Sunninghill & Ascot Parish Council Chairman’s Report at the Annual Assembly – 1st May 2012 

The last year has been an interesting one for me as the new Chairman and also for the Sunninghill and Ascot Parish Council. The Parish Council itself has changed as we have had a new group of Councillors joining us, bringing with them fresh points of views. It is also heartening that several of them are young councillors as it has always been this Parish Council’s policy to be as inclusive as possible so that we can represent the community better.

Last year we continued our ongoing program for improving our recreation sites. At South Ascot and Victory Field we re-surfaced the playground and the multi-court. Play Builder equipment was also installed at South Ascot and Adult Fitness equipment at Victory Field. We had a general tidy up at Blythewood and installed some bat boxes. We also arranged for an hour’s free tennis lessons at our Victory field courts for beginners during the weekend with a tennis coach. Thanks to our local Borough Councillors, Lynda Yong, John Story and Peter Comber, we also had 3 new benches installed at Victory field. 

We carried out a general clear up around our Allotments, and re-built the footpath at the Sunninghill Cemetery, where a schedule of tree works has been started. 

Working jointly with the Borough Council, we replaced 2 of our aging bus shelters at Ascot High Street and South Ascot and increased our Grit bin provision in the Parish by 3. Public footpaths at both Victory Fields and South Ascot were also improved. A joint clean-up operation was carried out at Victory field on the 16th of May. The Borough Play Rangers were also in attendance during the Summer at South Ascot recreation ground, providing fun for the kids and a couple of hours of relief for the parents. 

The Parish also took an active part in supporting the Campaign to save Heatherwood Hospital and will continue to do so this year. We are also actively supporting the preparation of the Local Plan, as it will help shape the future of our community.

During these tough times the Clerk and I re-looked at all our supplier contracts to see if we can get better value for money, and so far have identified areas where substantial savings can and have been made. We have also looked at how our Groundsman is being utilised, and have invested in new equipment that will allow him to work more efficiently and cut down the time taken for specific tasks.

In 2011, Parish again supported the Sunninghill Victorian Street Fayre, which has grown to be a popular community event. Several Parish councillors were involved in the organising committee, and the other Councillors all helped out on the day. However, we must also thank The Sebastian Action Trust who were actively involved in the organising committee, and the many members of the public who voluntarily gave of their time and helped on the day. All of whom contributed to a very successful day and thousands were raised for both the 2 nominated charities – The Sebastian Action Trust and the Ascot Day Centre. Work has already started on this year’s event.

The next major event is the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, and we are planning to light a beacon at Victory Field as part of the Jubilee Beacon program which involves not just the United Kingdom but also Commonwealth countries throughout the world. A beacon was lit at Victory Field during the Coronation in 1952, so this will be a nice continuation of a tradition. This will take place on Monday the 4th of June, commencing at 7:30pm. There will be entertainment and refreshments and entrance is free.

The challenges that face us for the forthcoming year are many. We are working with the Borough on their devolution plan, which will give The Parish Council a bit more say in matters like Planning, Street Cleaning and even dog fouling enforcement. Let’s hope it will not be a messy affair but a smooth transition for both parties.

Other projects that we will be looking at are landscaping and a Teen Shelter at South Ascot to reduce Anti-social behaviour, a new skate park and Pavilion at Victory Field, path improvement at Blythewood, and the introduction of inclusive play equipment that caters to both able and disabled children.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Clerk, Elizabeth Yates, the assistant clerk, Jane Shanahan, and our Groundsman, Fernando Ardono for their hard work to date and also my fellow Councillors, and finally a special thank you for the Chairman of Planning, Barbara Hilton, and the Chairman of Leisure, Robert Ellison, who have worked actively in their respective roles, and have provided me with much support throughout the year.