Neston Council on the road to Quality Status

Neston Town Clerk, Alison Kunaj, has brought “Quality Council” status a step nearer for Neston Town Council.

She has been awarded the Certificate in Local Council Administration to become a recognised “qualified clerk”. This is one of the requirements for the Council to have a quality status and to be able to undertake additional powers and responsibilities.

The Certificate is a recognised prestigious award, with only one in ten students passing on their first attempt as Alison did.

Additional Councillor training over the next year should see the Council, which was established only in May 2009, achieving a quality status. The certificate was presented to Alison by the Town Mayor, Cllr David Clark, at the Council‟s December meeting.

The clerk said “I am absolutely delighted to have passed my qualification”.

Neston Matters November 2010

The latest version of Neston Matters is now out. Download your copy below.

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Environment Agency Dee Flood Strategy

Environment Agency Wales is in the process of producing a flood risk management strategy for the tidal Dee. The strategy will help the Agency and its partners, including Flintshire County Council, Cheshire West and Chester Council, the Welsh Assembly Government, and local communities, understand how to best manage tidal flooding from the tidal River Dee for the next 100 years.

This is a summary of our draft strategy findings and recommendations to date – based on technical work and what our partners and local communities have told us.

Download the full report below.

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New Christmas Lights for Neston

News that Neston’s Christmas lights were in jeopardy came as a surprise at this week’s Neston Town Council meeting, but swift action has led to a positive outcome for the town.

As a matter of urgency, Neston Town Council and Neston Chamber of Trade met with Cheshire West and Chester officers to discuss the issue.

Revised proposals now mean that Neston Town Centre will have a brand new Christmas lighting scheme. Garlands with hundreds of sparkling, energy-efficient, LED lights will be suspended across the High Street and eight festoon lights will be mounted onto the lamp-posts.

An installation survey by Cheshire West and Chester Council contractors discovered that the brackets previously used to display Christmas banners across the High Street and the canopy of lights at the Cross were sited too low for safety, and many were in poor condition and no longer adequate to support the weight of the existing decorations.

In a further development, Neston Town Council will be taking action to preserve the lighting scheme on Town Centre churches and the Neston Centre building. As the contractors working on behalf of Cheshire West and Chester Council can no longer include private properties in their remit, Neston Town Council will now seek to engage their own contractors to ensure that the popular displays on key buildings will be preserved.

Neston Mayor Cllr David Clark said that he was delighted that all the interested parties could come to the table, at just 36 hours notice, to resolve this dramatic turn of events.

“It was a challenging discussion that was eventually resolved to the satisfaction of all parties,” he said. “I’m sure that Neston town centre will now have a really good show of Christmas decorations.”

The Mayor added that Neston Town Council had also made it clear to Cheshire West and Chester officers that Little Neston and Parkgate must be reviewed as part of improved plans next year.

Neston’s brand new Christmas lights will be officially switched on by the Mayor on Friday 3rd December at 6.30pm, as part of this year’s Neston Christmas Festival.

Bat Boxes

An event hosted by Neston Town Council, with partner organisations the RSPB and the Merseyside and West Lancashire Bat Group (M&WLBG) took place at St Thomas’ Church in Parkgate this week.

These organisations had recognised the need to engage with the public in the Neston area regarding mosquito control, given the desire to balance conservation and environmental matters with the comfort and safety of local residents.

The evening was well attended by over 50 members of the public along with Carl Murphy (Cheshire West and Chester Council, Duncan Revell (Environment Agency) and Sarah Bennett (Cheshire Region Biodiversity Partnership).

Colin Wells, Site Manager of the RSPB Dee Estuary Nature Reserve, gave a 15 minute presentation about the RSPB’S involvement with regards to the reserve and marshes around Neston. The RSPB also spoke about the current state of affairs with regards to Mosquito Control and how, in certain areas of the Marshes, they have been able to control the Mosquito larvae problem to some extent by developing larger ponds where fish and birds can feed on the larvae and other insects.

The local authority are continuing to spray the marshes and a meeting has been arranged on Sept 22nd with the relevant bodies to discuss some of the management/drainage issues on the marshes especially in the Parkgate area.

Charlie Liggett from M&WLBG then gave a 15 minute presentation on the different types of bat boxes, with details on optimum location, probable occupancy and the laws with regards to checking occupancy. Charlie also gave an insight into the different species of bats (of which there are 18 in the UK) and stated that the Wirral in particular has quite a healthy population of certain species.

Charlie then gave the public the opportunity to ask questions. One question of particular interest was that if bats were to take up residence in your loft space or similar, would that mean that, as bats are protected, you could no longer have any work or improvements done to your home.

This is in fact not true, and it depends on seasons. It does mean that you always need to ask for advice from Natural England if you have a bat roost in your property and that work can usually be carried out during the months October to April inclusive. For more information, contact the Bat Helpline on 0845 1300 228. There are a number of volunteer bat workers on the Wirral who would be glad to drop in and give advice.

There then followed a walk along the Parade towards the Boathouse, joined by 50 members of the public, two dogs and some bat detectors, which were provided not only by M&WLBG and RSPB, but also the general public. There are obviously as many Bat watchers as well Bird Watchers in the area!

This gave the public an opportunity to ask more questions and get a further understanding of the marshes and environment. The only problem with regards to walking down the parade at this time of the evening was those pesky Mosquitoes!!. However we were fortunate enough to see a few Pipistrelle and Noctule bats along the way.
For more information.

Charlie Liggett would prefer if anyone requires any information with regards to bats that you email him directly – If anybody wishes to purchase a Bat Box then please contact Charlie, who can supply either bat boxes complete for £10, or a bit cheaper for the bat box kits.

You can also visit the Bat Conservation website.

As a final note, it was fantastic to see the response from local people to the event being held in the newly re-opened ‘Fisherman’s Church.’ St Thomas’ looks fabulous and it is being well received that Parkgate finally has a community hall of its own.

On behalf of Neston Town Council, RSPB and M&WLBG, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jill Pratt (St Thomas’ Church Warden), for her wonderful hospitality. A really lovely lady!

Cllr Martin Barker
Neston Town Council

August Newsletter

Neston’s first ever Town Mayor is Cllr David Clark.

His historic appointment was made by Neston Town Council on Tuesday 11 May at its Annual Meeting. He was invested with the chain of office by Cllr Moira Andrews who retired as the Council’s first Chairman.

Cllr Clark, who is one of the Neston ward representatives, played a major part in establishing the Town Council’s successful scheme for local organisation grants last year. He praised the way in which his predecessor Moira Andrews (who chose to be known as Chairman rather than Mayor) had guided the Council through its first year of establishing itself.

The full news letter is available for download below.

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June 2010 News

New Councillor Welcomed

Kay Loch has joined Neston Town Council as the new Town Councillor for Ness. Mrs Loch, who is already a Cheshire West & Cheshire councillor, was chosen by the Town Council from three applicants for the vacancy, following the resignation of Mr Mike Wellman. Mrs Loch has lived in Ness for 18 years.

New Link in the Chain

Cllr Moira Andrews, first Chairman of Neston Town Council, has presented a new Town Council crest to be added to the Mayor’s chain of office. The sterling silver gilt blue enamelled crest will hang above the pendant. The chain was originally that of the chairman of Neston Urban District Council which was abolished in 1974 when the borough of Ellesmere Port & Neston was created.

Clayhill Industrial Estate Improvements Sought

Neston Town Council is calling for improvements to the town’s industrial estate off Liverpool Road.

Councillors have been told that business owners feel isolated and neglected, and are unhappy with what they see as lack of support from the authorities.

At its June meeting the Town Council agreed to a proposal from Cllr Andy Williams (Neston Ward) for a wide-ranging consultation with businesses on suggested improvements.

These include improved signage to the estate and on it, and efforts to “green” the area with tree and floral plantings. The Council also considered whether a change in name to Neston Business Park would be more appropriate and improve the image of the area.

Market Traders Tell Council They Feel “Isolated”

Neston Town Council is supporting local market traders in their fight to be heard by Neston Market administrators.

Traders have complained to town Councillors that their concerns about the planned new look market in the Town Square are going unheeded.

Cllrs Moira Andrews and David Clark, the newly appointed Town Mayor, told the Council that traders felt isolated and powerless. Concerns included the possible imposition of standardised market stalls and a ban on taking their vehicles onto the square to set up their stalls.

The new Town Square is being created as part of the Sainsbury’s town centre development, due to open in the autumn. Cllrs Andrews and Clark toured the market in successive weeks to speak to all traders and to bring them up-to-date with the latest plans. The Town Council is now calling for face-to-face meetings with Cheshire West and Chester Council market officers and councillors.

The Town Council has no responsibility for the operation of the market but believes it is right that market traders’ concerns are looked into.

Neston Re-Branding

An urgent need to re-brand Neston and tackle empty shops has been recognised by local groups.

Discussions on the best way of allocating special funding for Neston town centre improvements are taking place. Cllr Steve Jardine reported on progress to Tuesday’s (18th May 2010) meeting of Neston Town Council. He and council colleagues Moira Andrews and Derek Gaskell had met Chester West and Chester council officials, together with representatives of CH64inc, Neston Chamber of Trade, and Neston Community and Youth Centre.

Their greatest concern was the blighting of the area by empty shops. They had agreed on the necessity to achieve a successful Neston brand and improved marketing of the area. The money is being provided by Sainsbury’s as part of the requirements of making their development and will be administered by Cheshire West and Chester

Welsh Waste Treatment

Welsh Waste Treatment Works Opposed

Neston Town Council has voted to oppose the development of a new waste treatment facility planned for Deeside Industrial Park.

Explaining the issue Cllr Derek Gaskell, chair of the council’s Planning, Environment and Regeneration Committee, said there were already a number of similar facilities in the area. The new one would be visible from Neston and the town could be affected by wind blown pollution.

The Planning Committee had been urged to oppose the development by Connah’s Quay Town Council.