Tuesday 27th April in the Victory Hall at Dalston, 36 people attended.
Mr Ronnie Auld advised the meeting that this would be his last annual report as he is due to step down as Chairman to the Parish Council in May. He regarded it as a great privilege to have been the Chairman for four years and thanked the Council for their help and support over the period.
Dominant themes over the last four years included the steady increase of traffic and the chaotic parking situation within the centre of the village. A week long survey of parking habits within the centre of Dalston in October 2009 indicated that an average of 73 vehicles are parked at any one time, the worst day of the week being Tuesday were an average of 95 vehicles was recorded. The Council has been working with other agencies, consulted Parishioners via questionnaires and held public meetings with the aim of providing a solution to traffic problems. In the future, additional parking provision will be provided at the Kingsway, the Parish Council recently having been granted permission for an environmental improvement scheme to incorporate a 40 space car park at the top and a recreational area, with paths, seats and planting towards the White Bridge. This scheme is likely to cost in excess of £100,000, the Council looking for significant outside funding for this project.
Dalston is a Parish of many organisations and meeting places. In 2006, the Dalston Festival was launched and this has proved to be a resounding success, growing steadily each year under a dedicated band including Alan Dinning, Anne McKerrell, Steve Withers, Judy Rickerby, Peter Kirby, Cynthia Millar and others. Also mentioned, was the Recreation Association. Having masterminded the planning and construction of the Recreation building it has quickly established itself as an important meeting and events venue and also organising activities for the younger generation. Dalston Victory Hall, Primrose Hall in Gaitsgill, Cumdivock Hall and Church House are also first class venues, run by teams of volunteers within the Parish. Volunteers who run associations like this in villages around the country all too often go unrecognised and the Chairman thanked all individuals involved who dedicate their time and enthusiasm to these groups. Without these buildings, Dalston would not have the range of clubs, societies and groups that flourish within the Parish and are greatly valued by young and old and those in-between!
Attendees were also advised on the formation of a Dalston Parish Trust aimed at helping younger people, the elderly and other charitable organisations working in the Parish.
The Parish has many unsung heroes who all work quietly in the background to get things done. Thanks were specifically given to Councillors Ian Newton and Steven Scaife for maintenance work and litter picking in the Parish. Cllr David Cowen, Gary Harrison and Bryan Craig for building and surveying knowledge and other members of the Council that have attended extra meetings mainly on traffic and parking issues.
Another unsung hero mentioned was Stephanie Diver MBE who continues to walk around the village picking-up litter. Her efforts in collecting 1439 bags of litter last year from the village being recognised and appreciated by all.
Another area of concern highlighted included the issue of dog fouling. Ian Gray is another volunteer who disposes of approximately 640 items of dog fouling every month, mainly from the village green. Ian was publically thanked for his efforts by the Chairman.
Attendees were advised that the last year or two has been dominated by some major planning applications, chiefly the Co-op and the Dobbies Garden Centre developments. In 2009, a total of ninety one other applications were examined by the Parish Council. The Chairman explained that the Parish Council had sometimes been criticised for the stand it has made on some difficult applications, but felt that improvements have often resulted on behalf of residents.
Cumbria in Bloom’s 2009 entry had been a resounding success, Dalston scooping 7 awards in total, including Best Village Overall and Best Large Village. Other trophy winners included, Barras House, Dalston Bowling Club and St Michael’s School. Certificates of merit also being given to the Dalston Station Group.
Finally, thanks were given to retiring Parish Councillors, Jean Rawstron, Gary Harrison, David Hand, Tony Sinclair and Steven Scaife and a special mention to John Collier who worked tirelessly as the areas County Councillor for a long time. Mention and thanks was also extended to Liz Auld, Clerk to the Council who retired in October, but who is still co-ordinating the Cumbria in Bloom entry for 2010. Liz asked anyone interested in helping her with this year’s entry to contact her. Cllr Robert Potter was also acknowledged for his 40 years service to the Council.
Parish Council Accounts 2009/10
Andrea McCallum, Clerk to the Parish Council gave a verbal report (draft accounts having been circulated to attendees) on income and expenditure of the council for the financial year 2009/10. Advised that projects undertaken and funded in the year included work on Raughton Head Churchyard path, Kingsway Environmental project, repairs to Glave Hill Car Park and clearance of vegetation at Penn Beck, Gaitsgill. Also reported that a total of £6,348.92 in grants had been distributed to local organisations. Variouse organisations within the Parish also benefiting from a total of £3682 received from the Carlisle Parish Council’s Association.
Cllr Pauline Dalton advised residents on plans to update the Parish Plan and asked residents to revisit the plan and give feedback on what people would like to see included in the plan for the next 5 years. Survey forms to be issued to residents in the near future.
Dalston Festival 2010
Mr A Dinning, Chairman of the Festival Committee reported on festival plans for 2010. New events planned included a Treasure Trail around the Parish and a Picnic in the Park (with barbecue) as well as a Scarecrow Competition, Quiz Night, Festival Friday in the Square, the week culminating with a parade of floats at Dalston Show. Mr Dinning highlighted that it cost £4,500 to stage the festival and thanked the Parish Council and local businesses for their support. Advised that last year over 800 programmes had been sold for the Scarecrow Trail, this revenue being a significant contribution in supporting the festival and urged everyone to make a scarecrow!
Guest Speaker - Mr D Anderson, Factory Manager, Nestlé
The guest speaker was Mr David Anderson, Factory Manager from Nestlé, Dalston. He gave an overview of products manufactured at the factory, local supply chains, current employment levels and future development plans. Questions were invited and ranged from determining the long term future of the factory, the sourcing of raw materials and road/rail transport links.
An open question session included the issue of increased traffic levels through Dalston and the need for a southern bypass, cycling on pavements and the movement of HGV’s through the village. These items to be considered by the Parish Council at a later date.
The meeting ended with delicious refreshments provided by Dalston WI.