Most residents of any parish up and down the country have not got a clue how their community has its services provided or how their local rates are spent—until—something unexpected happens. That is to say, for example, when a new building is constructed or a phone mast or wind turbine is erected… or the grass is not cut.
Of course these events are not surprises to your councillors. They are sent information, discuss it and make their opinions known. All in their own time and unpaid.
Bradley parish councillors are a hard working bunch of people who freely do the job because they care for our community. We have a wide range of skills amongst ourselves, and where we haven’t got the knowledge we know where to get it, and not just by Googling.
At long last the neighbourhood plan is coming to fruition. Because we must produce a legally binding document that carries its own weight, it is a painstaking process. Every policy and every comment on every policy has had to be justified. Every piece of evidence has to be justified and documented. Not only have we consulted with yourselves, we have had to approach numerous statutory bodies ranging from the Environment Agency, via the Coal Authority to such as the Canals and Rivers Trust.
And before it gets its final seal of approval at a referendum, Craven Council have to be satisfied to incorporate it into their Local Plan. And you know how long and costly that has been.
At time of writing we have a working draft of the final version which will be presented to the village within the year. You will have the opportunity to vote on it then.
In addition to our monthly council meetings, planning group has also met on average at least once a week. We are grateful to Cllr. Derek Booth for having the perspicacity and drive to urge us along; and Cllr. Veronicka Dancer and Malcolm Taylor for their persistence and skill in assembling and reassembling masses of written materials into a readable script. Cllr Andrew Slade has a very firm view on making sure that those green bits of village stay green.
Cllr. Steve Wood has taken on the task of making sure that the village and parish council websites are kept up to date. We are grateful for his IT skills. The neighbourhood plan will be posted on those websites when it is ready.
Some of the ongoing matters occupying the council through the year have been:
Flood prevention. NYCC published a detailed report on the causes of the Boxing Day floods of 2015.
Unfortunately the report was lacking in detail about future mitigation, mostly due to a lack of any available funding.
Playing fields. A survey has been made of the poor drainage on the fields. It is possible to make remediation. Again we are fortunate that Cllr. Sam Berry is able to use his specialised knowledge to assess the problems. We are looking, in conjunction with the sports clubs, to seek funding to carry out the works.
Village Hall carpark. We have a long term plan to tarmac the whole surface. A detailed survey has been made. We have started by laying fresh stone to level off the worst of the potholes. This will be followed by new curbing and a final top layer. Cllr. William Barron’s advice has been invaluable in selecting the right approach.
Grass cutting. We know that the cutting is not perfect, and since our contractors significantly raised their price for this year, we will keep a close watch on the quality.
Failing street lamps, blocked gulleys, hedge cutting, and road safety have also kept us busy.
As always we are very grateful to our local councillors, Patrick Mulligan and Pat Fairbank. We congratulate Patrick on being re-elected to NYCC, but are very sorry to see Pat retire. She has had a tireless interest in the village affairs. If anything needed sorting out, we could always rely on Pat to get to the bottom of the matter by sheer doggedness and persistence. Her support will be sorely missed.
At the Bradley Show in September we were pleased to welcome Jean Tompkins to unveil a plaque on a bench in memory of our parish clerk, Mike. His was a hard act to follow, but I am so glad to say that his successor, Mags, is a perfect treasure. Unfortunately, we have to share her with two other parishes, but nevertheless we think we have a good deal. Her diligence, attention to details and organisation are outstanding. The slightest problem or issue is always attended to promptly. Thank you.
I started by saying that Bradley has a hard working group of caring parish councillors. I have to say, though, that despite appearances to the contrary, we are not going to be here forever. All communities have to change and grow a little just to stay fresh; just like we are trying to accommodate and plan for change in our neighbourhood plan. We always welcome residents to our meetings. We hope we can encourage more people to join our debates, and to take on the responsibilities for the decisions that make Bradley the place where you have chosen to live.