I have always believed that for anything to succeed you need people who not only believe in what they are doing, but also want to take ownership. In our Parish Council I am grateful that we have many such individuals who are determined, as promised, to ‘make our Parish a great place to live, work and play’.
Bellinge Ward, particularly around the area of the shops and the Deer’s Leap Public House, looks a picture and special thanks must go to Dennis Nash, John Porter and Fiona Dymond for all their hard work, not only in the garden area but also within the Community House.
Since coming on board as a Councillor, Sally Jordan has worked tirelessly to improve community involvement and the image of Ecton Brook. The regular Residents Group meetings and coffee mornings ensure that the community’s concerns are heard and acted upon.
Little Billing Ward is as usual quietly managed by John Clements and David Brede, and Great Billing Ward just seems to manage itself.
The return of the old red telephone box in Great Billing village ready to house a defibrillator has pleased many conservationists. I did hear that apparently two youngsters were overheard openly discussing exactly what it was only to conclude that they would ask their grandparents!
Paul Marks, our Green Space Manager has now been with us for eighteen months and his enthusiasm and commitment throughout the whole parish, together with his wood carvings, have been noted and applauded by many.
Dick and Anne Oram are our longstanding contractors responsible for the majority of the grass mowing and heavy duty work. They treat our green spaces as if they were their own, much to the delight of the many visitors from the parish and adjoining areas.
Work continues on Bellinge Field with the aim of opening up this area and joining it with the Old Orchard and The Leys. Our volunteer team meet on site every Wednesday morning from 9.00 am to 12 noon and anyone with free time would be most welcome. Visitor numbers have increased considerably and the general feeling is that people no longer feel threatened. I would recommend everyone to visit and see for themselves.
I must thank all the volunteers and outside agencies – in particular our local Neighbourhood Warden, Liz Newbery, who has made vast inroads into problems within the parish; Damian Lang, our Parish Highway Warden, who continually pesters the authorities regarding the state of our roads; Cllr. Andy Kilbride who continues to support our community and is always on hand should the need arise. At the time of writing Andy has been successful in obtaining funds to build a much needed play area in Ecton Brook field.
Our grateful thanks must also go to local resident Steve Bishop for his extremely kind offer of a completely new Parish Council website. This is now up and running and although it still requires some additions and ‘tweaking’ it is looking good and is a vast improvement on the old site. See www.billingparish.co.uk
Ownership of Assets
During the past twelve months we have been in negotiation with Northampton Borough Council regarding assets within the parish, i.e. land in Ecton Brook and Little Billing, and the Community House in Bellinge, being transferred to Parish Council ownership prior to the anticipated introduction of the Unitary Authority. Initially there was talk of monetary assistance but now it would appear that not only will the Parish Council be expected to pay a nominal fee for each asset but to fund both parties’ legal fees and all future maintenance costs. Needless to say deliberations are ongoing.
In conclusion, special thanks to Sue Harris our Parish Clerk whose recent submission of accounts to the auditor was returned with a comment of ‘pristine’, which I feel says it all. Here’s to another good year.
Billing Parish Council