launceston and to make improvements to the town environment for the benefit of young and old. 

LAUNCESTON CEMETERY

The cemetery is owned and managed by Launceston Town Council, which acts as the Burial Authority.  Twelve interments took place during 2015/16, all in existing graves.   The annual risk assessment of the gravestones was undertaken in January.  There has been no increase in fees since 2014. 

Although the site is large, there is not a great deal of room remaining for burials, as it has been in use since 1882.  Hallam Land Management is proposing to build 140 houses at Upper Chapel and part of the planning gain is the offer of a small piece of land for a new cemetery.  

Digitisation of the cemetery records has been undertaken during the year, and all the grave spaces and memorials photographed. 

DOCKACRE CEMETERY

The Council owns and manages the closed cemetery on Dockacre Road.     The cemetery is locked but visits are permitted by arrangement with the office. 

OPEN SPACES AND PLAY AREAS

The play areas at King George’s Field (Priory Park) and Grammers Park continue to be well used.  Both play areas are inspected weekly, with an annual inspection from RoSPA.   The Council installed a youth shelter in Priory Park with funding from the residual funds of the Launceston Forum.

ALLOTMENTS

All three allotment gardens at Grammers Park, Kensey and Dutson continue to be very popular.  There is no longer a waiting list and we hope that people will come forward to take on the empty plots.  All three sites have a water supply.  An Allotment Competition takes place in August each year.

LAWRENCE HOUSE MUSEUM

Lawrence House is owned by the Town Council through a long lease with the National Trust.  The council is responsible for maintenance of the fabric of the building.  The house contains a museum of Launceston, run as a charitable trust by the town council as Trustee and managed by a management committee consisting of councillors, the curator and others with an interest in the museum.   Part of the house is let as a flat and the income from this goes to the Museum funds. 

LAUNCESTON TOWN HALL AND GUILDHALL

The Town Hall continues to be very popular.  Income covers the day to day running costs, but does not cover the cost of the loan from the Public Works Loan Board. Bookings for the Town Hall were varied and included boxing and professional wrestling, theatre productions, craft fairs and other markets, music concerts and recitals, private parties and wedding receptions, dances and charity fundraisers. In addition we have a growing number of regular hirers including health and fitness classes, acting classes and Popchoir.  

 The Guildhall hosted 42 wedding ceremonies. The building was used for meetings and training provision, Annual Conferences, blood donation, elections, MP surgeries, mediation, support sessions (monthly CRUSE, Parkinson’s Support), Access Theatre, community network panel meetings, and even a wake.

LAUNCESTON PRIORY

The Priory ruins are open most days of the week, the site is supervised by the Friends of Launceston Priory.  It is closely watched and there has been little vandalism.  The Town Hall staff undertook some maintenance work over the winter to improve the visitor experience.

WESTGATE STREET CAR PARK

The car park continued to be well used, and to be a very useful source of revenue for the Town Council, enabling the precept to be kept at a reasonable level.   The car park charges were not increased this year. 

COACH PARK

There are three coach parking places.  The coach park is free for coaches to park but is covered by the car park order which means that fines apply to all other vehicles parked there illegally. 

NEWPORT ROUNDHOUSE

The Roundhouse is maintained by the grounds team, and no incidents of vandalism were reported.  The Roundhouse had interior lighting installed in September 2013 and this creates a lovely effect at night.

SOUTHGATE ARCH

The Arch has been let to tenants and is being run as an art gallery. 

PUBLIC CONVENIENCES

Launceston Town Council runs all four public conveniences in Launceston, at the Walk, Race Hill and Westgate Street car parks and by the Round House in Newport.  They are looked after by the Council’s caretaking team.

SEATS, PUBLIC LIGHTS, SIGNS AND BUS SHELTERS

The Council maintains three public lights (Castle Green, Bush Park and Chapel Park) and a large number of seats around the town.   The Council has provided bus shelters in a number of locations around town in partnership with Fernbank Advertising.  Two WWI and WWII memorial seats were installed in the Town Square with funding from Launceston Rotary and Launceston Royal British Legion.

MARKETS IN THE SQUARE

The Town Council, through the TIC Management Committee, now runs the monthly markets in the square, which are becoming increasingly successful and popular, with a wide variety of goods, crafts and food. 

OUTSIDE CONTRACTS

Launceston Town Council has three contracts with Cornwall Council for grass cutting and horticultural work, and footpath maintenance.  The Town Council took over the County highways work, employing an additional worker to do this.  The Town Council’s staff look after the footpaths and undertake grass cutting and horticultural work within the town and in some surrounding parishes.

GRANTS

Launceston Town Council made the following grants to local groups for financial year 2015/2016:

Grant of £300 to the following:

Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust

Launceston Football Club

Dunheved Bowling Club

The Elfords

Launceston Eventide Trust

Merlin MS Centre

Launceston Municipal Charities

Launceston Old Cornwall Society

Memory Café

Monday Club

Launceston Cricket Club

Launceston Town Band

Launceston Youth Project

Kensey Vale Bowling Club

Launceston Youth Hockey Club

Launceston Hockey Club

Launceston Money Advice Centre

Launceston Voluntary First Aid Service

Upfront Launceston Breastfeeding Group

Launceston Community Transport

Launceston Foodbank

Southgate Colts

Launceston Male Voice Choir

Launceston Swimming Club

Launceston Choral Society

Total £7,500 to 25 organisations.

Grants awarded from year to year

Launceston Carnival - £500

Charles Causley Festival - £500

 Launceston in Bloom - £500

Launceston Youth Council - up to £3,000

Town CCTV- up to £3,000

Friends of Launceston Priory – up to £1,000

The Council Tax payments would continue to be made for Cyprus Well (£1,223 in 2014/15)

£250 each for the maintenance of churchyards (St Cuthbert Mayne, St Thomas, St Stephen and Mary Magdalene). 

The Council also supports the town’s Christmas lights appeal, and sponsors four Christmas banners.

Application forms for grants are available from April each year for grants for the following financial year.

CYPRUS WELL

Cyprus Well was the home of Charles Causley, who died in 2003.  It stood empty until 2013 when, thanks to grants from Arts Council England and Cornwall Council, refurbishment work commenced to secure the building and to ensure its future as a writers’ retreat and centre for literature development.  Launceston Town Council has been involved in the project for a number of years, and is fully supportive.   

FLIC

The Town Council no longer has to support FLIC financially as FLIC is profitable and continues to develop audiences for its film shows.  However, the Council continues to support it in a number of other ways, appreciating its success and the fact that it provides a showcase for our lovely Town Hall.

WEBSITE AND PUBLICITY

The website is www.launceston-tc.gov.uk .  The Council Facebook page helps us get information over to a wider audience, and we now have over 500 ‘likes’ which is quite respectable for a local council.  The Town Clerk has a Twitter feed and tweets occasionally.  The Devon & Cornwall Post and the Cornish Guardian continued to support the Council through articles on its activities over the year.  The Town Clerk continued to write quarterly articles about the Town Council’s activities for the Launceston Link magazine. 

CONCLUSION

The Council continues to work hard on behalf of the community, providing a range of services and facilities.  If you have any queries in relation to our work please contact the Town Council office or one of your town councillors.  We will always be pleased to hear from you.

Rita Skinner, Town Clerk

Cllr Brian Hogan, Town Mayor  April 2016

 REPORTS FROM COUNCILLORS – ANNUAL REPORT 2015-2016

LAUNCESTON EVENTIDE TRUST

I am sure that you are all aware that the Trust was set up many moons ago to provide medical care for some residents of the Borough of Launceston.  Over the years the Trust has become a means for some elderly residents to receive subsidized chiropody care.  At the moment there are approximately 60 residents that use this service.  The Trust is supported by donations and run by volunteers and continues to be a very successful organization.

Cllr Brian Hogan Town Mayor

LAUNCESTON TWINNING ASSOCIATION

This association was originally formed to create social and cultural ties with Plestin les Greves.  In recent years the Association has managed to encourage younger people with families to join, thus ensuring the future of the Twinning groups for the years ahead.  Many events are arranged throughout the year to subsidise the visits.  The trips to Plestin les Greves/Launceston are now on a biannual rotation.  Many of the members are now taking second generations of their families on the visits or to events.  They are always pleased to receive new members or families.  Again the success of this group is down to dedicated members.

Cllr Brian Hogan Town Mayor

LAUNCESTON COMMUNITY NETWORK PANEL

Four quality meetings of the Launceston Community Network Panel were held  in March, June, September and December although all Parishes are invited to attend, the turn out was very poor, and we should question why ? as topics for discussion concerns all of use.
With the guidance of Chris Sims Community Link Officer and Rosemary Stone community Support Assistant Cornwall Council we discussed:
The Medical Centre
The Future of Launceston Library
Local Devolution Fund
Transport
Housing 
Sharing ideas and points of view with in our Parishes is necessary but very disappointing if so few attend.

Cllr Leighton Penhale

LAUNCESTON YOUTH COUNCIL

Due to my personal circumstances, the first meeting of the year was delayed until mid October, but since then representatives from the town schools have met half termly, and have been involved in a variety of projects and events.

Once again we provided the presents for Father Christmas’s visit to the Square and we decorated a tree for the Christmas Festival in St. Mary’s.  Sara Black is working with members to design new bunting for the Causley Festival and a workshop is planned for next term to get this project underway.   Youth Council members are keen to donate and plant apple trees for the Apple Tree Trail. It is hoped that there will be trees in each of the school grounds.  Financial help has been given to a variety of projects and they include LADS Play in a Day, Launceston Badminton Club, Skating  in the Square, St. Stephens Breakfast Club, Swanskin Printmakers, the Guides and the Pearl of Africa Choir visit. Recently, we have helped the An Daras Academy to send classes to take part in the Shakespeare Schools Festival project at the Barbican Theatre.

It would be good to take this further and ask the Chair to attend full council meetings from time to time to report on the Youth Council activities. Perhaps this should be our future aim?                                     

Cllr Margaret Young

FILM LAUNCESTON IN THE COMMUNITY (FLIC)

Flic is an excellent example of true community participation. It is run by a dedicated team of volunteers who willingly give up their time. Films continue to be well attended, with audiences averaging 80 plus each month. The programme has been varied throughout the year to suit all tastes and has included Mr. Holmes, The Second Marigold Hotel, Sufragette, Ray, Love and Mercy, Lady in a Van, to name but a few.

Lunchbox was shown as a collaborative venture with Lewannick Film Club. Curries were served in the Town Hall before the film and 90 people enjoyed the evening.  Matinees have included Minions for families, Royal Night Out for the not so young, and a relaxed performance of Inside Out.

Thanks to the Town Council, Rotary and Jade Farrington’s Community Fund as well as some of the FLIC profits, we have bought a new projector which has improved the quality of our film shows. We would now like to improve the sound system and continue to save towards it.

Cllr Margaret Young

LAWRENCE HOUSE MUSEUM MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

As Chairman of the Management Committee I must say a huge thank you to all of the volunteer stewards, without them giving so freely of their time and talents there would be no Lawrence House Museum as we know it. And to the Friends of Lawrence House who work so hard, especially fundraising for those ‘extras’.

Special thanks to Jake and his inner circle of valued helpers, no one really knows how much time and effort they put into ensuring that Lawrence House is the very special place we all know it to be.  Whenever I have looked in to Lawrence House I have been impressed by the welcome given to those visiting, it is this personal involvement that makes the visitor feel special; and therefore the visit memorable.

There have been large numbers of visitors this season, and there have been many exciting displays and exhibitions. Once again the Museum hosted an event as part of the Charles Causley Festival, and some Saturday coffee mornings in aid of charity.  Launceston College Castles Day was once again a great success, and at the end of the season, the Big Draw encouraged both adults and children to visit and draw in the museum.

I invite you, one and all to visit Lawrence House Museum.

Cllr Rob Tremain

FRIENDS OF LAUNCESTON PRIORY

Kowetha Priorji Lanstefan

As part of the remit to obtain funding to restore the site, Launceston Town Council set up ‘The Friends of  Launceston Priory’ to continue the work, when the Council committee ceased, to assist in the care and promotion of the monument.  The Friends are small in number but work hard to promote the Priory.

Their objects are – ‘to provide long term means of celebrating and promoting the historical, tourist, educational, and spiritual aspects of the Priory for both locals and visitors.’

We have provided teachers’ information for local primary schools, and worked with Launceston College on their ‘Castles Day’ local history visits.  We organise an annual religious service held in the Priory, and have led outreach events including talks to local groups, and are happy to welcome visitors to the  site by prior arrangement.  In July we opened the site as part of National Archaeology Week; and had workshops for young people, hands on archaeology, exhibitions, talks, and teas.

Cllr Rob Tremain

LAUNCESTON MUNICIPAL CHARITIES

This charity is formed from the remnants of a number of charitable bequests from Launceston benefactors in times long past.  Traditionally the Trustees make a gift of money to deserving members of the community at Christmas each year.  Last year gifts of £20 were delivered by hand with a Christmas card.  The sums involved are small but are very much appreciated by the recipients – ‘Thank you for your generous gift…thank you for your kind gift…much appreciated.’  These are local people for whom a small amount makes a real difference. Some of the recipients were able to attend the Community Christmas Lunch which was enjoyed by all.

The Charity has no real income apart from a small amount per year from the old Lazar Ground (Leper Hospital) Trust and £20.20 from South West Water.  Interest on the dwindling capital is minimal.  We were grateful to receive a grant from Launceston Town Council.  The Trustees are always pleased to receive donations to keep this ancient Charity going.

Cllr Rob Tremain

CHARLES CAUSLEY FESTIVAL

The sixth Charles Causley Festival was a three-day event, celebrating the town’s most famous son. The screening of Jane Darke’s film about the life and work of Causley was central to the whole event, showing archive footage, featuring old photographs, music and interviews with those who knew him, local Lanson folk, academics and famous poets. A series of walks took place around the town and there was a Causley-related event each day, including the opening of Cyprus Well his beloved home at Ridgegrove Hill, to the public. Among the many high-lights were an appearance on the Saturday evening by Brian Patten, one of the Liverpool Poets, along with the Bookshop Band, Jon Cleave (the Fisherman’s Friend) with his book ‘Nasty Pasty’, and a wonderful performance of Salt Road by Penzance-based Bagas Degol in No. 8. A food and drink market was held in the town square and brought many people into Launceston, to enjoy the lively atmosphere. 

Cllr Jane Nancarrow

LAUNCESTON CHAMBER  OF COMMERCE

It has been an interesting and quite pro-active year at Chamber. Sue Issleib ,  vice chair was required to step up as chair for much of the year and very ably led Chamber through a number of new initiatives thereby raising Chamber’s profile in the town. The Christmas tree “Lights Switch–on”, now an established event in November, was a very successful   evening attracting hundreds of visitors to the town.  This was followed by a Novelty Ice skating weekend which proved so successful it is intended to repeat this in 2016.  The late night Christmas shopping event in          December 2015 continues to be a highlight of the town’s Christmas calendar. Subject to additional grant funding, it is hoped to extend the Festive lighting in 2016 into Madford Lane and further down Church Street as well as uprating some existing lights.

It was recently agreed to connect the Love Launceston Loyalty Card scheme with Chamber membership, hopefully with mutual benefits. To further promote the use of the Loyalty Card , it has recently been linked to the Good2BLocal scheme through the development of an “app”. It is hoped running the “app” in parallel with the card , will help reach a wider audience.  “Launceston Yellow Week” held again in March 2016 to  highlight the Love Launceston scheme attracted an interesting array of yellow window displays.

Chamber recently launched its new website and are currently adding details and seeking to increase membership. At the recent AGM Vicky Geach and Sue Issleib with unanimous support from members have agreed to continue in their lead roles of chair/vice chair in 2016.

Frances Nally Deputy Town Clerk

POLICE LIAISON REPORT

This has been a very difficult year for the Devon & Cornwall Police with financial cuts to services and staffing at the forefront. Over this year, I have meet with Steve Stoppard a number of times to discuss issues from around the Launceston area as well as the closure of the custody suite at Launceston Police station.

Sadly the custody suite was moth balled in October 15, but was re-opened briefly over the New Year period. Steve Stoppard and Miles Topham have attended a number of council meetings and updated the council on      the closure of the custody suite, report on crime figures within our area and any updates that affect Launceston.

I believe there is good communication and links between the police and the council and I will continue to support these links for the benefit of our town.

Cllr Steven Phillips

LAUNCESTON CCTV

1/ Pennygillam Camera - This has now been agreed and will be cited on SPRY’s garage. The camera will look back down the hill towards the roundabout. Further funding has been given to the CCTV Community Project from Warrens Butchers to support this initiative. A site visit will now take place by Nigel Marshall who will report back to the Chairman with any issues before moving forward.

2/ Reserve – Launceston Town Council have given the reserve monies of £3665.33 to the CCTV project, this was approved at the February Finance meeting. All grants / monies in the future will be given direct to the project and they will manage their funds. The CCTV will purchase all new equipment themselves and pay any VAT due.

3/ The committee welcomed 2 new operators to their list, the number of volunteer operators now totals 7.

4/ New Cameras & Server – The equipment has been purchased and new HD cameras and server will be starting to be replaced over the next few weeks. The new HD cameras will be a vast improvement regarding picture quality. The server will be large enough to operate 12 x cameras, so it will not need to be replaced if the number of cameras are increased.

4/ Disposal of surplus cameras – The old cameras cannot work in conjunction with the new cameras. Nigel Marshall will hold onto the old cameras until a decision is made of what to do with them.

5/ New Cameras – There were a number of sites discussed as possible areas where new cameras will support the Police and the Community. A report will be completed by Nigel Marshall to look at these possible sites. All issues to improvement the camera coverage of the Town.

Cllr Steven Phillips

CORNWALL ASSOCIATION of LOCAL COUNCILS (CALC)

1.            Introduction

The Cornwall Association of Local Councils is made up of all Town and Parish Councils in the County who wish to subscribe to its membership. Approximately 165 do so, - about 65% but representing approx. 84% of the County’s electorate.
Apart from the General Meetings of its Executive Committee, a series of meetings, normally four per year, are held just for representatives of Larger Councils in the County; this meeting always being followed by a more detailed one for the Clerks of those Larger Councils. All things being equal Launceston Town Council will normally be represented at both of these meetings.

     Report

The last year has seen a considerable increase and improvement in our dealings with Cornwall Council. This is largely due to the work of, and relationship with the CC Portfolio holder (Cllr Jeremy Rowe) and the head of “Localism”, Rob Andrew. Both regularly make themselves available and are prepared to discuss matters with a view to achieving a speedy resolution of problems. That they do so is one of the main reasons for local councils being more prepared to break new ground and consider their possible take-over of services previously provided by Cornwall Council.

Everyone will be aware that Cornwall Council now has a new Chief Executive, following the unexpected departure of Andrew Kerr. Although I have met his replacement, Ms Kate Kennally, (and am scheduled to do so again in a few days time) she has not yet formally met Calc’s Executive Committee, a deficiency we hope to rectify in the near future.                                                                                                                           

2.2          Following the success of the recently introduced Planning Forum (on which Launceston Town Council is  represented by its Deputy Clerk, Ms Frances Nally) we are given to understand that a similar format  maybe adopted for other areas; it is understood that the subjects of “Waste” and “Transport” are likely. At the same time the Association has reorganised its representation on various C.C. Committees so that no individual carries too great a burden.

2.3          One of the principle benefits provided by CALC is a responsibility to provide extensive training for members       of Town and Parish Councils. That commitment is always at its highest in the year following elections when  the greatest change in Councillors occurs. It follows that, with local council elections due in 2017 the quantity of training is fairly low although changes in legislation affecting all local councils ensures a constant need.

2.4          One of the services provided to member councils by CALC’s Executive officer is to assist in times of crisis.Doing so has highlighted the deficiencies in arrangements/policies to cope when relationships between employees and Councillors break down. This has led to the commencement of a large and wide- ranging  project to address these shortcomings. Rather than deal with this matter on a purely local level several external bodies are involved; these including our National Association, South West employers, Unison etc with even interest being expressed by a House of Lords Committee. It is anticipated that early drafts of the final report should appear over the next few months.

 Conclusions

3.1          To ensure Launceston Town Council is not found wanting in its role, the support and guidance provided by CALC is much-valued and considered well worth the cost of our subscription. Cllr Paul O’Brien CALC Chairman and Chairman of its Larger Council’s Committee.

CORONATION PARK TRUSTEES

Coronation Park is managed by a group of 9 Trustees, consisting of 3 Town Councilors, 3 Cornwall Councilors, and 3 independent town's people.  The aim and responsibilities of the Trustees have been unchanged since Coronation Park was generously donated to the town by Mr C.H.Gillbard.

Over the last 12 months the Park has seen three separate incidents of vandalism which has resulted in fire damage on two of those occasions, with the third resulting the vandalism of an item of play.  All three of these incidents were reported to the Police, which up to now have not resulted in a prosecution.

Early in 2015 a large item of play equipment was removed following its failure at its safety inspection, which left a large gap in the play park.  Following a successful application to the Big Lottery Fund, the trust were fortunate to obtain a sizeable grant which enabled the trust to replace the item with a new Slide unit

Within recent weeks the trust has been informed that the 4 seat swing unit is also likely to fail its next inspection, which will need replacing.  I can report that this matter is receiving the trust’s urgent attention, and following a site visit we are awaiting a quote from a Play equipment supplier, with a view to replace the swings within the near future.

The Trustees are keeping a close eye on the matter of Cornwall Council and the future of the Phoenix Leisure Centre, with the trust keen to see the Leisure Centre retained both in Coronation Park & Launceston.

The 2015 Annual Firework display was once again well received by everyone who attended, and will see the 2016 display being presented by a Pyrotechnic company for the first time.

The Queens 90th birthday on April 21st will see the beacon lit as part of a national celebration for her Majesty.

Coronation Park is the largest public open space in Launceston, & the trustees continue to work hard to make the park attractive, safe & interesting for everyone who chooses to visit it.       

Cllr D.R.Gordon

LAUNCESTON SPORT

The people of Launceston continue to enjoy a wide variety of sporting activities, and in many there are considerable successes, both for the clubs & the individuals who take part.  There is still a large number of clubs & associations open to both children & adults offering a wide variety of sporting activities.  Launceston Tennis club have many young members who are doing well in their age group, and they represent their club & town at various competitions.

Many were disappointed last December when the Santa Run was cancelled by the “Children’s Hospice South West”.  Following a meeting with representatives of CHSW, I can confirm that the Santa Run will return to Launceston in 2016, with the event taking place on Sunday December 11th.

All Sporting clubs are reminded, that Launceston Town Council offer a small grant to those that can prove need for financial support, and we are delighted  to have been able to do so to many clubs and events over many  years.   Successful applications of this grant, enable clubs to continue to support & provide their sporting services to the public.

Having been associated with sport in Launceston for more than 50 years, I once again congratulate everyone in Launceston who is involved in sport at whatever level be it as a coach or active member, and wish them all well in the coming year.

Cllr D.R.Gordon

LAUNCESTON STREET PASTORS

The Launceston branch of Street Pastors has in the three years of their existence, become an integral and familiar part of the weekend night scene, as they patrol the streets in all weathers offering a helping hand and friendly smile to anyone on a night out. The year has gone by without any major incidents with the months post Christmas being practically quiet.

The Street Pastors remain committed to the town and continue to receive support from the police. PC Stoppard attends management meetings (when his duties allow), where he gives advice and feedback. The 60% drop in incidents within the town centre on Saturday nights remains in place.

The Street Pastors and CCTV have always worked closely in tandem, linked by mobile phone. As a working partnership the two organisations get ever closer, with the Pastors becoming the ears for the camera operators, whilst CCTV have become an overwatch alert for the team on the ground. There are also working relationships which are being built with night workers such as takeaway staff, doormen and others, who are in a position to give heads up warnings to the patrols.

Finally, there is an ongoing recruitment issue and sadly, numbers are down. Although people have joined the pastors in the past year, this number has been mitigated somewhat by those members who have for various reasons left or retired. This has left a gap in personnel, especially for male pastors, who seem to be rather thin on the ground at the moment.

Cllr John Harris

LAUNCESTON YOUTH PROJECT

The Launceston Youth Project has like many other community based enterprises, suffered from cut backs in their funding but LYP is confident that this will be resolved as new sources of income are identified.

Bookings were initially good for 2015 but fell off somewhat due to the Gateway to life and Bridge Centre opening who also offer rooms. However, the Orchard have advertised the availability of the community rooms on facebook and bookings are now on the increase. Pre-school celebrated their 1st year in the building.  Youth Club held a few extra activities such as discos and Halloween night.

Finances LYP remains solvent and stable. The Ruth Burden trust has been contacted and the LYP are waiting to find out if they qualify to apply for a grant.

The fabric of the building is closely monitored and maintained by a named man, who has for example recently been called out to fix a small leak on the flat roof, which he attend to. A new staff member has been employed to work for an hour a day as a cleaner.

Cllr John Harris

LANSTEPHAN PLAY AREA

During the past year the project to create a viable and sustainable area for recreation on the Lanstephan estate, has moved ever closer to completion. This enterprise, which has been such hard work, has been undertaken by a small band of dedicated local women, advised by officers from Cornwall Council and Cornwall Housing. The town council are also actively involved in the pocket park development plans.

Although the site is currently owned by Cornwall Council who do any essential maintenance CC will be transferring the freehold along with all future responsibility to the Town Council. This proposed transfer should (it is hoped) be completed by July of this year. The Town Council have formally resolve to take responsibility for the park and at some point in the near future add the Park to its maintenance list supported by local volunteers in this essential duty.

Where are we today? In order to receive a Pocket Park grant, a Sustainability Plan has to be submitted to the Department for Communities and Local Government, by the 31st of March. This grant is for £10,000 and £5,000. Cornwall Council will also contribute £10,00  and Launceston Rotary £5,000. Added to this is £8,000 from the Tesco 5p bag charge scheme. This gives a grand total of £38,000.

The design of the park has, as a central feature, a raised mound covered in astro turf, within a blue painted moat. On top of which is a round granite clad castle, based on and as a mirror to, Launceston castle it self. There will of course be some play equipment plus  picnic areas, a covered shelter for older children and a circular track way. There will also be raised flower and shrub beds along with trees plantings, including apple trees donated as part of the wider apple tree planting. The fences will be renewed, a mural painted on the long wall and a gateway built. The final drawings will be made available very soon.

The hope and expectation is, that work will commence by the end of the month.

Cllr John Harris

This report concludes the Annual Report 2015/2016

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