Chairman’s Annual Report 2023-24

Welcome to the Chairman’s report for 2023/24.

Another year has flown by and I would like to express my thanks to Councillors and our Parish Clerk for their involvement and commitment over this past year.

As a community we continue to face challenges and uncertainty. With inflation remaining high, cost pressures remain for households, business owners and community facilities alike. Our District Council is facing budgeting challenges. Work on the St Albans Local Plan continues.

It can be no coincidence then that we have seen a notable pickup in attendance at meetings of late, with local residents seeking to take the opportunity to reflect their views and feelings; the stakes are high. We have welcomed members of the public, campaign groups and District and County Councillors who have made active contributions to discussions on a variety of subject matter including planning applications, development and enforcement, road condition and safety, and upgrades to local infrastructure.

The Parish of St Michael is small in terms of number of residents, but is rich in green belt land. Whilst there have been recent applications to build within the area, this has largely been limited to extensions or isolated individual residential dwellings. As it stands, the Parish looks like it will not be directly affected by larger site development under consideration in the Local Plan. However, any larger scale development in North St Albans, North Harpenden, Redbourn and Hemel would stand to increase road traffic and associated congestion, noise and pollution quite significantly within and on the boundary of our Parish and would affect residents during and after any development. As such, StMPC is taking an active interest in the progress of the Local Plan and will seek to comment where and when appropriate.

This past year at St Michael Parish Council (StMPC) has again been one of change. Whilst last year the focus was on a boundary change that had a marked effect on the Parish, over the course of this year we have had turnover in the panel of Councillors serving the StMPC. We saw two long standing members depart and I would like to take this opportunity to wholeheartedly thank Liz Rolfe and Liz Rose for their tenures on the Parish Council and express gratitude for their individual steadfast dedication and contribution, each committing their time over two decades to serve the interests of local residents.

It is with pleasure we have welcomed Jeremy Peet and Ian Hawking to StMPC. Both live locally and have a keen interest in the area and I very much look forward to their presence on the bench as we move forward.

At the time of writing, we have two vacancies for the position of Parish Councillor and would like to invite anyone in the Parish or local area who has interest in taking the position to please get in touch.

It has again been a privilege to chair St Michael Parish Council this past year and I wish the best for the upcoming year to all residents of the Parish, their family and friends.

Best,

David Meachin

Chair of St Michael Parish Council 

Parish Councillor Vacancies

Vacancies occur from time to time, caused for example by the resignation of Parish Councillors. We currently have two such vacancies:

  • April 2024 – Please see the statutory notice below; an update will be posted here as soon as we know (by around mid-May) whether there will be an election to be held.
  • February 2024 – a similar notice was published for the statutory period ending 21st March 2024, and as there was no call for an election in that time, we have (and continue) to invite nominations to fill the vacancy by co-option.

In either case, please consider applying – you can find a brief overview of the role on our separate web page, Could YOU be a Parish Councillor? If you are interested, we will be delighted to have a chat with you, completely without any obligation, to answer any questions you may have.


ST MICHAEL PARISH COUNCIL
ST MICHAEL NORTH WARD
NOTICE OF VACANCY
in the office of PARISH COUNCILLOR

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a casual vacancy has arisen in the office of Parish Councillor for the St Michael North Ward of St Michael Parish Council.

If by Tuesday 14 May 2024 (14 days* after the date of this notice), a request for an election to fill the said vacancy is made in writing to The Proper Officer,
St Albans City and District Council, Civic Centre, St Peters Street, St Albans,
AL1 3JE, signed by TEN electors for St Michael North parish ward, an election will be held to fill the said vacancy.

If an election is not requested, the vacancy will be filled by St Michael Parish Council by co-option in accordance with the Local Elections (Parishes & Communities) Rules 2006.

If an election is requested, the election will take place on a date determined by the Returning Officer within 60 days* from the date of this notice.

Dated: Tuesday 23 April 2024
………………………………….
Julia Reading, Clerk to the Council

*in computing any period of time for this purpose, a Saturday, Sunday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Good Friday, or bank or public holidays or any day appointed for public thanksgiving or mourning must be disregarded.

Read about our Annual Meetings

Our Clerk explains the difference between the Annual Parish Meeting and the Annual General Meeting of the Parish Council….

With our Annual meetings due to be held on 14 May 2024, let’s take the opportunity to clarify what happens at each.

Both types of meeting are open to the public to attend, and both are required to be held during May.

The Annual General Meeting of the Parish Council is when we review things such as who will be Chairman for the next year.  Otherwise it will follow a similar structure as for other Parish Council Meetings in the year.  Any member of the public is entitled to attend and observe, but as with all Parish Council Meetings, they are allowed to speak or ask questions only in a designated part of the proceedings or by the invitation of the Chairman.

All Parish and Town Councils throughout England are required by law to hold an Annual Parish Meeting, which acts as an annual democratic point of communication enabling the Parish Council to explain what it has been doing over the last year and providing an opportunity for the electors to have their say on anything they consider is important  to the people of the Parish.

Who can attend the Annual Parish Meeting?
The Annual Parish Meeting is a meeting of all the local government electors for the Parish, which the public are specifically entitled to attend and participate in.

Will I be able to ask questions and make suggestions?
Yes, any registered elector may ask questions at the Annual Parish Meeting, which will usually be answered by the Chairperson, the Clerk to the Council, or a designated Councillor. An elector may also make suggestions and comment on anything relevant to the residents of the Parish.

Who will chair the Annual Parish Meeting?
The Chairman of the Parish Council will chair the meeting or in his/her absence the Vice Chairman.

Will Parish Councillors be there?
Yes, however, the purpose of the Annual Parish Meeting is to enable the ordinary electors to have their say. Councillors will listen with interest and as some are electors themselves, they also have the opportunity to raise questions and make comments if they wish.

Will notes be taken of the meeting?
Yes, a written record of the meeting will be taken and presented at the next Annual Parish meeting for approval.

How long will the meeting last?
As long as need be within reason.  It will depend on how many persons attend who wish to speak.

Local elections – Thursday 2nd May

[From St Albans District Council]

On 2 May, Police and Crime Commissioner and district council elections are taking place in the district. The election webpage is now live: www.stalbans.gov.uk/elections-thursday-2-may-2024

SADC is keen to raise awareness of these elections (especially the relevant registration / absent vote deadlines and voter ID requirements).

Please also note that there is no change to current polling station locations for residents in St Michael parish area.

Hertfordshire Health Walks

[External from Herts County Council]
Free, friendly and safe Health Walks.

First time? Register as a new walker online. It’s easy, free and will save you time on the day. We also offer Taster walks.

Health walk timetables We have a range of walks to suit all abilities and backgrounds.

Walk grades Every walk on our timetables has a grade. Find out what they mean.

Advice for walkers Keeping you safe, what to expect and our code of conduct.

Hertfordshire Essex Rapid Transit (HERT)

External update from Herts County Council (HCC)

The HERT forms part of the County Council’s A414 corridor strategy – a package of proposals designed to improve travel between the east and west of the county and reduce car dependency. As part of this, the HERT is aligned with Hertfordshire’s Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) schemes, as well as the proposals for the Watford to Croxley Link (W2CL).

The HERT will deliver a step-change in the passenger transport network through an accessible, reliable and affordable east-west transit system which connects people easily to where they live, work and visit. The HERT will support economic growth, improve the environment and positively impact our existing and new communities. It will also connect with north-south rail lines to create new sustainable journey options across the whole of Hertfordshire, west Essex and beyond.

You can find more information on the scheme and the results of the public engagement are now available to the public on the HCC website here

A project of this scale will take a number of years to develop and requires substantial investment from local and central government, together with private sector partners. As well as making the case for the scheme to feature in the county’s Local Transport Plans, HCC is producing a prospectus for the HERT which will be used in our conversations with potential funding partners, including the Department for Transport. 

HCC remains committed to the HERT’s ambitious vision to deliver a step-change in the passenger transport network. The feedback gathered during the public engagement period suggests this is a vision shared by many for its potential to improve the lives of current and future generations.

We will be consulting the public at each stage of the project’s development, with ongoing engagement with local communities, civic groups, businesses and other key stakeholder organisations throughout the duration of the scheme.

Please email us at HERT@hertfordshire.gov.uk if you have any questions or require any further information.

Parliamentary constituency boundary review 2023

By 1 July 2023: Final report and recommendations

After analysing all the responses to the third consultation, we (i.e. the Boundary Commission for England) has submitted its final report and recommendations. This is the end of our involvement in the process.
To see the final report, please follow this link to the Boundary Commission’s website and enter your postcode.

Late 2023: Recommendations will be made into law

Within four months of the last of the four Commissions submitting their report, the UK Government must prepare the Order that would bring all their recommendations into law. Following recent changes, this Order no longer needs the approval of Parliament: it is sent directly to the Privy Council. If the Privy Council approves, the new constituencies are used at the next General election following that (not at any interim by-elections).

St Albans District Council’s New Draft Local Plan

The Council is developing a new Draft Local Plan, which is like a blueprint for future development. It establishes the Council’s long-term planning strategy for delivering and managing growth and infrastructure, for environmental and heritage protection and enhancement, up to 2041.

This is an emerging Draft Plan, and people who live and work in the District, community groups and businesses are all encouraged to give their views. We want to hear from as many people and organisations as possible. The feedback received will help shape the final proposals.

Government guidance requires that Local Plans should set out an overall strategy for the pattern, scale and design quality of places, and make sufficient provision for housing (including affordable housing), infrastructure, community facilities and conservation and enhancement of the natural, built and historic environment.

Draft Local Plan 2041 Regulation 18 Consultation will be available for you to comment on between the following dates:

Start Date: 12/07/23 10:03 AM to End Date: 25/09/23 5:00 PM

The best way to respond is by using the online consultation system which can be found through links on the Councils website at: https://www.stalbans.gov.uk/new-local-plan

You can send a response by Email to:
planning.policy@stalbans.gov.uk 

or by post to:
Spatial Planning Team, St Albans Council Offices, St Peters Street, St Albans, AL1 3JE.

If you have any queries about this Regulation 18 consultation stage, you can contact us using the details above.

At the close of the consultation period, all comments will be considered by the Council and used to inform the next stage of the Local Plan process.

Yours sincerely,

Spatial Planning Team, St Albans City and District Council

Hertfordshire County Council Residents’ Survey 2023

Hertfordshire County Council’s vision is to create a cleaner, greener, healthier Hertfordshire by putting the things that matter most at the heart of all we do. To achieve this, we’re prioritising the health and wellbeing of our residents, protecting the environment, supporting the sustainable growth of our county, and striving for excellent services that are accessible for all.

If you live in Hertfordshire, we’d like to hear from you. Complete the survey here.

Consultation start date 24 July 2023; Consultation closing date 15 September 2023 (11.59pm)