Report on Town Council’s activities for year ended 31 March 2021

The following is an extract from the verbal report given by the Town Mayor, Councillor Terry Gibbs at the Annual Towns Meeting on 26 April 2021 regarding the Town Council’s activities for the previous 2 years. 

I am happy to be able to report on a number of activities undertaken by the Town Council during my unexpectedly extended term of office. I became Mayor in May 2019 expecting it to be for a year, but thanks to 2020 being quite a year for us all, I am still here in office after almost 2 years.

It has been a testing couple of years for our Council and the past year for all members of our community. Despite that, and staffing shortages the Council has managed to achieve several of its Action Plan objectives and carry out other schemes to repair and protect the assets it holds for our community.

Recreation

In the past year, the Town Council’s recreation areas have been used at an unprecedented level by our community, and it’s good to know that their value is being appreciated by local people. Unfortunately, we have had some issues of anti-social behaviour at Jubilee Park in particular, so we have made changes to our electrics to make them less open to vandalism and continue to work with South Yorkshire Police to try to reduce the issues. The increased use of our recreation grounds has sadly also led to increased vandalism of play equipment, with £6,758.00 of your council tax precept funding being spent on repairing and replacing vandalised play equipment in 2020-21, compared to £1,850.00 the year before- a considerable 3 and a half times cost increase due solely to vandalism- this is not acceptable. If this level of vandalism continues, the Council may have to carefully consider what equipment it provides in the future and how often it can be renewed.

Fly tipping and dog fouling also remain an issue on some recreation grounds and indeed throughout our area and nationally but the Town Council are continuing to work to try to improve the situation, for example we now have a total of 9 bins on Jubilee Park, so there really is no excuse for littering or hanging dog waste bags in trees any more. We are also continuing our improvement programme for the recreation grounds, including a whole new set of play equipment already installed in Hatfield and another set due for installation in Dunscroft, both with seating and added bins. We are currently implementing a scheme of new community benches and bins using some Covid-19 grant funding.

Jubilee Park remains home to 2 football teams, a senior and a junior team, each with their own pitch, and the 2019-20 season went well for both, but 2020-21 not so much! Let’s hope the coming season is much better for all our local teams.

Community

Grants totalling £15,120 in 2019-20 and £13,102 in 2020-21 were approved and distributed to various organisations in the area. The work done by these groups is vital to the heart of our community, and often goes unnoticed, I hope that the events of the last year have made our community realise just what these groups do for us and how essential they have become to many residents lives. I was lucky enough to visit many of these valuable organisations in 2019 to find out more about what they do, and to present grant cheques from the Town Council.

Hatfield Band continues to be sponsored by the Town Council and had a good year in 2019. I look forward to hearing about their future successes.

Our local community centres and Hatfield Community Library all continue to offer a wide programme of activities, entertainment and learning opportunities for the local community. Please keep supporting these valuable resources in your community and look out for notices of events and ongoing programmes of activities as things begin to open up and return to normal. Volunteers are always welcome to help with the running of our community facilities.

Precept

The 2020/21 precept required was set at £200,123. This was an increase of £1,981 over the previous year’s precept. Due to a change in the tax base, this equated to an overall decrease of 1.59% for a Band D council tax payer.

The precept for 2021/22 has been set at £202,124. For a Band D property this will mean a precept increase of 0.02p per week (£1.21 for the year) and an overall total of £2,001 more for our Council than last year.

Other

As a Council, and for me as Mayor, it has been a difficult and challenging couple of years at times for various reasons. However, I hope that the new Council that we are about to hand over the reins to in May will move forward and pull together to work effectively as a Council and do their best for our wonderful local community, who, after all, we are all here to serve.

Thank you.

Councillor Terry Gibbs

Town Mayor

May 2019-May 2021