LEOMINSTER TOWN COUNCIL
Every year the outgoing Mayor of Leominster presents a report at the Annual Town Meeting summarising the main business transacted by Council during the preceding year.
The report is presented by Brig. Peter Jones CBE, the outgoing Mayor for the 2014/15 year.
ANNUAL REPORT 2014/15
The Town Council has gone through a number of changes during 2014/15 including a change of Town Clerk. In November 2014 Iain Plumtree departed and a new Town Clerk, Paul Russell, was appointed.
Both Leominster Town Council and Herefordshire Council continue to face financial pressures as various austerity measures continue to be implemented. Leominster Town Council resolved to save as many services as it could financially afford and try to improve service delivery in Leominster.
In 2013/14 the Town Council agreed to step in and help avoid the closure of the two public toilets sited at the Grange and in Central car park. Both toilets have been cleaned and maintained by the Town Council for the majority of the year. In 2015/16 it is likely that all four public toilets will be transferred to the Town Council.
The Town Council is currently considering how best to manage and finance its new responsibilities and has made initial provision within its budget for the forthcoming year.
There were a number of concerns raised during 2014 with regard to grass cutting in the town. Due to cutbacks Herefordshire Council reduced the frequency of grass cutting throughout the County and Leominster was affected.
For 2015/16 Leominster Town Council has agreed to manage and maintain the Ginhall Green Park to the rear of the Buckfield housing estate, the Grange, Priory Gardens, Millennium Green and Sydoinia. Grass cutting is being carried out by the Council’s Lengthsman, DC Gardening Services, and litter is being dealt with by the Council’s newly appointed Environmental Team.
As part of the devolved services the Town Council has taken over the responsibility for cleaning the town centre. In March it appointed two part time Environmental Operatives, Martin Smith and John Wood.
It also purchased an electrically powered street cleaning machine called a Glutton. In partnership with Balfour Beatty Living Places and Herefordshire Council the Town Council has commenced street cleaning.
The Friday Market
In February 2015 the Town Council took over the responsibility of the Friday retail market. This will help provide income to meet the costs of the added responsibilities the Town Council has taken over. Around 20 stalls attend every Friday and the market continues to be vibrant.
In March Council appointed Richard Brookman to help manage the market and promote both the Friday market and reintroduce the Tuesday plant and antique market.
Leominster Area Neighbourhood Plan
The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group has continued to develop the Leominster Neighbourhood Plan which is now nearing completion. The Town Council wishes to extend its very grateful thanks to the Steering Group for all its hard work under the Chairmanship of Peter Ellis.
The final version of the Neighbourhood Plan will be going before the Town Council in June for adoption following which it will go out to referendum.
Parking continues to be an issue. Following the introduction of fees in all the car parks in Leominster on-street parking has increased sometimes causing a nuisance for local residents. A consultation has taken place undertaken by Herefordshire Council and Residents Parking Zones are likely to be implemented in the near future to help address some of the issues.
The Town Council has formally supported the Residents Parking Scheme.
Tourism is an important part of the local economy and the Town Council has continued its funding of the Leominster TIC which is managed by Gill Ding. The TIC continues to attract many visitors and had a very good year in 2014/15.
The Town Council continued to provide support grants to a variety of organisations throughout the year including the Community Centre, Grange Court, Citizens Advice Bureaux and many other smaller local organisations. Due to the financial challenges being faced the grant budget has had to be reduced for 2015/16 to enable Council to fund the additional services it is now delivering.
It has been another busy Mayoral year and it has been my pleasure to attend over 100 events as your Mayor. It has been my privilege to represent Leominster and I would like to thank all my fellow Councillors for their support and wish Cllr Felicity Norman, the new Mayor of Leominster all the very best for her year in office.