Syston Town Council Chairman’s Annual Report 2014 -2015

Main Activities of the Year
New Cemetery
Excellent news in June when Charnwood Borough Council (CBC) announced that the land off Millstone Lane had been granted planning permission for development. What was most important was that this land, always earmarked for development, would be acquired by Syston Council for the development of a new cemetery as part of the planning agreement. This has allowed the Town Council some breathing space to utilise the existing facility without the concern of reaching capacity.
Memorial Bench in Central Park
In July the town was most grateful to receive a memorial bench in honour of the life of the late Lexi Branson which can be seen on the children’s playground in Central Park. This bench was accidently damaged shortly after installation, but our resourceful Premises Officer, John Rogers managed to restore it to its original standard. A letter of apology was received some time later from the person responsible and this was accepted by Full Council.
Adult Fitness Equipment
Cllr Sue Gerrard sourced and project managed the Adult Fitness Equipment installed in Central Park, utilizing available S106 monies.
New Town Manager
October welcomed the arrival of our new Town Manager at Syston, Catherine Voyce; replacing Acting Town Manager, Ian McDonald. Councillors’ will no doubt miss Ian, but I am sure Catherine Voyce who has been confirmed in her role, will quickly become as popular as Ian as she gets to know you all. Her impact on the Resources of the Council has been excellent to date and I am sure all who have had contact with her will be pleased to see the difference she is undoubtedly making to our town. Catherine’s first task was to purchase a replacement cooker, fridge and dishwasher in the Community Centre; which has now been opened in its refurbished state for 13 years this year.
Archdale Street Playground
In October, utilising S106 monies, Archdale Street Playground was updated with exciting new play equipment installed as well as the renovation of some of the popular existing apparatus. This £65k project formed part of Syston Town Council’s initiative to encourage children to be healthy and active.
WW1 Anniversary
In September Councillors marked the anniversary of the beginning of WW1 with a small memorial bench and plaque to honour the death of servicemen lost. This was blessed by the Vicar of St Peter and St Paul on Remembrance Day.
September was quite a month for Syston Town Council (STC) as we began to prepare for what will undoubtedly become the programme of the decade as plans were considered for the long-term regeneration of the Pavilion on The Memorial Park. Plans have been agreed with the Architects and main users of the Pavilion for a complete refurbishment and extension and are almost at planning approval stage. The pavilion plans have now been presented to a committee working well under Cllr. Paul Henry’s chairmanship and plans for financing this project are also underway. We will expect to have a new facility ready for use by the beginning of the new football season in 2016.
East Midlands in Bloom
September also saw Syston celebrating the achievement of the Silver Award (again) in the East Midlands in Bloom Competition. (Working with the Syston in Bloom Committee).
Syston Youth Cafe
Syston Town Council also pledged to contribute £15k over three years towards the funding of a Youth Coach to be based at the Youth Café, a project run by Syston Methodists Church.
Wreake Valley Academy 3G Pitch
The Principal of Wreake Valley Academy, Tony Pinnock, put forward his plans for a 3G Football Pitch, requesting financial support from STC. The Council has actively considered and finally approved his proposals, with the condition that the facility is made available to Syston residents outside of school hours.
Christmas Event
In December Ursula Southan, (recently promoted to) Deputy Town Manager of STC, managed the Christmas Event which has fast become a popular annual event in the town. 2014 included an appearance from Sally Barker, runner up of the TV Competition ‘The Voice’.
Standing Orders and Financial Regulations
A full review of the Standing Orders and Financial Regulations which set out the rules that Councillors have to abide by has been carried out and implemented. Council passed its Audit examination with a clean bill of health in January.
Quotations for New Signs across the town have been received and work on their replacement will start imminently. The next stage of improvements to the town will be the replacement of notice boards where required.
Quotations for the replacement fence at Central Park and also a new fence surrounding the children’s play area at Deville Park have been considered. Work will commence at Central Park at the beginning of June (the Skate Park section will be left until the Skate Park refurbishment has taken place). Work on the Deville Park will commence at a date to be agreed.
Flower Towers
We suffered an early loss to the positioning of the most attractive floral displays alongside the Cooperative store. The landowner had complained that the flower towers were causing cracks in the footpath surrounding them as well as being a health and safety risk; and enforced their removal. Council is currently considering where to relocate them to and have received some helpful suggestions from Syston in Bloom Committee.
Fire Sign
The Fire Sign from our vacant Fire station was installed in Central Park in March.
BMX track on Deville Park
A committee has been set up and a meeting with users is being arranged. Quotations have been supplied to enable the committee to know the sums of money required to rebuild the BMX Track.
Skate Park Extension
Councillors have agreed to extend the Skate Park in Central Park. A committee has been set up and a meeting with users is being arranged. Quotations have been supplied to enable the committee to know the sums of money required.
Ian McDonald finally bade farewell to Syston at Christmas after a sterling performance in his capacity as Town Manger for Syston (twice) since 1995.
The Late Cllr Ron Jenkins
October saw many of the older Councillors mourn the passing of one of Syston’s finest: Cllr Ron Jenkins who many townspeople will have affectionate memories of.
Thank You
I would like to conclude by thanking all councillors who have contributed their time and effort totally free of charge to you all as well as my heartfelt appreciation of the hard work put in by all staff both in the office and on the grounds.
Cllr. Stephen Hampson CCChairman Syston Town council