The past year has been a memorable year for the village and Parish Council, particularly given the success of the Queens Diamond Jubilee events & celebrations last June, which were supported by volunteer members from almost all of Benwicks community groups and attended by many residents of the village. A great time was had by all and we even made the front page of the local newspaper, I believe we ‘did Benwick proud’.
In addition to the general business of the Council we have also been involved in a wide range of projects and initiatives this year, including working with Cambs County Council with the installation of the new footbridge, and securing a 20mph advisory speed zone outside the school through the minor highways improvements scheme which is due to be installed in the near future. We also saw the provision of the ‘Connection Bus’ drop-in youth facilities, supported by CCC and charitable organisations (which we are hoping will continue ongoing).
Other notable highlights include the provision of new litter bins near the War Memorial and Bus stop, and new grit bins which are to be installed shortly. Improvements have been made to the Cemetery maintenance standard following the appointment of a new contractor and agreement from Fenland District Council to improve standards at the old cemetery.
There were also repairs made to the railings around the War Memorial carried out by Boon’s and Benwick in Bloom; and Royal Mail installed new slabs around the Doddington Rd Post Box.
This year also saw the Parish Council providing a village Christmas Tree which we hope to make an
Moving forward, we are working with Middle-Level in the provision of Flood Defences along Nene Parade and between the two bridges; it is hoped we will be able to provide additional railings outside the cemetery and improvements to the footpaths as part of this project.
Working with FDC in improvements to the park and its facilities and with allotment holders to the
appearance of Allotments and provide new fences for the plots.
We are also working with Middle Level Watermen’s Club, ‘Circle of the Fens’ Cycle Race Organisers and Village Groups to organise a weekend of celebrations for the opening of the new Bridge, anniversary of the mooring opening and to enjoy the cycle race (15th/16th June).
We will also be working with the Residents Association and The Strict Baptists to explore ownership of the Baptist Cemetery to improve its appearance and use, and with local companies to reduce the impact of HGV traffic in the village.
In addition to the above, many of you will have noticed that the Village Sign has been removed and is currently undergoing repairs as the main post was rotten. We have also received apologies from Balfour Beatty, who have advised us that the upgrades to the street lights will now be completed in June.
Finances remain strong, with a surplus for the year of £2,467 carried over to reserves. I also recognise recent concerns regarding Council Tax increases, but the Benwick Parish Precept for 2013/14 remains the same as 2012/13 at £10,609. The increases are due primarily to the reduction of our Tax Base as a result of the recent changes in the Council Tax Benefits scheme. We will be reviewing this carefully when setting the precept next year.
Sadly I have to report that our Clerk, Mrs Kristine Poole is leaving us next month, after many years service and would like to wish her all the best for the future, her work has been much appreciated and thank you!
Finally, I hope you will all come along and enjoy the events and celebrations in June, another chance for us all to get together! Invitations have been sent to all Benwick’s community groups to organise fund raising stalls and games and several are already involved in the