Annual Report

Annual Town Meeting – Chairman’s Report 25 April 2018

At the Annual Town Meeting held on 25 April 2018 our Chairman Mr Ian Moncur said:

“It gives me great pleasure to present the annual report of Sprowston Town Council for the municipal year 2017-18.

Firstly we have welcomed two new Members to the Council, Barrie Osborne and Christine Rumsby who were co-opted following the sad death of Chris Noble and resignation of Janet Poynter, both representing Sprowston South East Ward.

In November we were delighted to open the new Play Park on Wilks Farm Drive and I hope that the young families who use it benefit from and enjoy the variety of equipment chosen by the Council.

We are now looking to the refurbishment of Windsor Park Gardens with a scheme that offers something a little different from other play grounds in Sprowston.

Later this year the Council will adopt the open space at Blue Boar Lane including the play equipment. We are currently considering a landscaping scheme to include fencing, access points, pathways, trees and hedging. This land including the play equipment is presently owned by Norfolk Homes. We continue to look for a site for a skatepark and will be able to report some positive news soon.

In an attempt to attract more casual cricket to the area the Council has accepted an offer from the Norfolk Cricket Board to install a non-turf cricket pitch at Sprowston Recreation Ground at no cost to the Council. This £12,000 scheme also includes an amount for the promotion and initial maintenance of the facility.

Again in November the Council took ownership of a small area of land at Gurney Drive from the West Norfolk Tomato Company. A tree survey has been commissioned and following any necessary maintenance work it will be opened to the public giving additional pedestrian access to Cottage Plantation.

Following work at Harrisons Plantation I was delighted to accept on behalf of the Council the 2017 Norfolk Community Biodiversity Award in the category of Parish and Town Councils from Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership. It was hoped that Harrisons Woodland would have already been adopted by the Council but there has been a delay in the process.

Work at Sprowston Diamond Centre is close to completion with focus now on interior fixtures, including the sports flooring suitable for badminton, pickleball, five-a-side football, exercise classes, community and family events. It will be called The Beryl Read Hall and should be open for hire in early summer. Having overseen the various projects to extend and improve the facilities available at the centre the Council office is to move to Sprowston Recreation Ground; freeing another room for community use at Sprowston Diamond Centre.

With the dissolution of Sprowston Heritage the Council has taken responsibility for the archives which will be accessible from the Council office. The tapestries will also be placed on the walls of the Council chamber for residents to view.

Now to financial matters, at our December meeting the Town Council agreed on the budgets for the year 2018/19 and to meet its funding requirements has increased cemetery, memorial and sports hire fees by 3% and set the precept at £623,000 a 1.98% increase. For a Band D property this means an increase of £2.22 per year.

The Town Council operates a grant awards scheme to provide financial support to voluntary groups and community organisations working for the benefit of residents.  During 2017/18, the Town Council made grants to Norfolk Accident and Rescue, The Royal British Legion, the Citizens Advice Bureau and Sprowston Youth Engagement Project.

Finally I would like to thank those public spirited residents who help to keep Sprowston clean and tidy by collecting litter and disposing of it in the appropriate place and the Town Clerk, her team and fellow Councillors for their considerable efforts.  It is always a pleasure and a privilege to serve as Chairman, and I look back upon the last twelve months knowing that the Council and its staff have contributed in a significant way to making Sprowston a better place to live “